Remembering 5769 Private Joseph Devine, ACC

In April 2017 a post about the Army Cyclist Corps in Macedonia prompted a response from Kevin MacDermot who was researching his great uncle, 5769 Private Joseph Devine of 16th Corps Cyclist Battalion, Army Cyclists Corps (formerly 10623, Royal Irish Fusiliers).

Kevin wrote that Joe was in a group of men from the 2/Royal Irish Fusiliers, under Sergeant-Major William McCanley, that was transferred to the Army Cyclist Corps to become part of the 27th Divisional Cyclist Company. Similarly, my grandfather was with a platoon from 1/Suffolk that became part of 28th Divisional Cyclist Company in December 1914.

Both companies served on the Western Front in 1915, fighting at Second Ypres and Loos, before leaving for Salonika in October. After initial patrols and helping to dig the ‘Birdcage’ lines, both companies moved to the Struma valley where, in December 1916, they provided B and C companies, respectively, of the newly formed 16th Corps Battalion (A company came from 10th Divisional Cyclist Company) which patrolled the valley throughout 1917 and into 1918.

Joe was still with 16th Corps Cyclist Battalion during the final offensive in Macedonia from 1-30 September 1918, including the capture of the Roche Noir Salient (1-2 September), the passage of the Vardar river and the pursuit to the Strumica Valley (22-30 September). Joe was killed in action on 26 September 1918, four days before the end of hostilities with Bulgaria. Joseph Devine has no marked grave and is commemorated on the Doiran Memorial.

This information from Kevin prompted a further response, this time from William Houston in Northern Ireland. William is researching those from Claudy in County Londonderry who served in the First World War and provided this cutting from the Londonderry Sentinel describing the circumstances of Joesph’s death.

The death of Private J. Devine of 16 Corps Cyclist Battalion, ACC, as reported in the 'Londonderry Sentinel' on 19 October 1918. Cutting provided by William Houston who is researching people from Claudy in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland.
The death of Private Joseph Devine of 16 Corps Cyclist Battalion, ACC, as reported in the ‘Londonderry Sentinel’ on 19 October 1918. Cutting provided by William Houston who is researching people from Claudy in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland.

I am grateful to Kevin and William for contacting the Salonika Campaign Society and am pleased to be able to remember Joseph Devine – one of my grandfather’s comrades – on the centenary of his death.

The Doiran Memorial to the Missing on Colonial Hill, northern Greece. Photo taken by the Web Editor in March 2016.
The Doiran Memorial to the Missing on Colonial Hill, northern Greece. Photo taken by the Web Editor in March 2016.

Author: scswebeditor

Robin Braysher joined the SCS in 2003 and from 2008 has been the Society's web editor. His interest in the campaign comes from his grandfather, Fred, who served as a cyclist with the BSF from 1915 to 1917, mainly in the Struma valley. Robin hands over the role in October 2021 to Andy Hutt. Andy's interest in the campaign comes from his grandfather, Arthur, who served as a Royal Engineer from 1916-1918. All posts prior to February 2021 are by Robin. Opinions expressed in these posts are personal and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Society.

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