Branch Meeting, 8 April, 2017.
Aloysius Leo Joseph Callender
18 London Regiment
London Irish Rifles
Died of Wounds, 8 April, 1917.
Aloysius was born in Dublin in 1891, the son of Thomas and Mary Anne Callender, his birth was registered in the South Dublin Registration District. Little is known of his early life, while I know that he had at least two brothers, Brian and Ignatius (1 & 2), I have been unable to find the family in either the 1901 or 1911 Census, however, Aloysius is in the 1911 census, at which time he was student at a Carmelite College.
Between the 1911 Census and the outbreak of war, Aloysius must have moved to London, as the ‘Soldiers died in the Great War’ (SDGW) database states that at the time of his enlistment in Chelsea, he was living in Brixton. His initial number with the regiment was 1826 (3 & 4) and we know that this number was issued on or shortly before 10 August, 1914.
The battalion soon moved to St. Albans for training, where they remained, apart from a brief spell in Braintree in November, until 9 March, 1915, on which date they entrained and headed for Southampton, where the battalion of 229 Officers and 1048 Other Ranks boarded three ships and sailed for Le Harve. The battalion spent two months acclimatising to life at the front, before seeing their first major front line action at Festubert in May, over the next two years they saw action in France and Belgium, at Loos (Sept 1915), Hohenzollern Redoubt (Dec 1915), Vimy Ridge (May 1916) and the Somme (High Wood, Sept 1916), many of which, if not all, it is reasonable to presume that Aloysius took part in.
Early 1917 found the battalion in the Ypres area and in late March, early April, they were in training for a raid on the German trenches at Hill 60. The attack took place on the evening of 7 April, and while it was a success heavy casualties were suffered, Aloysius Medal Index Card states that he was Killed in Action on 8 April, SDGW states that he Died of Wounds on that date, which seems the most likely scenario.
1.Lance Corporal 22218 Brian Callender, 8th Batt Royal Dublin Fusiliers, Died of Wounds on 29/04/1916, while a Prisoner of War and is buried in Phalempin Communal Cemetery.
2. Ignatius Callender was very involved in the Easter Rising, he was the section leader of D Coy, 1st Battalion of the Irish Volunteers, and was part of the Four Courts garrison.
3. We know from looking at surviving records of other members of the regiment, that number 1853 was issued on 10 August, 1914.
4. The London Irish Rifles (18 County of London Regiment) were a Territorial Battalion, all Territorial Battalions renumbered their men in early 1917.
Ian Chambers. April 2017.