JOURNAL BY WALTER BAKER OF HIS FIRST WORLD WAR EXPERIENCE - Regt. 547, 5th Battalion, 10th Irish Division of the Royal Irish Regiment (Signals)

unstable presumably because we had not yet lost our "sea legs". What we must have looked like to the onlookers who had gathered onshore to see us- I could not exactly say "greet us"- I dare not try to imagine. Three or four hundred men in "civvies" &our clothes rather badly mucked up with the muck in the hold some with blankets all of us looking very pale &some still suffering from the effects of seasickness -me included. These sightseers must have surmised what our visit must have meant but I am sure it could not have impressed them very deeply. I must say that there have not appeared many rainbows of joy in my last few recollections but once again I speak truly that it was far from any approach to fun. Our arrival in Ireland was the first instalment or contingent of men who were being sent from England to augment the Irish battalions who at that time were becoming very strongly steeped with Sinn Fein sympathies which were proper anti-British &it was apparently deemed avery necessary policy to complete the personel sic with 50% British &50% Irish. However we had a roll call just to make sure that no one had done the easy thing &jumped overboard during the trip. So as no excitement prevailed we presumed the "call" was 100% &that we all agreed that the Emerald Isle was preferred to the depths of the Irish Channel. We were then given refreshments -one course meal but oh boy what a meal. Bread &cheese& a mug of tea and may I say meagre as it may seem I do not wish to enjoy abetter meal &not even did I see a crust given to the seagulls who became near enough to bead- nuisance. Now that our inner body was satisfied we waited for the next move. These mysterious trips possessed a certain amount of fascination &yet wonderment amongst us. From one source came a rumour &from another source came another rumour &so it continued until we eventually entrained with the V.I.P. still holding the little message in the sealed envelope. It was a beautiful day when we left in some carriages &some trucks. We were packed in, reasonably crowded so it was assumed that we should not be moving far. The journey was certainly very interesting with the legendary beauty of the Emerald Isle. The pasturage seemed abundant &the fields with boundaries of crudely formed bouldered walls &little homesteads with their whitewashed walls showed in keeping with the peaceful surroundings &so we arrived at Fermoy. This is where we commence our career in the army with earnest &was informed that we had been transferred from the Somerset L.I. to the 5th Bn. Royal Irish Regt. This is where the fun starts only too well did we realize when we were marching through the town to the barracks which was to be our training ground for a period. It might be mentioned that in this same town was stationed a battalion of the Royal Irish Rifles -very north country -we were quietly informed that they did not exactly approve of our appearance in Ireland. Only a few days had elapsed when this information was confirmed for one evening when we had retired for our "forty winks" we were suddenly disturbed by the guard in our barracks sounding the "alarm" &we were all detailed to "stand to" &await eventualities. This seemed avery awkward moment considered that none of us possessed firearms of any description &we were instill "civvies". The reason for this uproar was that quite a number of our opposite number (R.I. Rifles) had raided our barracks broke down the main gates kidnapped the Sergeant of the Guard threw him into the river Blackwater. Fortunately he reached the other side safe but wet. The raiders after doing quite a bit of structural damage were halted (not by us) &the sequel was that the whole unit was in a few days transferred to somewhere else &out of harm's way at least to Sous. much for the first "action". As the days rolled by we began to get somewhat segregated first of all into four companies Headquarters section machine gun &various other detailed which comprise the usual personnel. The battalion was commanded by Lord Granard (who I believe became Master of the King's Horse at Whitehall )&was mostly comprised of men from Lancashire,
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