HC Deb 15 October 1918 vol 110 cc16-7
4. Mr. J. O'CONNOR

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether at the time of the enemy offensive on 21st March an Irish division formed part of the Fifth Army under the command of General Gough; whether during the course of the offensive on the 22nd and 23rd of March this Irish division held the front between Epehy and Roisel and Tincourt; whether, as stated in the German official communiqué of the 23rd March, the troops holding this front put up a valiant resistance and vigorously counter-attacked the enemy, and in particular fought bitterly at Epehy until they were finally compelled to abandon the heights in order to avoid being encircled by reason of the retirement of the forces on their flanks, and, if so, if he will explain why there has not been any official mention of the valour of this division or any public recognition of their services other than the anonymous tribute contained in the communiqué of the enemy?


The answer to the first three parts of the question is in the affirmative. As regards the fourth part, no official mention of the valour of this division has been made so far, for the reason that, owing to the severity of the fighting, and conflicting reports, added to the fact that a large proportion of this division was cut off, evidence of the behaviour of the division as a whole has been impossible to obtain. News, however, of gallant behaviour of a battalion of Minister Fusiliers of this division has been received, and an article describing the conduct of this unit will shortly be submitted to the Press for publication.