1st Battalion The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers at Gallipoli

The Gallipoli Peninsula showing landing points
The Gallipoli Peninsula showing landing points

At the start of the First World War, the 1st Battalion The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers was based at Trimulgherrey in India. However, by the end of 1914 almost all regular army units across the British Empire were recalled to England, and the 1st Inniskillings disembarked at Avonmouth on 10 January 1915. The Battalion became part of 87 Infantry Brigade in the 29th Division* and was reviewed near Rugby by HM King George V, on 12 March 1915, prior to embarking for Egypt on 17 March, where the Inniskillings would prepare and train for the assault landings on the Gallipoli peninsula.

During the initial landings around Cape Helles on 25 April 1915, 1st Inniskillings went ashore at X Beach. It then fought almost continuously throughout the nine-month campaign, taking part in successive battles at Helles to capture the village of Krithia and the heights of Achi Baba, all of which ended in hard-fought failure. The Battalion moved to the Suvla Bay sector landing on 17 August and suffered heavily on Scimitar Hill (Hill 70), the last major attack made by the British, where the start strength of 19 officers, 758 other ranks was reduced to 4 officers, 230 other ranks at roll call after the fighting. The 1st Inniskillings returned to Helles on 1 October and was engaged in mainly defensive trench warfare.

The Battalion departed Gallipoli on 8 January 1916, as part of the general allied withdrawal from the peninsula, and subsequently moved to France along with the rest of the 29th Division. During the Gallipoli campaign, 267 men of the battalion were killed in action, or died from wounds or disease (such as dysentery), 79 were posted missing, and some 1,001 were wounded or evacuated sick, some of whom did return to duty. Their initial strength had been 990, and they received 1,205 replacements. Only 2 officers and 118 other ranks survived the entire campaign unscathed.

Click on The Gallipoli Campaign for links to more stories about our former regiments at Gallipoli.

InnisksRed TriangleNamed 'the Incomparable 29th Division', the Division's flash was an Ace of Diamonds halved, and The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers wore the red flash behind their cap badge to commemorate service with the Division at the Battle of Scimitar Hill, Gallipoli. In support of the adoption, General Beauvoir de Lisle, who had commanded the Division in Gallipoli, wrote in 1922:

'It pleases me more than I can express to know that the 29th badge is to be used by your Battalion for no unit set a finer example than the 1st Battalion The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.'