The Tyneside Irish formed a First World War infantry brigade, which was raised in 1914. It was officially numbered 103rd (Tyneside Irish) Brigade, which contained four Pals’ battalions, from Newcastle upon Tyne, largely made up of men of Irish extraction.
The Brigade's battalions were known as the 1st to 4th Tyneside Irish being constituent battalions of the Northumberland Fusiliers:
- 24th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers (1st Tyneside Irish).
- 25th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers (2nd Tyneside Irish).
- 26th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers (3rd Tyneside Irish).
- 27th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers (4th Tyneside Irish).
The reserve battalions were 30th and 34th (Reserve) Battalions, Northumberland Fusiliers (Tyneside Irish)..
Along with 101st and 102nd Brigades, the Tyneside Irish Brigade made up 34th Division which arrived in France during January 1916 and saw action on the first day on the Somme. The brigade's task that day was to follow up the main attack by 101st and 102nd Brigades and advance on a line from Pozieres to Contalmaison.
The 1st Battalion suffered 620 casualties on 1 July 1916 (18 officers and 602 other ranks) and its commander,Lieutenant LM Howard, was among thos killed. The 4th Battalion suffered 539 casualties (20 officers and 519 other ranks), while the commanders of the 2nd and 3rd Battalions were both wounded, as was the Brigade commander.
The Brigade's losses were so severe that, on the 6th July, it was transferred to 37th Dvision, along with the 102nd (Tyneside Scottish) Brigade, swapping with 112th Brigade. The two brigades returned to 34th Division on 22 August, taking part in further battles during September and at the battle of Arras the following year.
In February 1918, the 1st, 3rd and 4th Tyneside Irish Battalions were disbanded and the remaining battalion, the 2nd, was transferred to 116th Brigade, 39th Division. At that point, the Tyneside Irish Brigade ceased to exist and their colours were later laid up in Newcastle’s two cathedrals..
Unlike the London and Liverpool Irish, the Tyneside Irish was not re-formed for the Second World War.