Royal Dublin Fusiliers Association Archive
The Royal Dublin Fusiliers Association (RDFA) was established in 1996 to commemorate all Irish men and women who volunteered, served and died in the First World War 1914-1918.
The RDFA organises public exhibitions, lectures, seminars, visits and the publication of a journal, Blue Cap.
In 2005, the RDFA placed its archive with Dublin City Library & Archive, where it is available for public consultation in the Reading Room. The RDFA Archive is managed by Dublin City Archives.
Note: Service records for the Royal Dublin Fusiliers are held in The National Archives, Kew, London.
Dublin City Archives has generated a travelling exhibition based on the RDFA Archive, called Letters from the Great War. For further information, and to book this exhibition, email [email protected].
RDFA/001: Monica Roberts Collection
At the time of the First World War, Monica Roberts was a young woman living in Stillorgan, Co. Dublin. She set up a voluntary organisation, The Band of Helpers to the Soldiers to provide gifts for Irish troops at the front, particularly those serving with the Royal Dublin Fusiliers and the Royal Flying Corps.
Many soldiers wrote to thank Monica Roberts and a correspondence then developed. These poignant letters give vivid pen-pictures of conditions at the Western Front and reveal the courage of troops in the face of appalling circumstances.
Donated by Mary Shackleton, daughter of Monica Roberts; listed by Andrew O’Brien, Dublin City Archives; guide to collection prepared by Lisa Murphy, Dublin City Archives Intern (2012).
- The Monica Roberts Collection Volumes 1-8 Online (from September 2014).
RDFA/003 Corporal Henry Kavanagh
The collection contains letters and photographs relating to the war time experiences of Corporal Henry Kavanagh of 167 Merrion Road, Dublin, his brothers Enoch and Norman, and their friend George Poulton.
Henry joined the D Company ‘The Pals’, 7th Battalion, Royal Dublin Fusiliers which had recruits from the Irish Rugby Football Union Volunteers. Henry fought in Gallipoli in 1915, and was then transferred to Salonika Greece. He was killed in action in Salonika, Greece on 23rd September 1916, during the battle of the Struma River.
The Corporal Henry Kavanagh Collection is fully digitised and searchable online at the Digital Repository of Ireland.
RDFA/017: The Keogh Collection Postcards
The Keogh Collection of postcards covers the period 1897-1922 and relates to four principal themes:
- The Cretan insurrection and postcards issued before World War I
- The Easter Rising 1916 and its repercussions
- World War I, including the Dardanelles Campaign
- Post-war and Irish Civil War.
The collection was donated by George Keogh, whose great-uncle is believed to have fought in World War I.
RDFA/014: Moriarty Collection
The Royal Dublin Fusiliers originated in India and were derived from an earlier regiment, the Royal Madras Fusiliers. The Moriarty Collection relates to 19th century India and consists mainly of correspondence from Jeremiah Moriarty of Cork, a travelling magistrate who worked in India during the 1850s and 1860s.
Further documents relate to Thomas Barry Moriarty. In 1876, he was appointed Surgeon Major in 1876 in the British Army and served the Peshawar Column in the 81st Regiment campaign against the Jowaki-Afridi in Pakistan in 1877 – 1878. Donated by Jimmie Ronayne Conron, a descendant of the Moriarty family.
RDFA/018: The Gunning Brothers: Gallipoli and the Somme
The Gunning Brothers: Gallipoli and the Somme contains the records of two Enniskillen brothers, George Cecil and Frank Douglas Gunning, who fought at the battle of Gallipoli during the First World War.
This collection contains a wide variety of items, from a diary, maps, letters, telegraphs, photographs to a Royal Dublin Fusiliers cap badge and identification tags.
The collection was donated to the Royal Dublin Fusiliers Association archive by Wendy Gunning, daughter of George Cecil.
The Gunning Brothers: Gallipoli and the Somme Collection is fully digitised and searchable online at the Digital Repository of Ireland.
RDFA/020: Irish National War Memorial Committee
The Irish National War Memorial Committee was founded in the summer of 1919. The Committee contracted Sir Edward Lutyens to design a War Memorial Gardens at Longmeadows, Islandbridge, Dublin which now stands as one of the finest war Memorials in Europe. This collection relates to the War Memorial Gardens.
This collection was donated by the Royal British Legion, Republic of Ireland Branch, facilitated by Patrick Hugh Lynch, historian of The Irish Soldiers and Sailors’ Land Trust.
The Irish National War Memorial Committee Collection is fully digitised and searchable online at the Digital Repository of Ireland.
RDFA/035 Herbert Justin Lemass and Edwin Stephen Lemass Papers
The collection contains items relating to two brothers, Edwin and Herbert Lemass, who both served in the British Army during the First World War. Edwin Lemass, was a lawyer, who at the outbreak of War enlisted in the Royal Army Service Corp. Following the war, Edwin joined the Colonial Service where he was stationed in Cairo, and he later became one of Egypt’s leading judges and personalities.
In 1915, Herbert Lemass entered the Sandhurst Military College as a cadet and in 1916 was gazetted to the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers. On the 23 October 1916, Herbert was killed at the Battle of the Somme, France.
The collection contains photographs, newspaper clippings and biographical information.
RDFA/099 Private Edward Brierley MM, 8th Royal Dublin Fusiliers
Edward Brierley (1896-1955) was born in Ballsbridge, Dublin. With the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914, Edward left his job with the Pembroke Urban District Council and joined the 8th Battalion of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers. Serving in Western Europe, including at the Somme, Brierley received no less than three certificates for bravery in battle and was awarded the Military Medal, awarded by the British Army for acts of gallantry and devotion to duty under fire.
This collection, part of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers Collection, contains documents, personal effects and memorabilia from Brierley’s army service, as well as his later career as a footballer with Shelbourne and St Mary’s football clubs.
RDFA /107 Rose Mary Savage (1893-1983)
Rose Mary Savage was born in 1893 in India to a military family. In 1914, she was trained in First Aid by Belfast Centre of St. John’s and helped raise funds for the ‘ Comfort Fund’ for the 13th Royal Irish Rifles. In 1916, she applied to be a Volunteer Aid Detachment nurse, and served Ulster Volunteer Force Hospital in Belfast for three months before being sent to Number 12 General Hospital of the British Expeditionary Force in Rouen France, where she remained until January 2016.
Her sketches of life in military hospital where published in Olive Dent’s autobiographical work, A V.A.D. in France published by Grant Richards Ltd., 1917. The collections includes 28 items, including photographs, newspaper cuttings, reception programs, correspondences, group photos of V.A.D. nurses and medical orderlies, and copy documents relating to career of both Rose Mary Savage, and her father Colonel William Savage who served 13th Royal Irish Rifles during the Battle of the Somme.
The collection can be accessed in the Reading Room of Dublin City Library and Archive, and is also available online on the Dublin City Libraries and Archives Digital Repository.
RDFA/103 Private Patrick Dolan, 1st Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers
Patrick Dolan (1890-1953) joined the 1st Battalion of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers in 1908. He began his military service in Madras, India. At the outbreak of the First World War they were recalled to Britain for redeployment. 1st Battalion served in the 29th Division on the Gallipoli campaign. Private Patrick Dolan was badly wounded during this campaign. He was discharged in March 1916 as his wounds were too severe for him to return to combat.
This collection, part of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers Collection, contains documents, personal effects and memorabilia from Dolan’s pre-war army service, wartime service, and post-war recovery.
RDFA/111 Private Daniel Fay, 2nd Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers
Daniel Fay (1887-1942) joined 2nd Battalion of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers in 1908. 2nd Battalion were stationed on the Western front and covered the retreat of the British Expeditionary Force in 1914 before participating in the Second Battle of Ypres. Daniel Fay served with his two brothers-in-law, James Joseph Moore and Bartholomew Moore. James Moore was killed in action near Ypres in 1915. Daniel and Bartholomew were discharged in 1918 and 1919 respectively. They returned home baring the mental scars of a terrible war.
This collection contains a number of official documents relating to the military service of the three soldiers. It also contains information and photographs relating to their post-war experience.
RDFA Journals and Printed Sources
The Royal Dublin Fusiliers Association has collected a number of journals and publications produced by a variety of First World War history societies and regimental associations. These are valuable secondary sources for researchers interested in the First World War.
Download list of RDFA Journals & Printed Sources (PDF, 53KB)
The Blue Cap is the Journal of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers Association. It's available to view in the Reading Room of the Dublin City Library and Archive.
RDFA/109 Correspondence of Harold Barton Mansfield (1880-1916), 10th Royal Dublin Fusiliers
Harold Barton Mansfield was born in Dublin in 1880. He emigrated to the U.S. and later spent time in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Force, before enlisting in the Royal Dublin Fusiliers, 10th Battalion in 1916. He experienced trench war-fare at the Battle of the Somme, between August and November 1916 and was killed in action on the 13th November 1916, during the Battle Ancre (13th – 18th Nov. 1916).
The collection consists mainly of letters he wrote to his wife Eveleen Mansfield (nee Bardon) whilst in France which describes the harsh realities of life for soldiers during World War I. The collection was donated to the Royal Dublin Fusiliers Association (RDFA) by Maurice Bryan, grand-nephew of Eveleen Barton, wife of Harold Barton Mansfield.