Private Patrick Cleary

17th (Service) Battalion (2nd North Wales),
the Royal Welch Fusiliers

25457 Private Patrick Cleary served in the 17th (Service) Battalion (2nd North Wales), the Royal Welch Fusiliers and was killed in action on 9th July 1916 age 38. He was the husband of Johanna Roche (formerly Cleary), of Kingsford, Barntown, Wexford.

The 17th (Service) Battalion (2nd North Wales), the Royal Welch Fusiliers [17 RWF] was part of the 115th Brigade in the 38th (Welsh) Division and they took part in the attacks to capture of Mametz Wood between 7th and 12th July 1916. The 115th Brigade was the first Brigade of the 38th (Welsh) Division to attack the wood when on the 7th July they assaulted to try and enter the wood via the Hammerhead. On that day the 17 RWF was the reserve Battalion of the Brigade and whilst they were not in the forefront of the assault they still took casualties and were under enemy fire. The attack of 7th July was unsuccessful and it was three days later, on 10th July 1916, that the next major attempt to capture the wood was launched.

The 17 RWF Battalion's War diary for this period reads:

6th July 1916 — Mametz

Battalion under orders to proceed to the line. Congratulatory message received from Maj Gen Sir Ivor Phillips Cmdg 38th Division just before the Battalion left. This message was read to all ranks. Battalion left for trenches at 2:30 pm. B Coy occupying line Montauban Alley (S26c 1.1 to S27b 10.9) about 400 yards NE Mametz Village and C, D and A Coys in support in trenches immediately to the rear. Bn HQ being at the triangle A8C9***. B Coy relieved by Coy of 113th Brigade during the evening. Casualties 3 OR killed and 30 OR wounded.

7th July 1916 — Mametz

Battalion moved up to the attack upon Mametz Wood. Brigade attacked at 8 am the 16th Battalion Welsh Regiment leading. Our Battalion in reserve, Brigade suffered rather heavy casualties during the day, but ours were slight. Casualties 4 OR killed 7 OR wounded. 2Lt Rowe and 1 OR wounded at duty. The Battalion was due to be relieved this night and withdraw from the attack. A and C Coys and ½ MG Section were however left in the line.

8th July 1916 — Mametz

½ Battalion clearing up uniforms and equipment ** as the weather conditions in the line had been extremely bad. Remainder of Battalion due to be relieved by 114th Brigade in the evening. Casualties 10 OR wounded.

9th July 1916 — Mametz

A and B Coys and ½ MG Section were not relieved on the 8th as expected, but returned to camp about 3 pm on this day. Battalion awaits orders in the evening again. Casualties 10 OR killed 2 OR wounded. Orders to rest until early morning received.

Private Patrick Cleary was killed on 9th July 1916. He has no known grave and is remembered with honour on Pier and Face 4 A of the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme.

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Last updated: 16th December 2018