Prince of Wales's Leinster Regiment (Royal Canadians)

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Prince of Wales's Leinster Regiment
Active 1881–1922
Allegiance  United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
Branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Type Infantry Regiment
Role Line Infantry
Size

2 Regular Battalions
3 Militia and Special Reserve Battalions

2 Hostilities-only Battalions
Garrison/HQ Birr
Nickname Royal Canadians
Patron Prince of Wales
Motto Ich Dien (I Serve)
March Quick: Come Back to Erin
Prince of Wales's Leinster Regiment cap badge

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 the 109th Regiment of Foot (Bombay Infantry). The 100th Foot was first raised in 1763 and the 109th was first raised in 1761.[1][2][3]

Boer War[edit]

A memorial plaque of the Leinster Regt in St Peter's Church, Fort William, Kolkata.

The Prince of Wales's Leinster Regiment was formed in 1881 was first raised in Canada as the 100th Regiment of Foot (Royal Canadians) (also known as the Royal Canadian Regiment). The Regiment originally maintained a recruiting depot in Canada but eventually they moved to Ireland.

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 100th Regiment was officially designated to perpetuate the previous 100th Regiment that had served in Canada in the War of 1812. The Battle Honour, "Niagara," (awarded to the older regiment for service in the capture of Fort Niagara and subsequent service on the Niagara frontier) was adopted. This Battle Honour appears on some of the pieces of silver in the collection.

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" in 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.[4]

In the Cardwell Reforms of the British army in the 1881, existing single battalion regiments were amalgamated to form new, two battalion units. The 100th Regiment was combined with the 109th Regiment to form the Prince of Wales's Leinster Regiment (Royal Canadians) with a Regimental HQ and recruit depot established in Leinster province in Ireland. The 100th became the 1st Bn of the new regiment, but their name 'Royal Canadians' was now used for both battalions.

World War I[edit]

Detail of a memorial window dedicated to the Prince of Wales's Leinster Regiment at St. Brendan's Church in Birr, enumerating the locations of service

It then became one of eight Irish regiments raised largely in Ireland, its home depot in Birr,[5] 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.[6]

The regiment served the counties of Longford, Meath, Westmeath, Offaly (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.[7]

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 service with the British Army during World War I, which saw action on the Western Front and in the Middle East. In the war the 1st Battalion served with the 27th Division and the 10th (Irish) Division. The 2nd Battalion with the 6th Division, 24th Division, 16th (Irish) Division and the 29th Division. The 6th Battalion served with the 10th (Irish) Division, 14th (Light) Division, 34th Division and 66th Division. The 7th Battalion with the 16th (Irish) Division.[8]

Disbandment[edit]

The Leinsters became one of the many British regiments disbanded in 1922. After the creation of the Irish Free State in 1922, six Irish regiments of the British army were disbanded. The Colours of these Irish regiments were laid up in Windsor Castle. The Regimental Colours are kept, in safety and in perpetuity, by the British Royal Family in Windsor Castle.

The present-day guardian of the regimental history is the The Prince of Wales's Leinster Regiment (Royal Canadians) Association[9]

Leinster Plate, a collection of silverware, of the Prince of Wales's Leinster Regiment at the Royal Military College of Canada

In recognition of their Canadian roots, the officers of the 1st Bn decided to give their officers' mess silver 'in trust' to the Government of Canada- which in turn passed in on 'in trust' to the Commandant of the Royal Military College of Canada. 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. The silver is on display at Royal Military College of Canada in the Senior Staff Mess and Museum (Fort Frederic). The Prince of Wales’s Leinster Regiment (Royal Canadians) plaque is on display in the Senior Staff Mess, Royal Military College of Canada. [10]

The silver of the 2nd Bn still exists and is held by a museum in London.

In 2005, the Regimental Association began discussions in Crinkill, County Offaly, Ireland about designing a suitable memorial to commemorate the regiment's strong linkages with the area, particularly to Crinkill Barracks. The barracks were handed over to the new Irish National Army at the time of Irish independence,[11] but were burnt down in July 1922 in the Irish Civil War that followed. Today only the ruins of the outer wall remain.[12]

With the disbandment of the six southern Irish regiments on 31 July 1922 and the simultaneous outbreak of the Irish Civil War conflict some thousands of their ex-servicemen and officers contributed to expanding the Free State government's newly formed National Army. They brought considerable combat experience with them and by May 1923 comprised 50 per cent of its 53,000 soldiers and 20 per cent of its officers.[13]

Battle honours[edit]

Prince of Wales's Leinster Regiment plaque at the Royal Military College of Canada Senior Staff Mess, enumerating the locations of service.
Grave in Cathays Cemetery, Cardiff, Wales, of Sergeant WH Fitzmaurice, Leinster Regiment, who died in 1919
Campaign Battle Date
None Armentières 1914 1914
Second Battle of Ypres Battle of Gravenstafel 22–23 April 1915
Battle of St. Julien 24 April – 4 May 1915
Battle of Frezenberg 8–13 May 1915
Battle of the Somme Bourlon Wood
Battle of Guillemont 3–6 September 1916
Battle of Ginchy 9 September 1916
Battle of Arras Battle of Vimy Ridge 9 – 14 April 1917
Third Battle of Ypres Battle of Messines 7 – 14 June 1917
Battle of Pilckem Ridge 31 July – 3 August 1917
Battle of Langemarck (1917) 16–18 August 1917
First Battle of Passchendaele 12 October 1917
Second Battle of Passchendaele 26 October – 10 November 1917
The German Offensives 1918 First Battles of the Somme, 1918
St. Quentin 21–23 March 1918
Actions at the Somme Crossings 24–25 March 1918
Battle of Rosieres 26–27 March 1918
Courtrai 1918 28 June 1918
The Advance To Victory 1918 Battle of Amiens 8 – 11 August 1918
Second Battles of the Somme, 1918 Delville Wood
Cambrai, 1918 (Capture of Cambrai) 8–9 October 1918
Battle of Ypres, 1918 28 September – 2 October 1918
Battle of Courtrai 14–19 October 1918
Macedonia 1915–17 Battle of Kastrino
Battle of Struma
Gallipoli 1915 Suvla
Sari Bair
Palestine 1917–18 First Battle of Gaza 26 March 1917
Battle of Jerusalem (1917) 26–30 December 1917
Battle of Megiddo (1918) 19 and 25 September 1918
Nablus 19 and 25 September 1918
Battle of Tell 'Asur 8 and 12 March 1918

Victoria Cross recipients[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Harris 1999, pp. 192-203 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”.
  2. ^ Harris 1999, p. 193.
  3. ^ The 100th 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 Regiment participated in the Indian Mutiny.
  4. ^ Harris 1999, pp. 194-200.
  5. ^ Harris 1968, pp. 216-217 Table listing the eight Irish Regiments of the British Army July 1914, their Depots, Reserve Bns., and local Militia.: Royal Irish Regiment Depot Clonmel, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers Depot Omagh, Royal Irish Rifles Depot Belfast, Royal Irish Fusiliers Depot Armagh, Connaught Rangers Depot Galway, Leinster Regiment Depot Birr, Royal Munster Fusiliers Depot Tralee, Royal Dublin Fusiliers Depot Naas
  6. ^ Murphy 2007, p. 20 quote: "Following the treaty that established the independent Irish Free State in 1922, it was decided to disband the regiments that had their traditional recruiting grounds in southern Ireland: The Royal Irish Regiment; The Connaught Rangers; The Prince of Wales' Leinster Regiment; The Royal Munster Fusiliers; The Royal Dublin Fusiliers; The South Irish Horse"
  7. ^ Harris 1968, pp. 2–3.
  8. ^ Harris 1999, pp. 201-03.
  9. ^ "Prince of Wales's Leinster Regiment Association". Leinster-regiment-association.org.uk. 2013-10-27. Retrieved 2014-04-12. 
  10. ^ "Prince of Wales's Leinster Regiment Silver". http://everitas.rmcclub.ca/?p=85523#more-85523. 2014-12-08. Retrieved 2014-02-08. 
  11. ^ "Birr Barracks at Crinkhill". Birr Historical Society. 
  12. ^ "Crinkill Barracks". Prince of Wales's Leinster Regiment Association. Retrieved 28 June 2008. 
  13. ^ Cottrell 2008, p. 23.

References[edit]

  • Cottrell, Peter (2008). The Irish Civil War 1922-23, Saorstát Éireann Forces. Osprey Publishing Ltd. p. 23. ISBN 978-1-84603-270-7. 
  • Harris, Henry E.D. (1968). The Irish Regiments in the First World War. Cork: Mercier Press. pp. 216–217. 
  • Harris, R.G. (1999) [1989]. "Prince of Wales's Leinster Regiment (Royal Canadians)". The Irish Regiments 1689-1999. New York: Sarpedon. pp. 192–203. ISBN 1-885119-62-3. 
  • Hitchcock, F.C. Stand To, a Diary of the Trenches 1915–1918. Naval & Military Press. 
  • Murphy, David (2007). Osprey Publishing. p. 20. ISBN 978-1-84603-015-4. 
  • Whitton, F.C. Prince of Wales's Leinster Regiment (Royal Canadians): the History of the Prince of Wales’s Leinster Regiment (Royal Canadians), late the 100th Prince of Wales Royal Canadian Regiment. 2 volumes. 

External links[edit]