7th (Service) Battalion, Royal Dublin Fusiliers
Regimental number 15876
Regarding Medal Index Card, Private Murray was entitled to:
- 1914-15 Star (B/7B Page 243)
- British War Medal (B/101 B5 Page 398)
- Victory Medal (B/101 B5 Page 398)
Regarding Thomas’ service number and his unit, Thomas Murray enlisted to the army as a New Army recruit around second half of October 1914.
When the Royal Dublin Fusiliers formed new service battalions, they continued with the same numbering series that was in use for the regular 1st and 2nd Battalion. Number 15075 joined on the 1st October and 16339 joined 2nd November 1914 (11/13).
After Minister for War, Field Marshal Earl Kitchener called up on 5th August 1914 a New Army then as a part of K1, 7th Royal Dublin Fusiliers, was formed. Each man signed up for new "general service" terms of three years or the duration of the war (whichever the longer) and would agree to being sent to serve anywhere the army needed them (2/4).
The 7th Battalion was formed in August 1914 and was stationed first at the Curragh. On the 2nd February 1915 they moved to the Royal (now Collins) Barracks in Dublin. Battalion trained in trench warfare in the Phoenix Park and musketry training at Dollymount beach (2/7/11).
Private Murray unit were attached to the 30th Brigade in 10th (Irish) Division and moved to Basingstoke, Hampshire on the 1st May 1915 from Dublin. Next three months whole Division underwent training until 27th June 1915, when they were ready for action (7/11).
Thomas and his battalion embarked on the HMT Alaunia at Devonport at about 7am on Saturday 10th July 1915 and sailed to Gallipoli as part of the new Mediterranean Expeditionary Force. H.M.T. Alaunia Captain was Captain Rostron (Royal Naval Reserve). He had been the Captain of the “Carpathia” when it picked up survivors of the Titanic disaster in 1912 (12).
On the way they moral was high, also they had stops in Gibraltar, Malta and Alexandria. 24th July they arrived in Mudros Bay on island of Lemnos where they saw Red Cross boats from Dardanelles full of wounded – hint of what was to come. Next day soldiers arrived Mitylene (2/9).
6th August battalion was boarded on H.M.T. Fauvette for landing in Suvla Bay, where they arrived 4am following morning, under Colonel Geoffrey Downing command.
Problems started because lack of organization; units were without the maps and orders, drinking water ran short and some moment they ran out of ammunition. But men fought well and in the first day battalion captured Chocolate Hill (called after "Dublin Hill"), what they occupied 8th – 12th August. Following battle for Kizlar Dagh on the 13th – 15th August, until withdrawal 29th September (9).
However, Thomas wasn’t with others on the first day of landing. His Medal Index Card shows that he entered to the theater of war two days later on the 9th August as a reinforcement (1). I located another soldier from 7th Battalion with the same entering date; D Company (Dublin Pals), Pte. Cecil William Murray, 14125 who got killed in action on the 16th August 1915 (13). 7th Battalion D Company paid terrible cost in Gallipoli: of its 239 men who landed, only 79 remained after 8 weeks (9).
All together 569 Royal Dublin Fusiliers (6th and 7th Battalion) lost their lives in Gallipoli, before the Allies withdrew from there (12).
On 30th September battalion left from Gallipoli on SS ‘Abbasieh’ to Mudros and from there on Tuesday the 5th October, battalion embarked on the transport vessel H.M.T. Aeneas to Salonika, where they arrived 11th October 1915 (9/12).
After reorganization and rest in the camp, they sent to the Serbian mountains to try to stop Bulgarian advance. Thomas and his unit relieved the French in the Hasanti-Gojceli-Bala-Causli line (9).
Situation in there was very hard to the men again. Whole 7th Battalion was still dressed in shorts with pith helmets without any winter clothing. Meantime the weather was very cold and lots of men suffered frostbites, dysentery and malaria (9).
In November 10th (Irish) Division hold the front line between Kosturino and Lake Doiran.
On the 2nd October 1916, the strength of the 7th Battalion was 28 officers and 741 other ranks (12).
In 3rd October 1916 the Dublin Fusiliers took part in the capture of the village of Jenikoi where they suffered heavy casualties, because as well friendly fire from their own artillery. 7th Battalion lost there 128 men killed, wounded or missing in action (12).
Following year, in August 1917 the 7th Battalion, along with the rest of the 10th (Irish) Division, were ordered to concentrate in Salonika in preparation for moving from the Balkans. In September they arrived in Egypt and then commenced their participation in the Palestine campaign.
The campaign was better success then the previous campaigns. Battalion took part in the Third Battle of Gaza (27th October – 7th November 1917). Also the capture of Jerusalem and later on defense from Ottoman counter-attack (9/12).
Early 1918 Thomas unit they mainly held their gained positions. In March 10th (Irish) Division attacked enemy position in Jilijilia area what was again success.
Meantime Germans launched their Spring Offencive in Western Front what gained many casualties in Allies side. Because that, ten Battalions from 10th (Irish) Division were moved to France, including 7th Battalion Royal Dublin Fusilisers. They leave from Alexandria on the 23rd May 1918 on board the P&O ship Kaiser-I-Hind and arriving in Marseilles 1st June 1918 .
Battalion got a week next to the sea at Rouxmensnil, near Dieppe to rest and on the 6th June 1918 the Battalion was reduced to a cadre and men absorbed with the 2nd Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers. Four days later the cadre returned to England and was absorbed into 11th Royal Irish Fusiliers.
11th Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers was reorganized and on the 28th June 1918 moved to Akdershot, as a part of 48th Brigade in 16th (Irish) Division. Late in July 1918 they landed again in France and already coming month, on the 29th August, absorbed with the 5th Battalion (2).
Private Thomas Murray was sent to Army Reserve “Z” after 1918 December, what means that he returned to civilian life but with an obligation to return if called upon. The “Z” Reserve was abolished on 31 March 1920 (1/3).
There aren’t many notes available about him but because he was sent to Army Reserve “Z”, it is possible to guess that he first at all survived the war and came out of it good enough shape for a future service, if necessary.
(1) British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920
(2) The Long, Long Trail – The British Army of 1914-1918 – for family historianshttp://www.1914-1918.net
(3) WO329, RDF, British Army Medal Roles, Infantry Record Office, Dublin
(4) Kitchener's Army - Wikipedia, the free encyclopaediahttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kitchener's_Army
(5) 10th (Irish) Division - Wikipedia, the free encyclopaediahttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/10th_(Irish
(6) 10th (Irish) Division – The Long, Long Trail, 1914-1918http://www.1914-1918.net/10div.htm
(7) 7th Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliershttp://www.dublin-fusiliers.com/battali ... alion.html
(8) Ireland and World War I - Wikipedia, the free encyclopediahttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ireland_and_World_War_I
(9) Irish Battalions – RDF Major Battleshttp://www.greatwar.ie/ire_batmb.html
(10) Family Tree, Genealogy and Census Records - Ancestry.co.ukhttp://www.ancestry.co.uk/
(11) The Pals at Suvla Bay
By Henry Hanna, K.C.
looking suspension to fix it (