2 RIR land in France

Friday, 14 August, 1914

On the afternoon of 13 August 1914, the 2nd Battalion The Royal Irish Rifles, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel W D Bird, entrained near Tidworth, travelled to Southampton on two trains, and then embarked on the Ennisfallen and Sarnia for France.

The ships passed Le Havre and sailed up the River Seine to Rouen where 2 RIR disembarked in the late afternoon of 14 August. This was followed by a three-mile march to Mont-Saint-Aigan. There, a thunderstorm with torrential rain soon turned the bivouac area into a sea of mud. The weather was a portent of conditions to be endured on the battlefields of the Western Front.

On the 16 August, the troops began a long tiring journey to the Mons-Condé canal where in due course they arrived on the evening of 22 August, there to await the enemy. During this journey, there was a lot of marching in the warm summer weather and the men found that the long marches were particularly tiring in the heat and dusty conditions of Northern France.