South Irish Horse

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South Irish Horse
South Irish Horse badge.jpg
Regimental Badge
Active 1902-1922
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
Branch Army
Type Yeomanry
Role Cavalry
Commanders
Current
commander
Defunct
Colonel-in-Chief Field Marshal HRH Arthur W. P. A., Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, KG, KT, KP, GCB, GCSI

The South Irish Horse was a Special Reserve cavalry regiment of the British Army. Formed on 2 January 1902 as the South of Ireland Imperial Yeomanry. It was renamed as the South Irish Horse from 7 July 1908 and transferred to the Special Reserve (Cavalry). After fighting in the Great War the unit was disbanded in 1922 following the implementation of the Anglo-Irish Treaty.

Formation[edit]

Memorial to the fallen of the South Irish Horse in World War I at St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin
South Irish Horse, a Dubliner resting on his way to Arras Front, drawing by William Orpen, 1917
A "Sweetheart pin" with the emblem of the South Irish Horse (SIH), sent by a soldier to his girlfriend as a memento

Following the South African war, sixteen new yeomanry regiments were formed, two of these in Ireland. King Edward VII approved the formation of the North of Ireland Imperial Yeomanry and the South of Ireland Imperial Yeomanry in 1901. Their formation was sanctioned and gazetted on 7 January 1902.[1] It was renamed as the South Irish Horse from 7 July 1908 and transferred to the Special Reserve (Cavalry).[2] Squadrons were formed as follows:[3]

  • HQ - Artillery Barracks, Limerick
  • A Squadron - Beggars Bush Barracks, Dublin
  • B Squadron - Artillery Barracks, Limerick
  • C Squadron - Glen House, Ballyvolane, Cork
  • D Squadron - Beggars Bush Barracks, Dublin

The First World War[edit]

The declaration of war against Germany in August 1914 found the South Irish Horse at summer camp, as was its sister regiment the North Irish Horse. The Expeditionary Force squadron of North Irish Horse (designated A Squadron), along with its counterpart in the South Irish Horse (designated B Squadron) was assigned to the British Expeditionary Force. Both squadrons sailed from Dublin on the SS Architect on 17 August 1914.[4] More squadrons of the 'Horse' were to join the regiment in France. The South Irish Horse did not stay together as a unit, but squadrons were attached to different formations in the BEF as and when required:

  • A Squadron – joined 21st Division in 1915, went to form part of XV Corps Cavalry Regiment in 1916 and became XVIII Corps Cavalry Regiment in 1917.[5]
  • B Squadron – moved to France as GHQ Troops in August 1914, joined 2nd Division in 1915 and went to form part of I Corps Cavalry Regiment (and was re-designated S Squadron) in 1916.[5]
  • C Squadron – joined 16th (Irish) Division in 1915 and went to form part of I Corps Cavalry Regiment in 1916.[5]
  • E Squadron – moved to France and joined 39th Division in May 1916 and then went to form part of I Corps Cavalry Regiment in May 1916.[5]
  • F Squadron – moved to France in 1917 and joined XVIII Corps Cavalry Regiment.[5]
  • S Squadron – joined 32nd Division in 1915 and went to form part of XV Corps Cavalry Regiment in 1916. It was then re-designated B Squadron. It moved to IX Corps Cavalry Regiment in 1916 and it became XVIII Corps Cavalry Regiment in 1917.[5]

In September 1917 the officers and men of the South Irish Horse were retrained as infantry and formed 7th (South Irish Horse) Battalion Royal Irish Regiment; the battalion formed part of the 49th Infantry Brigade in the 16th (Irish) Division.[6] The battalion was caught in the German Spring Offensive in March 1918: the Official History records that, "two companies of 7th Battalion Royal Irish Regiment, posted in forward zones, suffered terribly; not a man succeeded in escaping."[3]

The regiment was one of the six British Army regiments disbanded in 1922 as a result of the Partition of Ireland, having only existed for 20 years.[7]

Battle honours[edit]

The regiment's battle honours were as follows:[2]

Uniform[edit]

The parade dress of the South Irish Horse worn until 1914 included a dark green peaked cap and tunic with scarlet facings. Overalls (tight fitting cavalry breeches)[8] were green with double scarlet stripes.[9]

Association[edit]

The regiment no longer has an association but dependents may still get assistance from the Army Benevolent Fund.[10] The Combined Irish Regiments Association also remains as a source of information and for those who wish to remember the disbanded regiments.[11]

Great War Memorials[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "No. 27395". The London Gazette. 7 January 1902. p. 151. 
  2. ^ a b "South Irish Horse". Regiments.org. Retrieved 14 October 2017. 
  3. ^ a b "South Irish Horse". Combined Irish Regiments Association. Retrieved 14 October 2017. 
  4. ^ Hughes, Gavin (2015). "Fighting Irish: The Irish Regiments in the First World War". Irish Academic Press. ISBN 978-1785370229. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f Chris Baker (1996–2008). "The South Irish Horse—Regiments of the Special Reserve—North Irish Horse". The long, long trail. Retrieved 2008-11-28. 
  6. ^ "Royal Irish Regiment". The Long, Long Trail. Retrieved 9 April 2016. 
  7. ^ "The South of Ireland Imperial Yeomanry & The South Irish Horse". Southirishhorse.com. Retrieved 2017-01-03. 
  8. ^ Carman, W.Y. A Dictionary of Military Uniform. p. 97. ISBN 0-684-15130-8. 
  9. ^ Smith, R.J. The Yeomanry Force at the 1911 Coronation. p. 29. ISBN 0-948251-26-3. 
  10. ^ "ABF - The Soldiers' Charity". Retrieved 14 October 2017. 
  11. ^ "Combined Irish Regiments". Combined Irish Regiments. 

External links[edit]