Peter Barry
by Caitlin Kearns
Jul 08, 2019

Peter Barry

And brother Joseph Barry

Of Charlemont street Dublin

Peter Barry was born in Dublin and lived in a tenement house on Charlemont street. He was just one of many young Irish men to join the war. Peter is just one more statistic, one more figure in the 210,000 men who enlisted in Ireland, he is just one of the 35,000 Irish killed in the war. Peter is just one of many forgotten soldiers from world war one and as he was from a poor family there is very little information on him. His death would not have made an impact in the overcrowded Dublin city, it’s likely to be have been a common occurrence/story from many families across Dublin.

Family background & Early life & Adult life

Peter Barry was born in 1893 in Dublin. The 1909/1911 census shows that he lived on Charlemont street in a tenement house in a back room of the house according to another document. In 1911 Peter was 18. He was a messenger and could not read. He lived with his family of 5 all of whom were Roman Catholic, his mother Norah who was a daily worker (53), his brother Joseph who worked as a porter (24), his sister Frances (24) and her husband Joseph (26) who worked as a poulter and their daughter Ethel who was recorded as 2 years old. 3

Peter’s brother Joseph went on to serve and also die in the war.

Before enlisting in the army, Peter was a messenger. To my knowledge he did not marry and did not have any children. 3

Military Experience

Peter joined the Royal Irish Rifles before the war as his battalion was in Yemen when the war broke out. Peter would have been approximately 21 years old. They trained in the Victoria Barracks in Belfast. Peter was in the 1st battalion of the royal Irish rifles. 5

Why did he join? Although his reason for joining is unknown I believe that Peter could have been won over by the steady income to ease the poverty and unemployment at home, but he may have had his own reasons for joining. Large numbers of Irishmen had been fighting in the British army for years and although the army life was dangerous, it offered a regular income (7 shillings a week) which was difficult to find at home.

The British needed soldiers to expand their army. Propaganda was then aimed at Irish volunteers through posters, newspaper stories and recruitment meetings. Many posters used empathy and pride to attract Irishmen

“BE MEN, IRISHMEN, JOIN THE COLOURS AND DEFEAT THE HUNS…” -MS 36,446/5 Private Barry Mulligan to Major O’Hara. 2

The call was answered by thousands of Irishmen, in Ireland and worldwide.

Barry, Peter. REG. NO. 5532. Rank, Rifleman, 1 Royal Irish Rifles; Killed in action, France, October 4, 1918; Born Dublin.1

The Royal Irish Rifles


Formed in 1881. The first Battalion of royal Irish rifles were in Aden (Yemen) when the first world war began in August 1914. The battalion travelled to Liverpool on the 22nd of October, joining the 25th Brigade of the 8th division at Hursley park, Winchester.

They then proceeded to le Harne in November as reinforcements to the British Expeditionary Force and remained there on the western front throughout the war where they engaged in various actions/battles.

1915-

  • The Battle of Neuve Chapelle,
  • The Battle of Aubers,
  • Bois Grenier

1916-

  • Battle of the Somme

1917-

  • The German retreat to the Hinderberg line,

In Flanders-

  • the Battle of Pilkem and the Battle of Langemarch.

The remaining soldiers were then transferred to the 107th Brigade of the 36th Division.

1918-

  • The battle of St Quentin,
  • The actions at the Somme crossings,
  • The Battle of Rosieres,
  • The Battle of Messines,
  • The Battle of Bailleul,
  • The First Battle of Kemmel Ridge,
  • The Fifth Battle of Ypres,
  • The Battle of Courtrai,
  • The action of Ooteghem.

The surviving soldiers stayed in Mouscron, Belgium throughout demobilisation which was complete by June 1919. 4,5

Peter Barry died in the Battle of Ypres on the 4th of October in 1918. The Fifth Battle of Ypres raged on from late September through October. Peter did not receive any medals. He is buried in Dadizeele New British Cemetery, Moorslede, Belgium. 1,6,7


Joseph Barry

The brother of Peter Barry. Joined the war as a member of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers. Joseph would have been approximately 27 when the war began. Joseph was in the 6th Battalion of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers. He buried in the Cateau Military Cemetery, France.8.

Barry, Joseph. REG. NO. 12007. Rank, Private, Royal Dublin Fusiliers, 6th Battalion; killed in action, France, October 17, 1918; Born Dundrum, Co. Dublin; decoration, M.M. 1

Family and background

Joseph was the eldest sibling in his family. Born in Dundrum like the rest of his siblings he lived on Charlemont street.

Barry, Joseph. REG. NO. 12007. Rank, Private, Royal Dublin Fusiliers, 6 Battalion; Killed in action, France, October 17, 1918; Born Dundrum, Co. Dublin; decoration, M.M. 1

Military experience

The 6th Battalion of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers was raised in Naas in August 1914. Joseph and the Battalion began preparing for war.

Royal Dublin Fusiliers

The 6th Battalion joined the 30th Brigade 10th (Irish) Division and moved to the Curragh. They landed at Sulva Bay on the 7th of August 1915.

Some units of the Division were in action at Kosturino and Yenikoi in late September early October. Between April and June 1918, many British units of the Division were replaced by Indian units and on the 27th of April the 6th Dublin Fusiliers left the Division and were sent to the Western front.

On the 31st of October 1918 the Division was withdrawn for rest and moved to Serain area. They returned to action on the 2nd of November and advanced through Le Cateau engaging in action/fights with the opposition until the armistice. 4

Joseph Barry died just two weeks after his younger brother Peter.

Sources

1. War Memorial Records 1914-1918, Volume 1. National Library Ireland

2. National Library Dublin ww1 Ireland Exhibition (running from November 2014-2018)

3. Census.nationalarchives.ie 1909/1911 Census

4. wartimememoriesproject.com 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles

5. forces-war-records.co.uk

6. Wartimememoriesproject.com Those known to have served with 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles during the Great War 1914-1918

7. Greatwar.co.uk The Great War Arrives at Ypres

8. Royal Dublin Fusiliers Facebook page posted 3rd June 2018, accessed 25th June