Half the Irish recruits joined within the first six months of the declaration of war. Many worried that it would be all over before they could get to the front. They need not have concerned themselves.
Boredom, hunger, cold, disease, martinets and rear echelon desk jockeys, punctuated with occasional bouts of sheer terror and undignified death are some the memories recalled here by veterans.
Image courtesy of the Dublin Diocesan Archive
Irish troops fighting at Mons in August 1914 soon found themselves making a desperate retreat. Cavalry trooper E.H. de Stacpoole describes losing his own horse and finding a replacement.
Emmet Dalton talks about his experiences at the Battle of the Somme.
Sean King, who had been stationed in India before the war, relates how members of the British Army found themselves unprepared for the new forms of warfare unleashed in 1914.
A veteran describes going over the top at the Battle of Messines Ridge, 7 June 1917, just after the British Army had detonated 19 massive mines. In the confusion he came across some terrified German troops.
Johnny Burke talks about his experiences during the First World War including a heavy defeat to the Turks in the Mesopotamian campaign. During a break in the fighting to bury the dead Johnny recalls meeting with Turkish soldiers.
The British invasion of Gallipoli in Turkey proved to be disastrous. The Landsdowne Pals found themselves in the thick of it. Edgar Poulter describes conditions at Chocolate Hill.
Jimmy O'Brien recalls seeing tanks for the first time in 1916 at Beaumont Hamel and how seven hundred men were lost in the battle.
A veteran describes a night raid across the River Struma, which formed the Macedonian front line between Greece and Bulgaria.
The early battles in France were fought in open country. Jack Campbell describes the retreat from Mons.
Discipline could be harsh in the British Army, Jack King, who fought in the Royal Irish Regiment, outlines strong measures used to stiffen the nerves of the troops.