Dublin Branch
Western Front Association

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Meetings are held on the third Saturday of each month (except for March &  August, when there is no meeting), at the Lecture Theatre at Collins Barracks, doors open at 2.00 pm for a 2.30 start.

Our meetings are open to the general public. We welcome a donation of 3 Euro towards costs (no donation requested for those under 16). There is a raffle (no obligation), we try to make at least one of the prizes relevant to the First World War (book, DVD etc). We come from all walks of life, and range in WW1 knowledge from casual listener to gifted enthusiast. 

Forthcoming Meetings: 


10 June: "Edward Roe; A Westmeath Old Contemptible." By Ruth Illingworth.

Private Edward Roe from Castlepollard, County Westmeath, was a professional soldier who served with the East Lancashire Regiment throughout the First World War. He was the battalion diarist and his day-to-day record gives an extraordinarily vivid description of the War.  He was one of the "old Contemptibles" of the 1914 campaigns in Flanders and France, serving on the Western Front until April 1915. He also served in Gallipoli and in Mesopotamia from 1915 until 1918. He was twice wounded, served on a firing squad, and witnessed historic events such as the retreat from Mons, the first use of poison gas at Ypres and the capture of Baghdad. After the war, he remained a soldier till 1933 having completed 27 years in the Army. His diaries were edited and published by Peter Downham in 2004 under the title; "DIARY OF AN OLD CONTEMPTIBLE.FROM MONS TO BAGHDAD 1914-1919." (Pen and Sword Military). 

Ruth Illingworth is a Historian and Tour Guide living in Mullingar, Co Westmeath. She is the author of a number of books on Westmeath history including, THE LITTLE BOOK OF WESTMEATH (History Press Ireland) and MULLINGAR, A HISTORY AND GUIDE (History Press Ireland). She is a member of the Western Front Association and is also Vice-Chairperson of the Midland Counties and Kildare Branch of the Royal British Legion.

15 July: The 1st Leinsters, who they were and what became of them. By John Goodman, Chairman, Leinster Regiment Ireland.  

16 September: 'Toffs in the Trenches (and above them)' By Michael Pegum.

Michael's talk is based on his book 'Our Fallen Members'. This consists of accounts of the lives and deaths of members of the Kildare Street and Dublin University Clubs in WW I and II. 

Nearly all of them lived in Ireland, and Michael was able to find out a great deal about them, with some nice anecdotes: one was dug up again after being buried, because he had the men's pay in his pocket; one was blown up by a bomb during practice in Co. Cork, and was driven to hospital in the seat of an open sports car, in spite of having a very severe head wound; another left all his property, down to the garden tools, to a young lady who had married someone else two years previously. There are also photos of the plane of one of them, surrounded by German soldiers after he had been shot down. 

21 October: "The Blue Army on the Western Front, 1917-1918" By Marcin Hasik.


The Polish Blue Army was a military contingent created in France in the latter stages of World War I. The name "Blue" comes from the colour of the uniforms. The volunteers for the newly formed unit came from all over the world, but with the majority coming from the U.S.A. and Canada. They saw some action on the Western Front in the summer of 1918 in the Champagne region, relieving the American "Wildcat" 81st Division. In July the Blue Army played the active role in beating back the German offensive. After the war the Blue Army became a backbone of the new Army of the independent Poland and played a crucial role in Wars with Ukraine and Bolsheviks Russia in 1919-1920." 

Marcin will also talk briefly about the other contributions made by the Poles in WW1, as well as the main theme of his talk the ?Blue Army?, more than 3 million served in the Russian, Austrian and German Armies and 500k lost their lives.

Marcin has been living with his wife in Dublin for the last eleven years. He has a  MA in history (University of Wroclaw), and is currently working on his PhD (Military aspects of the Irish Civil War 1922-23) While living in Ireland he has developed a huge interest in Irish military history, from medieval times to WW2, his goal is to promote it in Poland, writing about it and trying to publish it. As well as the Western Front Association, he is also a member of the Military Society of Ireland.

18 November: Annual joint meeting with the Leinster Regiment Association. Full details to be confirmed.

16 December: Irish Golf and Golfers: Experiences of War and Revolution 1914-16. By Bill Gibson.

While golf might have been considered a game for the elderly and privileged in the years preceding World War 1, a significant number of the golfing community in Ireland responded to the call for volunteers at the outbreak of hostilities in August 1914. Over 2,000 members of golf clubs throughout Ireland joined the various branches of the British Army, Navy and fledgling Royal Flying Corps in the first years of the War.  This presentation will present an outline of the contribution that Irish golfers made to the war effort in the first two years 1914-1916. 

Previous Meetings:

February 2012: Cavalry in the Great War. Michael Carragher.

April 2012: Royal Irish Rifles. Members of the Royal Irish Rifles Association.

May 2012: One Family, Four Soldiers, Three Armies. Trevor Adams.

June 2012: The Problem of Human Remains at Gallipoli. Video. 

July 2012: Researching Irish Soldiers. John Goodman.

September 2012: Fr. William Doyle S.J. M.C. An Irish Padre of the Great War. Carole Hope.

October 2012: Tactics & Strategy of the Great War. Video. 

November 2012: In Search of 2nd Lt. Joseph Lowe MM. Ian Lowe.

December 2012. A trip along the Western Front. From Mons to Verdun. Trevor Adams. 

January 2013. Life as it was lived in the days of war?: Some accounts of the First World War from the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland. Ian Montgomery.

February 2013. Captain Albert Ball VC RFC. Bill Fulton. 

April 2013. Gallipoli - The April Landings. Foster Summerson.

May 2013. 'Barbed Wire Disease'. John Reynolds. 

June 2013. 'Our Silent and Forgotten Guests' WW1 Royal Navy burials in Fingal and locality. David Grundy.

July 2013.'For Right & Glory' Myles Abraham. DCM MM.  Rachel Abraham.

September 2013: 'The UVF and the formation of the 36th (Ulster) Division'. Dr. Timothy Bowman.

October 2013. The Second battle of Ypres, 1915. By John Goodman. 

November 2013. The Story of the 6th Leinsters, Gallipoli, Salonika and Palestine.  Ian Lowe.  

December 2013. San Fairy Ann: Motorcycles and British Victory.  Michael Carragher.

January 2014.  The Battle of Le Pilly, 18 - 20 October, 1914.  Michael Desmond.

February 2014. Putting Them in Their Place: Writing Irish Nurses into Factual  Great War Literature.  Alice McDermott.

April 2014. Hidden Stories of the Great War: The Letters of 1916 Project. Susan Schreibman. 

May 2014. World War I and the Connaught Rangers: An overview of the Formation of the Six Battalions, their Engagements and Legacies. Damien Quinn.

June 2014. A talk on German Ace Oswald Boelcke. By Bill Fulton.

July 2014. 1914 And all that: So why was there a First World War? By Trevor Adams. 

September 2014. The Shamrock Fund. By Brian White. 

October 2014.  "Irish Aviators of World War 1". By Joe Gleeson. 

November 2014:  The Leinsters and the Christmas Truce. By Ian Lowe.

December 2014: The Battles of Verdun, St Mihiel and the Argonne: Same place, different years, different armies. By Trevor Adams. 

January 2015: The 9th Royal Irish Fusiliers - The evolution of a New Army Battalion. By Quincey Dougan.

February 2015: Tunnelling on the Western Front. By Rob Fitzmaurice. 

April 2015:  "The Gallipoli Campaign, the Irish Experience and Commemoration". By Mal Murray.

May 2015: "Some Kind Hand" A Cemetery Pilgrimage; the First Two Years". By Steve Binks.

June 2015: "The Men of Wanderers Rugby Football Club" in WW1. By John Goodman.

July 2015: The Machine Gun Corps. By Bill Fulton.

September 2015:?Thoroughbred Irishmen: Black Watch Volunteers in Dublin Before the Great War? By Ian Montgomery.

October 2015: 'The [English]man who saved Paris': Two critical days in August 1914"
By Michael Carragher.

November 2015: The Struggle for Hill 55 - The Leinster Regiment, Ypres 1915. By Muiris de Buitleir.

December 2015: Gallipoli - The Final Days. By Foster Summerson.

January 2016: Irish Memorials of the Great War. By Michael Pegum.

February 2016: A Visit to Salonika or how I went to find 2nd Lt Jones and found the 10th Irish Division as well. By Trevor Adams.

April 2016: Irish Nurses in World War 1. By Marie McCarthy.

May 2016: Beneath a Turkish Sky: The Royal Dublin Fusiliers and the Assault on Gallipoli. By Philip Lecane.

June 2016: The Royal Newfoundland Regiment. By Bill Fulton.

July 2016: Initiation by Gas: 16th (Irish) Division at Loos April 1916. By Carole Hope.

September 2016: The life and times of Stillorgan born Gt. War artist, Sir William Orpen. By Dominic Lee AMPA

October 2016: "The 2nd Leinsters, a Battalion of 'The Old Contemptibles', who they were and what became of them. By John Goodman, Chairman, Leinster Regiment Ireland.  

November 2016: The Leinsters, The Somme and a VC. By Ian Lowe.

December 2016: A World Without Men: Women on the Home Front.  By Rachel Abraham.

January 2017: "Polish Legions on the Eastern Front in World War I - History and Legacy" By Marcin Hasik.

February 2017: "Lt. Michael A Higgins; Leinster Regiment. A Family Reminiscence" By Denis Kirby.

April 2017: The Forgotten Soldiers: The story of  Prisoners of War in World War One. By Thomas Murphy.

May 2017:  'Betty Stevenson (and the role of women in the Great War)' By Bill Fulton.