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Irish Soldiers in the British Army

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Surnames/tags: United_Kingdom Ireland
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A significant number of Irish people, of all backgrounds, have served in the forces of the British Crown over the centuries. By the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century, a significant portion of the military forces of the British Army consisted of Irishmen, because of:-

  • the Kingdom of Ireland was in a personal union with England (and later Great Britain) until 1801
  • Ireland was part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 1801 to 1922[citation needed]
  • the traditions of the nobility and landed gentry, which caused them to prefer military service to a career in trade
  • economic necessity
  • ambition
  • family tradition

The main Irish regiments involved in the Napoleonic Wars were the 4th Royal Irish Dragoon Guards, 18th Royal Hussars, 27th Regiment of Foot, 87th Regiment of Foot and the 88th Regiment of Foot.

4th Regiment of Foot Guards (The Irish Guards) circa 1960s

'Irish' named units of the British Army

  • What is now the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers was founded in 1674 as "The Irish Regiment"
  • The Volunteers of Ireland (1777–82), were renamed the 105th Regiment of Foot
  • The Catholic Irish Brigade (1794-1798)
  • 4th Royal Irish Dragoon Guards, amalgamated 1922.
  • 5th Royal Irish Lancers, disbanded in 1921, reconstituted and amalgamated in 1922.
  • 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons
  • 8th King's Royal Irish Hussars, amalgamated 1958.
  • 9th Queen's Royal Lancers, amalgamated with the 12th Royal Lancers to form the 9th/12th Royal Lancers in 1960.
  • Queen's Royal Irish Hussars, created 1958, amalgamated 1993.
  • Queen's Royal Hussars (Queen's Own & Royal Irish). created 1993.
  • North Irish Horse
  • South Irish Horse
  • Irish Guards
  • Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, amalgamated 1968
  • Royal Irish Fusiliers, amalgamated 1968
  • Royal Ulster Rifles, amalgamated 1968
  • Royal Irish Rifles, renamed as Royal Ulster Rifles 1921.
  • Royal Irish Rangers, created 1968, amalgamated 1992
  • Royal Irish Regiment
  • Tyneside Irish Brigade, disbanded 1918.
  • London Irish Rifles, amalgamated 1992
  • Liverpool Irish.
  • Royal Irish Artillery, amalgamated 1801.
  • Ulster Defence Regiment, amalgamated 1992
  • 135th (Limerick) Regiment of Foot 1796 (highest regimental number of any British line regiment.)

'Irish' named 1922 disbanded units of the British Army Following the establishment of the independent Irish Free State in 1922, the six regiments that had their traditional recruiting grounds in the counties of the new state were all disbanded.[12] 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.[13] (The South Irish Horse had sent a Regimental engraving because the regiment chose to have its standard remain in St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin). The six regiments finally disbanded on 31 July 1922 were:

  • Royal Irish Regiment, disbanded 1922
  • Connaught Rangers, disbanded 1922
  • Leinster Regiment, disbanded 1922
  • Royal Munster Fusiliers, disbanded 1922
  • Royal Dublin Fusiliers, disbanded 1922
  • South Irish Horse, disbanded 1922

See also





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