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Captain Henry Gallaugher D.S.O.

11th Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers

7th June 1917

lt3a Captain Henry Gallaugher.jpg

Born in Donegal, Ireland on 09/03/1886. His parents were John Gallaugher(155-22/06/1927 and Jane Park Campbell(1853-06/09/1902). they were married in 1880.

Henry had 3 brothers, William (10/09/1882-14/01/19146), John Alexander(1890-03/12/1954) and Robert(born on 27/05/1892).

He also had 3 sisters, Mary 'Minnie'(08/06/1884-24/08/1948), Jane(born on 26/03/1888) and Rachel Elizabeth(born on 26/04/1894).

In the 31-03-1901 Irish census, he is recorded as living with his family at  Balleaghan, Manorcunningham, Donegal. His father was recorded as being a farmer.

At the out break of war ,he gained a commission in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers on 01-09-1914.

His disembarkation into France was prior to 30-11-1915.

On the first day of the battle of the Somme(01/07/1916), all his fellow officers were killed or wounded early. Henry was left to carry on.

He noticed German snipers firing on the wounded, whereupon he shot a number of them.

By the time he had reached his objective ,only 9 of his platoon were still with him. He went back into no-mans land to collect wounded men; later he carried a wounded officer back from the German wire to his own lines.

Two nights later, he formed a party to rescue men who were still screaming in despair in no-mans land. They managed to rescue 28 men.

He was recommended for a Victoria Cross, but did not receive it as the 36th Division had received it's quotas was awarded the Distinguished Service Order.

Londonderry Sentinel Saturday 23 September 1916

Temporary Lieutenant Henry Gallaugher, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, Newtown Cunningham, county Donegal, has been awarded the D.S.O. For conspicuous gallantry in action. When other officers became casualties, he took command and led on his men with great dash. Seeing the enemy firing on our wounded, he got into a shell-hole with a private and shot six enemy snipers with a rifle. Finally, he volunteered and with twenty men rescued twenty-eight wounded men under very heavy fire.*  


Henry, was killed at Messines Ridge on 07 June 1917 when gallantly leading his men in action. As well of the D.S.O. he was also awarded the 1914-1915 Star, the 1914-1918 British War and Allied Victory medals.

Londonderry Sentinel Saturday 16 June 1917


Lifford Crown Sessions

Tribute to late Captain Gallaugher D.S.O.

Soldier Sentenced for Housebreaking

…” The fourth case was against John Langan jun. Patrick and Joseph Langan, who were charged with stealing two sheep. Before concluding, his honour said he wished to state how deeply he regretted to read of the death of that gallant and distinguished officer, Captain Henry Gallaugher, of Manorcunningham, who had fallen in the great battle of Messines. Captain Gallaugher belonged to their own Donegal Regiment, the 11th Battalion of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and won the D.S.O. in the advance of the Ulster Division on the 1st July last. He was again in this advance, and notwithstanding the fact he was wounded, he led his company on until within sight of victory and his object accomplished. His Honour added that he mentioned this because Captain Gallaugher was one of the typical instances of the men who had gone from county Donegal to fight, and if he might say so, was one of themselves. He had the pleasure of meeting Captain Gallaugher just before he left for France at the review of the brigade by the Lord Lieutenant. He deeply sympathised    with his father and family in their bereavement.”

Londonderry SentinelTuesday 19 June 1917

The Late Captain Henry Gallaugher, D.S.O.


Army Chaplin’s Fine Tribute

Preaching in First Ray Presbyterian Church, Manorcunningham, on Sunday, the Rev. S. Watson B.A., read to the congregation a letter from the Rev. Dr. McKee, minister of the church, who is serving as Chaplin with the Ulster Division  , in the course of  which he said :- “This letter to you is dedicated in loving memory of the late Captain Henry Gallaugher, D.S.O., Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, who was killed in action on the morning of the 7th June 1917. When the hour- 3.30a.m.-came, and he led his company over the top, ten minutes would have brought me to his side, as my own battalion was not far away from his. During these early hours, from darkness to light, from battle to victory, my thoughts were with him, and I knew he would be foremost in the leadership of the day that went so well for the Division of which he was so proud. I was not surprised to hear afterwards that he had been hit in the arm early in the action, but continued to lead his men to their objective, simply remarking, “One of my wings is gone.” Later, when his work was done, he was hit again, and his spirit soared up to God that called it forth. He was the happy warrior, one of God’s own volunteers, who said from the first, “Here am I to every call of duty.” He carried that bright smile that was the spirit of his nature into the hour of battle, and the last words he said to me were,” We don’t worry doctor, do we?” Near the spot where he fell so gallantly, I buried him who was so dear to all our hearts in the evening hour of the day after the battle that gave us all our objective. The Union Jack, the flag for which he made the supreme sacrifice, was his shroud, and a wooden cross marks the grave of Henry Gallaugher, D.S.O.

Londonderry SentinelSaturday 23 June 1917


The Late Captain Gallaugher D.S.O.


Mr J Gallaugher, Balleighan, Manorcunningham, has received the following telegram from their Majesties the King and Queen with reference to the death in action of Captain Henry Gallaugher. D.S.O.: -“The King and Queen deeply regret the loss you and the army have sustained by the death of your son in the service of his country. Their Majesties truly sympathise with you in your sorrow.  (Signed.) Keeper of the Privy Purse.”

Londonderry SentinelThursday 16 May 1918


On Sunday evening a tablet was unveiled in the Lecture Hall of First Ray Presbyterian Church to the memory of the late Captain Gallaugher. The following was the inscription: - “Erected by the U.V.F. (Manorcunningham Company) in honoured memory of their late company commander, Captain Henry Gallaugher, D.S.O., 11th Inniskilling Fusiliers, killed at Messines Ridge, 7th June 1917, when gallantly leading his men in action. “Greater love hath no man than this””.  

Londonderry SentinelThursday 07 August 1919


The Late Captain Henry Gallaugher, D.S.O.

Memorial Windows Unveiled

Impressive Service in First Ray Church


An impressive and solemn service took place in First Ray Presbyterian Church, Manorcunningham on Sunday, when a crowded congregation attended to witness the unveiling of the memorial windows erected by the 11th |Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and by the members of First Ray in memory of Captain Henry Gallaugher, D.S.O., who was killed at Messines.

The battalion window was unveiled by the Earl of Leitrim, H.M.L., and the church window by Brigadier-General A Ricardo, C.M.G., C.B.E., D.S.O. The old battalion was well represented, those present including Major Sproule Miles, M.C., Major Douglas Crosbie, M.C., Captain William Knight, M.C, and Lieutenant Crockett, but Colonel J.E. Knott, R.M.G., D.S.O., was unavoidably absent, as was Colonel Moore Molenan.

The preacher was Colonel D.H. Hanson, A.P.C., who took as his text, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (St. John xv.13). He said – We are met together foe worship, and we are also here to dedicate two memorial windows to a gallant soldier who was a son of this church. To the men – by land and sea- who left all they held most dear, and dared and fought for our liberties and lives, we are indebted in a way which no words can express. We think of those whom on this earth we will not see again. But they would not have us weep. This war- unparalleled for its brutality and bloodshed- has been unparalleled for other things as well. Thousands left their employment and rallied to the fighting line, proving their valour on many a well fought field. They were warring not only for the defence of the Motherland but warring for Him Who told the strong to help the weak. They felt that a righteous cause had been committed to them. Today we are met to do honour to those who laid down their lives for their friends. We thank God for the spirit he put into these men; they saved others; themselves they could not save. They never felt they were heroes, but now that the great sacrifice has been made, you have sacred spots of ground in France and Belgium; you have offered up your dearest and best; but you have the consolation that you have served God. You have made the most precious sacrifice God has called upon you to make. I am often asked what I think of the hereafter of those men, suddenly taken from earth in the time of war. The war has raised the question of the hereafter and made it the question of the hour. The relatives of those slain in battle are gazing wistfully within the veil. The first thing that a Christian has to do is to emphasise immortality. Lives were cut off before they had well begun. To say that such lives are “cast as rubbish to the void” would make any thought of God unintelligible to us. They have found the secret of a word that saith “Service is sweet for life and death.” It has been said- an eastern conception- that death on the battlefield is a sure prospect of eternal bliss. There is no warrant in God’s word for this, for his condition is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. These men however, died without a thought of self; more they could not do. Therefore, I have every hope for them. He will judge by deeds, not by mere declarations of faith. Men prayed more in Belgium and France than they ever did before. Do you think those gallant men who went “over the top” did so without prayer? “A man must accept the Gospel.” You say and truly. But is not the giving up of life for others acceptance of the Gospel of Christ? These men were up against the great realities of life; when they fell, they were not unprepared. By battle, by hardship, by facing death, Christ has brought men to himself. God would not turn his back on those who gave up their lives for righteousness. Christ is going to be merciful to the men who died for us. With us there is waiting “till the daybreak and the shadows flee away.” Some of God’s mercy- of those here- have come unscathed out of the conflict. Life still lies before them. But I do believe their work will be more nobly done- they will pray more and better to the God who has been their shield. And those who are” encompassed by a great cloud of witnesses,” surely, we think of the costly sacrifice. Will we be worthy of it? May the spirit of consecration take possession of us, May a new Ulster be born out of this blood and sacrifice. They have “joined the Choir Invisible,” and they live forever in that which they gained for us by selfless sacrifice.

Before the unveiling ceremony took place, Rev. Dr M’Kee, C.F. (pastor loci), said – We have with us on this solemn occasion three whose presence is a gracious tribute to the memory of one we all loved and honoured. The 11th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers exists no longer as a unit, but like the brave lads who composed it, and as “their name liveth for evermore.,” so it will live in its deeds, its war record – its battle honours. Lord Leitrim had thrown himself heart and soul into its formation and no feeling of regret for all his efforts and enthusiasm could linger when he recalls how worthily that battalion upheld on the field of battle the best traditions of the regiment. The window erected by the battalion is a fitting tribute to the place Captain Gallaugher held in our hearts. The congregation reverently stood for the unveiling.

Lord Leitrim said- I have the honour to unveil this window in memory of Captain H. Gallaugher, D.S.O., the inscription on which reads-“Erected by the brother officers, N.C.O.’s, and men of the 11th R. Inniskilling Fusiliers and friends in honoured memory of Captain H. Gallaugher, D.S.O., who was killed in action whilst gallantly leading men at Messines Ridge on the 7th June 1917.”  I appreciate the honour you have done me in asking me to do this honour to Captain Gallaugher. His name will live in history. Those who got into close touch with Captain Gallaugher respected his high character. He had a cheerful spirit and a high purpose to carry him through any difficulty. His sunny smile on cannot forget. Captain Gallaugher always felt that he must put his heart into everything- wholly. He was an expert transport officer. While we are only too glad to put up this window to his honour, with the officers and men of the battalion no memorial is necessary. His story will go down the ages and girls and boys who love to read of brave deeds will speak his name for all time.

General Ricardo, who commanded the 109th Brigade at the battle of Messines, then proceeded to unveil the church window, the inscription on which runs- “Erected by the members of First Ray in loving memory of Captain H. Gallaugher, D.S.O., who was a faithful and devoted member of this church.” He said- This window is erected to the memory of a faithful member of this church. I am both proud and grateful to be her to honour the name of Captain Henry Gallaugher, and also those of our friends lying in France and Belgium. As a soldier Captain Gallaugher was pre-eminent. He stood out in two ways. He was the bravest of the brave. He not only possessed splendid courage himself, but he had the gift of inspiring it in others.  He radiated cheerfulness like the sun. This was due to his personality. Personality belongs to character. These beautiful windows will remind future generations of Captain Henry Gallaugher. But no memorial is really needed. He lives in lives and hearts are better by the fact that he lived and served.

Rev. Dr. M’Kee led in the dedicatory prayer. Major Crosbie, M.C., who served with the battalion throughout its existence as M.O. and was a close friend and comrade of Captain Gallaugher, said- I want to express the deep affection and love which I had for Captain Gallaugher. This love and affection was shared by every man in the Inniskillings. He came after he had had a sleepless night, into my dugout and asked could he do anything for me. Afterwards he carried in, wounded man of thirteen stones weight. Acts like these tell. We loved him much. I am glad to see these windows to his memory unveiled. I hope they will long stand- to future generations- so that the children’s children shall tell each other the story of how he lived, how he died and how he was beloved.

At the conclusion the National Anthem was sung heartily.

HIs brother  William, who had emigrated to Canada, enlisted on 21/03/1916 in Vancouver  and became Private(646089)

in 54th Battalion Canadian Expeditionary Force. He left Canada from Halifax on 14/11/1916 aboard SS Olympic, arriving in England on 20/11/1916. He went to France some time around the end of December 1916.

He was promoted to Lance Corporal on 01/05/1917.      

Londonderry SentinelSaturday 27 October 1917


The Military Medal


The Military Medal for bravery at Vimy Ridge, has been awarded Corporal William Gallaugher, Canadian Expeditionary Force, son of Mr John Gallaugher, Balleighan, Manorcunningham, county Donegal, and brother of the late Captain Henry Gallaugher, D.S.O. ,11th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers(Donegal Volunteers),who was killed in action at Messines last June.

Corporal Gallaugher was employed in Messrs Hyndman & Smith’s before emigrating to Canada.

William survived the war and was discharged on 11/04/1919.


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