Private William Joseph Walsh


The background of this man is not known at present, other than that he was born in Dublin in 1897, was of the Roman Catholic faith, and prior to his enlistment worked as a labourer. In 1918 he recorded his next of kin as his mother Margaret Walsh, of 32 Cobb's (Cole's?) Lane, Dublin.

William Joseph Walsh enlisted in the Royal Irish Rifles at the age of 18 on 12 August 1915 (No.8513). On 18 January 1916 he embarked for France, where he was posted to the regiment's 2nd Battalion. He returned to the UK on 19 February that year before again embarking for France on 31 May.

It is probable that Walsh was wounded during the fighting at La Boisselle on the Somme between 7 and 9 July 1916, for he was evacuated to the UK on the 12th of that month. It was not until 18 May the following year that he was fit to return to France. The 2nd Battalion saw severe fighting during the 3rd Ypres (Passchendaele) offensive, and it appears that Walsh was once again wounded, suffering from shell-shock, and on 7 September 1917 he was once again evacuated to the UK.

On 16 January 1918 Walsh was transferred to the Royal Flying Corps (No.136957), where he worked as an assistant armourer with the rank of Air Mechanic Class 3. He deserted, however, in late June or early July, only to re-enlist in the North Irish Horse on 30 July (Corps of Hussars No.72124). On 16 November 1918, five days after the war ended, he deserted once again.

It appears that Walsh eluded the authorities until after Irish independence, but in 1930 he made himself known. In December that year he was issued a 'Deserter's Protection Certificate' by the Chief Constable of Dublin, and he was at some point formally discharged from the Army (paragraph 370 (xviii) of King's Regulations (1928)).


This page last updated 12 December 2022