Battle of Al Hanna 1916

member_23326
BRFite -Trainee
Posts: 3
Joined: 11 Aug 2016 06:14

Battle of Al Hanna 1916

Postby member_23326 » 03 May 2012 23:42

I am researching the history of my uncle, Lieutenant John Gilbert Byrne, who was in the 37th Dogras. He was killed in action on 21st January 1916 at the battle of Al Hanna in Mesopotamia, along with 2700 other colleagues ( a truly shocking statistic).
I have recently located and purchased three of his medals, which were, of course, awarded posthumously.
I am very keen to gather as much information as I can about Lieut. Byrne. I gather he joined the regiment in October 1911, became a 2nd Lieutenant December 1912 and a Lieutenant in January 1914.
In particular I would like to find out
1. How a young Irishman (aged 18 years) came to join an Indian regiment.
2. If there is any documentary or pictorial evidence of his involvement in the regiment or in the battle at Al Hanna. I have one photo of him in his uniform, taken, I believe in India in 1914.
3. How and where his medals would have been awarded (as they have never been in the possession of the family until now, 90 years on).
I would be grateful if you could put me in touch with the archivist or historian for the regiment and allow me to access the forum to invite anyone with information to share it.
Thank you in anticipation of your assistance.
Andrew Leonard

ramana
Forum Moderator
Posts: 54261
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30

Re: Battle of Al Hanna 1916

Postby ramana » 04 May 2012 01:10

Give me a few days. I have a book "Battle Honors of the Indian Army" by Maj Sarabjit Singh. I will see what were the honors awarded for "Battle of Al Hanna" 1916 and report back. Usually there is a description of the action and what honors were awaarded.

I agree your best bet is the Regimnetal Historian for the Dogra Regiment which would be the repository of all its comopnent parts.

Do you know where in India was he stationed?

A lot of Irishmen were in the BIA.

member_23326
BRFite -Trainee
Posts: 3
Joined: 11 Aug 2016 06:14

Re: Battle of Al Hanna 1916

Postby member_23326 » 04 May 2012 02:17

Thank you for your prompt response and kind offer of assistance.

I believe Lieut. Byrne may have been stationed in Rawalpindi, but am not sure. I simply have a dim recollection of Rawalpindi being mentioned by my late mother Cecily Byrne (who died in 1997).

Can you direct me towards the Regimental Historian?

ramana
Forum Moderator
Posts: 54261
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30

Re: Battle of Al Hanna 1916

Postby ramana » 04 May 2012 11:33


Lalmohan
BRF Oldie
Posts: 13262
Joined: 30 Dec 2005 18:28

Re: Battle of Al Hanna 1916

Postby Lalmohan » 04 May 2012 11:41

the mesopotamian campaign is relatively obscure, it would be good to shed more light on it

atreya
BRFite
Posts: 540
Joined: 11 Dec 2008 16:33

Re: Battle of Al Hanna 1916

Postby atreya » 04 May 2012 11:49

Your post incited my interest and I was just casually searching on Google. I came across this link, it might be of interest to you (unless you have already seen it)

http://www.aberdeenmedals.com/home.php?id=1

If you scroll down, you will find a list of medals and their citations. I THINK your Uncle's citation is mentioned there, I didn't go through all of them :)

koti
BRFite
Posts: 1119
Joined: 09 Jul 2009 22:06
Location: Hyderabad, India

Re: Battle of Al Hanna 1916

Postby koti » 04 May 2012 11:57

^Indeed.
A 'Dubliner's' Indian Army 'Killed-in-Action' campaign group of 3: Lieutenant John Gilbert Byrne, 37th Dogras, Indian Army - 1914-15 Star (Lt. J.G. Byrne. 37-Dogras.) - British War Medal. Silver issue (Lieut. J.G. Byrne.) - Interallied Victory Medal (Lieut. J.G. Byrne.) Important: Lieutenant John Gilbert Byrne is confirmed as being 'Killed-in-Action' on 21 January 1916, at 'Hanna', Mesopotamia (in present day Iraq) during the desparate and ultimately ill-fated attempt by the British to relieve the besieged British-Indian garrison at Kut-al-Amara Note: During the assault on the Um-al-Hanna defile, the 37th Dogras sustained such withering losses, that after the battle the remnants of the 37th Dogras were merged with those of the 41st Dogras, to form, for a time, a composite battalion '37/41 Dogras'. At 'Hanna', both of the Dogra Battalions - then - un-linked - fought together for the first time in their history, with each Dogra battalion further sharing the rare distinction of having members of their respective units decorated with the Victoria Cross for acts of supreme 'life-saving' gallantry, at the El Orah ruins near Hanna. Canadian born Captain John Alexander Sinton, Indian Medical Service, and the Regimental Medical Officer of the 37th Dogras, was twice wounded (in each arm) while tending to the wounded, while Lance Naik Lala of the 41 Dogras received his award for saving the lives of two wounded British Officers during the same action John Gilbert Byrne, born in Ireland in 1892. He was the son of John Peter Byrne (Resident Magistrate), and Margaret Mary Byrne, of Beauparc, Monkstown, Co. Dublin, and was 23 years of age at the time of his death. A pre war regular officer of the Indian Army, John was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant and posted to the 37th Dogras of the Indian Army, effective 3 December 1912 (LG 8 April 1913 refers), and he was subsequently promoted Lieutenant on 12 January 1914 (LG of 13 January 1914 refers). The Dogras disembarked in Mesopotamia in December 1915, and as a unit of 35th Indian Infantry Brigade had been heavily enaged at the battle of Sheikh Sa'ad prior to the assault of the Turkish positions at the Um-al-Hanna defile Condition: GVF

From the above link.
http://www.aberdeenmedals.com/home.php?id=1

However, I think our friend is more interested about the life of his Late Uncle then the battle action.
Links that might interest u.
Link1
Link2Goto Page 51 here
Last edited by koti on 04 May 2012 12:07, edited 1 time in total.

ramana
Forum Moderator
Posts: 54261
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30

Re: Battle of Al Hanna 1916

Postby ramana » 04 May 2012 12:04

AndrewinIreland,

Internet search with you uncle's name shows this:

http://www.aberdeenmedals.com/home.php?id=1

A 'Dubliner's' Indian Army 'Killed-in-Action' campaign group of 3: Lieutenant John Gilbert Byrne, 37th Dogras, Indian Army - 1914-15 Star (Lt. J.G. Byrne. 37-Dogras.) - British War Medal. Silver issue (Lieut. J.G. Byrne.) - Interallied Victory Medal (Lieut. J.G. Byrne.) Important: Lieutenant John Gilbert Byrne is confirmed as being 'Killed-in-Action' on 21 January 1916, at 'Hanna', Mesopotamia (in present day Iraq) during the desparate and ultimately ill-fated attempt by the British to relieve the besieged British-Indian garrison at Kut-al-Amara Note: During the assault on the Um-al-Hanna defile, the 37th Dogras sustained such withering losses, that after the battle the remnants of the 37th Dogras were merged with those of the 41st Dogras, to form, for a time, a composite battalion '37/41 Dogras'. At 'Hanna', both of the Dogra Battalions - then - un-linked - fought together for the first time in their history, with each Dogra battalion further sharing the rare distinction of having members of their respective units decorated with the Victoria Cross for acts of supreme 'life-saving' gallantry, at the El Orah ruins near Hanna. Canadian born Captain John Alexander Sinton, Indian Medical Service, and the Regimental Medical Officer of the 37th Dogras, was twice wounded (in each arm) while tending to the wounded, while Lance Naik Lala of the 41 Dogras received his award for saving the lives of two wounded British Officers during the same action John Gilbert Byrne, born in Ireland in 1892. He was the son of John Peter Byrne (Resident Magistrate), and Margaret Mary Byrne, of Beauparc, Monkstown, Co. Dublin, and was 23 years of age at the time of his death. A pre war regular officer of the Indian Army, John was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant and posted to the 37th Dogras of the Indian Army, effective 3 December 1912 (LG 8 April 1913 refers), and he was subsequently promoted Lieutenant on 12 January 1914 (LG of 13 January 1914 refers). The Dogras disembarked in Mesopotamia in December 1915, and as a unit of 35th Indian Infantry Brigade had been heavily enaged at the battle of Sheikh Sa'ad prior to the assault of the Turkish positions at the Um-al-Hanna defile Condition: GVF

Lalmohan
BRF Oldie
Posts: 13262
Joined: 30 Dec 2005 18:28

Re: Battle of Al Hanna 1916

Postby Lalmohan » 04 May 2012 18:05

quite a lot of information is found in related wiki links

ramana
Forum Moderator
Posts: 54261
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30

Re: Battle of Al Hanna 1916

Postby ramana » 04 May 2012 20:36

I looked up the book by Maj Sarbans Singh. There is no account of Battle of Hanna in 1916. However he says along with others Dogras received theater honors Mesopotamia 1914-1916. They also received Tigris 1916 for the relief of Kut Al Amara which is where 37 Dogras received the large casualties and got merged with 41st Dogra.

The 650,000 strong British Indian Army, Expeditionary Force D liberated Mesopotamia which led to the creation of modern day Iraq and broke the Ottomon Turks hold on Middle East which was there from mid 1600s.

This is the big picture.

Andrew your uncle died for a great cause.

Celebrate his contribution.
Thanks for asking for we could find out what did the BIA do in the Middle East in WWI.

member_23326
BRFite -Trainee
Posts: 3
Joined: 11 Aug 2016 06:14

Re: Battle of Al Hanna 1916

Postby member_23326 » 05 May 2012 00:28

Thank you very much for your help.
I deeply appreciate the sacrifice Gilbert made along with his colleagues and I salutethem. Re the Aberdeen medals listing: this was where I located Gilbert's medals after 90 years. I am happy to say that the trio of medals is now back home.
As regards the citation, I believe this entry is not the citation as such, but is an account of aspects of the battle and the incident in which a colleague was cited for bravery and awarded a vc for coming to the rescue of Capt Nicholson, a friend and colleague of Gilbert's. Capt. Nicholson returned to the battlefield and recovered Gilbert's body, approx 3 months later.
All very sad.

member_28125
BRFite -Trainee
Posts: 1
Joined: 11 Aug 2016 06:14

Re: Battle of Al Hanna 1916

Postby member_28125 » 26 Nov 2013 15:56

atreya wrote:Your post incited my interest and I was just casually searching on Google. I came across this link, it might be of interest to you (unless you have already seen it)

http://www.aberdeenmedals.com/home.php?id=1

If you scroll down, you will find a list of medals and their citations. I THINK your Uncle's citation is mentioned there, I didn't go through all of them :)


My Brother Andrew has been talking with you .

I have another request a very close friend of mine's Grandfather was killed in 1916 in mesopotamia
he was in the Indian army his name is Ashby Osborn, is there any possibility to fijd out how and when he died .

ks_sachin
BRFite
Posts: 1067
Joined: 24 Jun 2000 11:31
Location: Sydney

Re: Battle of Al Hanna 1916

Postby ks_sachin » 26 Nov 2013 16:38

I have the complete history of the Dogra Regiment.

I have read the regimental history of the engagement in question right in front of me.

There is a brief description of the battle and the circumstances surrounding the death of Lt Byrne.

Please email me on kssachinathotmaildotcom.

ramana
Forum Moderator
Posts: 54261
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30

Re: Battle of Al Hanna 1916

Postby ramana » 26 Nov 2013 22:49

KS_Sachin, Please do post here also for completness.


Return to “Military History Archive”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests