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Royal Irish Fusiliers


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#1 ARMAGH

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 08:05 PM

From Armagh Guardian 7-12-1917
Royal Irish Fusilier News
Roll of Honour
Officers
Wounded
2nd Lieut J.H.Duncan, The Mall Armagh

I am looking for any information about this Officer?
I cannot find any service records or Census returns for this Officer.
Any member know of this Officer?
Joe



#2 archangel9

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 08:14 PM

MIC -

http://www.nationala...&resultcount=17
Medal card of Duncan, James Henry
Corps Regiment No Rank
King's Liverpool Regiment 4091 Private
Royal Irish Fusiliers Second Lieutenant

John

#3 ss002d6252

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 08:16 PM

This man appears to be the one:

Description
Medal card of Duncan, James Henry
Corps Regiment No Rank
King's Liverpool Regiment 4091 Private
Royal Irish Fusiliers Second Lieutenant

He was posted to France in June 1916.

#4 archangel9

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 08:22 PM

Theatre - France June 1916.
Applied for medals 26/11/21.
Address - 44 Cecil St., Wavertree, Liverpool.

There are a few possibles in WO374.

John

#5 archangel9

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 08:57 PM

There is a James Henry Duncan, West Derby, Lancashire on the 1901 census. 5 years old and son of Samuel and Sarah Jane. Born in Ireland. Also this James Duncan in Armagh on 1911 census could be the same person -

http://www.census.na...lougher/334396/

John

#6 ARMAGH

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 09:15 AM

There is a James Henry Duncan, West Derby, Lancashire on the 1901 census. 5 years old and son of Samuel and Sarah Jane. Born in Ireland. Also this James Duncan in Armagh on 1911 census could be the same person -

http://www.census.na...lougher/334396/

John


Thanks John and ss002d6252 Posted Image
That is very interesting,I will follow it up.
Wll post my results.
Joe

#7 MJDR

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Posted 09 September 2014 - 11:37 PM

Joe,

I don't know if you are still looking at this thread about JH Duncan of the Royal Irish Fusiliers, but I am his grandson. What is it you need to know?  He died before I was born, but I can probably help you with your enquiry.

 

Regards

Michael



#8 ARMAGH

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Posted 10 September 2014 - 09:09 PM

Hello Michael
Thank you for your reply.
I am researching Armagh men in the Great War and came across this" From Armagh Guardian 7-12-1917
Royal Irish Fusilier News
Roll of Honour
Officers
Wounded
2nd Lieut J.H.Duncan, The Mall Armagh"

I take it he survived the war? any details will be of a help, I a volunteer researcher with the RIF Museum in Armagh and we are always looking for news articles.
Yours Aye
Joe

#9 MJDR

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Posted 04 October 2014 - 06:15 PM

Hi Joe,

 

I have a lot of information on James Henry Duncan now, having obtained his war record. He certainly was an Armagh man for a period of his life, although he was born in Gorey, County Wexford. He moved from Armagh in about 1914 I think.

 

The reference to him being wounded that you are referring to was when he was wounded for the second time, on 20th November 1917 on the first day of the Battle of Cambrai.   The first time was on 29 August 1916 when he was officially with the 1/8th King's Liverpool Regiment, but was attached to the 21st Manchester Regiment. He was wounded at Delville Wood on the Somme - he was shot in the hand and was out of action for three months. Then in November 1916 he was sent off for officer training at Bath, Somerset, from where he was attached initially to the 10th Royal Irish Fusiliers and then sent back to France.  After he had recovered from being wounded while with the 7/8th RIF in 1917, he was sent back to France again in 1918, and then was demobbed in 1919. He settled back in Liverpool where he had been living when war broke out, and ended up as a Director of the watch and jewellery firm Thomas Russell and Sons. My mother told me that during the 2nd war he was in the ARP. One night during the Liverpool Blitz when he was at home with the family and in the Anderson shelter at the bottom of the garden, a bomb dropped in their garden (released from a German aircraft as it was flying back after dropping most of them on the docks) and they were all buried in the shelter and had to be dug out. Now that I know what a bad time he had in the trenches, I realise it must have been a huge shock for him to be witnessing the sound of shells at close quarters again in his own garden! He died quite young, in 1946 aged 49.

 

In his service file were two letters from another person in 7/8th Battalion RIF - Joseph McCorry, who tried to contact him first in 1938 and again in 1942, unfortunately without success as there was no current forwarding address. In the letter, Joseph McCorry who seems to have hit on hard times, is trying to track down Lt James Duncan, because he was the person who carried him to the dressing station after he was wounded. In the file, it is recorded that my grandfather was concussed after being buried by a shell, and Joseph McCorry provides more detail as follows:  

 

" The 16th Division made an attack at Bullecourt with success. We took cover in the German tunnel and Capt. Waters asked for a volunteer in the German under-tunnel which was captured. I went forward to the captain of 'C' company - I told him I would volunteer. Could you take a British officer who was buried by shellfire and find the British First Aid post from here? I said 'yes'. This officer's name was Lieut. Duncan. I took the wounded officer to the British First Aid station. I had a tough job, I had to find my way through the German line into the British line, then came back for a counter-attack the next morning which we had. It was beaten back."   I would like to track down Joseph McCorry's relatives to pass on a copy of these handwritten letters, so if you have any details on him I would be grateful if you could please let me know; he was obviously a very brave man.

 

I have been able to investigate a bit further, as with the date of 20th November 1916 to go by, and the reference to 'the German tunnel' I am now convinced that the action was around the capturing of Tunnel Trench, which was an underground section of the Hindenburg Line. The Germans had built a tunnel section into part of the Hindenburg Line trench midway between Bullecourt and Croisilles.  The tunnel was 30 or 40 feet below ground along its whole length, with staircase access from the upper level every 25 yards. The entire tunnel had electric lighting, and side chambers provided storage space for bunks, food, and ammunition. Demolition charges had been set that could be triggered from the German rear in order to prevent the defences from falling into British hands.

 
The section of tunnel was between The Knuckle and Fontaine-les-Croiselles which was attacked by battalions of the 16th Irish Division on 20th November (the date my grandfather was wounded) as a preliminary action to the Battle of Cambrai, as mentioned in the account below. It was to divert the Germans away from where the Hindenburg Line was going to be attacked by a tank regiment led by the Tank Corps GOC, Hugh Elles, in a Mk IV tank called 'Hilda'. I have a found a map of the trench system which I could send you if you give me your email address, and also a more modern map showing the Hindenburg Line and the Tunnel Trench marked in solid red along its course. 
 
I have unfortunately lost the link to where I found this article, but the credit for this text goes to another person who I'm afraid i can't name:
 
"Lieutenant-Colonel John Fuller of the Tank Corps and General Julian Byng, commander of 3rd Army, recommended that a massed assault by 400 tanks should be mounted across the firm, chalky ground to the southwest of Cambrai. Haig adopted this proposal, confident that the tanks would punch a whole through the Hindenburg Line and allow a breakthrough.The diversionary attack was set up to draw the Germans away from the actual area of the intended attack.
 
The diversionary assault was to be eight miles to the northwest of Cambrai, where the British line passed through the villages of Bullecourt and Fontaine le Croisilles. The units selected to make this subsidiary attack were 3rd Division and 16th (Irish) Division. One unusual feature of the attack was that there was to be no preliminary bombardment, as surprise was the key to the success of the operation. Once the assault began, though, 16th Division's artillery, reinforced with guns from the 34th Division, would open a creeping barrage upon the German positions.
 
The morning of the advance, November 20th, was overcast, with low visibility. At zero hour, 06.20, the Divisional 18 pounder-field guns opened fire, and the leading assault companies sprang from their jump-off positions. At the same time, Stokes mortars began to lay a smoke barrage upon the German trenches in imitation of a gas attack. This deception proved successful, as many German troops donned cumbersome gas-masks and retreated to the underground safety of the tunnel, thus leaving the exposed portion of the trench undefended. On the left flank, the attack of the 49th Brigade was launched by 2nd Royal Irish Regiment and 7/8th Royal Irish Fusiliers. They quickly crossed the 200 yards of no-man's-land and reached the enemy frontline just as the barrage lifted. Resistance above ground was minimal, and storming parties began the task of flushing the Germans from the tunnel with Mills bombs and bayonets.
 
In the centre, 10th and 2nd Royal Dublin Fusiliers headed the attack of the 48th Brigade. The advance here was so rapid that the Irish found many Germans still wearing gas masks and unable to fight. Two more Mebus, Juno and Minerva, were stormed and many more prisoners taken, particularly by 10th Dublin Fusiliers which captured 170 Germans.Leading the attack on the right flank was 6th Connaught Rangers and 1st Royal Munster Fusiliers, both of which belonged to the 47th "Irish Brigade". After capturing their assigned section of Tunnel Trench, two companies of Rangers pressed forward to assault the strong points known as Mars and Jove. The Rangers worked around to the rear before pressing home with the bayonet.
 
 
I hope that information helps - thanks  very much for recording the information about my ancestor James Henry Duncan.  My email address is mjdray7@yahoo.co.uk if you need any more info, as I don't go onto this site very often - it was only because your reference to him came up in a Google search!
 
Regards,
Michael


#10 ARMAGH

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Posted 12 October 2014 - 09:20 AM

Thanks Michael I will be in touch via email
Yours Aye
Joe