Fermanagh Herald January 1st 1916. The wages earned on munitions by many women and girls without any previous knowledge or experience are surprisingly large, says the Daily News. It would be very interesting to know what is the biggest average weekly earnings of a female “hand” who can be legitimately classed as an amateur. The managing director of a munitions factory told the writer recently that he had several girls who, without any training before they came to him, were each receiving nearly £4 a week after a month at his works. “They beat heaps of men hollow,” he added “naturally there are men who don’t like it. But that’s their lookout. The labourer is worthy of his or her higher in war time or in peace.”
January 6th 1916. HOW OUR MEN SAVED THE DAY. THE RETREAT FROM SERBIA. THE ROYAL INNISKILLINGS. In a vivid and thrilling story of the heroism of the Irish troops in the retreat from Serbia, ‘F’ in the Weekly dispatch says:- Nothing finer can be imagined than the heroic stand of the depleted 10th division who rallied under the attacks of overwhelming forces to the cry of – ‘Stick it, jolly boys; give ‘em hell, Connaughts.’ A few thousand Irishman and a few hundred Englishmen turned what might have been a disaster into a successful retreat just as surely as the artillery of the Second Corps at daybreak on August 26, 1914, ‘the most critical date of all,’ turned what might have been an annihilating attack into a successful retirement. In the first trenches were the Connaughts, the Munsters, the Dublin Fusiliers, the Hampshires and the Inniskillings, the latter – to a large extent Ulsterman – holding the extreme right wing. Dawn had scarcely broken when the enemy made his expected attack. The conditions wholly favoured him for a fairly dense fog prevailed and under its cover the Bulgars were able to get within 300 yards of parts of our line without being observed. I.R.
The Inniskillings were the first to be attacked; about 5.00 a.m. their outposts were driven in, and then a great mass of the enemy swooped down on the trenches, but were driven back by the fire of our Maxim guns and by the steady magazine fire which came from the trenches. Scarcely had the attack on the extreme right of the line had time to develop the main body of Bulgarians were seen running down a defile leading to the centre of our front. As they reached the end of the defile and the spread out as from a bottleneck and with wild cheers flung themselves on our line. But before they had got so far our guns smashed and battered the procession of men leaping out of the narrow gorge. It was impossible to miss them. British artillery have never had such a target since the first battle of Ypres, when the guns literally mowed down the half trained German soldiers who attacked on the Yser.
The brave Irish regiments were pouring led into them as fast as they could load their rifles. The poured into the oncoming masses as much as 175 rounds at point blank range. This will give an idea of the slaughter that went on this December morning as the dawn slowly beat the mist away. Mingling with the roar of the artillery and the clatter-clatter of the machine guns and the sharp snap of the rifles were the hoarse cries of the half-maddened volunteers whose officers ever drove them on to the death that came quick and hot from the British trenches. Men of splendid physique they were who faced the hail of lead, cheering in a sort of wild enthusiasm of battle with bugles and trumpets blowing defiant challenges, as in their knightly days of the tourney. They did not know many of them whether they were attacking French, British or Turks, but unquestioning, unthinking he came on with the fearlessness of life deserving of a better cause, leaping into a trenches and falling dead with a bullet in their throat of bayonet wound in their breast, or with head blown off by one of our shells.
But it was, for all our grim resistance, a hopeless kind of struggle. Sooner or later that unceasing stream of men issuing out of the narrow defile must sweep us back. Always the enemy returned to the charge, undeterred by heavy losses, undismayed by our deadly gun and magazine fire. The line held and to their cheers we gave back answer and to their cries we gave answer with our own cries and if sometimes the line faltered the shouts of officers and men: “Stick it, jolly boys, give them hell, Connaughts brought new life and new strength. They outnumbered the 10th division in the proportion of at least 8 to 1 and they were obstinately bent on its destruction at whatever cost to themselves. Their artillery far exceeded ours in weight of metal but in effectiveness there was not a comparison. Almost all of our shells told when many of theirs did no more than splinter rocks yards away. The division never lost its cohesion and it gave ground only at the rate of 2 miles a day, which is a proof, if any were needed, of the splendid rearguard action that this so much outnumbered force fought.
In the two days battle the 10th Division inflicted on the enemy at least four times their own number of casualties and what is possibly equally important they taught him the temper and moral of British infantry. The 10th division saved the situation by a display of courage and dogged heroism that cannot be too highly praised. It is hard to explain how the 10th division encompassed as it was, won through, and perhaps the most satisfactory thing to do is to fall back on the explanation of the Connaught Ranger whose only grumble is that he was kept 12 hours fighting without food; “They beat us with numbers. We couldn’t hope to hold up against the crowd they sent against us, a daft, clumsy gang of men. We gave them hell but their numbers beat us.”
January 6th 1916. THE DARDANELLES. THE WITHDRAWAL. THE TURKS OUTWITTED IN A BRILLIANT OPERATION. The withdrawal in the Dardanelles was the most difficult and dangerous work that has yet been undertaken in this campaign. It was completed in the small hours of the 28th Inst… The entire reserve of ammunition and nearly all the stores were removed from the beaches under the eyes and guns of a powerful Turkish army which had never realized that the operation had begun until some hours after the last officers of the naval beach parties had shipped us to their packet boats and steamed away. Lord Kitchener in November brought the fact home to most of us that the whole position here was under review by the highest authorities. That the withdrawal could be done without a loss at all entered into no one’s calculation.
The problem was to withdraw divisions and their gear occupying a front of roughly 20,000 yards in length, which was hardly anywhere more than 500 yards, and at some places not more than 50 yards from the enemies trenches, and embark them from beaches which were nowhere beyond field gun range of the enemy positions, and in places actually not more than 50 yards from the enemies trenches and embark them from beaches which were nowhere beyond field gun range of the enemy positions and in places actually within rifle range of them.. The Turks occupied higher ground and nearly all of the Suvla Bay area was visible to them. The suffering of the men from cold, wet and exposure had been so severe that thousands had to be sent away to recover and frostbite became for a while as bad as it had been last year in Flanders. The sufferings of the Turks were at least as bad. I.R.
Fermanagh Herald January 15th 1916. THE TURKISH VERSION. A Constantinople telegram of today states that during the night, as the result of a violent battle the British completely evacuated Sedd-El-Bahr, with great losses. Not a single soldier remained behind. The Gallipoli Peninsula is now clear of the enemy. All Constantinople is bedecked with flags to celebrate this victory. Everywhere demonstrations of joy are evident. In the mosques and churches thanksgiving services are being held. During the evening the city was illuminated.
Fermanagh Herald January 15th 1916. THE OPERATIONS. The Dardanelles operations began on February 19, 1915 when a general attack by the Allied squadrons was delivered. The combined land and sea operation as did not begin until April, 25th, following the failure of the naval operations to force their Dardanelles. The memorable landing of troops took place in the early morning when the Irish regiments suffered such terrible losses on what was known as “V” beach.
January 20th 1916. ON A DEAD MAN’S LAP. AIRMAN’S EXPLOIT AT A HEIGHT OF 10,000 FEET. This story is related in the Daily News in a letter just received from a young officer attached to the Royal Flying Corps now a prisoner in Germany. Poor B! I was so sorry he was killed, he writes. He was such a nice boy and only 19. I had a fight with two German aeroplanes and then a shell burst very close to us and I heard a large piece whizzing past my head. Then the aeroplane started to come down headfirst spinning all the time. We must have dropped to about 5,000 feet in about 20 seconds. I looked around at once and saw poor B with a terrible wound in his head quite dead. I then realized that the only chance of saving my life was to step over into his seat and sit on his lap where I could reach the controls. I managed to get the machine out of that terrible death plunge, switched off the engine and made a good landing on terra firma. We were 10,000 feet up when B was killed and luckily it was this tremendous height that gave me time to think and act. I met one of the pilots of the German machines which attacked me. He could speak English quite well and we shook hands after a most thrilling fight. I brought down his aeroplane with my machine gun and he had to land close to where I landed. There was a bullet through his radiator and petrol tank but neither he nor his observer was touched. Fermanagh Times.
January 27th 1916. INNISKILLING PRISONERS INTERNED IN GERMANY RENDER THANKS FOR THE GIFTS. Our donations towards the prisoners of war have been greatly increased by the generous donations of Irvinestown per Mrs. D’Arcy Irvine of Castle Irvine and we are sending it out to those for whom it is intended. It is 48 lbs of sugar, 10 lbs of tea, 10 tins of Oxo, 12 packets of cocoa, 2 lbs of candles and 16 tins of sardines. I understand that some tins of condensed milk are on their way also, for all of which we are deeply indebted to our loyal friends in Irvinestown. Impartial Reporter.
January 27th 1916. OUTLOOK FOR FARMERS – ARE THEY MAKING BIG PROFITS? Never since the war began has the industrial community in Ireland reached a graver crisis. Foodstuffs are rising rapidly, Meal is almost at a prohibitive price, and unless the farmers bestir themselves ruin may affect many of them before the war be out. We do not wish to be alarmist, but facts must be faced as they are found. About last October the present crisis really began. There was a serious shortage of shipping to Ireland, and the consequence was that freight rose, with the result that the condition of affairs has steadily being getting worse, and if it continue much longer business will be paralysed and the price of all articles of food be at famine rates.
Farmers, no doubt, have made large sums of money through the war. Cattle have been sold at enhanced prices; milk and butter produced at almost the same cost as before the war, have maintained a steady advance of about 50 per cent; and pork reached the record figure of 82s per cwt in Enniskillen market on Tuesday and on yesterday at Irvinestown 83s per cwt. Against all this, feeding stuffs, through the present shortage of shipping and not through traders inflated profits, as some allege have advanced enormously. Meal, the staple fattening food for pigs and fowl, which a short time ago could have been purchased for 13s a cwt, is now at 28s. This price has frightened small farmers, and many have disposed of their pigs and ceased keeping them as they feared a loss. Prices are alarming, but more a