Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 12 July 2014

Sacrifice of soldiers is not forgotten

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Congratulations on the story on the 'forgotten Rangers' (Belfast Telegraph, November 8).

The west Belfast soldiers who joined the Connaught Rangers were indeed among the bravest who gave their lives for their comrades to stem the German advance of March 1918.

However, the 16th Irish Division, of which they were part, suffered from a double calumny in the rush to find scapegoats after the retreat of Gough's 5th Army.

It was suggested that they were not loyal and retreated too easily. Not the view of the German Army, who paid tribute to the outnumbered Irish who delayed the German advance and paid for it with the highest casualties of any British division, 7,149 killed,wounded and missing.

At the Somme Association we remember the contribution of all Irish soldiers and currently we have an exhibition on the 16th Irish which was recently opened by the President of Ireland, Mary McAleese.

In June, on the anniversary of the Battle of Messines, we inaugurated the annual William Redmond Memorial Lecture and published the memoirs of Charles Brett MC, a Belfast solicitor who commanded A Company of the 6th Connaught Rangers.

Erskine Holmes, Somme Association, Conlig

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