9 February 2011

Royal Irish Fusiliers - 1st & 2nd Battalions

This post will look at regular enlistments into the Royal Irish Fusiliers between 1881 (when the regiment was formed out of the old 87th (Royal Irish Fusiliers) and 89th (Princess Victoria's)Regiments of Foot) and 1914.

Service records for all of the numbers listed below, survive in a number of military series. The majority (in this small sample) are taken from the WO 363 (Burnt Documents) and WO 364 (Pensions) series at the National Archives in Kew. These can also be viewed on-line via Ancestry.co.uk which is currently offering a FREE 14 day trial. Some records here are also taken from the WO 97 Army Pensions series which is available to search on the Find My Past website. Find My Past also offers a FREE 14 day trial.

In fact, there are over 26,000 Royal Irish Fusiliers service andpension 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 Irish 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.

68 joined on 30th July 1881
745 joined on 23rd January 1882
1231 joined on 27th January 1883
1544 joined on 22nd February 1884
1740 joined on 9th January 1885
1979 joined on 26th January 1886
2585 joined on 8th January 1887
2879 joined on 5th January 1888
3216 joined on 14th March 1889
3496 joined on 7th January 1890
3900 joined on 1st June 1891
4242 joined on 26th September 1892
4636 joined on 28th September 1893
4839 joined on 13th February 1894
5259 joined on 26th February 1895
5602 joined on 17th March 1896
5900 joined on 19th February 1897
6119 joined on 12th January 1898
6548 joined on 8th March 1899
6792 joined on 11th January 1900
7104 joined on 21st March 1901
7565 joined on 7th July 1902
7959 joined on 13th April 1903
8292 joined on 9th January 1904
8945 joined on 9th August 1905
9154 joined on 14th March 1906
9591 joined on 15th January 1907
10008 joined on 13th August 1908
10312 joined on 16th August 1909
10497 joined on 8th September 1910
10673 joined on 9th May 1911
10947 joined on 23rd February 1912
11235 joined on 6th March 1913
11411 joined on 14th January 1914

When Britain went to war with Germany a few months later, the Royal Irish Fusiliers continued with the same number series when the new service battalions were formed, there then being no distinction in numbering between men who were joining up for war-time service only, and men joining as career soldiers.

I've borrowed the image on this post from Fine Rare Prints and trust that this acknowledgement and the link will be sufficient discharge of obligations.

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Julie McNeill said...

Tracing my Irish/Scots maternal military history - my GGGGrandfather James Fagan is listed on daughters wedding 1892 Dublin as an ARMY PENSIONER.
I'm trying to close in on his WO file via find my past and what best to look for eg. If he signed up circa 1869(age 19)who was stationed in Dublin then?

Paul Nixon said...

If he was a pensioner in 1892 then he'd already left the army of course. As for who he joined in 1869, it could have been any regiment at all as despite supposed territorial (county) affiliations, men could and did join pretty much any regiment which happened to take their fany. I know that doesn't help you much, but frankly it's impossible to say.


Jane said...

Before I enquire around research can you confirm whether NI hold the registers of these enlisters. My grandfather's number indicates he signed up in 1901 and would love to learn more of his India service

Paul Nixon said...

Jane, I am not aware of the existence of these registers. The National Army Museum publishes some (as does Findmypast) but this regiment's registers are not included.

Carol said...

Hi Paul
Do you have any info on 'Permanent staff' my ggg grandfather was discharged from 20th regiment of foot in 1868 but it then says on his discharge papers he was for 10 years a Ley Drummer on Permanent staff of 5th btn Royal Irish Fusiliers, just wondered what this meant.


Paul Nixon said...

I am afraid I am not familiar with the term, Carol. If he was on the permanent staff he would have been based at the regimental depot in a quasi-admin role.

PRC said...

There is a big gap in the list between 9th January 1904,(8292)and the 9th August 1905,(8945).

I've recently had cause to research a pre-war Regular who would have enlisted during that period.

If it's any help I came across the following individuals who have surviving service records in the pre-war WO97 series.

8766 Michael Coleburn took a short service attestation, (9 years in the colours and 3 in the reserves) at Longford on the 10th January 1905.

8768 Alexander Henderson took a short service attestation, (9 and 3) at Greenock on the 12th January 1905.

8780 John Parker took a short service attestation, (9 and 3) at Liverpool on the 10th January 1905.(He didn’t make it to the Depot at Armagh until the 17th).

8796 Henry Badham took a short service attestation, (9 and 3) at Stratford on the 19th January 1905.

Paul Nixon said...

Thanks for the list @PRC.

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