Ration Party Photograph

For many years a great interest has been taken in this photograph which shows a ration party resting in a trench on the first day of the Battle of the Somme 1st July 1916.
It has always been believe that that ration party is that of the 12th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles, but some others believe that it is infact a group of Sheffield Pals.
But over the past number of years many people have come forward to identify some of the soldiers in the picture and thanks to the hard work and dedication of the Somme Assocation Ltd, the following names have been suggested :


1st Rfn. WALTER GIRVAN (12th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles)


3th Rfn. WILLIAM MOLLOY, (10th & 15th Royal Irish Rifles)




7th Rfn. ? DIXON


(The names of the rest are unknown)

Billy Irvine from the Somme Association Ltd tells us that it has always been his belief that all these men were from 108 Brigade and most from the 12th Rifles (Central Antrim Volunteers). Before the Battle of the Somme the 15th Battalion the Royal Irish Rifles (107 Brigade) was transferred to the 108th Brigade, this would account for the presence of Wm.Molloy."

A scrapbook has been recently unearthed by Paul Reed, a military historian and battlefield guide, with over twenty years interest in the Great War, and the author of several books in the 'Battleground Europe' series published by Pen & Sword (including the best-selling Walking The Somme), and owner of a very comprehensive web site The Old Front Line which is dedicated to the history and battlefields of the Great War 1914-1918, which aims to provide you with information about the war itself and on how to visit the battlefields in France and Flanders - and what to see. Paul's website can be found at www.battlefields1418.50megs.com
The scapbook was compiled by historian and author Alexander McKee (wrote a book on Vimy etc) in the 1960s from a variety of British newspapers, gives us some more interesting information on the photograph. Below are two articles scanned from this scrapbook.

The Daily Telegraph 30.11.1964:


This is from the Daily Telegraph 6.1.1965:

Any information that anyone may have on this photograph, please forward it to us at info@belfastsomme.com

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