LANCE  CORPORAL  TIMOTHY  SULLIVAN - APRIL 1892 - JULY 1963.

Timothy Sullivan image
Photo circa 1919.

Lance Corporal Timothy Sullivan, Regimental No. 336023 (formerly 9600),
1st Battalion Royal Munster Fusiliers.

Born on the 7th April 1892, Milltown, Co. Kerry Ireland,
Son of James Sullivan 1834- 1916
& Ellen Finnigan 1852-1902
of Milltown Co. Kerry Ireland.
Died Sunday 14th July 1963. Aged 71 years.
Timothy Sullivan lies at rest in the Weston Mill Cemetery, Plymouth, England.

He enlisted with the Royal Munster Fusiliers at the main Depot in Tralee, County Kerry on July 27th, 1911. He was assigned regimental number 9600. He was initially posted to the 2nd battalion at Tidworth. At this time the 1st battalion was stationed at Nowshera in northern India. After being equipped for warmer climes my father was shipped out to join the 1st battalion and spent his first Christmas of many away from home. The 1st battalion was assigned to take up the Rangoon station and from 1912 to 1914. On the outbreak of war the battalion was recalled and arrived back in England in January 1915. The 1st battalion became an element of the famous 29th Division and in March 1915 sailed for the shores of Gallipoli and into the history books.

He survived the landing at V Beach on April 25th 1915, although he was always reluctant to talk about that period of his life, he once mentioned that he had been seriously wounded in the right thigh about a month after the landing at V Beach, sometime in May. 

He had great respect for the Australian soldier and their medical staff, which leads me to believe he may have been initially treated in an Australian Field Hospital for his wound. No doubt he spent some time in hospital back in England recuperating, this is a part of his history is a blank and needs researching, all he ever said was that he "experienced more than his baptism of fire on Gallipoli". It was a painful memory, so many of his close friends left behind on those fatal shores. 

There is a blank period in his military service, starting in May 1915 which coincides with service dates supplied to me in 1986 by the Ministry of Defence. This must be the period he spent in hospital, but where I do not know.

His military records, like those of many other soldiers records, were destroyed during the Blitz of London in WW II. I have a few  facts that were put together for me in 1986 by the Ministry of Defence (MOD), but there are blanks over certain periods of his service. Like many family historians, I left it too late to ask my father questions of his experience on Gallipoli, my interest in this segment of his life did not come about until after his death.

The service details provided by the Ministry of Defence November 1986, have been assembled from a number of surviving index cards held by them.

Served with the Colours
27th July 1911 to
31st May 1919

Enlisted the Royal Munster Fusiliers Regular Army.
27th July 1911
Regimental number 9600

Overseas Service
India & Burma 10th January 1913 to
8th December 1914

Mediterranean Expeditionary Force
16th March 1915 to
11th May 1915

Wounded in action at Gallipoli

Transferred to the Labour Corps.
Allocated new Regimental No.
336023

Posted to 659th Employment Coy.
7th July 1917

Posted to 642nd Employment Coy.
1st December 1917

Posted 641st Employment Coy.
24thth August 1918

Discharge

Being surplus to military requirements 
honourably discharged 31st May 1919.

Brief history based on family papers.

After his discharge he returned to Tralee Co. Kerry Ireland where he shared a house at 15 Ballymullen, with his sister Mary McMahon (nee Sullivan), her husband also served with the Munster Fusiliers. For a number of years he was in the employ of the Navy & Army Canteen Board Irish Region, in charge of canteens until the 17th February 1922, his employment ended after the canteens closing when the British troops left Ireland following 'Partition'. During that period he managed the canteens at Collins Barracks Dublin and Cork, and Sarsfield Barracks Limerick.

On the 15th February 1930, at Milltown Co. Kerry, he married
Helena O'Carroll,1906 -1978
daughter of Maurice O'Carroll 1864 -1951
and Johanna Higgins 1873 -1947
of Listry, Beaufort, County Kerry.

Later he was in the employ of James Baily, of 17 The Mall, Tralee, and was canteen manager at Ballymullen Barracks, Tralee for a period of time, and then managed the canteens for the Irish National Army until 1937, it appears they closed down some of their canteens and my father found himself unemployed. Although he served with an Irish Regiment, on the street he was regarded as an ex-British Army soldier, and employment opportunities in Ireland in those times for returned Irish soldiers were few. Many a returned Irish soldier left his birth country for better employment opportunities elsewhere.

Early in 1938 he decided to settle in Devonport, England. His service from July 1917, after he had recuperated from his wound, until he was discharged in 1919, was with the Employment Corps, his final posting was with the 641st Employment Coy stationed at Granby Barracks Devonport, he had a liking for Devon and our family settled there in early 1938. In hindsight, if my father had known what lay ahead, I doubt if he would have left Ireland. I was six years old at the time, my sister Maureen was born in James Street, Devonport in July 1938.

For a short period of time my father was employed by the British Legion in a clerical position, he was released from their employ on the 4th September 1939, due to the impending crisis, the likelihood of war, and due to his past experience with military canteens and supply, he transferred into the employ of NAAFI (the Navy, Army & Air Force Institutes, West Region), the official canteen organization for H.M. Forces. He remained in the employ of the NAAFI throughout WW II and remained with them until his retirement on the 13th July 1957.

During World War Two Devonport was subjected to devastating air raids by the Germans, he spent long hours at night in the role of Air Raid Warden during the early years of the war, but as the time of the Allied invasion drew closer, he had to relinquish this role as his hours required by NAAFI grew longer. Photo right Catherine Street Devonport. We lived in Duke Street which intersected Catherine St. at lower right corner of photo.

He was a devout Catholic, and each year on Remembrance Day in November, he would pray for his Irish comrades in arms who never made it home or had since died. He said it was his faith that brought him through the madness that was acted out on V Beach on April 25th 1915. I myself accompanied my father to many Remembrance Day ceremony's.

After his retirement he lived a quite life, he enjoyed walks with my mother around Mount Wise overlooking the River Tamar. He died peacefully at home in July 1963 after suffering a stroke.

    Credits:

      Military Service: MOD London.
      Other history: From family papers. (James O'Sullivan son)

       

 

 

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