74: Leinster, Royal Irish Regiment, Connaught Rangers, Munster Fus, Dublin Fus

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Prince of Wales’s Leinster Regiment

The Prince of Wales’s Leinster Regiment (Royal Canadians) was an infantry regiment of the line in the British Army, formed in 1881 by the amalgamation of the 100th (Prince of Wales’s Royal Canadian) Regiment of Foot and the109th Regiment of Foot (Bombay Infantry). The 100th Foot was first raised in 1763 and the 109th was first raised in 1761.

In March 1858, authority was granted to raise, in Canada, a regiment for imperial service to be known as the 100th Royal Canadian Regiment. The “New 100th” considered itself a reactivation of the “Old 100th”.

The Regiment served in the War of 1812–14 against the United States. The Regiment was in Quebec, Canada from 1866 to 1868 as part of the Montreal garrison. The regiment paraded with its headdress decorated with maple leaves on the first “Dominion Day”, 1 July 1867. The 1st Battalion was in Canada in 1898 as part of the Imperial garrison of Halifax, Nova Scotia. From Nova Scotia the Battalion went off to the South African War. The regiment was in Aldershot, Shornecliffe, Malta, and Gibraltar. In 1875, the Regiment was authorized to carry the Battle Honour, “Niagara”, on its Colours. Battle Honours borne on the colours prior to World War I also included “Central India” during the Indian Mutiny; “South Africa 1900–02“. The Regiment was involved in the colonial service in Aden, the Mediterranean, and the West Indies in the 19th century.

It then became one of eight Irish regiments raised largely in Ireland, its home depot in Birr until following establishment of the independent Irish Free State in 1922, the five regiments that had their traditional recruiting grounds in the counties of the new state were disbanded.

The regiment served the counties of LongfordMeathWestmeathOffaly (King’s County) and Laois (Queen’s County), with its garrison depot at Crinkill, near Birr. Prior to World War I (World War I) there were 5 Battalions, two regular battalions, the 1st and 2nd with 3 Militia battalions. The 3rd was The King’s County Militia, the 4th was The Queen’s County Militia and the 5th was The Royal Meath Militia.

Militarily, the whole of Ireland was administered as a separate command within the United Kingdom with Command Headquarters at Parkgate (Phoenix Park) Dublin, directly under the War Office in London.

World War I

At the outbreak of World War I in 1914 two additional Service Battalions were formed, the 6th Battalion and the 7th Battalion. The Regiment raised seven battalions for First World War service, which saw action on the Western Front and in the Middle East. During the war the 1st Battalion served with the 27th Division and the 10th (Irish) Division. The 2nd Battalion with the 6th Division24th Division16th (Irish) Division and the 29th Division. The 6th Battalion served with the 10th (Irish) Division, 14th (Light) Division34th Division and 66th Division. The 7th Battalion with the 16th (Irish) Division.


In 1922 a large number British army regiments were disbanded. The Leinsters became one of the regiments disbanded. The Regimental Colours are kept, in safety and in perpetuity, by the British Royal Family in Windsor Castle. Present day guardians of the Regimental History are The Prince of Wales’s Leinster Regiment (Royal Canadians) Association

On disbandment the Regiment’s collection of silver was presented to the Government of Canada, “as a token of the regard for the Great Dominion which gave birth to the Battalion to be held in trust until such time as the Battalion is again raised.” The silver, known as “The Leinster Plate”, was deposited for safe keeping at the Royal Military College of Canada in 1923 at the suggestion of then Minister of National Defence, the Hon. Edward Mortimer Macdonald, and of Maj-Gen. J.H. McBrien, the Canadian Chief of Staff.

In 2005, the Regimental Association began discussions in CrinkillCounty OffalyIreland about designing a suitable memorial to commemorate the regiment’s strong linkages with the area, particularly to Crinkill Barracks. The barracks was abandoned around the time of Irish independence, and was burnt down in July 1922 as a result of the Irish Civil War that followed. Today only the ruins of the outer wall remain.

Victoria Cross recipients

Royal Irish Regiment (1684–1922)

The Royal Irish Regiment, until 1881 the 18th regiment of Foot, was an infantry regiment of the line in theBritish Army, first raised in 1684. Also known as the 18th (Royal Irish) Regiment of Foot and the 18th (The Royal Irish) Regiment of Foot, it was one of eight Irish regiments raised largely in Ireland, its home depot inClonmel. It saw service for two and a half centuries before being disbanded with the Partition of Ireland following establishment of the independent Irish Free State in 1922 when the five regiments that had their traditional recruiting grounds in the counties of the new state were disbanded.


The regiment was formed in 1684 by the Earl of Granard from independent companies in Ireland. In 1695, the regiment became known as the Royal Regiment of Ireland due to its performance at Namur under the direction of King William III. The regiment also won the right to display the King’s arms on their colours along with the harp and crown. The regiment served throughout the turn of the 18th century in continental battles before being sent to Gibraltar. In 1751, the regiment was officially ranked as the 18th Regiment of Foot – although it was older than all but six other line regiments, it had not been placed on the English establishment until 1689, lowering its precedence.

Seven Years War and American Revolution

The regiment was in Ireland during the majority of the Seven Years War and was ordered to America on 1 January 1767. The regiment arrived at Philadelphia on 11 July 1767 under the command of Lieutenant Colonel John Wilkins. The regiment remained at Philadelphia, although a small detachment was sent to Ft. Pitt later that summer. The majority of the regiment under Wilkins was ordered to Illinois in early 1768 and remained in Illinois until April 1772 when Fort Chartres was abandoned. A small detachment under Captain Hugh Lord, remained at Ft. Gage (Kaskaskia), Illinois until May 1776 when it was ordered to Detroit in anticipation of an American attack. The rest of the regiment was present in Boston, where the grenadier company participated in the Battle of Lexington and Battle of Concord andBunker Hill, its first formal combat in more than 50 years. The regiment was drafted into other regiments in Boston in December 1775 and at Detroit in July 1776. According to the regimental History the losses at Lexington/Concord were 2 killed/4 wounded {.p. 48} and at Bunker Hill 3 rank & file killed while Lt Richardson and seven rank & file were wounded {.p. 49} Lord’s Detachment was drafted into the 8th (King’s) Regiment in July 1776.

New Zealand Wars

The regiment’s second battalion, formed mainly from volunteers from the Irish Militia, began to arrive in New Zealand from 4 July 1863. It served in the Waikato and Taranaki Campaigns. Captain Hugh Shaw won the V.C. when he rescued wounded soldiers during a skirmish at Nukumaru near Wanganui. The battalion was the last Imperial Army unit to leave New Zealand in February 1870.


In 1881 as part of the Childers Reforms the regiment became the Royal Irish Regiment, and served as the county regiment of TipperaryWaterfordWexford and Kilkenny. Its garrison depot was at Clonmel. Militarily, the whole of Ireland was administered as a separate command within the United Kingdom with Command Headquarters at Parkgate (Phoenix Park) Dublin, directly under the War Office in London.

World War One

In the First World War, 7 further battalions were raised 5th (Service) Battalion [1914-1919]; three including a mounted unit, the 7th (South Irish Horse) Battalion, for the front and three Garrison Battalions.

The Fifth (Service) Battalion and the regular army First Bn and were part of the 10th (Irish) Division.

The 6th (Service) Battalion, volunteers following Kitcheners New Army appeal, was part of the 16th (Irish) Division.

The regiment was one of the five disbanded under the terms of the Anglo-Irish Treaty after the establishment of theIrish Free State in 1922.

Easter Rising 1916

The Royal Irish Regiment, made up in the vast majority of local Dubliners and were the first British army troops to attack the Irish rebels during the 1916 Easter Rising who were fighting to end British rule in Ireland and to establish theIrish Republic in Dublin.Eight of the Royal Irish Regiment were killed and sixteen more wounded.The majority of civilian casualties during the Rising were caused by the British.A Royal Irish Regiment officer reported that “they regarded, not unreasonably, everyone they saw as an enemy, and fired at anything that moved“.

Great War Memorials

Connaught Rangers

The Connaught Rangers (“the Devil’s Own”) was an Irish Regiment of the British Army, formed by the amalgamation in 1881 of the 88th Regiment of Foot (Connaught Rangers) and the 94th Regiment of Foot. It was disbanded in 1922.


The 88th Foot or Connaught Rangers were raised in 1793 by the Earl of Clanricarde to help counteract the threat fromNapoleonic France. They formed part of the expeditions to Egypt in 1801, South America in 1806 and the short campaign in Holland against France. The 94th, formally known as the Scotch Brigade had fought in India (earning theArmy of India Medal with three clasps) prior to joining the 88th in General Picton‘s, 3rd Light Division in the Peninsular Wars against France. Wellington used the 88th effectively as his Storm Troopers in the Iberian Peninsula where they were given the honour of providing the Forlorn Hope at Cuidad Rodrigo. The men of the 88th earned up to 12 battle clasps to the Military General Service Medal for services in Egypt and the Peninsula and the 94th, 10 clasps. After theBattle of Toulouse, the 88th departed to Canada while the 94th moved to Ireland and became over the next 50 years effectively an Irish Regiment. The 88th fought in the Crimean War 0f 1854–56 and during the Indian Mutiny of 1857–59. The 94th sent small detachments with the 18th Royal Irish Regiment to the Crimea and to Egypt in 1882 .

The 88th and 94th Foot were both involved in the Zulu War in 1879. The 94th Foot fought at the Battle of Ulundi, the final battle of the war.

In 1881, the 88th Regiment of Foot (Connaught Rangers) (which formed the 1st Battalion) and the 94th Regiment of Foot (which formed the 2nd Battalion) were amalgamated. The amalgamation of the two regiments into one with the title The Connaught Rangers, was part of the United Kingdom government‘s reorganization of the British armyunder the Childers Reforms, a continuation of the Cardwell Reforms implemented in 1879.

It was one of eight Irish regiments raised largely in Ireland, with its home depot in Galway. Militarily, the whole of Ireland was administered as a separate command within the United Kingdom with Command Headquarters at Parkgate (Phoenix Park) in Dublin, directly under the War Office in London.The regiment recruited mainly in the province ofConnacht.

The 88th were based in BengalBritish India, when they were amalgamated into the new regiment having deployed to India in 1879. The 94th were also abroad when they became the 2nd Battalion. They had deployed to South Africa in 1877 from Armagh, where they had taken part in the Zulu War and in 1880 the first Boer War where in January 1881 Lance-Corporal James Murray of the regiment won a Victoria Cross. Private Fitzpatrick and Private Danagher of the 94th also won the VC in South Africa. Major Hans Garret Moore won the VC with the 88th during the Zulu War. In total the Regiment won four Victoria Crosses between 1877 and 1881.

The 2nd Battalion returned home the following year when they were stationed in Ireland and in 1887 moved toEngland. The new 2nd Battalion sent a small detachment on the Gordon Relief Expedition in 1884 as Camel Mounted Infantry.

In 1889 the 2nd Battalion deployed to Malta. The 1st Battalion departed India in 1890 for Aden and returned home in 1891. In 1892 the 2nd Battalion remained in the Mediterranean and deployed to Cyprus and then in 1895 to Egypt. The following year the 2nd Battalion, as well as the machine-gun section of the 1st Battalion, deployed to the Sudan as part of the Dongola Expeditionary Force under the command of Lord Kitchener as part of the reconquest of the Sudan.

The 2nd Battalion departed for India the following year, while the 1st Battalion deployed to Ireland. In 1899 the 2nd Battalion deployed to Malta.

Boer War

The 1st Battalion deployed to South Africa as part of 5th (Irish) Brigade which was commanded by Major-General Fitzroy Hart. The Rangers took part in numerous engagements during the Second Boer War.

The regiment took part in the Battle of Colenso on 15 December, part of the attempt to relieve the town of Ladysmith, besieged by Boer forces. The Rangers and the rest of the 5th (Hart’s) Brigade, who were on the left flank, had been forced to perform over 20 minutes of drill before the advance. The Brigade suffered heavily during their participation in the battle, the Boers inflicting heavy casualties. The advance was met with a fire from three sides that forced them to withdraw. The battle ended in defeat for the British. That battle and two previous defeats at Magersfontein andStormberg became known as ‘Black Week‘.

The Rangers fought at Spion Kop and the Tugela Heights during further attempts by General Sir Redvers Buller to relieve the besieged town of Ladysmith. In late February the siege of Ladysmith finally came to an end after it was relieved by British forces.The regiment was awarded the battle honour Relief of Ladysmith in addition to South Africa1899–1902.

The 5th Brigade subsequently deployed to Kimberley and took part in further operations against the Boer guerillas.

The Rangers finally departed South Africa for Ireland after the Boer War ended in 1902, and were also awarded the theatre honour.

In 1908 the 1st Battalion arrived in India while the 2nd Battalion returned home to Ireland. The 1st and 2nd battalions of the regiment were given new Colours by HM King George V in 1911. The 2nd Battalion had left Ireland and was in England when the “war to end all wars”, the First World War, began in August 1914.

First World War

In August 1914 the 1st Battalion, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Hurdis Ravenshaw, was stationed in Ferozepore, India. It was part of the Ferozepore Brigade3rd (Lahore) Division of the Indian Army. It arrived in MarseillesFranceon the 26 September 1914.

The 2nd Battalion was part of the 5th Brigade2nd Division which was, in turn, part of the British Expeditionary Force. It arrived in Boulogne in August 1914, the month in which war was declared. Its marching song It’s A Long Way To Tipperary became famous.

The 3rd (Reserve) Battalion was based in Galway upon the declaration of war and would remain in Ireland until November 1917 when it moved to England. The 4th (Extra Reserve) Battalion had been based in Boyle in August and would remain there until November 1917 when it relocated to Scotland. In May 1918 the 4th Battalion was absorbed into the 3rd Battalion. The battalion ended its war at Dover.

The 5th (Service) Battalion was a battalion of Kitchener’s Army. The 5th Battalion was part of the K1 Group, the first New Army to be formed, and it was formed in Dublin in August 1914. It subsequently joined the 29th Brigade10th (Irish) Division at County Cork and in 1915 it was dispatched to Gallipoli, where it fought alongside the Royal Dublin Fusiliers and the Royal Munster Fusiliers.

The 6th (Service) Battalion was another Connaught battalion of Kitchener’s Army. It was part of the K2 Group and was formed at County Cork in September 1914 and joined the 49th Brigade16th (Irish) Division. On the 18th December 1915 the battalion landed in Le Havre.

Some 2,500 Connaught Rangers were killed in World War I. Their graves lie in France, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria, Egypt, Palestine, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, and England. In just over a week’s fighting in the Battle of the Somme (September 1916), the 6th Battalion lost 23 officers and 407 other ranks.On 21 March 1918, the same Battalion was “practically annihilated” during the German Spring Offensive breakthrough at St. Emilie in France. In one week the battalion lost “22 officers and 618 other ranks”,the latter figure including the 407 quoted by Denman. On the first day of the Spring Offensive the 6th Battalion found, following the opening bombardment, that the order to withdraw had not reached them so that they were left alone to face the onslaught of two fresh German divisions. Approximately 222 men were left standing after this. The Regiment lost over 300 men killed or wounded in action or missing on that day, following five weeks in the line. As a result of these heavy losses, the survivors were transferred into the 2nd Battalion, The Leinster Regiment, and the 6th Battalion, Connaught Rangers ceased to exist. Private Martin Moffat from Sligo, later a winner of the Victoria Cross, was one of the men transferred.

1916 Easter Rising

The Connaught Rangers fought against the Irish rebels, who were fighting to end British rule in Ireland and to establish the Irish Republic during the Easter Rising. None of the Connaught Rangers were killed but one was wounded.In the days after the Rising the Connaught Rangers patrolled the Irish countryside and raided Irish homes. They captured hundreds of Volunteers and their weapons.A number of Connaught Rangers who were in Dublin at the time of the Rising volunteered to join other British army units including the Royal Irish Fusiliers and the Royal Dublin Fusiliers to fight against the Irish rebels.A Sergeant John Joseph Barror from the Connaught Rangerswas involved in putting two snipers out of action during the Rising in Dublin.

Regimental Colours and other memorabilia

The regiment was disbanded in 1922 upon the formation of the Irish Free State and the regimental colours were laid up at Windsor Castle. An earlier set of colours can be found in the 14th century Collegiate Church of St Nicholas inGalway city centre along with several stone memorials to fallen members of the regiment. The Regimental HQ was inRenmore Barracks, Galway (now Dún Ui MaoilíosaMellows Barracks, an Irish Army base) a few miles from the city centre. The barracks has a small museum of Rangers memorabilia which can be viewed by appointment with the curator


Following establishment of the independent Irish Free State in 1922, the five regiments, which included the Connaught Rangers, that had their traditional recruiting grounds in the counties of the new state were disbanded.On 12 June the Rangers Colours, along with those of five other Irish regiments, were laid up in a disbandment ceremony at St. George’s Hall, Windsor Castle in Berkshire in the presence of King George V and the five other disbanding regiments. The Rangers detachment included the commanding officers of the 1st and 2nd Rangers, Lieutenant-Colonels W. N. S. Alexander andH. F. N. Jourdain. The regiment was formally disbanded on 31 July, after which there was no regular regiment of rangers in the British Army until 1968 (The Rangers (12th London/9th Kings Royal Rifle Corps) existed as part of theTerritorial Army). The Connaught Rangers name and traditions irrevocably came to an end in 1922 when the colours were laid up.

Royal Munster Fusiliers

The Royal Munster Fusiliers was a regular infantry regiment of the British Army. One of eight Irish regiments raised largely in Ireland, its home depot in Tralee It was originally formed in 1881 by the amalgamation of two regiments of the former East India Company. It served in India and in the Great War. Following establishment of the independentIrish Free State in 1922, the five regiments that had their traditional recruiting grounds in the counties of the new state were disbanded  The regiment won three Victoria Crosses in the Great War.

Its historic background goes back as far as 1652, before it was reformed as part of a reorganisation of the army in 1881, from the101st Regiment of Foot (Royal Bengal Fusiliers) and 104th Regiment of Foot (Bengal Fusiliers) and the Militia of Munster. Both the fusilierregiments had originated as “European” regiments of the East India Company (also known as “John Company”) and transferred to the British Army in 1861 when the British Crown took control of the company’s private army after the Indian Rebellion of 1857. There followed the localisation of recruiting districts in England between 1873 and 1874 under the Cardwell Reforms. Five of the European infantry battalions were given Irish territorial titles under theChilders Reforms of 1881. The first and second Royal Munster Fusiliers battalions were the former Bengal Fusilier regiments, the higher number battalions were the militia units  The Reforms linked regiments to recruiting areas – in this case the counties of ClareCork,Kerry, and Limerick. Militarily, the whole of Ireland was administered as a separate command with Command Headquarters at Parkgate (Phoenix Park) Dublin, directly under the War Office in London. The regimental/HQ depot was located at Traleeco. Kerry.

20th century

It consisted of two regular service and two reserve battalions prior to World War I. In August 1914 the need for further divisions resulted in the creation of a New Army. Subsequently the Royal Munster Fusiliers had a total of 11 raised battalions. The regiment was awarded 51 battle honours and three Victoria Crosses. It suffered a total of 3,070 lost casualties.

Following cuts in the establishment of the British army and with the establishment of the new Irish Free State, the Royal Munster Fusiliers was one of the five Irish regiments disbanded at Windsor Castle in June 1922. Royal Munster Fusiliers ex–servicemen, veterans from World War I, were amongst the many ex-servicemen who joined IRA guerrillas in theIrish National Army who only a few months earlier had fought against the British Army in the Irish War of Independence, now to take part in the Irish Civil War. The Irish National Army reached a strength of 60,000.

Throughout the Somme campaign the 2RMF retained its local and Irish character. They were in the front trenches again in February at Barleux when a thaw turned everything into a sea of mud. In March the first major event was the German withdrawal from the old Somme battlefield to their new Hindenburg Line. The battalion followed across the Somme, but was held up removing mines and booby-traps and repairing communications into May. They then moved to near Nieuwpoort in Flanders for an intended amphibious landing with an impressive 43 officers and 1,070 men which was aborted by a surprise German attack on 10. July. They went through severe shelling and gas. The division was moved to Dunkirk for another attempt near Zeebrugge to link with a land offensive through Passchendaele, also cancelled when not gaining enough footing.

was concentrated, the 2RMF now numbering only 290 other ranks, from 629 the day before. On 22 March the battalion crossed back over the Somme at Péronne.


By 25 March the battalion had lost 27 officers and 550 men, as the rest tried to reform, holding off several attacks and near encirlements, they formed a 400 man column and attempted a night retreat, half reaching friendly positions next morning at Hamel.

Undergoing further bombardment they attempted to retake positions lost, which reduced them further until the remaining 3 officers and 93 men had to be withdrawn into a reserve position. Merely 2 officers and 42 O.R. reinforcements joined them on 3 April. The 2RMF was largely destroyed by the German offensive losing 36 officers and 796 O.R.s since 21 March. It moved northwards to amalgamate with the equally hard hit 1RMF at Inghem on 14 April when the resulting unit numbered 28 officers and 896 O.R.s. The 2RMF was reduced to a training cadre of 11 officers who left the 16th (Irish) Division to provide instruction for newly arrived American units.


The battalion began reconstruction on 7 June 1918 when most of the 6RMF who had returned from Palestine were transferred to the 2RMF. The battalion made its last transfer to the 150th Brigade of the 50th Division at Arras for the beginning of the Hundred Days Offensive and were largely made up of other men back from Salonika and Palestine, most hardened by malaria and more resistant to the now apparent deadly influenza epidemic.

The battalion was finally transported on 1 October to Épehy, scene of its March experiences where it was again ordered into the lines on 4 October, to capture Le Catelet. Largely gaining their objective, they had to retire encountering heavy counter attacks and failures elsewhere on the line, losing many 6RMF pre-war veterans who had survived Gallipoli. The 50th Division’s advance was resumed on 10 October, and the battalion was reduced to 13 officers and 411 men by 16 October.

The Battle of Épehy began on 18 October to drive the Germans behind the river, the Munsters going in next day in fog surprising the Germans, taking many prisoner as well the objectives. The Munsters overran their objectives and were caught in another Division’s barrage, losses again were heavy. They were then withdrawn and reorganised for what to be their final operation of the war, successfully taking a large area around Haute Noyelles on 4 November, the number of prisoners taken indicative of the low state of German morale. After a counter-bombardment on 7 November the battalion was withdrawn for the remaining days up until the Armistice.


Last reassembled in December before demobilisation the 2RMF numbered 25 officers and 581 other ranks. After demobilisation by February, the last cadre of 14 officers and 54 ORs left France in June 1919 and was reabsorbed into the reformed battalion on the Isle of Wight numbering 900, of these a high 500 with war service. The 2RMF served inEgypt from November 1919 to May 1922 returning for demobilisation and disbandment in July 1922. Their last commander wrote “Its losses amounted to 179 officers and 4,088 rank and file killed, wounded or missing. There were twenty-eight changes in the battalion’s command during the war. The battalion retained its essentially Irish character to the end of the war, and was first to last composed of voluntarily enlisted soldiers. During the war 346 officers and over 8,000 O.R.s passed through its ranks”.

Royal Dublin Fusiliers

The Royal Dublin Fusiliers was an Irish Infantry Regiment of the British Army, one of eight Irish regiments raised and garrisoned in Ireland which was disbanded in 1922.


The regiment was created on 1 July 1881 as a result of Childers reforms by the amalgamation of the 102nd Regiment of Foot (Royal Madras Fusiliers) and the 103rd Regiment of Foot (Royal Bombay Fusiliers) whose predecessors had been in the service of the East India Company. After the Indian Rebellion of 1857 the Company’s private armies were transferred to the British Army in 1862. Under the reforms five infantry battalions were given Irish territorial titles and the 102nd and 103rd Regiments of Foot became the 1st and 2nd Battalions, The Royal Dublin Fusiliers.

It was one of eight Irish regiments raised largely in Ireland, and served the counties of DublinKildareWicklow andCarlow, with its garrison depot located at Naas. Militarily, the whole of Ireland was administered as a separate command within the United Kingdom with Command Headquarters at Parkgate (Phoenix Park) Dublin, directly under the War Office in London.

1st Battalion

The 102nd was based in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) when it became the 1st Battalion. It moved back to the UK in 1886, being based in England, before moving to the Curragh in Ireland. It returned to England in 1893, remaining there until the Second Boer War began in South Africa in 1899. It arrived in South Africa in November 1899.

After the Boer War the Battalion was based in Crete and Malta, both in the Mediterranean. It was posted to Egypt in 1906, where it later received its Colours at Alexandria by the Regiment’s Colonel-in-Chief, HRH Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn. The 1st Dublins later joined the British garrison in India—the then overseas ‘home’ of the British Army—remaining there until the outbreak of war in 1914.

2nd Battalion

When the 103rd became the 2nd Battalion, it was based in England before moving to sunnier climes in 1884, when it was posted to Gibraltar. The following year it arrived in Egypt and then moved to India in 1889, being located in a variety of places there. In 1897 the 2nd Dublins was based in Natal Colony, where it would still be when the Boer War began in 1899.

Upon the conclusion of the war, the 2nd Battalion returned to the UK, being based in ButtevantCork, Ireland. It left forAldershot, England in 1910, where it received its new Colours from the Regiment’s Colonel-in-Chief the following year. It remained in England until war began in 1914.

First World War

The First World War began in August 1914, and the British Empire declared war on Germany after it invaded Belgium. The Regiment raised 6 battalions during the war (11 in total), serving on the Western FrontGallipoliMiddle East andSalonika. The Dublin Fusiliers received 3 Victoria Crosses (VC), the highest award for bravery in the face of the enemy, and was also awarded 48 Battle Honours and 5 Theatre Honours. The Regiment lost just over 4,700 killed and thousands wounded during the war.


All the war-raised battalions were disbanded either during the war, or shortly afterwards. The 1st Dublins crossed the German border in early December; no doubt nearly all that had been with the Battalion when it first entered the war in Gallipoli were long dead. The Battalion eventually reached Cologne where the British Army of Occupation in Germany was based. The Battalion returned to the UK a short while afterwards, based in Bordon. The 2nd Dublins left war-ravaged Europe to join the Allied Army of Occupation in ConstantinopleTurkey and in late 1920 moved to Multan, India, before returning to the UK in 1922.

Due to substantial defence cuts, and the establishment of the Irish Free State (the predecessor of the Republic of Ireland) in 1922, it was agreed that the six former Southern Ireland regiments would be disbanded, including the Royal Dublin Fusiliers. On 12 June, five regimental Colours were laid up in a ceremony at St George’s Hall, Windsor Castle in the presence of HM King George V. (The South Irish Horse who sent a Regimental engraving because the regiment chose to have its standard remain in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin). The Dublin Fusiliers detachment included the commanding officers of the 1st Dublins and 2nd Dublins, lieutenant-colonels C. N. Perreau and G. S. Higgingson, who had been captured in France during the first year of WWI, and the regiment’s Colonel-in-Chief, HRH the Duke of Connaught. The Colours remain there as of 2005. The six regiments were all disbanded on 31 July, some thousands of their ex-servicemen and officers helped in establishing the newly formed Free State Force , though many men from the new Irish Free State (later known as the Republic of Ireland) also continued to serve with the British armed forces.

On 27 April 2001, the Irish government officially acknowledged the role of the soldiers of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers who fought in the First World War by hosting a State Reception at Dublin Castle for the Royal Dublin Fusiliers Association.

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