Unit History: Leinster Regiment

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Leinster Regiment
The Regiment was officially formed in 1881 when the 100th and the 109th Regiments of Foot were amalgamated however; the Regimental history is rooted in India.
The Honourable East India Company (HEIC) was a British Company formed in 1600 in an effort to break the Dutch spice trade monopoly.  The Company quickly realized that it needed to protect its interests at Surat, Madras, Bombay and Calcutta.  Therefore it bought land from the Mughal rulers, built settlements, raised its own army and navy, built its own ships and by 1670 it effectively ruled much of the North, East and South of India for the British Government and raising the curtain for what would later become Britain's Indian Empire.
The friendly ruling Mughal Empire collapsed in the mid-18th century and  The Company managed to take advantage of this consolidating its position as the dominate force in the region by 1756, becoming the ruling power in Bengal, India’s richest province.
The 109th Regiment of Foot was formed by The Company in 1853 as the 3rd Bombay (European) Regiment and was recruited entirely from non-Indian personnel.  However, the Indian population became increasingly discontented with The Company’s interference in local affairs and politics, eventually leading to the Indian Rebellion of 1857.  The 109th was soon in action and fought at Baroda, Jhansi and the Relief of Sanger.
There was one key incident in the uprising which sent shock waves across the British Colonies.  The British garrison town of Cawpore was unprepared for an extended siege and surrendered to the Indian rebels in return for safe passage to Allahabad.  Unfortunately whether by accident or design the evacuation turned into a massacre and the remaining survivors were later executed before the HEIC’s rescue force arrived in what came to be known as the ‘Bibighar Massacre’; when 120 women and children were hacked to death and their bodies thrown down a well.  This brought about a surge of loyalty in Canada which resulted in a Canadian Regiment being raised to be sent to India.  However, by the time the new Regiment was ready to embark the Rebellion had already been suppressed.
This also spelt the end of The Company’s rule in India as the British government felt it had mismanaged situations leading to the Rebellion.  The Company was formally dissolved in August 1858 and the Crown took over control of the administration and its armies in India.  The two Regiments were incorporated into the British Army as the 3rd Bombay Regiment and 100th (Prince of Wales’s Royal Canadian) Regiment of Foot.
In 1862 the 3rd Bombay Regiment was formally given a British Army order of precedence and became the 109th Regiment of Foot (Bombay Infantry) and remained in the area until 1877 when it finally entered a tour of Britain.
The 100th set sail for England instead where it received its colours from the 17 year old Prince of Wales and future King Edward VII, after which the Regiment was named.  The 100th then moved to garrison Gibraltar from 1859 until 1863.  Many men were bored with garrison duties and either purchased their release or deserted.  The Regiment returned to Canada in 1866 during the Fenian Brotherhood Raids. The Fenian Brotherhood were an Irish Republican organization who were based in the United States but hoped to bring pressure on Britain to withdrawal from Ireland. The Regiment returned to Britain two years later.
In 1875 the 100th was formally recognised as the successor of the 100th Regiment of Foot (Prince Regent's County of Dublin Regiment), which had been formed in Ireland in 1804 and served in Canada during The War of 1812 (1812 – 1815) and disbanded in 1818.  This meant the Regiment gained its only Battle Honour ‘Niagara’.  The 100th finally arrived in India in 1877 to garrison the Punjab.
Both Regiments were merged in 1881 as part of the Childers Reforms which restructured the British army infantry into a network of multi-battalion Regiments of two regular and two militia battalions and became The Prince of Wales’s Leinster Regiment (Royal Canadians).  The newly formed Regiment went on to serve during the Boer War (1899 – 1902) and two World wars.
The Leinsters were disbanded in 1922 once the Irish Free State was established following the Irish War of Independence (1919-1922) and all five British Regiments recruiting from the Irish Free States were disbanded.

Leinster Regiment during WW1

Since 1815 the balance of power in Europe had been maintained by a series of treaties. In 1888 Wilhelm II was crowned ‘German Emperor and King of Prussia’ and moved from a policy of maintaining the status quo to a more aggressive position. He did not renew a treaty with Russia, aligned Germany with the declining Austro-Hungarian Empire and started to build a Navy to rival that of Britain. These actions greatly concerned Germany’s neighbours, who quickly forged new treaties and alliances in the event of war. On 28th June 1914 Franz Ferdinand the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne was assassinated by the Bosnian-Serb nationalist group Young Bosnia who wanted pan-Serbian independence. Franz Joseph the Austro-Hungarian Emperor (with the backing of Germany) responded aggressively, presenting Serbia with an intentionally unacceptable ultimatum, to provoke Serbia into war. Serbia agreed to 8 of the 10 terms and on the 28th July 1914 the Austro-Hungarian Empire declared war on Serbia, producing a cascade effect across Europe. Russia bound by treaty to Serbia declared war with Austro-Hungary, Germany declared war with Russia and France declared war with Germany. Germany’s army crossed into neutral Belgium in order to reach Paris, forcing Britain to declare war with Germany (due to the Treaty of London (1839) whereby Britain agreed to defend Belgium in the event of invasion). By the 4th August 1914 Britain and much of Europe were pulled into a war which would last 1,566 days, cost 8,528,831 lives and 28,938,073 casualties or missing on both sides.

The Regiment raised 7 Battalions and was awarded 32 Battle Honours, 4 Victoria Crosses losing 1,980 men during the course of the war.

1st Battalion
04.08.1914 Stationed at Faizabad, India.
16.10.1914 Embarked for the U.K. from Bombay arriving at Plymouth and then moved to Morne Hill, Manchester to join the 82nd Brigade of the 27th Division.
20.12.1914 Mobilised for war and landed at Havre and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
The action of St Eloi, The Second Battle of Ypres.
26.11.1915 Embarked for Salonika from Marseilles and engaged in various actions against the Bulgarian Army including;
The capture of Karajakois, The capture of Yenikoi.
02.11.1916 Transferred to the 29th Brigade of the 10th Division.
14.09.1917 Deployed to Alexandria.
Third Battle of Gaza, Capture of the Sheria Position, Capture of Jerusalem, Defence of Jerusalem, Tell ‘Asure, Battle of Nablus.
31.10.1918 Ended the war near Nablus, Palestine.

2nd Battalion
04.08.1914 Stationed at Cork as part of the 17th Brigade of the 6th Division and then moved to Newmarket Suffolk.
12.09.1914 Mobilised for war and landed at St. Nazaire and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
The actions on the Aisne heights.
The action at Hooge.
19.10.1915 Moved to Reninghelst and transferred to the 17th Brigade of the 24th Division
The German gas attack at Wulverghem, The Battle of Delville Wood, The Battle of Guillemont.
The Battle of Vimy Ridge, The Battle of Messines, The Battle of Pilkem Ridge, The Battle of Langemarck, The Cambrai Operations.
01.02.1918 Moved to Tincourt absorbing the disbanded 7th Battalion and transferred to the 47th Brigade of the 16th Division.
13.04.1918 Absorbed the surplus personnel of the 5 Officers and 281 men from the Connaught Rangers which had been reduced to training cadre.
23.04.1918 Transferred to the 88th Brigade of the 29th Division;
The Action of Outtersteene Ridge, The capture of Ploegsteert and Hill 63, The Battle of Ypres 1918, The Battle of Courtrai.
11.11.1918 Ended the war west of Lessines, Belgium.

3rd (Reserve) Battalion
04.08.1914 Stationed at Birr, County Offaly and then moved to Cork.
Nov 1917 Moved to England and stationed at Portsmouth.
May 1918 Absorbed the 4th & 5th Battalions.

4th (Extra Reserve) Battalion
04.08.1914 Stationed at Maryborough, Co. Cork and then moved to Crosshaven, Cork Harbour.
Nov 1914 Moved to Passage West, County Cork.
May 1915 Moved to England and stationed at Devonport, Plymouth.
Sept 1916 Returned to Ireland and stationed at Curragh, Kildare and then moved to Limerick, Munster.
Aug 1917 Moved to Tralee, County Kerry.
Nov 1917 Moved to England stationed at Dover.
May 1918 Absorbed by the 3rd Battalion at Portsmouth.

5th (Extra Reserve) Battalion
04.08.1914 Stationed at Drogheda, County Louth and then moved to Queenstown (now Cobh), County Cork.
Oct 1914 Moved to Passage West, County Cork.
May 1915 Moved to England and stationed at Devonport, Plymouth.
Sept 1916 Returned to Ireland and stationed at Mullingar and joined the 25th Reserve Brigade and then moved to Curragh, Kildare.
June 1917 Moved to Laytown and then Boyle, County Roscommon and then Birr, County Offaly.
Nov 1917 Moved to Scotland stationed at Glencorse, Edinburgh.
May 1918 Absorbed by the 3rd Battalion at Portsmouth.

6th (Service) Battalion
Aug 1914 Formed at Dublin as part of the First New Army (K1) and then moved to Fermoy to join the 29th Brigade of the 10th Division and then moved to Curragh, Kildare.
Oct 1914 Moved to Birr, County Offaly.
Feb 1915 Moved back to Curragh.
May 1915 Moved to England and stationed at Basingstoke.
09.07.1915 Embarked for Egypt from Liverpool arriving at Mudros.
05.08.1915 Landed at Anzac attached to the Australian & N.Z. Corps and engaged in various actions against the Turkish Army including;
The landing at Suvla, Battle of Sari Bair, Capture of Chocolate Hill, Hill 60.
29.09.1915 Deployed to Mudros.
4/5.10.1915 Deployed to Salonika and engaged in various actions as part of the Palestine Campaign.
14.09.1917 Embarked for Egypt from Salonika arriving at Alexandria 19.09.1917.
May 1918 Deployed to France leaving the 10th Division embarking at Port Said and arriving at Marseilles 01.06.1918.
07.06.1918 Joined the 14th Division.
19.06.1918 Joined the 34th Division.
20.07.1918 Transferred to the 198th Brigade of the 66th Division which engaged in various actions on the Western front including;
The Battle of Cambrai, The Pursuit to the Selle, The Battle of the Selle, a phase of the Final Advance in Picardy.
12.09.1918 Disbanded at Rancour.

7th (Service) Battalion
Oct 1914 Formed at Fermoy, County Cork as part of the Second New Army (K2) as part of the 47th brigade of the 16th Division.
Jan 1915 Moved to Kilworth, County Cork.
Sept 1915 Moved to England and stationed at Blackdown, Somerset.
18.12.1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Havre and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
The Battle of Guillemont, The Battle of Ginchy.
The Battle of Messines, The Battle of Langemark.
14.02.1918 Disbanded at Tincourt and remaining personnel transferred to the 2nd Battalion and the 19th Entrenching Battalion.

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