The Tyneside Irish 1914-18

A letter written by local prominent local Irishmen on Tyneside was published in the local Newcastle paper on 12th September 1914 stated that as many areas around the country had raised 'Pals' battalions then Tyneside should raise a local 'Regiment' of Irishmen. The first meeting organised to publicise the new 'Regiment' was to be held that following afternoon in the Irish National Club on Clayton Street, Newcastle. As in the case of the Tyneside Scottish, the idea was originally turned down by the War Office. it was not until Lord Haldane visited the Lord Mayor, Councillor Johnstone Wallace on October 10th that the idea was given official sanction to go ahead. The gift of 10,000 from Mr Joseph Cowen, split between the raising committees of the Irish, Scottish and Newcastle Commercial again helped with the financial burdon imposed on the new local raisers. Recruiting meetings and events were organised throughout the counties of Northumberland and Durham as recruting proceeded in earnest.


With the formation of the Tyneside Irish battalion well underway, the problems of who, when and where to train a completely new military organisation arose. With no past to rely on leaders had to be sought from where the could be found. Applications for non-commissioned officers appeared in the local press, men with previous military service who volunteered where quickly made up to train the new recruits. Early parades were held in Newcatle city centre in Eldon Square before marching up to the Town Moor for the days training. Men enlisting in outlying areas could fill in a form printed in the local newspapers and send it in with there details. This allowed the committee to call up men when and in what numbers it could cope with. By the 4th November the battalion had enough enlistments to be announced as complete.