London Irish Rifles

Last updated
London Irish Rifles

London Irish Rifles.png

Crest of the London Irish Rifles
Active 1859−1919
1920−Present Day
CountryFlag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom
Branch Flag of the British Army.svg army reserve
Type Infantry
Role Rifles
Size One company
Part of London Regiment
Garrison/HQ Duke of York's Headquarters (1912−2000)
Flodden Road, Camberwell (2000−Present)
Motto(s)

Quis separabit?

"Who shall separate us?"
March

"Garryowen"

Anniversaries St Patrick's Day (17 Mar)
Loos (25 Sep)
Commanders
Honorary Colonel Major-General Sir Sebastian John Lechmere Roberts KCVO OBE
Insignia
Tartan Saffron (pipers kilts)     
Hackle St Patrick's Blue Hackle worn by Officers, Warrant Officers and Pipers. Dark Green Hackle worn by all other ranks.

The London Irish Rifles (LIR) was a volunteer rifle regiment of the British Army with a distinguished history, and now forms 'D' (London Irish Rifles) Company of the London Regiment and is part of the Army Reserve.

A rifle regiment is a military unit consisting of a regiment of infantry troops armed with rifles and known as riflemen. While all infantry units in modern armies are typically armed with rifled weapons the term is still used to denote regiments that follow the distinct traditions that differentiated them from other infantry units.

British Army land warfare branch of the British Armed Forces of the United Kingdom

The British Army is the principal land warfare force of the United Kingdom, a part of British Armed Forces. As of 2018, the British Army comprises just over 81,500 trained regular (full-time) personnel and just over 27,000 trained reserve (part-time) personnel.

Army Reserve (United Kingdom) element of the British Army

The Army Reserve is the active-duty volunteer reserve force and integrated element of the British Army. It should not be confused with the Regular Reserve whose members have formerly served full-time. The Army Reserve was previously known as the Territorial Force from 1908 to 1921, the Territorial Army (TA) from 1921 to 1967, the Territorial and Army Volunteer Reserve (TAVR) from 1967 to 1979, and again the Territorial Army (TA) from 1979 to 2014.

Contents

History

1859-1914

18th Middlesex Rifle Volunteers (London Irish), c1895 Cooper King4.jpg
18th Middlesex Rifle Volunteers (London Irish), c1895

The London Irish Rifles was originally formed in 1859 during the Victorian Volunteer Movement and named 28th Middlesex (London Irish) Rifle Volunteer Corps. [1] During the Second Boer War, the battalion sent eight officers and 208 private soldiers for active service. Captain EG Concannon won the Distinguished Service Order (DSO). In recognition of their service, the London Irish was granted their first battle honour, "South Africa, 1900-1902". [2]

Second Boer War war between South African Republic and the United Kingdom

The Second Boer War was fought between the British Empire and two Boer states, the South African Republic and the Orange Free State, over the Empire's influence in South Africa. It is also known variously as the Boer War, Anglo-Boer War, or South African War. Initial Boer attacks were successful, and although British reinforcements later reversed these, the war continued for years with Boer guerrilla warfare, until harsh British counter-measures brought them to terms.

Battalion military unit size

A battalion is a military unit. The use of the term "battalion" varies by nationality and branch of service. Typically a battalion consists of 300 to 800 soldiers and is divided into a number of companies. A battalion is typically commanded by a lieutenant colonel. In some countries, the word "battalion" is associated with the infantry.

Officer (armed forces) member of an armed force or uniformed service who holds a position of authority

An officer is a member of an armed forces or uniformed service who holds a position of authority.

In 1908, the London Irish was transferred to the Territorial Force and renamed the 18th (County of London) Battalion, the London Regiment (London Irish Rifles). [1]

Territorial Force former volunteer reserve component of the British Army

The Territorial Force was a part-time volunteer component of the British Army, created in 1908 to augment British land forces without resorting to conscription. The new organisation consolidated the 19th-century Volunteer Force and yeomanry into a unified auxiliary, commanded by the War Office and administered by local County Territorial Associations. The Territorial Force was designed to reinforce the regular army in expeditionary operations abroad, but because of political opposition it was assigned to home defence. Members were liable for service anywhere in the UK and could not be compelled to serve overseas. In the first two months of the First World War, territorials volunteered for foreign service in significant numbers, allowing territorial units to be deployed abroad. They saw their first action on the Western Front during the initial German offensive of 1914, and the force filled the gap between the near destruction of the regular army that year and the arrival of the New Army in 1915. Territorial units were deployed to Gallipoli in 1915 and, following the failure of that campaign, provided the bulk of the British contribution to allied forces in the Sinai and Palestine Campaign. By the war's end, the Territorial Force had fielded twenty-three infantry divisions and two mounted divisions on foreign soil. It was demobilised after the war and reconstituted in 1921 as the Territorial Army.

First World War

The 1st battalion was mobilised in August 1914, at the start of the First World War at the Duke of York's Headquarters. [3] It landed at Le Havre as part of the 5th London Brigade in the 2nd London Division. [3] The 2nd battalion landed in France in June 1916 in the 180th Brigade in the 60th (2/2nd London) Division. [3] The 2nd battalion served on the Salonika front from December 1916 to June 1917 and then join the Egyptian Expeditionary Force for the advance to Jericho. [4]

World War I 1914–1918 global war originating in Europe

World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.

Duke of Yorks Headquarters building in Chelsea in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

The Duke of York's Headquarters is a building in Chelsea in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, England. In 1969 it was declared a listed building at Grade II*, due to its outstanding historic or architectural special interest.

Le Havre Subprefecture and commune in Normandy, France

Le Havre, is an urban French commune and city in the Seine-Maritime department in the Normandy region of northwestern France. It is situated on the right bank of the estuary of the river Seine on the Channel southwest of the Pays de Caux.

At the Battle of Loos, the 1st Battalion LIR particularly distinguished itself. While storming across No-Man's Land to capture the enemy trenches, Rifleman Frank Edwards, the Captain of the football team, kicked a football along in front of the troops as they approached the German lines. [5] Some 1,016 London Irishmen were killed during the conflict. [4]

Battle of Loos offensive mounted on the Western Front during World War I

The Battle of Loos took place from 25 September – 8 October 1915 in France on the Western Front, during the First World War. It was the biggest British attack of 1915, the first time that the British used poison gas and the first mass engagement of New Army units. The French and British tried to break through the German defences in Artois and Champagne and restore a war of movement. Despite improved methods, more ammunition and better equipment, the Franco-British attacks were contained by the German armies, except for local losses of ground. British casualties at Loos were about twice as high as German losses.

Frank Edwards, also known as The Footballer of Loos, was a British Army soldier in the First World War who served as a rifleman in the 1st Battalion, London Irish Rifles, during the Battle of Loos. He is distinguished for leading the London Irish across no man's land to storm enemy trenches kicking a football ahead of the troops. The successful capture of enemy positions that followed earned the London Irish Rifles their second battle honour, Loos, 1915. The football is still preserved in the regimental museum of the London Irish and to this day the memory of Edwards is commemorated on Loos Sunday.

A football is a ball inflated with air that is used to play one of the various sports known as football. In these games, with some exceptions, goals or points are scored only when the ball enters one of two designated goal-scoring areas; football games involve the two teams each trying to move the ball in opposite directions along the field of play.

Inter-war

Cap badge variations between WW1 (Left) and WW2 (Right) London Irish Cap Badge Variations.jpg
Cap badge variations between WW1 (Left) and WW2 (Right)

After the cessation of hostilities, the LIR was reduced to cadre strength, before being disbanded in May 1919 at Felixstowe. In February 1920, the 18th (County of London) Battalion of the London Regiment (London Irish Rifles) was reconstituted as a component of the 47th (2nd London) Infantry Division of the new Territorial Army, and in 1923, the designation of the Regiment was shortened to 18th London Regiment (London Irish Rifles). [1]

Felixstowe town in Suffolk, England

Felixstowe is a seaside town in Suffolk, England. At the 2011 Census, it had a population of 23,689. The Port of Felixstowe is the largest container port in the United Kingdom.

47th (1/2nd London) Division

The 47th Division was an infantry division of the British Army, raised in 1908 as part of the Territorial Force.

In 1937, when the London Regiment was disbanded, the unit became known as London Irish Rifles, the Royal Ulster Rifles. [1] After the 47th Division was also disbanded, the London Irish transferred to the 169th (3rd London) Infantry Brigade, part of 56th (1st London) Infantry Division. [6]

Second World War

In April 1939, the establishment of the Territorial Army (TA), the British Army's part-time reserve, was doubled in size and the 2nd Battalion, London Irish Rifles was reformed, initially as a component unit of the 4th London Infantry Brigade, part of the 2nd London Infantry Division which was a 2nd Line duplicate of the 1st Line 1st London Infantry Division. [7]

The Pipe Band of the London Irish Rifles on parade with their Irish Wolfhound mascot, near Tunbridge Wells, Kent, 31 December 1940. The British Army in the United Kingdom 1939-45 H6357.jpg
The Pipe Band of the London Irish Rifles on parade with their Irish Wolfhound mascot, near Tunbridge Wells, Kent, 31 December 1940.

The 70th (Young Soldiers) Battalion, a Young Soldiers unit of the London Irish Rifles, was also formed, early in 1940, and set up for young men volunteering who were between the ages of eighteen and nineteen and a half. The objective of the battalion was to train the soldiers to the highest standard of drill, skill-at-arms, discipline and turnout in preparation for the time when they would, in theory, be fit to take their place within the 1st and 2nd Battalions. The 70th (Young Soldiers) Battalion ceased to exist in January 1943, when all such units were disbanded. [8]

A company of the 1st Battalion was involved in the Battle of Graveney Marsh, in September 1940 the last ground combat between a foreign invading force and British troops that happened on British mainland soil. [9] [10]

The 1st Battalion, London Irish Rifles formed part of the 1st London Infantry Brigade, itself part of the 1st London Division. In November 1940 the battalion transferred to the 2nd London Brigade, which was soon renumbered as the 168th (London) Infantry Brigade, due to the division's redesignation as the 56th (London) Infantry Division. From the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939 until late July 1942, the battalion was in training, mainly in southeast England. The battalion left England in August 1942 to serve in the Middle East. In April 1943 the battalion, together with the rest of the 168th Brigade, was temporarily transferred to the 50th (Northumbrian) Infantry Division and fought in the Allied invasion of Sicily, codenamed Operation Husky, in July/August. The battalion, as part of the 168th Brigade, returned to the 56th Division in Italy in October, and took part in major actions during the Italian Campaign at Fosso Bottacetto south of Catania, Monte Camino, Monte Damiano, the Garagliano crossing during the first Battle of Monte Cassino and Aprilia (Anzio), and at the Gothic Line, and, transferring back to the 167th Brigade, the battalion played a leading role in the final Allied offensive in Northern Italy during April 1945. [11] In the month that they spent fighting in the Anzio beachhead, the 1st Battalion's casualties totalled 600 officers and other ranks killed, wounded and missing. Some 700 men of the London Irish Rifles were killed in action during the Second World War. [11]

A casualty is brought back across the River Reno during operations by 'C' Company of the 1st Battalion, London Irish Rifles to establish a bridgehead across the river, 6 April 1945. The British Army in Italy 1945 NA23745.jpg
A casualty is brought back across the River Reno during operations by 'C' Company of the 1st Battalion, London Irish Rifles to establish a bridgehead across the river, 6 April 1945.

The 2nd Battalion formed part of the 38th (Irish) Brigade, initially as part of 6th Armoured Division and later within the 78th Battleaxe Division, a division with an excellent reputation, and was in front line service from November 1942 to May 1945 throughout Tunisia and Italy including taking part in major actions at Bou Arada, Heidous, Centuripe, Termoli, Sangro River, the Liri Valley, Trasimeno, Monte Spaduro and at the Argenta Gap. The battalion garrisoned parts of Austria in the immediate post war period. During the final offensive in Italy the battalion was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel H. E. N. Bredin. [12]

Infantrymen of the 2nd Battalion, London Irish Rifles move forward through barbed wire defences on their way to attack a German strongpoint on the southern bank of the River Senio, Italy, 22 March 1945. The British Army in Italy 1945 NA23238.jpg
Infantrymen of the 2nd Battalion, London Irish Rifles move forward through barbed wire defences on their way to attack a German strongpoint on the southern bank of the River Senio, Italy, 22 March 1945.

Post war

After the war, the battalion re-formed as a battalion of the Royal Ulster Rifles. In 1967, with the disbanding of the London Regiment, the three Irish Regular Infantry Regiments combined to form The Royal Irish Rangers, and the London Irish Rifles became D Company (London Irish Rifles), 4th Battalion The Royal Irish Rangers, remaining so until the re-formation of The London Regiment in 1993. [1]

Since 1993 and the incorporation of the London Irish Rifles as a company of the London Regiment, soldiers from the London Irish Rifles have served in Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan and Cyprus. During Operation Telic, the company contributed to the formation of Cambrai Company (Operation Telic 3) and Messines Company (Operation Telic 4), both of which were commanded by officers of the London Irish Rifles. Soldiers from the company also deployed to Afghanistan with Somme Company in 2007 (Operation Herrick 7), Amiens Company in 2010 (Operation Herrick 12) and Arras Company in 2011 (Operation Herrick 13). [13]

The London Irish Rifles moved from their historic home, Duke of York's Headquarters, Chelsea to Flodden Road, Camberwell in 2000. [14] [15]

Battle honours

The regiment's battle honours were as follows: [1]

See also

Related Research Articles

60th (2/2nd London) Division

The 60th Division was an infantry division of the British Army raised during World War I. The division was the second of two second-line Territorial Force divisions formed from the surplus of London recruits in 1914. Originally the division merely supplied the first-line Territorial divisions with drafts to replace losses through casualties. It was not until late 1915 that the division began to be equipped for field operations and it was not sent overseas to France until mid-1916. As a "lesser" division it was sent to the minor fronts of Salonika and finally Palestine. In mid-1918, most British battalions were replaced with Indian battalions and sent to the Western Front, the division effectively became a British Indian Army division.

5th Infantry Division (United Kingdom) combat formation of the British Army

The 5th Infantry Division was a regular army infantry division of the British Army. It was established by Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington for service in the Peninsular War, as part of the Anglo-Portuguese Army, and was active for most of the period since, including the First World War and the Second World War and was disbanded soon after. The division was reformed in 1995 as an administrative division covering Wales and the English regions of West Midlands, East Midlands and East. Its headquarters were in Shrewsbury. It was disbanded on 1 April 2012.

8th Infantry Division (United Kingdom) combat formation of the British Army

The 8th Infantry Division was an infantry division of the British Army that was active in both World War I and World War II. The division was first formed in October 1914 during World War I, initially consisting mainly of soldiers of the Regular Army and served on the Western Front throughout the war, sustaining many casualties, before disbandment in 1919. The division was reactivated in Palestine, under the command of Major-General Bernard Montgomery, in the late 1930s in the years running up to the Second World War before being disbanded in late February 1940. It was briefly reformed in Syria in an administrative role during 1942-3.

56th (London) Infantry Division

The 56th (London) Infantry Division was an infantry division of the British Army, which served under several different titles and designations. The division served in the trenches of the Western Front during the First World War. Disbanded after the war, the division was reformed in 1920 and saw active service in the Second World War in Tunisia and Italy. The division was again disbanded in 1946 and reformed as an armoured formation before final disbandment in 1961.

Royal Ulster Rifles British Army infantry regiment

The Royal Irish Rifles was an infantry rifle regiment of the British Army, first created in 1881 by the amalgamation of the 83rd Regiment of Foot and the 86th Regiment of Foot. The regiment saw service in the Second Boer War, the First World War, the Second World War, and the Korean War.

Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers

The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers was an Irish line infantry regiment of the British Army in existence from 1881 until 1968. The regiment was formed in 1881 by the amalgamation of the 27th (Inniskilling) Regiment of Foot and the 108th Regiment of Foot.

Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) Infantry regiment of the British Army, 1881-1968

The Cameronians was a rifle regiment of the British Army, the only regiment of rifles amongst the Scottish regiments of infantry. It was formed in 1881 under the Childers Reforms by the amalgamation of the 26th Cameronian Regiment and the 90th Perthshire Light Infantry. In 1968, when reductions were required, the regiment chose to be disbanded rather than amalgamated with another regiment, one of only two infantry regiments in the British Army to do so, with the other being the York and Lancaster Regiment. It can trace its roots to that of the Cameronians, later the 26th of Foot, who were raised in 1689. The 1881 amalgamation coincided with the Cameronian's selection to become the new Scottish Rifles.

York and Lancaster Regiment Former line infantry regiment of the British Army

The York and Lancaster Regiment was a line infantry regiment of the British Army that existed from 1881 until 1968. The regiment was created in the Childers Reforms of 1881 by the amalgamation of the 65th Regiment of Foot and the 84th Regiment of Foot. The regiment saw service in many small conflicts and both World War I and World War II until 1968, when the regiment chose to be disbanded rather than amalgamated with another regiment, one of only two infantry regiments in the British Army to do so, with the other being the Cameronians.

38th (Irish) Brigade

The 38th (Irish) Brigade, is an infantry brigade formation of the British Army that served in the Second World War. It was composed of Irish line infantry regiments and served with distinction in the Tunisian and Italian Campaigns. A similar formation, the 38th Brigade had served in World War I, but contained no Irish connection.

2nd Infantry Brigade (United Kingdom) British Army reserve formation

The 2nd Infantry Brigade was a regional brigade of the British Army, active since before the First World War. It was the regional formation of the Army in the South East of England–the Brigade commanded and administered soldiers throughout Kent, Surrey and Sussex–but also Brunei. In December 2014 the Brigade merged with 145 (South) Brigade to form Headquarters 11th Infantry Brigade and Headquarters South East.

167th (1st London) Brigade

The 167th Brigade was an infantry formation of the British Territorial Army that saw active service in both the First and Second World Wars. It was the first Territorial formation to go overseas in 1914, garrisoning Malta, and then served with the 56th (London) Infantry Division on the Western Front and in the North African and Italian campaigns in World War II.

3rd Infantry Brigade (United Kingdom) military unit, British Army

The 3rd Infantry Brigade was a Regular Army infantry brigade of the British Army, part of the 1st Infantry Division. Originally formed in 1809, during the Peninsular War, the brigade had a long history, seeing action in the Second Anglo-Afghan War, and during both World War I and World War II.

Royal Berkshire Regiment

The Royal Berkshire Regiment was a line infantry regiment of the British Army in existence from 1881 until 1959. The regiment was created in 1881, as the Princess Charlotte of Wales's , by the amalgamation of the 49th (Hertfordshire) Regiment of Foot and the 66th (Berkshire) Regiment of Foot. In 1921, it was renamed the Royal Berkshire Regiment .

Royal Irish Fusiliers Former regiment of the British Army

The Royal Irish Fusiliers was an Irish line infantry regiment of the British Army, formed by the amalgamation of the 87th Regiment of Foot and the 89th Regiment of Foot in 1881. The regiment's first title in 1881 was Princess Victoria's , changed in 1920 to the Royal Irish Fusiliers . Between the time of its formation and Irish independence, it was one of eight Irish regiments.

Loyal Regiment (North Lancashire)

The Loyal Regiment was a line infantry regiment of the British Army that was in existence from 1881 to 1970. In 1970, the regiment was amalgamated with the Lancashire Regiment to form the Queen's Lancashire Regiment which was, in 2006, amalgamated with the King's Own Royal Border Regiment and the King's Regiment to form the Duke of Lancaster Regiment.

168th (2nd London) Brigade

The 168th Brigade was an infantry brigade formation of the British Army that saw service during both World War I and World War II. Throughout its existence, serving under many different titles and designations, the brigade was an integral part of the 56th (London) Infantry Division. It served on the Western Front during World War I and in the Italian Campaign during World War II. It was finally disbanded in the 1960s.

140th (4th London) Brigade

The 140th Brigade was an infantry brigade formation of the British Army's Territorial Army (TA) that had its origins in a South London Brigade of the former Volunteer Force. It served on the Western Front in the First World War and was recreated during the Second World War where it served only in the United Kingdom as a training formation.

169th (3rd London) Brigade

The 169th Brigade was an infantry brigade of the British Army that saw active service in both the First and the Second World Wars. Throughout its existence the brigade, serving under numerous many different titles and designations, was an integral part of the 56th (London) Infantry Division. It served on the Western Front and in the North African and Italian campaigns during World War II.

The 11th Gurkha Rifles was a Gurkha regiment of the British Indian Army. It was formed in Mesopotamia and Palestine in May 1918, saw active service in the First World War and the Third Anglo-Afghan War, and was disbanded in April 1922.

The 151st Sikh Infantry – also designated 151st Punjabi Rifles, see nomenclature (below) – was an infantry regiment of the British Indian Army. It was formed in Mesopotamia and Palestine in May 1918, saw active service in the First World War and the Third Anglo-Afghan War, and was disbanded in May 1921.

References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "London Irish Rifles". Regiments.org. Archived from the original on 10 January 2006. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
  2. "Boer War/Pre First World War". London Irish Rifles Association. Retrieved 23 November 2017.
  3. 1 2 3 "The London Regiment". The Long, Long Trail. Retrieved 27 May 2017.
  4. 1 2 "The First World War". London Irish Rifles Association. Retrieved 23 November 2017.
  5. "Frank Edwards: Footballer of Loos". World war One: Playing the Game. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  6. "The London Division 1937-1938" (PDF). British Military History. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  7. Joslen, p. 235
  8. "70th (Young Soldiers) Battalion". National Archives. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
  9. "Kent battle between German bomber crew and British soldiers marked after 70 years". The Daily Telegraph . 20 August 2010. Retrieved 20 August 2010.
  10. Green, Ron; Mark Harrison (30 September 2009). "Forgotten frontline exhibition tells how Luftwaffe fought with soldiers on Kent marshes". KentOnline.
  11. 1 2 "The Second World War". London Irish Rifles Association. Retrieved 23 November 2017.
  12. Major General 'Bala' Bredin, Obituary, The Times, 9 March 2005.
  13. "London Parade for returning UK troops". The Daily Telegraph. 15 October 2007. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  14. "D Company". London Irish Rifles Association. Retrieved 23 November 2017.
  15. "D Company (London Irish Rifles)". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 23 November 2017.

Sources

Further reading