Title: The History of the First Seven Battalions The Royal Irish Rifles (now the Royal Ulster Rifles) in the Great War 1914 – 1918
Author: Falls, Cyril
Edition: 2nd Edition
Publication Date: 2002
Cover: Soft Cover without Dust Jacket – 189 pages
Comments: Record of 1st, 2nd and 7th Bns on the Western Front and the 6th at Gallipoli, in Macedonia and Palestine.
Complete list of honours and awards for all battalions.The author of this book is the well-known historian whose works include The First World War and The History of the 36th (Ulster) Division.
The regiment was unusual in that it had three Reserve battalions, 3rd, 4th and 5th, none of which left the British Isles and take up a brief chapter in this history. The 6th Battalion was formed in Dublin in August 1914 and allotted to 29th Brigade of the 10th Irish Division with which it served on Gallipol, in Macedonia, in Egypt and in Palestine where it was disbanded in May 1918. 7th Bn was formed in Belfast in September 1914 and went to the Western Front in February 1916 as part of 48th Brigade, 16th Irish Division with which it remained till August 1917; in November 1917 it was disbanded and the personnel absorbed by the 2nd Battalion. The 1st and 2nd Battalions served on the Western Front.
The 1st Battalion was in Aden when war broke out and arrived back in the UK in October where it was put in 25th Brigade of the newly formed 8th Division which arrived in France in November 1914. It remained with the brigade till February 1918 when it was transferred to the 36th Ulster Division. The 2nd Battalion was in Tidworth with 7th Brigade, 3rd Division. It went to France as part of the original BEF in August 1914 but in October 1915 its brigade was transferred to 25th Division in exchange for a brigade from that division. In February 1918 another posting moved the battalion to the 36th Ulster Division with which it remained for the rest of the war, in the same brigade as the 1st Battalion.
As may be expected with such a distinguished author these battalion histories are authoritative and well written with outstanding maps. The record is set out chronologically in a series of Books one to each year of the war with chapters covering specific actions during that year. Appendices list Honours and Awards issued to Officers, WOs, NCOs and men. These are arranged in alphabetical order showing which battalion the recipient was with, the specific award (including Mentioned in Despatches) and the London Gazette date.
Among the awards listed is the VC to a Corporal Quigg, who is shown as being in the 2nd Battalion; he was not, he was in the 12th Battalion and should not feature in this book . Another appendix lists the Roll of Honour of officers (188 of them) with battalion and date of death, other ranks deaths are given as a total – 3,118. These figures are for the first seven battalions only.