6th Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers in Salonika

10 Oct 1915 The 6th and 7th Royal Dublin Fusiliers arrive at Salonika.

15 Oct 1915, 6th Dublins received a reinforcing draft of eight officers and 389 other ranks from the 2nd Norfolk Regiment.

4 Nov 1915

20 Nov 10th Division took over the line in front which the French had previously held. The position which the Irishmen were now holding formed the right of the Allied Balkan front. The sector consisted of the mass of the jumble of steep, rocky mountains between Kostorina and Lake Doiran.The line was held by 30th Brigade, which consisted of the 6th and 7th Dublins and the 6th and 7th Munster Fusiliers. The line of 10th Division was in savage hill-top country broken by deep gullies, barren rock and scree, its only vegetation scant grass, scrub and scarce stunted oak. Within a few months, they had gone from the desert conditions of Gallipoli, to near arctic conditions. The exposed infantrymen, their health already undermined by privations on the Gallipoli peninsula, began to deteriorate. There was a sudden change in weather conditions when a cold rain then a raging blizzard struck the Balkans. The exposed infantrymen, their health, already undermined by privations on the peninsula, deteriorated. Hundreds suffered frostbite and exposure, hundreds more collapsed with aliments associated with debilitation, cold and under-nourishment.’. The Official History insists that in spite of these privations, the men remained cheerful – but when the weather eased at the end of November, 1656 (all ranks) had to be evacuated, of whom 998 were hospitalised with frostbite.

Comparatively peaceful conditions prevailed on the front of this new British position until the end of November.

27 Nov a 3 day blizzard began with torrents of rain which soon turned to snow, while these Irish brigades were still imperfectly installed on the barren, inhospitable Dedeli ridge. The blizzard caused bitter suffering to our troops. It froze so quickly that the drenched skirts of greatcoats would stand out stiff like a ballet-dancer's dress. Even down at Strumnitza Station in the valley, 22 below zero Centigrade was registered, and up on that exposed knife-edge ridge where our trenches were, the biting wind made the cold more piercing still. The men had no shelter but waterproof sheets pegged across the top of the open trench and the weight of accumulated snow soon broke those in. They had had no time nor material to make dugouts in the rocky mountain side.

1 Dec 6th Dublin Fusiliers of the 30th Brigade had suffered so much by cold that they were relieved in the front line.

2 Dec The weather started to get very foggy and continued foggy for many days

4 Dec Bulgars' artillery fire began to be better directed and concentrated; and it became evident that they had received reinforcements.

5 Dec The Bulgars started an attack on the French upon our left to the west of the Doiran-Strumnitza road.

Kosturino Front

6 Dec the Bulgar attack on the 10th Division began. Eight hundred yards north of Memisli was the advanced post known as Rocky Peak. The effect of our occupying this had been to deny to the enemy artillery access to the right flank of the 30th Brigade. The hill had originally been held by a battalion of Irish Fusiliers. But there was no cover there; it was nothing but a treeless, shelterless, boulder-strewn height, and the battalion had suffered so severely during the blizzard in that isolated position that it was withdrawn and only one company and one machine-gun were left to hold it. In their first attack on Rocky Peak in the afternoon of December 6th the Bulgars captured a small trench, but later were driven out and off the hill again. Many of the Bulgarians most deadly attacks were bayonet charges - men bled to death and were buried behind the trench line.

7 Dec. During the night the Bulgars crept along the ravines that surrounded the isolated peak and took Rocky Peak by storm at 5.30 on the morning of December 7th. About thirty of our troops holding it were captured; the rest got away. This loss gave the enemy a serious footing in our line, for the Bulgars brought up mountain artillery and machine-guns onto Rocky Peak and began to enfilade the front of the 30th Brigade, which was also bombarded from the other side by field-gun batteries at Cepelli. The 30th Brigade had a line which made a salient, and was thus considerably exposed, and it became clear that they were to be the object of the main Bulgar attack.

The converging artillery fire upon the 30th Brigade front was now becoming very severe and causing heavy losses to the 10th Hampshires and 5th Connaughts. 30th Brigade withdrew withdrew to a new position between Cadjali and Tatarli on Crête Simonet with an advanced position on Crête Rivet. The Bulgars pushed on after us, but were held back from continuing the pursuit by the fire of our field-artillery which prevented them from crossing the Kostorino ridge. The retreat was over "rough stones and rocks", over perilous passes where water oozing out of the hill formed solid blocks of ice in places. In the long retreat from Kosturino, men huddled together on the lee side of rocks.

8 Dec 1915. Lt.-Col. Cox discovering that Crete Rivet, a hill in front of his position, was unoccupied, sent up two companies of 6th Dublin to hold it and a French company to extend their left to the Kajali ravine making contact with the line of the French 156th Division. Cox ordered his Dublins to fall back should they be heavily attacked, and at 1400 a mass of Bulgarian infantry under cover of machine-gun fire rushed the hill. Retiring, the two companies of Dublins fought their way back to Crete Simonet losing ten dead and fifty-four wounded on the way.

9 Dec 1915

 

13 Dec 1915

 

15 Dec 1915

 

16 Dec 1915

 

19 Jul 1916

 

2 Sep 1916

 

4 Sept 1916

 

8 Sep 1916

 

12 Sep 1916

 

22 Sep 1916

 

23 Sep 1916

 

29 Sep 1916

 

2 Oct 1916

 

3 Oct 1916

 

4 Oct 1916

 

5 Oct 1916

 

8 Oct 1916

 

10 Oct 1916

 

11 Oct 1916

 

15 Oct 1916

 

19 Oct 1916

 

26 Nov 1916

 

17 Nov 1916

 

27 Feb 1917

 

26 Mar 1917

 

8 May 1917

 

8 Sep 1917

9th September 1917, the Dublin Fusiliers left Salonika bound for Alexandria.

6th Battalion RDF