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.
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.