21 January 2009

Irish Guards 1900-1918

John Kipling, Irish Guards
The Irish Guards was formed on 1st April 1900 as a result of Army Order 77 which stated, "Her Majesty the Queen, having deemed it desirable to commemorate the bravery shown by the Irish regiments in the recent operations in South Africa, has been graciously pleased to command that an Irish regiment of Foot Guards be formed. This regiment will be designated The Irish Guards”. Two hundred Irish soldiers who transferred from the Grenadier Guards formed the nucleus of the regiment.

Here are some army service numbers and corresponding joining dates for the Irish Guards from 1900 to 1918:

1 joined on 1st April 1900
663 joined on 14th January 1901
1285 joined on 7th April 1902
1552 joined on 6th January 1903
1881 joined on 27th January 1904
2286 joined on 20th May 1905
2494 joined on 9th January 1906
2703 joined on 15th January 1907
2927 joined on 14th January 1908
3279 joined on 2nd March 1909
3504 joined on 2nd March 1910
3933 joined on 1st November 1911
4002 joined on 3rd January 1912
4414 joined on 31st March 1913
4809 joined on 5th June 1914

The First World War

5053 joined on 31st August 1914
5089 joined on 4th September 1914
5661 joined on 10th October 1914
5886 joined on 4th November 1914
6173 joined on 15th December 1914
6356 joined on 1st January 1915
6755 joined on 11th February 1915
6981 joined on 4th March 1915
7301 joined on 2nd April 1915
8043 joined on 5th May 1915
8547 joined on 2nd June 1915
9036 joined on 1st July 1915
9458 joined on 6th August 1915
9787 joined on 13th September 1915
9888 joined on 8th October 1915
10106 joined on 10th November 1915
10347 joined on 1st January 1916
10833 joined on 5th February 1916
11322 joined on 29th June 1916
11475 joined on 16th September 1916
12270 joined on 20th August 1917
12541 joined on 25th January 1918
12933 joined on 12th April 1918
13901 joined on 23rd August 1918

Pictured, author Rudyard Kipling's beloved son John (Jack) Kipling who, as a Second Lieutenant with the 2nd Battalion, Irish Guards, was killed in action on 27th September 1915. His body was never found. My thanks to Stuart Wilson of the Sons of Galloway website for tidying up the image.

I also offer a comprehensive, fast and cost-effective military history research service. Follow the link for more information.

Irish Guards service and pension records: Ancestry.co.uk

Irish Guards in the Great War - 1st and 2nd Battalions

"When war broke out in August 1914 the 1st Battalion (there was only one battalion, then) was in Wellington Barracks (London), one of the four guards battalions that made up the 4th (Guards) Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division. The battalion landed in France on 13 August 1914. In July 1915 Kitchener obtained the permission of the King to form a Guards Division, an idea he had not shared with the War Cabinet nor with the C in C in France. As there were only ten battalions of Guards at the time, including the recently (February 1915) formed Welsh Guards, he gave orders for another Grenadier and Irish Guards battalion to be raised to make up the required twelve battalions; a fourth Coldstream battalion was also formed as the divisional Pioneer battalion. Thus, on 18 July 1915 the 2nd Battalion Irish Guards came into existence, formed from the 2nd Reserve Battalion which itself had been created in August 1914.
"Rudyard Kipling followed the same pattern with both 1st & 2nd Battalions, concentrating on the events that affected the battalions and making use of official and private records, diaries and personal interviews with officers and men of the battalions. The book teems with Kipling's characteristic powers of description, his meticulous eye for detail and his empathy with fighting men at their last extremity as he narrates the Guards' progress from Mons to the Armistice via the fighting at La Bassee, Loos, Laventie, Ypres, the Somme, Gouzeaucourt and Arras."

Short History of the Irish Guards 1900-1927

"This little book was a response to the Army Authorities requiring a study of Regimental History as part of the syllabus for the Second and Third Class Certificates of Education, and for NCOs’ promotion exams. The Irish Guards had been formed only in 1900, and so to give this short history a wider scope two chapters were included, one on the history of the Irish regiments and the other on the Brigade of Guards. Contents include details on the service careers of the Colonels of the Regiment - Roberts, Kitchener, French and Cavan ; Battle Honours; succession of commanding officers; VCs and sporting events."

Read my other posts on numbering in the Foot Guards regiments:

Grenadier Guards
Coldstream Guards
Scots Guards
Welsh Guards

Identify a Foot Guards soldier by his uniform: Identifying the Guards - Army Ancestry


Paula said...

My father John Hurley was in the Irish Guards,fought in WW1 in France,was missing in action for 3 weeks but was later reunited with his Unit.He was very proud to have been a soldier with the Irish guards. He married in 1942 and had four children (three surviving). He died in 1970 aged 75.

Paul Nixon said...

Now remembered here, too. Thank you Paula.

Paul Nixon said...


Thank you for you post and sorry for the delay in replying to it. These books are always of interest but to be honest I am involved in so many disparate research projects at the moment that I wouldn't have time to embark on another research project, although I did do something like this with an autograph album I have in my possession. Why don't you put all the information into a database and then see if you can find out more about the men using online resources?

Thomas Byers is possibly 2122 Pte Thomas Byers, later Lt, subsequently Captain, who arrived overseas in France as a Pte and who was commissioend in the regiment on the 11th January 1916. His service record probably survives at The National Archives.

Donald Arthur B Moodie was a Lt in the 1st Battalion Irish Guards who won the MC. He is mentioned in Kipling's battalion history of the regiment.

Good luck.


Unknown said...

James maguire Mulligan 4547 was my grandfather and spent most of his early life in Egypt online he finished with the 1st baton, but that must have been the 1st garrison battalion as he was born 3.1898

sparky said...

My great grandfather was John Fagan, # 2992, KIA 11-06-1914, Belgium.

He was from Truskey East, Barna, Galway. Is there any info available on the battle involved?
Thank you.
Martin R. T. Mersch

Paul Nixon said...

Re 2992 John fagan. Read Kipling's The Irish Guards in The Great War and also download the war diary free of charge from The National Archives website.

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