Pte W Wilson

We marched out at the back gate and went down the street till we came to the king’s island. There we got some extending and the way to do it. We also learned the signals for the advance, close, retire, extend, etc. We were also told the kind of places to take cover behind, and finding objects by the clock system. Judging distance was another thing we had to a good extent, which we got looking over water and hollows.

We were asked how to find the north, when you could not dind the sun, and was near a town. So we were told that nearly all Catholic Churches run nearly east and west. Passing down messages from the line was another thing we were told about, as wrong messages are very frequent. Also giving a single tree or bush as wide a berth as they make a fine object to fire and take range on for the enemy. We had a little double about and then we were marched home.

We marched in the direction of Innis and called a halt on the road where an old road leads up to a quarry, there we were picqueted for the night or were supposed to have done so. We had a outpost out in front about 350 or 400 yds. We were supposed to be in three lines with the main body in Limerick and the enemy in Innis. We also had the road or were supposed to have it blocked up about 50 yds in front with our rifles trained on it. We were also told to make as little noise as we could and to fire if we saw anybody in front.

We marched in the direction of Adare till we were about 100 yds past the Police Barracks, there we got some judging distance tests. After that we went on till we came to an old road which takes you to the left past B---- Castle. A little along that road we were told to attack an old broken down building by sections. As each section got there it was to become the enemy. No. 3 section started about 11:45 and went down the brae keeping under cover till we came to about 50 yds without the enemy seeing us. We had a boky squad of three men onmour [on our] right to take up the attention of the enemy till we got a suitable opportunity to take the position.

Useful tips

Afternoon lecture. Line of March. We got a lecture from the Major at 2.30 pm about the care of our feet on the line of march. He gave us some useful tips on how to clear our feet from sweating if we were bothered with such an unpleasant ailment. We were also advised to get a piece of that American Yankee patent sticking plaster which he said would be very handy for various things such as blistered feet, knees that slips, and lots of other troubles well known to the soldier. He also advised us about drinking too much water for it might give you a severe dose of collick, and that there was no necessity for it for if you wash out your mouth it is a good deal better than a drink for one drink needs another.

Smoking fags was also very bad for making people thirsty and this is a practice when once started is very hard to stop and it does one more harm than good as it takes the wind from you and leaves you after a good run nearly done up. They also are very bad for the eyesight as there is something in the smoke that effects the constitution. He also told us about boots. He said he would rather have greased boots than polished ones for a polish on a boot does not make them feel any more comfortable than they are. Rough castor oil was the best dressing he gave us for it can suck into the leather quite easily.

We marched to Capateemore Bridge and were sent on the left of the road to attack a force on the top of Ficherman’s Hill. Pte. Lawrie and I were sent out as a skeleton force. While we were getting into position on Fisherman’s Hill the company got some sending of messages to give them a little practice. When we got into position we watched for any signs of the enemy.

After a while we saw the scouts coming across the open from out of the wood about 1600 yards to our front. When they got the length of the Trout Stream one of them doubled back to tell the company something but he made for the wood while the company were advancing along the top of the hill. We watched them or [till] they got about 1200 yards from us, when we were told to open fire on them.

When we opened fire we were supposed to stand up and show ourselves as there was no blank ammunition. When we stood up we saw the company extend out like a shot from the centre and advance over Trout Stream. During the time the company was doing this we saw two or three heads peeping over the skyline about 1600 yards to our front and we saw some of them crawling back as they turned about and went back.


We also heard some of them talking down on our left and a dog running about. The company got onto the ridge where the scouts were and advanced by sections up to a bank about 200 yards from us. The ground was very rough and wet as a consequence was that they got in clusters trying to skip round wet places while we could have been keeping up rapid fire on them and force them to retire.

They got to the bank which runs round the foot of Fisherman’s Hill and charged up over the banks and up the hillsidetill till they got to the top and drove the enemy out of their positions. We formed up on the road at the foot of Fisherman’s Hill and marched home arriving in barracks about 2.40p.m.

We had some knotting and lashing under section commanders in the forenoon and went one by one to be passed out by the Major. At 4.45 p.m. we paraded and were marched to the bridge on the road to the west of Longpavement St and the company scouts were sent out to act as a force coming from Clare. While our force were sent out from Limerick. The Clare force or Blue Force were holding a line from Trout Stream Bridge 39 and 490 whilst the Limerick force or Red one was holding an outpost line on Derrymore Cappateemore while their supports were on the road leading to Cappateemore Farm.

High alert

There were no scrap[p]ing during the day by any of the forces so they were on the alert at night as the enemy very often creeps into position at night. The Blue Force had a picquet at Trout Stream Bridge represented by two of the scouts while the rest tried to break through the enemies lines and get to the supports. We were cautioned not to fight and pay particular attention to the direction of the stars and try and remember the position of the North Star as you could keep your direction at night by it, that is if you knew where to find it.

The Major gave us a lecture in the forenoon and told us he wanted every man to know the north star before he came in. He also told us about camps and billeting in houses. Billeting has not been in much use in the British Army since 1815 as tents and bivouacs have put it out of use. We were told that if ever we were billeted in a village we were to mind and rub out the marks which we would make on the doors as an Officer in the enemies staff would be sure to find it and possibly know what the regiment had been there.

We also were told about sanitation of camps and to put the latrines in the in the proper place and mark the drinking water from the washing water by means of flags. Tents should be slackened at nights a little as they might get a shower of rain while you are sleeping and burst the pegs out of the ground or break the pole. Cleanliness should be observed in all camps as disease gathers quickly about a place and causes great trouble when the germs start to spread.

Spitting should not be allowed in camps, as, when they dry up and fly about with the dust other folks breathe them and may possibly get a germ of consumption. A trench should be dug around the bottom of a tent so as to run the water away from it and keep the inside dry ½ The sides of the tent should be rolled up during the day so as to allow the fresh air to get into it.

Back to reminiscences