Depleted 36th (Ulster) Division awaits French Army

Thu, 03/28/1918
A 'sinister' red hand on a shoulder flash of the 36th Ulster Division, as opposed to the 'dexter' right hand version.

Throughout the 27 March 1918, the remnants of the 36th (Ulster) Division's 108 Brigade, which included two battalions of The Royal Irish Fusiliers, had remained west of Erches awaiting the arrival of French relief. Unfortunately Montdidier, where the French were due to detrain, was captured by the advancing Germans.

On the morning of the 28 March, the Brigade therefore had to endure another long march as it was ordered towards Coullemelle, north-west of Montdidier, where it was to block the German advance on Amiens. The recent fighting had reduced the Brigade's strength to 14 officers and 321 men and it did not seem possible that this exhausted group could deploy as an effective fighting brigade. Fortunately, the French were able to establish positions outside Montdidier and 108 Brigade was not deployed into contact with the Germans.

During the month of March 1918, the 1st Battalion The Royal Irish Fusiliers had lost 29 officers and 734 other ranks. The 9th Battalion lost 20 officers and 497 men in the seven days from 21 - 27 March. The Faughs' loss within 108 Brigade was indicative of the casualties sustained by the other brigades and battalions across the 36th (Ulster) Division; the Division's total loss during the retreat from St Quentin was 7,000.