on 11 September 2009
In the not too distant past when Irish republican ideology was in the ascendant, the republicans, like the Nazis and Bolsheviks, had a simple rule. If you do not support us you are the enemy. Those who belonged to any forces under the crown, army, police, prison service, judges were regarded as 'legitimate targets'. Happily this day of blinkered nationalism has passed, and we can now celebrate Irishmen who thought differently.This book is recommended to all who wish to broaden their knowledge of Irish history as it actually happened.
This book is a joy to review. Before the Restoration of Charles II of England in 1660 there were no permanent military forces in either England or Ireland except some companies of guards guarding royal castles. A few regiments were not disbanded in 1660 and formed the nucleus of the present British army. A similar Irish army was raised but most of its regiments went to France after 1690. So it was from the regiments raised in Ireland to support William of Orange in 1688 that the new Irish army was formed. Its regiments were always used in British military operations overseas and were formally incorporated into the British Army by the Act of Union (1800).The Royal Regiment (18th foot) were on the Mississippi and Ohio rivers in 1767 and at Bunker's Hill in 1775. Most of these were disbanded on the secession of the Irish Free State in 1922, but several, based in Northern Ireland remain in the British Army until this day.The first regiment in infantry was raised in 1683 and supported William of Orange.
This is an account of the individual regiments from their first formation either until their disbandment in 1922 or until the present day. The main part of the book deals with the 4 regiments of cavalry and the 10 regiments of infantry. These are very complete, 15 to 20 pages being devoted to each regiment,its origins, its history, the engagements it fought in around the world and the various changes to its uniform. For most of them their greatest hour was during the First World War when half a million Irishmen joined the army. For others the end came in the merging of regiments which followed the Second World War, leaving only the Royal Irish Regiment in 1999.
Less fully described are the various short-lived or local regiments or companies of fencibles, infantry, yeomanry, volunteers and artillery, with usually only their names and dates given. There are opportunities for more books on these.
This is the 2nd edition brought up to date to 1999. It has 48 illustrations in colour and 360 in black and white. There is a short bibliography and a good index.