Battle Honour MACEDONIA 1915-17

Event
Saturday, 18 August, 1917

BH Macedonia 1915-17The Honour MACEDONIA 1915-17 is emblazoned on the Queen's Colours of The Royal Irish Regiment.

The Theatre Honour was awarded to our antecedent regiments, The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, The Royal Irish Rifles and the Royal Irish Fusiliers, for the actions of their battalions on the Macedonian and Salonika fronts from 1915 to 1917. The Battalions served in the theatre with the 10th (Irish) Division and the 27th Infantry Division.

The following actions and events are recorded in the Virtual Military Gallery:

10th (Irish) Division arrives in Salonika

The 5th and the 6th Battalion The Royal Irish Fusiliers to Salonika

Bulgarians Attack 10th Irish Division

Bulgarians drive Royal Irish Fusiliers off Rocky Peak

10th (Irish) Division withdraws from Serbia

2nd Princess Victoria' (The Royal Irish Fusiliers) arrive with 27th Division

6th Battalion The Royal Irish Rifles to Salonika

2nd Garrison (Reserve) Battalion The Royal Irish Fusiliers arrive in Salonika

6th Battalion The Royal Irish Rifles attack Jenikoj

Rifles attack Kjupri

Winters in this theatre were bitterly cold and contrasted with the heat of the summers, especially where the Battalions were near fresh still water, such as the lakes, when the mosquito and fly populations exploded. The fighting, sickness and disease, particularly malaria in the Struma Valley, reduced the fighting strength of our forebears' Battalions to the extent that on 1 November 1916 orders were received to amalgamate the 5th and the 6th Battalion of The Royal Irish Fusiliers. Although their battle casualties had not been high, the supply of recruits and the sickness had reduced their manpower. The vacancy created in their parent Brigade was filled when the 27th Division's 82 Brigade transferred the 2nd Battalion Princess Victoria's (The Royal Irish Fusiliers) to 31 Brigade in the Irish Division.

The decision to evacuate the Struma Valley during the hot months to avoid another malaria epidemic was taken at the end of May 1917. A number of fortified bridgeheads were held, and the Bulgarian army responded in the same way, even putting out placards that said 'We know you are going back to the hills: so are we'. Although by July mosquito nets and the administration of anti-malarial quinine had arrived, suddenly orders were received by the Battalions to prepare for a move out of theatre; the 10th (Irish) Division assembled at Salonika on 18 August 1917 and was bound for Palestine via recovery and preparation in Egypt. It would arrive in Rafa in the northern Sinai in October and be ready for action in the forthcoming campaign in Palestine.