The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers was an Irish infantry regiment of the British Army, formed in 1881 by the amalgamation of the 27th (Inniskilling) Regiment of Foot and the 108th Regiment of Foot (Madras Infantry). It saw service in the South African War, the First World War and the Second World War, before being amalgamated into the Royal Irish Rangers in 1968.
After its formation, the regiment saw action in the British colonies in Africa and fought in the Pashtun
uprising and the Second Boer War
. The regiment recruited mainly from the counties of Donegal
, with its garrison depot located at Omagh
. Militarily, the whole of Ireland was administered as a separate command within the United Kingdom
with Command Headquarters at Parkgate (Phoenix Park
, directly under the War Office
First World War
In 1914 the Great War
broke out and the 2nd Battalion was first to see action in the Battle of Le Cateau
. The 1st Battalion participated in the Landing at Cape Helles
on the Gallipoli peninsula
in April 1915 with the 29th Division
. There were also 9 New Army
battalions raised seeing service with the 36th (Ulster) Division
and the 16th (Irish) Division
on the Western Front
and at Gallipoli, the Macedonian Campaign
There were 12 battalions raised by this regiment during the First World War and 8 Victoria Crosses were won during it.
Between the first and second world war the 1st Battalion was stationed in India, Iraq, Shanghai and Singapore. The 2nd Battalion was disbanded in 1922 but raised again in 1937 at Catterick.
Recipients of the Victoria Cross
Second World War
During the second world war the 2nd Battalion, as part of the BEF
was among those that were evacuated from Dunkirk
after desperate fighting as the rear guard to the retreating BEF. In 1942 the 1st Battalion was flown to Burma
to help stem the Japanese
advance and in 1943 took part in the operations in the Arakan
peninsula. After re-fitting, the 2nd Battalion, as part of Fifth Division
, left England in 1942 for the east indies. . Before they could join the rest of the Division, the second battalion was recalled for duties in North Africa maintaining POW camps. Their journey was to take them to Syria
, and eventually they arrived in the Mediterranean
in time to take part in the invasion of Sicily
followed by that of Italy
During the Italian Campaign the 6th Battalion would serve in the same theatre as the 2nd but with the 38th (Irish) Infantry Brigade. The 6th Battalion had fought in the Tunisian Campaign in North Africa and the 2nd Battalion had taken part in the landings on Sicily and then Italy, some units of the second battalion took part at Monte Cassino.
During the Second World War the regiment raised 3 battalions to fight in the war.
After the war the First Battalion returned to India from Burma
and after a stay in Hong Kong
was engaged for many months hunting terrorists in the jungles of Malaya
. In 1948 both regular battalions were amalgamated as 1st Battalion The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. In 1949 after a brief spell at home the battalion went to the West Indies returning to the United Kingdom
in April 1951. In 1952 it was presented with the Freedom of Enniskillen, the town of its birth and later in the same year went abroad to the Suez Canal
Zone and afterwards to Kenya
where it helped to suppress the Mau Mau
terror; while in the latter country it received the Freedom of Nairobi in perpetuity, the first and so far the only time that a British Regiment has been so honoured by a colonial city. For a short time, from April 1952, the 2nd Battalion was reformed and saw service in Egypt and Cyprus, where it was in action against EOKA terrorists. The battalion had also deployed 400 men to help the civil authorities during the severe flooding in the Thames estuary. In 1956 the battalion was again disbanded.
The First Battalion returned to England in 1955 and after two years at the School of Infantry went to Germany, being stationed in Berlin and Wuppertal. In 1960 half of the Battalion was back in Kenya with a detachment in Bahrein. In 1961 the Battalion flew into Kuwait when the Sheikdom was threatened by Iraq. The Battalion returned to England in 1962 being stationed at Gravesend.
In April 1968 the 1st Battalion had its final operational deployment when Tactical Headquarters and B Company were ordered at short notice to Bermuda with trouble brewing on the Island due to a tense political situation. Following a peaceful election the detachment returned to Worcester in preparation along with the remainder of the Battalion for the final Regimental Chapter and at midnight on 30th June 1968, following a nostalgic ceremony the Regimental Flag was lowered for the last time.
On 1 July 1968
, The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, The Royal Ulster Rifles
and The Royal Irish Fusiliers
became The Royal Irish Rangers
(27th Inniskilling, 83rd and 87th). The Royal Irish Rangers was later to amalgamate with The Ulster Defence Regiment and on the 1st July 1992 became The Royal Irish Regiment
The Regimental Chapel
The Regimental chapel is in St. Macartin's Cathedral
Great War Memorials