25th County of London Cyclist Battalion
The London Regiment


Walter Edward COLLINS

Edward was born in 1897 in Fulham, the son of Thomas Walker Collins, a police constable, and Fanny Beatrice.
Edward was employed by the Post Office. He died in 1996 in Surrey.

Imperial War Museum

Catalogue number - 14142
Production date - 30 May 1994
Object category: IWM interview
Collins, Walter Edward (interviewee/speaker)
Wood, Conrad (recorder)
Category - sound 

Object description

British NCO served with 2/25th (Cyclist)Bn London Regt Bn in GB, 1915; served with 9th Bn Royal Irish Rifles on Western Front and in Ireland, 1916-1917; served with Machine Gun Corps in GB and on Western Front, 1918-1919
Content description

REEL 1: Background in Fulham, 1897-1915: family; employment with Post Office; attitude to outbreak of war. Aspects of period with 2/25th (Cyclist) Bn London Regt in GB, 1915-1916: reason for wanting to join Cyclist Bn and enlistment at Putney Bridge 5/Nov/1915; interest in cycling; training at Feltham and on Salisbury Plain. Recollections of operations as NCO with 9th Bn Royal Irish Rifles on Western Front, 1916-1917: attitude to Irish troops and story of Carson's Army (Young Citizen's Volunteers); involvement in attack at Messines Ridge, 7/Jun/1917; description of terrain; six days in line; use of whale oil for trench feet; night patrols; story of breaking leg before attack and being carried from shell hole by German POWs; medical treatment at casualty clearing station and in GB; story of bribing stretcher bearers to avoid being sent to Ireland; further description of attack at Messines Ridge; question of fear and cowardice. 

REEL 2 Continues: role as lance corporal during attack at Messines Ridge; attitude to Germans; problem of lice and rats in trenches; opinion of rations; problem of cold in trenches and use of whale oil for feet; memory of breakfast in trenches; story of nearly being killed by German shell; relationship with French civilians and memory of French bread; discipline of British troops; memory of period of convalescence at Brocklesby Park, Lincolnshire. Aspects of operations with Royal Irish Rifles in Ireland, 1917-1918: posted to reserve battalion at Ballykinlar Camp, promoted to corporal; political situation in Ireland in 1917; posted to Dundalk to assist Royal Irish Constabulary; theft of rifles by Sinn Fein activists; problem of having Irish girlfriend; nature of duties manning signal box during Sinn Fein strike. 

REEL 3 Continues: Aspects of period training as PT instructor and post at Portsmouth naval barracks. Aspects of period as NCO with Machine Gun Corps in GB and on Western Front, 1918-1919: posted to Machine Gun Corps at Belton Park as PT instructor, spring 1918; posted to Belgium; story of Germans placing gun cotton in trees; memory of armistice, 11/11/1918; billeted with coal merchant; story of losing unit and reprimand; memory of victory parade in Brussels. Aspects of post-war employment with Admiralty Civil Engineers Dept in Bath, GB. Memory of demobilisation at Dover Castle. Belief in Allied victory in First World War. Question of religion in Royal Irish Rifles.

Copyright Simon Parker-Galbreath - Please acknowledge these web pages, and/or the original source.