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kingsman64

Officers trio and heartbreaking runners message

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Dear Forum

Apologies if you have seen this elsewhere but I have to share this as a proud son of Liverpool and a life long collector this has ripped me to shreds I have never held in my hands such a document that in less than 40 words sums up the futility of war yet the incredible gallantry and sacrifice of those who find themselves in the thick of it, we will remember them.

Dear Forum I have Just received this today so a research project about to commence.

However the preserved runners message has knocked me for six I have read those few words over and over and almost 99 years to the day the emotion it stirs is........well.

to talk of 7 able bodied men out of A B C D company of the 1/8th Irish Battalion Kings Liverpool Regiment, one can only imagine the carnage between their position and their jumping off point. Over 550 men went over the top that morning and were sent in retired, regrouped and were sent in again.

As a proud son of Liverpool and a sponge for local military history, I am already aware of the horrendous casualties suffered by the 8th Irish Battalion and its attack on La Guingue 15/16/17 June 1915 230 plus casualties dozens missing and this simple message scrawled in the heat of battle asking the Officer Commanding if the seven survivors of the battalion who made it into the 1st line of the German defences can have permission to retire and bring their dead back with them.

I need to dig my diary transcripts out but I am sure that despite a proceeding artillery barrage (short) the advancing Liverpool Irish were decimated by heavy machine guns and trench mortar batteries that had been in deep dugouts on the right flank.

One eyewitness report states:

it might well have seemed that the attack had failed, or at least that another brigade would be needed to put matters right; but a reserve battalion had not yet gone into action, and to this unit was given the hard task of putting the Germans out once more from the trench which they had re-occupied. There have been days when the Liverpool Irish have proved themselves to be pugnacious in riotous times at home, but now they were to efface all such memories by their splendid bearing at this critical hour. It was 4 P.M. upon June 16, when, with a true Celtic yell, the 8th King's Liverpool, led by Major Johnson, dashed over the parapet and stormed through a hellish sleet of shrapnel to the Hooge. German trenches. "It was pattering like hail upon a window-pane." Officers and men went down in heaps, but nothing could stop the glorious impetuosity of the charge, delivered in the full light of a summer afternoon. "It's sure death, but remember we are Irish!" yelled a sergeant as he bounded on to the sand-bags. Next instant he had been blown to pieces. Captain Finegan, leading the rush, was shot down, as were the greater number of the regimental officers. Finegan's body was found afterwards at the extreme point of the advance, with twelve of his men lying round him. The Germans were swept out of the front trenches once more, and the Irishmen held desperately on to it for a long time against all the shell-fire of the enemy. It was a great day for Liverpool, July 16, when two of their citizen regiments, the 8th in the south and the 10th in the north, helped to stem the tide of two separate battles. The 8th King's lost nearly 500 men, and gained a reputation which will not easily die. The survivors were too few, however, to permanently hold the shell-raked trench which they had gained. The 153rd Brigade (Campbell), consisting of Gordons and Black Watch, relieved them in the front line, and the exhausted and decimated battalion was drawn off. In the meantime the 152nd Brigade, upon the left, had been unable to make progress. Of the attackers of the Fifty-first Division some 1500 men had fallen, and there was no permanent gain of ground.

Once again I am humbled by the sheer courage of these young men I look at my own son this evening a 23 year old U.O.T.C. Lieutenant and shudder. Please see below 1st pics of the14-15 Trio to Captain George Henry Chamberlain 8th Irish Battalion King's Liverpool Regiment.
The handwritten runners message dated 16/6/1915 reads.

"To O. C
I am in the first German trench with 7 men + some dead + some wounded
Please say if we may come out. We shall want help for the wounded.
G H Chamberlain Lieut. Sent by Private Fallon 8:45 p.m. 16/5/15"


DSC_0502_zpsp9orj554.jpg

George Henry Chamberlain was a stockbroker in the Liverpool City Stock Exchange as was his father George senior he was born in Birkdale in 1896 lots more to do on this. The group came with a copy of the famous Liverpool Irish day after the trench raid picture! As does nearly every Liverpool Irish group but who knows maybe George is one of the revolver carrying blacked up officers?

I am going to enjoy researching this one it is a keeper for sure


QUIS SEPARABIT

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Dear Forum

as an added bonus another KLR expert has traced Private Fallon! :o

James Fallon
Gender: Male
Birth Date: abt 1895
Birth Place: Liverpool, Lancashire, England
Age at Enlistment: 18
Regimental Number: 1871/305274
Regiment Name: 8th Irish Battalion The King's Liverpool Regiment

One of only two Fallon's in the K.L.R. who earned the 14-15 Star and the only one of the two in the 8th Battalion.

Now what a reunite that would be would love to put those two groups together!

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A most moving story of courage and conviction. One to hold in your collection with pride. Mervyn

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