16th (Irish) Division The Division was established by the Irish Command in September 1914, and was formed, under the second 100,000 man recruitment into Kitchener’s New Army. It was commanded initially by Lt. Gen Sir Lawrence W Parsons KCB,CB, but Maj. Gen William B Hickie CB took over in December 1915 as the Division embarked for France. The Division included: 47th Brigade: 6th Bn Royal Irish Regiment 6th Bn Connaught Rangers 7th Bn Leinster Regt 7th Bn Royal Irish Rifles 48th Brigade: 8th & 9th Bn Royal Dublin Fusiliers 8th & 9th Bn Royal Munster Fusiliers 49th Brigade: 7th & 8th Bn Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers 7th & 8th Bn Royal Irish Fusiliers The Division contained many members of the National Volunteers, which had been formed in 1913. The 6th Royal Irish Regiment had some 300 Volunteers from Co. Derry and the Bogside, while the 6th Connaught Rangers had around 500 men from West Belfast. Early days were somewhat chaotic, the new volunteers having very few trained officers and NCOs to command them, no organised billets or equipment. The Division moved to England and into barracks in Aldershot by the end of the month. The training and preparation of the Division was slowed by the loss of many of its units to the 37th and Guards Divisions when they were created in 1915. After training in Ireland, the Division moved to Aldershot in September 1915 and deployed to France over New Year and January 1916 and concentrated in the Bethune area. By February 1916, the Brigades found themselves attached to Divisions on the Loos Salient for Front Line training. On 1st March, they became operational in Sir Hubert Gough's I Corps. Between 27-29 April 1916, the 16th (Irish) Division suffered mass casualties when 48th and 49th Brigades came under gas attach at Hulluch. A total of 570 officers and men were killed, and a further 1410 wounded, by gas and shelling during the battle. At the end of August 1916, the Division moved from Loos down to the Somme sector. On 7th June 1917, the Division went into battle alongside the 36th (Ulster) Division in an attack of Messines Ridge. The Divisions were tasked with taking the village of Wytschaete and succeeded. In July, the Division took part in the 3rd Battle of Ypres, but the battles took their toll and, by August, the 16th (Irish) Division had lost over 4,200 casualties. It served on the Western Front with distinction throughout the war, taking part in the following enagements: 1916 The Battle of Guillemont in which the Division captured the village The Battle of Ginchy The battles marked are phases of the Battles of the Somme 1916 1917 The Battle of Messines The Battle of Langemark, a phase of the Third Battles of Ypres 1918 The Battle of St Quentin+ The Battle of Rosieres+ The battles marked + are phases of the First Battles of the Somme 1918. In the German Spring Offensive of March 1918, the Division was virtually wiped out. In June, the battalions were dispersed throughout the BEF, and the Division returned to England to be reconstituted. It returned to France in July with only one Irish battalion, 5th Royal Irish Fusiliers. The Division lost virtually all of its remaining Irish units at this point. The Division suffered the loss of more than 28,000 casualties during the war.