|3938 Private Michael Whelan - Late 2nd Battalion The Connaught Rangers|
||Summary of Events and Information
|1st Nov 1891
||Michael Whelan was born to Mr Patrick and Mrs Winifred Whelan at Ballyvaughan Workhouse, Co Clare. Mother Winifred Whelon nee Casey (on birth certificate).
On the 28th May 1915 his father gave his address as c/o Mr J.M. Daly Bellharbour, County Clare when claiming Michaels effects from the Army and had died some time before June 1919.
|25th Jul 1911
Michael joined The British Army in Galway and after passing his medical on the 26th Jul 1911 was attested into the 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion The Connaught Rangers. Michael declared his age as 19 Years and 7 Months.
He was a small man standing 5 feet and 3 inches tall and weighing 93 lbs with a girt when fully expanded of 33inches. His complexion was fair with blue eyes and brown hair, his pulse rate was 78.
He declared his employment as a farm worker and was employed by Mr Patrick Collins of Newtown Ballyvaughan. Michael was given a good character reference. He declared his faith as being, Roman Catholic.
Michael gave his address as Faherlaughroe, Cottage, Carran, County Clare. His parents were as previously stated and he declared the following.
Brothers (1) John
Sisters (1) Mary
The Special Reserve
Under the Haldane reforms (named after the then Secretary of State H.B. Haldane) the Special Reserve was created. It was a part time force and it formed up in Battalions. With some exceptions each Regiment was allocated one Battalion.
As most County Regiments had two Regular Battalions the 1st and 2nd most new units became known as the 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalions. The function of the seventy four 3rd Battalions was to provide drafts for the Regular Battalions and if war came to be the means by which recruits would be trained and overseas Battalions kept up to strength.
The original Army Order covering The Special Reserve required volunteers to enlist for six years. They would then be required to do six months basic training and after that three to four weeks annual training. Special Reservists would, therefore remain essentially civilians, but were to receive weekly army pay and be called up on mobilization.
It was into this organisation that the young Michael enlisted on the 25th Jul 1911.
|Western Front Association - STAND TO!|
|25th Jul 1911
23rd Dec 1911
Drill on enlistment. (recruit training)
|24th Jun 1912 To 20th Jul 1912
|30th Jun 1913 To 26th Jul 1913
|15th Jun 1914 to Jul 1914
|8th Aug 1914
Mobilized in Galway
|9th Aug 1914 To 11th Sept 1914
4th Aug 1914 - War Declared. The 3rd Battalion deployed to Crosshaven Cork Harbour.
British Regiments 1914-1918.
|11th Sept 1914
Michael was drafted into the 2nd Battalion who were with The British Expeditionary Force France (On The Western Front) were the Battalion had been since landing at Boulogne on the 14th Aug 1914. The Battalion was a unit of the 5th Brigade which in turn was a unit of the 2nd Division.
||British Regiments 1914-1918.|
|11th Sept 1914 To 7th Nov 1914
Since its arrival in France The 2nd Division had been involved in, much of the fighting by the time, Michael joined them, they had been involved in. The Battle of Mons 23rd to 24th Aug 1914, The Retreat from Mons and the 2nd Battalion The Connaught Rangers had fought The Rearguard Action of Le Grand Fayt 26th Aug 1914, Michael also just missed The Battle of the Marne 6th to 9th Sept 1914 arriving in the Battalion on the 11th Sept 1914. He was however just in time for The Battle of Aisne 13th to 26th Sept 1914 and fatally for The First Battle of Ypres 19th Oct 1914 to 20th Nov 1914. It was during this battle on the 7th Nov 1914 that 3938 Pte Michael Whelan was killed in action. Having served a mere 57 days at the front.
||Order of Divisions Part 1.|
|1st Nov 1914 To 26th Nov 1914
Molensaarlhoek November 1914
A and D Companies repulse attack (1st) 10 killed, 35 wounded. Held line against several attacks and heavy shelling (2nd) –Lieutenants C.J.C O’Mallins and Wickham killed. Relived by 2nd Highland Light Infantry and moved to reserve line.
Moved back into the firing line (3rd) Enemy came forward after dark (5th) – B company driving them back Second Lieutenant A. Winspear and 4 other ranks killed, 3 officers and 30 other ranks wounded.
In trenches – Constant sniping all day – very heavy shelling (6th)
Still heavily shelled – part of B Coy trench blown in – house 5 yards from our trench occupied by enemy – Gun brought up at night and enemy dislodged – Lieutenant H. Aveling wounded (7th).
Two attacks repulsed (8th). Relieved by 2nd Worcestershire and to positions north east of Polygon Wood.
In action (10th) – driving enemy back into Nonne Bosschen Wood. Casualties 15 killed – 50 wounded.
Moved into Brigade Reserve behind Polygon Wood (12th) then to Belewaarde Farm (16th). To Bailleul (20th) Hazebruck (24th). Moved via Merville, Lacon, and Bethune to Gorre (26th).
|TNA - WO95/1347.|
|7th Nov 1914
3938 Private Michael Whelan 2nd Battalion The Connaught Rangers Killed in Action.
|3rd Dec 1914
The Cork regimental records office despatched Michaels casualty report (Army Form B 104-82) to the family, informing them that Michael had been Killed in action.
The stated age 21 years on his memorial poses a puzzle. If his declared age on enlistment was correct 19 years and 7 months, and it was as his birth certificate shows, at the time of his death he would have been 23 years and 6 days old.
The probable answer, lies in the fact that his birth was not reported until 20th Dec 1891 causing some confusion.
Michael has no known grave and as like so many others he is remembered with honour, with over 54900 other casualties on The Menin Gate War Memorial Ypres (Panel 42) this is the main War Memorial to the missing on this part of the front but not the only one.
|4th Sept 1919 To 1st Jan 1923
Honours and Awards
As an Old Contemptible, a member of The British Expeditionary Force of 1914 he was entitled to the following awards. Which his mother received and signed for.
- The 1914 Star known as the Mons Star with Clasp, (5th Aug-22nd Nov 1914).
- The British War Medal.
- The Victory Medal.
- As a casualty his mother also received a Bronze Memorial Plaque.
|TNA - Medal Index|