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Royal Munster Fusiliers

Last updated: 20 November 2013

Cap badge of The Royal Munster Fusiliers, 1894-1922Cap badge of The Royal Munster Fusiliers, 1894-1922
NAM. 1970-12-236-10

Introduction

The regiment was formed during the 1881 army reforms by merging two former East India Company fusilier regiments, the 101st Regiment of Foot and the 104th Regiment of Foot, each of which formed one of the new unit’s two regular battalions. The reforms also made it the local regiment for Clare, Cork, Kerry and Limerick, four of the counties in the province of Munster in south-west Ireland.

1st Battalion was in Canada at the time of the merger and sailed for Wales two years later, remaining in England and Ireland until sailing for South Africa in 1899. 2nd Battalion was in Ireland, moving on to Malta in 1882 then India in 1884. It remained there until 1901, barring two years in Burma from 1886 onwards.

1st Battalion spent the whole Boer War in South Africa and then began a 12-year term in India and Burma in 1902. 2nd Battalion was only moved to Natal in December 1901, Ireland in 1902 and England in 1909.

1st Battalion sailed from Burma to Calcutta on the outbreak of war, then marched to Bombay, arriving in England in January 1915. It then sailed again for Gallipoli two months later and landed at Cape Helles on 25 April, suffering such heavy casualties in the fighting that followed that it had to be merged with 1st Battalion, The Royal Dublin Fusiliers, to form a composite unit known as the ‘Dubsters’. It was finally evacuated to Egypt in January 1916 and reconstituted before being moved to the Western Front, remaining there until the end of the war.

The unveiling of a memorial to The Royal Munster Fusiliers’ losses in Burma and South Africa at Killarney, County Kerry, 26 September 1906. The officers are wearing bearskins, a special privilege of fusilier regimentsThe unveiling of a memorial to The Royal Munster Fusiliers’ losses in Burma and South Africa at Killarney, County Kerry, 26 September 1906. The officers are wearing bearskins, a special privilege of fusilier regiments.
NAM. 1996-09-66-2-82

2nd Battalion landed in France 10 days after the declaration of war and stayed on the Western Front throughout the conflict. It suffered heavy casualties at Etreux in September 1914, where all its officers were killed or wounded and its chaplain, Father Gleeson, had to take over command of the battalion. It was badly mauled again during the German Spring Offensive in April 1918, leaving it with so few troops that it had to be absorbed by 1st Battalion for about a month.

Irish regiments were not required to raise Territorial Force battalions, though the regiment did raise nine reserve, service, garrison and home service battalions during the conflict, serving in Britain, Ireland, France, Salonika and Palestine. Both regular battalions moved in 1919, 1st Battalion to occupation duties in Germany and 2nd Battalion to Egypt.

All four of the regiment’s recruiting counties were in southern Ireland so, when the Irish Free State declared independence in 1922, the regiment was disbanded.

Key facts

Titles to date:

  • The Royal Munster Fusiliers
 The Royal Munster Fusiliers
1881–1922
 
          
     
101st Regiment of Foot
(Royal Bengal Fusiliers)

1652-1881
  104th Regiment of Foot
(Bengal Fusiliers)

1765-1881

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3 comments

Wm and Mary Clogston
13 March 2013, 9.50pm

Thank you for preserving an

Thank you for preserving an unknown and very vital piece of history.
All the Irishmen who fought in the wars should be recognized. In fact they are all British (Celtic) as they all came from the British Isles and they are indeed the early Britons. So few people know this history and it is indeed a complete contradiction to Hollywood's horrible movie "Ryan's Daughter" which someone brought to our attention recently saying how badly this poor "English" soldier had been treated in Ireland. Funny how Hollywood can distort history.

One of our families have been in the US since 1719 while the other has parent's from Munster and relatives who did serve in your regiment. We saw the beautiful monument in Killarney and another one in Dublin. Hollywood always has an agenda and people deserve to know their true history. I can tell you our friend who told us about "Ryan's Daughter" was completely shocked. Thank you so much for preserving and sharing. This history has to be brought forward. So happy to see you on facebook. The internet is correcting so much of the false history that was passed on.

Tina Dunning
8 September 2013, 11.32am

My great grandfather James

My great grandfather James Armes service number 2305 served first with 104th foot Bengal Fusiliers from November 1862 and then the Royal Munster Fusiliers where he attained the rank of Sergeant. My dad was born in Malta and we did not know how his family got to Malta. However we now know after reading the information above. James was discharged from the army in 1884 when the Royal Munsters were in Malta. Thank you.

Margaret Mann nee Cooper
3 March 2014, 5.24pm

I am interested in the

I am interested in the regiment because I believe my father Private Robert Cooper served with them in WW1 or was transfered to the reserve. He was mobilized on 29th June 1918 I have a certificate of demobilization with a number 21329 saying he was transferred to the reserve with the Royal Munster from the Durham Light Infantry but there is no record of him on the forces record. He enlisted on 11th November 1916 shortly before his 18th birthday. He served in Italy.

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