Royal Dublin Fusiliers

a Forgotten Regiment

Royal Dublin Fusiliers badge

The grenade, crowned, is worn on the button, and on the collar with the tiger and elephant; the grenade on the head dress plate bears, in addition, the arms of Dublin and the regimental motto "Spectamur agendo".  The shamrock appears surrounding the arms, and also with the harp, on the waist belt.

The Royal Dublin Fusiliers was an Irish Infantry Regiment in the British Army, one of eight Irish regiments raised and garrisoned in Ireland, and was disbanded in 1922 under the terms of the Anglo-Irish Treaty. 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 East India Company's private armies were transferred to the British Army. Under the reforms five infantry battalions were given Irish territorial titles and the 102nd and 103rd Regiments of Foot became the 1st Battalion, The Royal Dublin Fusiliers. the 103rd became the 2nd Battalion. The Regiment's Depot was at Naas

During WWI the regiment raised a total of 11 battalions. The 1st, 6th and 7th Dublins all took part in the Gallipoli campaign. The 2nd Dublins arrived in France in the month war was declared as part of 4th Division. The 8th and 9th Dublins, arrived in France in December 1915. The 10th arrived in France in August 1916. The 3rd (Reserve), 4th (Extra Reserve) and 5th (Extra Reserve) Battalions were mobilised on 4 Aug 1914 at Naas and Dublin. These battalions served variously in Ireland, England, Wales and Scotland. The 11th (Reserve) Battalion was formed at Dublin in July 1916 and by Jan 1918 it was located in Aldershot

Irish recruitment for the British Army was generally high at the start of the war, but fell off after the Easter Rising

From Hansard, London Parliament debate HC Deb 27 November 1916 vol 88 cc25-7 25

asked the Secretary of State for War whether the 10th Royal Dublin Fusiliers are still attached to the Naval Division; and, if so, what reason there is for not attaching them to an Irish Division?

I recognise, of course, the special interest taken by my hon. and learned Friend and by other Members in the allocation of this battalion, but it is, I fear, impossible to make exceptions to the rule that military information in regard to details of the order of battle must not be made public. The point raised is one for the Commander-in-Chief in France to settle, and I have no doubt that he has done and will do all he can to secure the close association of Irish units, but he must, of course, have regard to paramount military considerations and he must also bear in mind the fact that the principle underlying my hon. and learned Friend's question is capable of very wide extension, and, if so extended, would in effect remove from the Commander-in-Chief a large part of his discretion in regard to the disposition of his troops. The power to use and dispose of troops according to military exigencies and to military exigencies alone is, of course, an essential and indefeasible function of a Commander-in-Chief.
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether, in view of the fact that serious complaints have been made that Irish reserves are not being sent to fill up certain gaps in, the Irish Division, and in view of the fact that the 10th Royal Dublin Fusiliers was raised as a reserve battalion in Ireland, is it not reasonable for us to ask that they should be sent to the Irish Division?
I have no doubt that consideration is present to the mind of the Commander-in-Chief. As a matter of fact, my hon. and learned Friend knows that it was brought specially to his notice, but I made it perfectly clear that the allocation of this battalion must be subject to military exigencies in France, and as the Commander-in-Chief has alone to be the judge of what ought to be done under these circumstances it would be a very serious matter for us to interfere from the War Office with his discretion.
Am I to understand that the battalion is not, or will not be, attached to the Irish Division?
No. My hon. and learned Friend simply referred to a single battle

That is the other question which I postponed at the request of the right hon. Gentleman. This question is simply whether the 10th Royal Dublin Fusiliers are still attached to the Naval Division, and, if so, what reason is there for not attaching them to the Irish Division?

My hon. and learned Friend has asked me if I can state whether there is any intention of retaining them in their present position. I clearly could not give an answer to that without consulting the Commander-in-Chief.
Captain W. A. REDMOND
What have the 10th Royal Dublin Fusiliers to do with the Naval Division?
The same question might be put in reference to any Scotch, Irish, English or Welsh men in the Naval Division?

Each Battalions' experience' and campaigns are chronicled separately under individual battalion histories

All the war-raised battalions were disbanded either during the war, or shortly afterwards. The 1st Dublins crossed the German border in early December. 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 Constantinople, Turkey 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 in 1922, it was agreed under the terms of the Anglo-Irish Treaty that the six former Southern Ireland regiments (out of a total of thirteen Irish regiments) would be disbanded, including the Royal Dublin Fusiliers. On 12 June, the six regiments Colours with the exception of the South Irish Horse who sent a Regimental Engraving, because the regiment chose to have its Standard remain in St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin -- were laid up in a ceremony at St George's Hall, Windsor Castle in the presence of HM King George V . 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 2009.


The Dubliners - The Dublin Fusiliers song

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