Tuesday, 15 January 2013

KOSB Officers at Bachelors Walk July 1914

The 2nd Battalion of the King's Own Scottish Borderers (KOSB) were involved in the incident at Bachelors Walk, Dublin in July 1914. They left Dublin shortly afterwards and went to France as the Great War erupted.

2 of the officers involved at Bachelors Walk soon found themselves as Prisoners of War and remained so for the duration.

Captain (later Major) Hugh Cobden and Major (later Lt Colonel) Alfred Edward Haig were placed on the "Exonerated Officers List' after their repatriation at the end of the war. This meant that neither was officially blamed for getting themselves captured and that they could claim their WW1 campaign medals.

Newspaper reports after Bachelors Walk suggested that there were 4 witnesses to Irish born Hugh Cobden shooting Mrs Duffy dead. Cobden's mother Georgina (nee Gough) was a great niece of Field Marshal Hugh Gough.

Major Haig was Mentioned in Dispatches on the 20th October 1914. His son was later to follow him into the army but died in what is now Malawi in 1941 with the 1st Battalion, Rhodesia Regiment, attached to the King's African Rifles. Major Haig's father was born in Dublin.

A third officer involved at Bachelors Walk was Dublin born Major Edward Sacheverell d'Ewes Coke. He served through the Great War and was promoted to Brevet Colonel/temporary Brigadier General, 169th Brigade. His father, Major General John Talbot Coke, has been awarded the Canada General Service Medal and promotion for his part in the Fenian Raids of Canada in 1866. He was later a Colonel in the KOSB. Two sons of Edward Coke were to die in Holland in 1944 - one serving with the KOSB and another with the Sherwood Foresters. They are buried in the same cemetery.

All 3 officers were interviewed/questioned by Henry Hanna KC in the aftermath of Bachelor's Walk. Hanna was to then be involved as the defence lawyer in the court-martials that followed the Easter Rising and the murder trial of Sgt Flood, 5th Royal Dublin Fusiliers after the shooting of 2 British officers and 2 Guinness employees during the Rising. He also went on to write The Pals at Suvla, the story of D Company of the 7th Battalion, Royal Dublin Fusiliers.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission website lists 244 members of the 2nd Battalion KOSB who died in the first few months of WW1. A number are in Germany and I assume that they were wounded soldiers who had been captured.

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