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World War One: Ireland

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Aim of this project

The aim of this project is to collect and add profiles of all Irish who were involved in World War One, including soldiers and non-combatants like nurses, medics, engineers etc

World War One - Ireland

During World War I (or the Great War) (1914–1918), Ireland was part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, which entered the war in August 1914 as one of the Entente Powers, along with France and the Russian Empire. Due to the effects of chain ganging, it decided due to security issues to declare war on the Central Powers, consisting of the German Empire, the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and the Kingdom of Bulgaria.

Occurring during Ireland's Revolutionary period, the Irish people's experience of the war was complex and its memory of it divisive. At the outbreak of the war, most Irish people, regardless of political affiliation, supported the war in much the same way as their British counterparts, and both nationalist and unionist leaders initially backed the British war effort. Their followers, both Catholic and Protestant, served extensively in the British forces, many in three specially raised divisions with others in the Imperial and United States armies, John T. Prout being an example of an Irishman serving in the latter. Over 200,000 Irishmen fought in the war, in several theatres and either 30,000, or, if one includes those who died serving in armies other than Britain's, 49,400 died.

Click here to watch a video with Rare Dublin Fusiliers footage from World War One

Recruitment of soldiers


A total of 206,000 Irishmen served in the British forces during the war.Of these,

58,000 were already enlisted in the British Regular Army or Navy before the war broke out -
21,000 serving regular soldiers, 18,000 reservists, 12,000 in the Special Reserve, 5,000 Naval ratings and 2,000 officers.
Another 130,000 men were volunteers recruited from Ireland for the duration of the war. Of these 24,000 originated from the Redmondite National Volunteers. 26,000 joined from the Ulster Volunteers. 80,000 of the new recruits had no experience in either of the paramilitary formations. Of the wartime recruits, 137,000 went to the British Army, 6,000 to the Royal Navy and 4,000 to the Royal Air Force. The voluntary recruitment figures were: 44,000 Irishmen enlisted in 1914, 45,000 followed in 1915, but this dropped to 19,000 in 1916 and 14,000 in 1917.[20] The 1918 figure has been given as between 11,000 and 15,655, Between August and November 1918 alone 9,845 were recruited.

The recruitment rate in Ulster matched that of Britain itself, Leinster and Munster were about two thirds of the British rate of recruitment, while Connacht lagged behind them.

Eight Irish Regiments

Of the Irish men who enlisted in the first year of the War, half were from what is now the Republic of Ireland; the other half were from what is now Northern Ireland. They joined new battalions of the eight regiments existing in Ireland.


  1. Royal Irish Regiment
  2. Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers
  3. Royal Ulster Rifles ( formerly Royal Irish Rifles)
  4. Royal Irish Fusilers
  5. Connaught Rangers
  6. Prince of Wales’s Leinster Regiment (Royal Canadians)
  7. Royal Munster Fusiliers
  8. Royal Dublin Fusiliers

For the list of soldiers see World War One Armed Forces - Ireland


  • Transport
  • Catering
  • Engineers
  • Medics
  • Espionage
  • Clerical

Linked projects

Irish theatre of war casualties per county

  • ANTRIM 5,221
  • ARMAGH 1,117
  • CARLOW 324
  • CAVAN 421
  • CLARE 362
  • CORK 2,244
  • DERRY 1,357
  • DONEGAL 700
  • DOWN 2,048
  • DUBLIN 4,918
  • GALWAY 754
  • KERRY 437
  • KILDARE 580
  • KILKENNY 469
  • KING'S CO (OFFALY) 435
  • LEITRIM 250
  • LIMERICK 820
  • LONGFORD 210
  • LOUTH 449
  • MAYO 720
  • MEATH 341
  • MONAGHAN 343
  • QUEEN'S CO (LAOIS) 368
  • SLIGO 395
  • TIPPERARY 1,050
  • TYRONE 1,059
  • WEXFORD 529
  • WICKLOW 444
  • 'IRELAND' 741