This post will look at regular enlistments into the Royal Irish Regiment between 1881 (when the regiment was formed out of the old 18th (Royal Irish) Regiment of Foot) and 1914.
There are close to 20,000 Royal Irish Regiment service and pension records (for this regiment - and its antecedents) in various War Office series held at the National Archives. Clicking on the link will take you to the results on Findmypast but you will need a subscription or Pay-Per-View credits to actually view the records. Some of these records can also be viewed on-line on Ancestry although Findmypast has by far the most comprehensive service and pension record collection.
Use the regimental numbers and dates on which these were issued, below, to determine parameters for when your own Royal Irish Regiment ancestor would have joined up. Note though that these numbers are only for regular enlistments. Special Reserve and Extra Reserve battalions operated completely separate regimental number sequences.
23 joined on 15th November 1881
321 joined on 7th February 1882
1101 joined on 3rd February 1883
1152 joined on 5th January 1884
1884 joined on 31st January 1885
2508 joined on 22nd May 1886
2734 joined on 10th January 1887
2990 joined on 20th January 1888
3160 joined on 24th January 1889
3492 joined on 20th January 1890
3952 joined on 18th June 1891
4301 joined on 1st February 1892
4751 joined on 1st May 1893
5065 joined on 10th January 1894
5364 joined on 19th February 1895
5867 joined on 13th August 1896
6013 joined on 6th March 1897
6256 joined on 11th January 1898
6613 joined on 5th April 1899
6792 joined on 2nd January 1900
7108 joined on 5th October 1901
7257 joined on 15th March 1902
7639 joined on 28th February 1903
8148 joined on 18th January 1904
8508 joined on 27th January 1905
9001 joined on 17th July 1906
9201 joined on 16th January 1907
9471 joined on 20th March 1908
9758 joined on 24th February 1909
10011 joined on 3rd March 1910
10387 joined on 15th January 1911
10598 joined on 17th October 1912
10673 joined on 17th February 1913
10915 joined on 18th March 1914
When Britain went to war with Germany a few months later, the Royal Irish Regiment started a new series from 1 for war-time service enlistments joining the newly forming service battalions. Men who, during war-time wanted to enlist for regular terms of service, were given numbers from the series above. Thus, for example, 11042 was a regular enlistment in January 1915, whilst men joining the 5th and 6th service battalions at this time were being given numbers in the 25** and 26** range.
The image on this post shows the Colours of the 18th Foot and was originally published in the Historical record of the Eighteenth, or the Royal Irish Regiment of Foot in 1848. Wikimedia has the image on-line here.
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The Royal Irish Regiment at The Naval & Military Press
Campaigns and History of the Royal Irish Regiment from 1684-1902
CLICK HERE for a short synopsis from N&M Press. Book includes appendices showing a calendar of the Regiment’s moves from 1685 to 1902 including location of peacetime stations during that time. Each battalion is shown separately. Then follows the casualty roll giving names of officers killed, died of wounds or disease and wounded in every campaign or battle from 1690, the siege of Limerick, to the end of the Boer War. Other rank casualties are at first given as figures but from the American War of Independence on they, too, are named. Another appendix gives the names of all 52 officers who died in the West Indies and this is followed by the list of awards for gallantry (three VCs) and the recipients of the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal (LSGCM). There is a list showing succession of colonels from 1684 to 1897 with biographies, including that of the Colonel-in-Chief (Viscount Wolseley). And finally there is a descriptive list of Memorials of the Regiment, noting to whom they are dedicated with any inscriptions and names. The book ends with a good, twenty-page index.
Campaigns and History of the Royal Irish Regiment from 1900-1922
In the long history of Irish regiments serving with the British Army, few units have acquired more battle honours than the Royal Irish Regiment, ranging from Marlborough’s great victories in the 18th century to the Crimean and Boer Wars. This volume covers the actions of the regiment’s nine battalions in the Great War, in which it saw continuous action from the first battle (Mons) to the last (Hindenburg LIne). As well as service in all the major and minor battles in France and Flanders - Marne, Aisne, the three Ypres; the Somme; Messines; Passchdendaele and Cambrai, the regiment served in other theatres including Gallipoli; Macedonia; and Palestine. It is a proud record to which this history does full justice, with appendices on the distinguished Colonels of the regiment (including Field Marshal Sir John French) and Rolls of Honour. CLICK HERE to order.