Tyneside Irish Brigade


The Tyneside Irish Brigade was an infantry brigade in the British Army, raised in 1914 after the outbreak of the First World War. It was made up of volunteers, largely men of Irish ancestory from around the North East, who joined up as part of the national recruitment campaign fronted by Lord Kitchener.

"The first notice giving indication of the raising of a Battalion from the tyneside Irish Community came in a letter to the editor of the Newcastle Evening Chronicle on Saturday 12th September 1914  informing of  a meeting on Sunday 13th September in the Collingwood Hall, Irish National Club Clayton St, Newcastle upon Tyne, and every representative Irishman on tyneside regardless of politics or religion was asked to  consider it his duty to attend. Early recruits were given a piece of green cloth to wear as an armband, to denote that they had volunteered for the Irish Battalion. in the same way, the Newcastle Commercials wore a red lanyard and the Tyneside Scottish a Royal Stewart armband." (Tyneside Irish Brigade Association)

It was officially numbered the 103rd (Tyneside Irish) Brigade, and contained four 'Pals' Battalions which went on to become part of the Northumberland Fusiliers:

  • 24th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers (1st Tyneside Irish)
  • 25th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers (2nd Tyneside Irish)
  • 26th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers (3rd Tyneside Irish)
  • 27th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers (4th Tyneside Irish)
  • 30th (Reserve) Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers (Tyneside Irish)
  • 34th (Reserve) Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers (Tyneside Irish)

Over 5,000 men from the North East served in the Tyneside Irish Brigade. The Tyneside Irish made up a large part of the 34th Division, which was deployed in France in January 1916 and took part in the Battle of the Somme, suffering huge numbers of casualties.

The Tyneside Irish Brigade was a British First World War infantry brigade of Kitchener's Army, raised in 1914. Officially numbered the 103rd (Tyneside Irish) Brigade, it contained four Pals battalions from Newcastle upon Tyne, largely made up of men of Irish extraction. (Another Newcastle brigade — the 102nd (Tyneside Scottish) — contained Tynesiders with Scottish connections).

History

The brigade's four battalions were known as the 1st to 4th Tyneside Irish. When taken over by the British Army, these became battalions of the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers:

  • 24th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers (1st Tyneside Irish)
  • 25th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers (2nd Tyneside Irish)
  • 26th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers (3rd Tyneside Irish)
  • 27th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers (4th Tyneside Irish)

The reserve battalions were the 30th and 34th (Reserve) Battalions, Northumberland Fusiliers (Tyneside Irish).

Along with the 101st and 102nd Brigades, the Tyneside Irish made up the 34th Division which arrived in France in January 1916 and first saw action in the Battle of the Somme that year. On the first day on the Somme, the 34th Division attacked astride the Albert-Bapaume road at La Boisselle. The brigade's task was to follow up the main attack by the 101st and 102nd Brigades and advance on a line from Pozières to Contalmaison.

Advancing at the same time as the main attack, the brigade started from the reserve trenches on the Tara-Usna Line. The four battalions, marching in extended line (from left to right; the 2nd, 3rd, 1st and 4th), advanced down into Avoca Valley and then up the other side to the British front-line trench. From there they had to cross no man's land, pass through the German front-line and advance to their objectives. However, the main attack was an almost complete failure and the Tyneside Irish were utterly exposed to the machine guns of the German defences. The brigade suffered heavy casualties even before its battalions reached the British front-line. Opposite La Boisselle the brigade was halted but on the right, elements of the 1st and 4th battalions were able to advance up 'Sausage Valley' and pass through the German front-line. Two small parties met up behind the German support trench and pushed on towards their objective of Contalmaison. Their effort was in vain as they were eventually killed or captured.

The 1st battalion suffered 620 casualties on 1 July (18 officers and 602 other ranks), its commander, Lieutenant Colonel L.M. Howard, was among the dead. The 4th battalion suffered 539 casualties (20 officers and 519 other ranks). While the commanders of the 2nd and 3rd battalions were both wounded, as was the Brigade commander, Brigadier General N.J.G. Cameron.

The brigade's losses on 1 July were so severe that on the 6th, it, along with the 102nd (Tyneside Scottish) Brigade, was transferred to the 37th Division, swapping with the 112th Brigade. The two brigades returned to the 34th Division on 22 August.

In February 1918 the 1st, 3rd and 4th Tyneside Irish battalions were disbanded and the remaining battalion, the 2nd, was transferred to the 116th Brigade of the 39th Division. From then on the Tyneside Irish Brigade ceased to exist and the brigade was simply the 103rd Brigade.

Text from Wikipedia, available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License (accessed: 29/03/2019).
Visit the page: 103rd (Tyneside Irish) Brigade for references and further details. You can contribute to this article on Wikipedia.
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Image from page 104 of "Great Irishmen in war and politics" (1920)

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Image from page 137 of "Great Irishmen in war and politics" (1920)

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First World War
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First World War
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Tyneside Irish Brigade Art (TIC.OB.001)

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Tyneside Irish Brigade Art (TIC.OB.002)

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Tyneside Irish Brigade Art (TIC.OB.003)

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Tyneside Irish Brigade Art (TIC.OB.004)

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First World War - Tyneside Irish.
- "The Tyneside Irish, as part of the Northumberland Fusiliers, formed the four battalions of 103rd Brigade, 34th Division.....over 2,000 men from the Tyneside Irish died during the First ...

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JJ Armstrong - Tyneside Irish - Blaydon

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Michael Gardener - Tyneside Irish - Blaydon

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JW Scott - Tyneside Irish - Blaydon

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James Haslam - Tyneside Irish - Blaydon

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FF Duncan - Tyneside Irish Brigade Chaplain

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James Jeffries - Tyneside Irish - Bombay

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W Smith - Tyneside Irish - Blaydon

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Father G McBrearty - Tyneside Irish Chaplain

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JA King - Tyneside Irish - Annitsford

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William Hurst - Tyneside Scottish - Annitsford

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C Neal - Tyneside Irish - Washington

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John McNulty - Tyneside Irish - Annitsford

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Patrick King - Tyneside Irish - Annitsford

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J Crowther - Tyneside Irish - Elswick

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H Seymour - Tyneside Irish - Newburn

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Charles Gettings - Tyneside Irish - Dunston

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James Gettings - Tyneside Irish - Dunston

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John Gettings - Tyneside Irish - Dunston

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Thomas Lawson - Tyneside Irish

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William Howard - Tyneside Irish - Leadgate

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John Kelly - Tyneside Irish - Leadgate

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George Richardson - Tyneside Irish - Winlaton

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Joanathan Richardson - Tyneside Irish - Winlaton

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Tom Richardson - Tyneside Irish - Winlaton

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JJ Armstrong - Tyneside Irish - Blaydon

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William Inglis (Ingles) - Tyneside Irish - Bleach Green

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Lce-Corpl Dyson - Tyneside Irish - Washington

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Pte Park - Tyneside Irish - Washington

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G Hall - Tyneside Irish - Washington

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T Paxton - Tyneside Irish - Washington

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W Wood - Tyneside Irish - Washington

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1915-07-08e 01

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1916-03-08 (Mar) B 08

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Private George Leonard Ingram, 20 Sep 1915 ( see link to project blog below)

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Tyneside Irish Brigade Association
- "The Tyneside Irish Brigade Association has been set up to Remember the Men of 24th, 25th, 26th and 27th (service) Battalions of Northumberland Fusiliers over 5,000 men from the ...

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Recruitment Poster - Tyneside Irish Brigade

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Tyneside Irish Brigade advancing 1 July 1916
- "A support company of the Tyneside Irish Brigade advancing from the Tara-Usna Line opposite La Boisselle on 1 July, 1916, the first day on the Somme. Author : Photo taken by ...

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Northumberland Fusiliers
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Tyneside Irish Flag Day, 18 March, 1916

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