11 June 2009

Royal Dublin Fusiliers - 1st & 2nd Battalions

The Royal Dublin Fusiliers was born on 1st July 1881. The 1st Battalion was created out of the old 102nd Regiment of Foot (Royal Madras Fusiliers) and the 2nd Battalion was created out of the old 103rd Regiment of Foot (Royal Bombay Fusiliers).

The regiment was garrisoned at Naas and served the counties of Dublin, Kildare, Wicklow and Carlow in Ireland.

There are over 24,000 Royal Dublin Fusiliers 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 record collection.

Use the regimental numbers and dates on which these were issued, below, to determine parameters for when your own Royal Dublin Fusiliers 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.

Here then, is a snapshot of sample army service numbers and corresponding joining dates for the two regular battalions of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers from 1881 until June 1914.

92 joined on 3rd September 1881
763 joined on 10th April 1882
1240 joined on 24th June 1883
1632 joined on 18th April 1884
1968 joined on 19th March 1885
2367 joined on 11th May 1886
2537 joined on 25th February 1887
2821 joined on 9th January 1888
3178 joined on 4th January 1889
3644 joined on 22nd May 1890
3953 joined on 17th January 1891
4436 joined on 16th June 1892
4761 joined on 2nd March 1893
5137 joined on 12th July 1894
5331 joined on 3rd January 1895
5764 joined on 19th May 1896
6043 joined on 24th February 1897
6322 joined on 6th June 1898
6599 joined on 21st January 1899
7166 joined on 14th June 1900
7356 joined on 26th January 1901
7999 joined on 9th October 1902
8823 joined on 15th September 1903
8939 joined on 19th February 1904
9227 joined on 27th February 1905
9599 joined on 6th October 1906
9683 joined on 22nd January 1907
10318 joined on 4th December 1908
10476 joined on 5th May 1909
10889 joined on 16th August 1910
11019 joined on 1oth April 1911
11286 joined on 8th July 1912
11518 joined on 24th April 1913
11738 joined on 27th June 1914

Service records for all of the men noted above survive in the WO 363 and WO 364 pension series held at The National Archives in Kew, London. They can also be viewed on-line via the Ancestry website. CLICK HERE for a FREE 14 day trial.

When Britain declared war on Germany five and a half weeks later and the Royal Dublin Fusiliers formed new service battalions, they continued with the same numbering series that was in use for the regular 1st and 2nd Battalions.

See also, the website (and forum) of The Royal Dublin Fusiliers and The Royal Dublin Fusiliers Association.

CROWN AND COMPANY 1911-1922. 2nd Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers

From: The Naval & Military Press:

"The title tells the origins of the battalion. It was raised in India in 1661 by the Hon East india Company as four companies to provide the garrison for Bombay. In 1862 it was transferred to the Crown as the 103rd Regiment of Foot (Royal Bombay Fusiliers). In the Cardwell reforms of 1881 it became the 2nd Battalion of the newly formed Royal Dublin Fusiliers (RDF); the 1st Battalion of the new regiment had been the Royal Madras Fusiliers.

"This volume is concerned principally with the battalion’s service in the Great War during which it fought on the Western Front in 10th Brigade, 4th Division till the end of 1916 when it was transferred to 48th Brigade of 16th(Irish) Division.

"At the end of the war the battalion went to Constantinople and from there to India (Multan) where it was when the order came for the disbandment of the five Southern Irish infantry regiments. The last part gives a very full and often moving description of the disbandment of the battalion.

"269 officers and 4508 WOs, NCOs and men of the Regiment died during the war and an appendix lists the names of the officers showing which battalion they were serving in. There is a full list of Honours and Awards including Mentions in Despatches and foreign awards for the whole regiment. Another appendix lists the officers of the 1st and 2nd battalions serving at the time of disbandment and shows which regiments they transferred to or whether they retired. One appendix is a copy of the Regiment’s entry in Army List of July 1922, the last published before disbandment."

The image on this post is borrowed from The Second Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers in The South African War by Cecil Francis Romer and Arthur Edward Mainwaring and shows RDF sergeants photographed after the Battle of Colenso in December 1899. Click on the link to read the text at Project Gutenberg.

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