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Unit History: Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers

Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers
The Regiment’s history is rooted in 1689 following the Glorious Revolution.  King James II was an unpopular King in Protestant England due to his Catholic religion and only managed to reign for 3 years.  In 1688 his brother-in-law, Prince William of Orange was invited to take the throne by the English Lords and upon his arrival in England James II abdicated.  However James II remained popular in Catholic Ireland which continued to recognize him as their true King, with the exception of the English Protestant towns of Enniskillen and Derry.  In 1689 James II landed in Kinsale supported by King Louis XIV and a French Army, in an attempt to reclaim his lost throne.  In response to this threat Zachariah Tiffin was commissioned to raise a regiment in Ennislillen as Tiffin’s Regiment of Foot, successfully defending the town at the Battle of Newtownbutler.  In 1690 King William III arrived in Ireland and the Regiment went on to defeat James II’s army at the Battle of Boyne.  The Regiment was incorporated into the British Army and went on to serve during the Nine Years War (1688–97) fighting at the Siege of Namur and then stationed in the West Indies, Minorca and Spain.
 
The Regiment returned to England in 1745 when Bonnie Prince Charlie (the grandson of James II) landed in Scotland, attempting to regain the crown to the Stuart family and the Regiment fought at the Battles of Falkirk and Culloden.  In 1751 the Regimental naming system was simplified with each Regiment assigned a number rank instead of naming after their current colonel therefore Blakeney's Regiment of Foot became the 27th (Enniskillen) Regiment of Foot.  The Regiment went on to fight the French in North America and the West Indies during the Seven Year’s War (1756-63).  The Regiment returned to North America to serve during the War of Independence.  Due to the French alliance with America the Regiment once again found itself in the West Indies capturing French possessed Islands.  War again broke out against the French in 1808 and the Regiment served during the Peninsular Wars (1808-1814) fighting at the Battles of Badajoz, Salamanca, Vittoria, Pyrenees, Nivelle, Orthes, Toulouse, Peninsula and then at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.
 
The Regiment went on to serve in South Africa during the Cape Frontier Wars (1811-1858), when the native Xhosa tribes rose in armed rebellion against continuing European rule.  It then went on to serve during the Indian Rebellion of 1857 and preserve law and order thereafter on North-West Frontier.
 
In 1881 Childers Reforms restructured the British army infantry Regiments into a network of multi-battalion Regiments of two regular and two militia battalions.   As part of this reform the 27th was merged with the 108th Regiment of Foot to form the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.  The 108th Regiment of Foot was formed in 1854 by the Honourable East India Company as the 3rd Madras (European) Regiment and came under the command of the crown in 1858.
 
The newly formed Regiment went on to serve during the Second Boer War fighting at the Relief of Ladysmith, in India and Burma fighting in the Tirah Campaign of 1897 and two World Wars.  In 1968 the Regiment was amalgamated with the Royal Ulster Rifles and the Royal Irish Fusiliers to become the Royal Irish Rangers.  In 1992 the Royal Irish Rangers was further amalgamated with the Ulster Defence Regiment to become the Royal Irish Regiment.

Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers 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 13 Battalions and was awarded 46 Battle Honours and 8 Victoria Crosses, losing 5,890 men during the course of the war.

1st Battalion
04.08.1914 Stationed at Trimulgherry, India.
Dec 1914 Embarked for England arriving at Avonmouth and then moved to Rugby and joined the 87th Brigade of the 29th Division.
Mar 1915 Deployed to the Mediterranean arriving in Mudros in April 1915.
25.04.1915 Landed in Gallipoli and engaged in various actions against the Turkish Army including;
First Battle of Krithia, the Second Battle of Krithia, the Third Battle of Krithia, the Battle of Gully Ravine, the Battle of Krithia Vineyard, the Battle of Scimitar Hill.
09.01.1916 Evacuated from Gallipoli to Egypt due to severe casualties from combat, disease and harsh weather.
18.03.1916 Deployed to France arriving at Marseilles and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
1916
The Battle of Albert, The Battle of the Transloy Ridges,
1917
The First Battle of the Scarpe, The Second Battle of the Scarpe, The Third Battle of the Scarpe, The Battle of Langemarck, The Battle of Broodseinde, The Battle of Poelcapelle, The Battle of Cambrai.
05.02.1918 Transferred to the 109th Brigade of the 36th Division;
1918
The Battle of St Quentin, The Actions at the Somme Crossings, The Battle of Rosieres, The Battle of Messines, The Battle of Bailleul, The First Battle of Kemmel Ridge, The Battle of Ypres, The Battle of Courtrai, The action of Ooteghem.
11.11.1918 Ended the war at Roncq north of Tourcoing, France.

2nd Battalion
04.08.1914 Station at Dover as part of the 12th Brigade of the 4th Division and then moved to Norfolk.
22.08.1914 Mobilised for war and landed at Havre and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
The Battle of Le Cateau, The Battle of the Marne, The Battle of the Aisne, The Battle of Messines 1914.
06.12.1914 Transferred to the G.H.Q. Troops.
26.01.1915 Transferred to the 5th Brigade of the 2nd Division;
1915
Winter Operations 1914-15, The Battle of Festubert, The Battle of Loos.
22.07.1915 Transferred to the Third Army Troops.
18.11.1915 Transferred to the 14th Brigade of the 5th Division.
24.12.1915 Transferred to the 96th Brigade of the 32nd Division;
1916
The Battle of Albert, The Battle of Bazentin, The Battle of the Ancre.
1917
Operations on the Ancre, The pursuit of the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line.
03.02.1918 Transferred to the 109th Brigade of the 36th Division;
1918
The Battle of St Quentin, The Actions at the Somme Crossings, The Battle of Rosieres, The Battle of Messines, The Battle of Bailleul, The First Battle of Kemmel Ridge, The Battle of Ypres, The Battle of Courtrai, The action of Ooteghem.
11.11.1918 Ended the war at Roncq north of Tourcoing, France.

3rd (Reserve) Battalion
04.08.1914 Stationed at Omagh and then moved to Lough Swilly and then Londonderry.
April 1918 Moved to Oswestry and absorbed the 4th and 12th Battalions as part of the West Lancs. Reserve Brigade.

4th (Extra Reserve) Battalion
04.08.1914 Stationed at Enniskillen and then moved to Lough Swilly and then Buncrana.
1916 Moved to Clonmany and then back to Buncrana.
April 1918 Moved to Oswestry and absorbed by the 3rd Battalion.

5th (Service) Battalion
Aug 1914 Formed at Omagh as part of the First New Army (K1) and then moved to Dublin to join the 31st Brigade of the 10th Division.
Early 1915 Moved to Kildare and then Basingstoke.
July 1915 Deployed to the Mediterranean arriving at Mudros.
07.08.1915 Landed at Gallipoli and engaged in various actions against the Turkish Army including;
Battle of Sari Bair, Capture of Chocolate Hill and Hill 60.
Oct 1915 Deployed to Salonika and engaged in various actions against the Bulgarian Army including;
The Battle of Kosturino, Retreat from Serbia, Capture of the Karajokois, Capture of Yenikoi.
Sept 1917 Deployed to Egypt and then Palestine and engaged in various actions during the Palestine Campaign including;
Third Battle of Gaza, Capture of the Sheria Position, Capture of Jerusalem, Defence of Jerusalem.
28.05.1918 Left the 10th Division and deployed to France, embarking at Alexandria via Taranto arriving at Serqueux.
19.07.1918 Transferred to the 198th Brigade of the 66th Division;
The Battle of Cambrai, The Pursuit to the Selle, The Battle of the Selle, a phase of the Final Advance in Picardy.
11.11.1918 Ended the war near Avesnes.

6th (Service) Battalion
Aug 1914 Formed at Omagh as part of the First New Army (K1) and then moved to Dublin to join the 31st Brigade of the 10th Division.
Early 1915 Moved to Kildare and then Basingstoke.
July 1915 Deployed to the Mediterranean arriving at Mudros.
07.08.1915 Landed at Gallipoli and engaged in various actions against the Turkish Army including;
Battle of Sari Bair, Capture of Chocolate Hill and Hill 60.
Oct 1915 Deployed to Salonika and engaged in various actions against the Bulgarian Army including;
The Battle of Kosturino, Retreat from Serbia, Capture of the Karajokois, Capture of Yenikoi.
Sept 1917 Deployed to Egypt and then Palestine and engaged in various actions during the Palestine Campaign including;
Third Battle of Gaza, Capture of the Sheria Position, Capture of Jerusalem, Defence of Jerusalem.
28.05.1918 Left the 10th Division and deployed to France, arriving at Marseilles.
07.06.1918 Transferred to the 43rd Brigade of the 14th Division.
18.06.1918 Transferred to the 103rd Brigade of the 34th Division.
29.06.1918 Transferred to defend the Lines of Communication
16.07.1918 Transferred to the 151st Brigade of the 50th Division and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
The Battle of the St Quentin Canal, The Battle of the Beaurevoir Line, The Battle of Cambrai 1918, The pursuit to the Selle, The Battle of the Selle, The Battle of Valenciennes.
11.11.1918 Ended the war near Monceau N.W. of Avesnes, France.

7th & 8th (Service) Battalion
Oct 1914 Formed at Omagh as part of the Second New Army (K2) and then moved to Tipperary and joined the 49th Brigade of the 16th Division.
Aug 1915 Moved to Finner Camp and then Working.
Feb 1916 Mobilised for war and landed in France and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
1916
The Battle of Guillemont, The Battle of Ginchy.
23.08.1917 Amalgamated with the 8th Battalion to form the 7/8th Battalion.
1917
The Battle of Messines, The Battle of Langemark.
22.04.1918 Reduced to training cadre with surplus personnel transferred to the 2nd Royal Irish Regiment.
1918
The Battle of St Quentin, The Battle of Rosieres.
17.06.1918 Transferred to the 102nd Brigade of the 34th Division.
26.06.1918 Transferred to G.H.Q. Troops and reconstituted with 18 Officers and 857 men from the 8th Rifle Brigade.
03.07.1918 Transferred to the 89th Brigade of the 30th Division;
1918
The capture of Neuve Eglise, The capture of Wulverghem, The Battle of Ypres, The Battle of Courtrai.
11.11.1918 Ended the war N.W. of Lessines, Belgium.

9th (Service) Battalion (County Tyrone)
Sept Formed at Omagh from the Tyrone Volunteers and then moved to Finner Camp as part of the 3rd Brigade of the Ulster Division.
02.11.1914 The formation became the 109th Brigade of the 36th Division.
Jan 1915 Moved to Randalstown and then Ballycastle and then Bordon area.
Oct 1915 Mobilised for war and landed in France and engaged in various actions on the Western front including;
1916
The Battle of Albert (the Division suffered server casualties in this Battle and took the rest of the year to rebuild).
1917
The Battle of Messines, The Battle of Langemarck, The Cambrai Operations, The capture of Bourlon Wood.
1918
The Battle of St Quentin, The Actions at the Somme Crossings, The Battle of Rosieres, The Battle of Messines, The Battle of Bailleul, The First Battle of Kemmel Ridge, The Battle of Ypres, The Battle of Courtrai, The action of Ooteghem.
11.11.1918 Ended the war in Roncq north of Tourcoing, France.

10th (Service) Battalion (Derry)
Sept 1914 Formed at Omagh from the Derry Volunteers and then moved to Finner Camp as part of the 3rd Brigade of the Ulster Division.
02.11.1914 The formation became the 109th Brigade of the 36th Division.
May 1915 Moved to Randalstown and then Seaford and then Bordon area.
Oct 1915 Mobilised for war and landed in France and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
1916
The Battle of Albert (the Division suffered server casualties in this Battle and took the rest of the year to rebuild).
1917
The Battle of Messines, The Battle of Langemarck, The Cambrai Operations, The Capture of Bourlon Wood.
21.01.1918 Disbanded in France and remaining personnel (7 Officer and 150 men) transferred to the 2nd Battalion.

11th (Service) Battalion (Donegal & Fermanagh)
Sept 1914 Formed at Omagh from the Donegal & Fermanagh Volunteers and then moved to Finner Camp as part of the 3rd Brigade of the Ulster Division.
02.11.1914 The formation became the 109th Brigade of the 36th Division and then moved to Enniskillen.
Jan 1915 Moved to Randalstown and then Seaford and then Bordon area.
Oct 1915 Mobilised for war and landed in France and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
1916
The Battle of Albert (the Division suffered server casualties in this Battle and took the rest of the year to rebuild).
1917
The Battle of Messines, The Battle of Langemarck, The Cambrai Operations, The capture of Bourlon Wood.
21.01.1918 Disbanded in France and remaining personnel (20 Officer and 400 men) transferred to the 9nd Battalion.

12th (Reserve) Battalion
April 1915 Formed at Enniskillen from the depot companies of the 9th 10th & 11th Battalion
June 1915 Moved to Ballyshannon and then Newtownards and then returned to Inniskilling as part of the 15th Reserve Brigade.
1916 Moved to Finner Camp.
April 1918 Moved to Oswestry and absorbed by the 3rd Battalion.

13th (Service) Battalion
11.06.1918 Formed in France from the 11th garrison Guard of the 119th Brigade of the 40th Division.
13.07.1918 The title ‘Garrison’ dropped and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
1918
The Final Advance in Flanders, The Battle of Ypres.
11.11.1918 Ended the war south of Roubaix, France.

Memories of Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers

(Memories written by members of Forces Reunited)

Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, in 2012

remember gil gil camp africa.

Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, in 1965

Written by henry mills

Allied forces day Berlin 1965 with ferret scout cars in recce platoon
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Active From: 1689 - 1968

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