Joined up

From John Adams’ personal note

Enlisted on the 24th Sept 1914 for Royal Irish Fusiliers, Clandeboye, Co. Down.

The 9th (Service) Battalion (County Armagh) was formed in Belfast in September 1914 from the Armagh, Monaghan and Cavan Volunteers. Came under orders of 108th Brigade in 36th (Ulster) Division.

Death of William McKnight

William McKnight was John Adams’ cousin, and served with the 2nd Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. He was killed near Ploegsteert Wood on 14/11/14. This was a quiet day in the area, and we have no further details of his death.

He has no known grave, but is commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial.

William McKnight was from Drumhoney townland near Whitecross, not far from Lisadian.

Co. Armagh Route March

In early February 1915 Col Fitzgerald led a large party of 220 men of 9th Royal Irish Fusiliers through County Armagh on a recruiting march. John Adams was one of the men chosen for this trip. His personal notes have enabled us to trace the possible route of the march:

Friday 5 February Lurgan to Birches 16 miles
Saturday 6 February Birches to Loughgall 9 miles
Sunday 7 February Loughgall
Monday 8 February Loughgall to Armagh 5.5 miles
Tuesday 9 February Armagh
Wednesday 10 February Armagh to Richhill (via Hamiltonsbawn) 7 miles
Thursday 11 February Richhill to Tynan 13.5 miles
Friday 12 February Tynan to Newtownhamilton 16 miles
Saturday 13 February Newtownhamilton to Bessbrook 10 miles
Sunday 14 February Bessbrook (including being at home in Lisadian)
Monday 15 February Bessbrook to Poyntzpass 9 miles
Tuesday 16 February Poyntzpass to Markethill 12.5 miles
Wednesday 17 February Markethill to Tandragee 10 miles
Thursday 18 February Tandragee to Portadown (and train to Belfast) 6 miles

We have traced the route on Google Maps below. They covered a fair distance, we estimate approximately 115 miles in 2 weeks. It was probably a foretaste of the footslogging they were to do through France through the rest of the war.

(unfortunately Google maps only allows 10 layers, so we couldn’t show the last leg from Tandragee to Portadown!).

T.H. Davidson: Termination of Service

7388 L/Cpl T.H. Davidson was discharged from the 2nd Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers on termination of his engagement on 6 November 1915, at the age of 32.

Thomas H Davidson was Mary Adams’ nephew who grew up in Tullylish near Gilford, Co. Down. He enlisted in the 2nd Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers in 1902, serving in South Africa (1903), Egypt (1903-05), Crete (1907-08) and Malta (1908-09). He returned back to the UK in 1909, and was transferred to the Army Reserve.

On outbreak of war, he was mobilized at Omagh (the Inniskillings’ depot) on 6 August 1914, and sent to camp at Lough Swilly where he was posted  to 3rd Battalion on 19th August. He disembarked in France with the 2nd Battalion as part of the B.E.F. on 27 August 1914 when he was appointed as L/Cpl. He was wounded in France on 7 November 1914. He remained in France until 31 October 1915.

Thomas Davidson joined the 2nd “Skins” the day after the Battle of Le Cateau when the battalion were fast retreating from the advancing Germans. The battalion were then involved in the Battles of the Marne, the Aisne and Messines 1914. In 1915 they were actively involved in the Battle of Festubert in May and the Battle of Loos in September. Davidson was likely to have been involved in most of these engagements.

He was posted back to the Depot on 1 November 1915 before being “discharged on termination of his first period of engagement” on 6 November 1915. He had served for 13 years.


Up until the introduction of conscription by the passing of the Military Service Act of 1916, a man who had served under a Regular or Territorial engagement and who reached the normal expiry of that engagement could and would be discharged from the army. This even applied to experienced men who were serving in the trenches at the time. The man was known as “time expired”. (thanks to the Long Long Trail for this information).