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  1. #1
    Private 2* Corkman's Avatar
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    Etreux rear guard action - POW Cronin - Limburg

    The 2nd battalion Royal Munster Fusiliers was part of the 1st (Guards) Brigade and consisted of the 1st battalion Coldstream Guards, 1st battalion Scots Guards, 1st battalion Black Watch and 2nd battalion Royal Munster Fusiliers.

    The 2nd battalion Munster Fusiliers contribution to the Etreux engagement took place on 27th August 1914 at Etreux just south of Oisy. At the time the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) was in retreat and in extreme danger of being outflanked and destroyed by superior advancing German forces.

    Three companies of the 2nd Munster’s under Major Paul Charrier, a very experienced officer, along with a troop of the 15th Hussars, and two guns of the 118th Battery, R.F.A., held off a full German Corps for a day taking appalling casualties in the process. This action allowed General Haig’s I Corps to retreat unmolested to a place twelve miles from the front thus almost certainly ensuring its survival as a fighting force.

    At 9.15 p.m. on the 27th, the remaining 240 men, including many wounded, staggered to their feet, exhausted and just about out of ammunition. With only four unwounded officers, they were forced to surrender.

    On the 28th the Germans allowed a party of prisoners of war to collect and bury their dead in what is now the Etreux Memorial Cemetery and which contains the graves of the 122 men who died in the action.

    The survivors were initially held captive at a factory in the Etreux locality before being transported in cattle trucks to various locations in Germany.

    Most of the NCOs’ and other ranks were incarcerated in the Limburg military POW camp. Limburg, Germany lies in western Hesse between the Taunus and the Westerwald on the river Lahn.

    The following report gives an excellent account of the experience of one Munster Fusilier soldier, POW Pte. John Cronin 6369, from his first day of capture to his transfer to Limburg.

    PDF of his report after repatriation attached.


    Corkman.

  2. #2
    Chief of the Diet Tribe Groundhog's Avatar
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    The transcript is interesting reading. I like the way he reported the lads who joined Casement's Brigade. I wonder what happened to them?

    Say NO to violence against Women

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  3. #3
    Closed Account Goldie fish's Avatar
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    Very interesting. It is notable that there is very little mention in history of Allied POWs during the first world war. Even regimental histories speak little of it. It mentions the 80 or so who died at Etreux, and the cross that is erected to their memory, but no mention of those who survived, to be held as prisoners until the wars end.
    It is even more interesting that the subject was able to get kit issued from Tralee while he was a POW.
    Tralee is my HQ these days, and I find it near impossible for them to send anything even as far as Limerick!

  4. #4
    Chief of the Diet Tribe Groundhog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Goldie fish View Post
    It is even more interesting that the subject was able to get kit issued from Tralee while he was a POW.
    Tralee is my HQ these days, and I find it near impossible for them to send anything even as far as Limerick!
    That's because in 1914 we had a functioning postal service. That was before the introduction of computerisation.

    Kevin Myers once related sending a letter in the 1990s to the address in Clonmel of a man who was killed at Ypres in May 1915. The letter eventually found its way to the man's descendants in Nenagh despite the fact that their surname differed. It was a bit of a tribute to the people who work for An Post. You have to wonder where it all went wrong.

    Say NO to violence against Women

    Quote Originally Posted by hedgehog View Post
    My favourite moment was when the
    Quote Originally Posted by hedgehog View Post
    red headed old dear got a smack on her ginger head

  5. #5
    Private 2* Corkman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Groundhog View Post
    The transcript is interesting reading. I like the way he reported the lads who joined Casement's Brigade. I wonder what happened to them?
    I have traced a couple of former IB men who were apprehended after landing in Ireland from German subs. Hopefully will be posting a summary of events in a few days.

    Corkman.

  6. #6
    Private 2* Corkman's Avatar
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    The German Irish Brigade (Casement)

    The Times London newspaper reported on Wednesday, October 27, 1915; on page 7 an article titled -

    GERMAN OFFERS TO PRISONERS.
    THE PROPOSED ‘IRISH BRIGADE’
    A PROTEST TO THE KAISER

    The attached pdf is a transcript of the article.

    Corkman
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