You can read about the exploits of Sgt. Michael Healy of the Munster Fusiliers online. Sgt Healy was born in Dungarvan and recieved the Albert Medal for rescuing life. If you wish to find put more information on the Royal Munster Fusiliers, visit the excellent Munster Fusiliers Site by James F. O' Sullivan.
The Royal Munster Fusiliers - formerly 101st Regiment of Foot and 104th Regiment of Foot ( View The Cap Badge Of The Royal Munster Fusiliers )
101st Regiment of Foot
The numerical title, the 101st, previously borne some time by the Royal Munster Fusiliers, like other high numbers of the British Infantry of the Line, have belonged to successive regiments.
A 101st Regiment of Foot first appeared in the rolls of the British Army in 1761. Five independent companies of Highland Foot had been raised in Argyll and Ross during the Seven Years' War. These companies were sent to Germany, where they fought in the ranks of the 87th and 88th Highlanders, into which they were drafted. The officers were then sent home to recruit, and they raised other companies, which, early in 1761, were regimented as the 101st (Highland) Regiment of Foot. The corps, popularly known as "Johnstone's", was described by Stewart as a very well-ordered regiment. But the peace of 1763 terminated its brief career before it had a chance of service.
The next 101st Foot, raised in 1780, which, with other Indian reinforcements, was in the naval action in Porto Praya Bay in 1781, and afterwards was employed against Hyder Ali in the Carnatic. It was broken up after the peace of 1783.
Another 101st - it is believed to have been an Irish corps - appeared in 1794, but was speedily 'I drafted. After this the number remained vacant until 1806, when the 101st (Duke of York's Irish) Regiment of Foot was raised. This corps served in the West Indies and on the Canadian frontier during the campaigns of 1813-14. It was disbanded at Haslar, Hampshire on 17th January 1817.
Fifth and last comes the famous 1st Bengal European Fusiliers, of the East India Company's Army which, after the extinction of the Company was transferred to the Queen's service under the rank and style of the 101st (Royal Bengal Fusiliers).
This brave old corps dates its corporate existence from 22nd December 1756, about which certain independent companies and detachments which had borne a part in Indian history during the previous eighty years - that is, ever since the last decade of the reign of King Charles II - were formed into a battalion by Clive (then lately returned to India as Governor of Fort St David) under the title of The Bengal European Regiment.
The battalion shared in all the succeeding campaigns of that eventful time, and at the siege and capture of Chandernagore; in the great battle of 23rd June 1757. The regiment was in the operations against the French in the Northern Circars, including the Battle of Condore on 9th December 1758 - a victory commemorated on the colours of the late Madras Europeans, but strangely omitted, until recently, from the honours of their Bengal comrades - and the famous siege of Masulipatam. It took part in the defeat of the Dutch at Bederrah in 1759. In 1760-61 it was in the campaigns against the Emperor of Delhi. The it was in the war against Meet Kassim, during which five, companies were annihilated near Patna and in a long series of important actions, fought in all instances against greatly superior numbers. In the later engagements against troops it fought against equally well-trained with our own, ending with the great victory of Buxar, on the 23rd October 1764.
In 1765, the Bengal European Regiment, then 1,600 strong, was divided into three single-battalion regiments known as the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Bengal Europeans, which did good service in the Rohilla War of 1774. In 1779 all three were augmented to two battalions each. In 1781 these were reduced again to single-battalion corps. But the 1st Bengal Europeans for a time retained its two battalions, whereof the second was sent to Madras, to assist in the defence of that Presidency against Hyder Ali. Under Eyre Coote, it fought at Porto Novo, the Pass of Sholingur on 27th September 1781, an honour to which the Bengal Europeans appear to be entitled equally, with the Madras Regiment, at the siege of Cuddalore, and elsewhere. After the peace the battalion returned to its own Presidency, and the Bengal Europeans were divided into independent battalions, numbered 1st to 6th.
In 1794 the 2nd Bengal European Battalion served under Abercromby against the Rohillas, and at one time the word "Rohilcund" was borne on the colours of the Bengal Europeans to commemorate their services in the Rohilla Wars of 1774 and1794. For some unexplained reason it was afterwards withdrawn, being again restored in the late 19th century along with other honours.
In 1796 the six Bengal European were reorganised in three regiments, the 1st and 5th Battalions forming the 1st Bengal European Regiment, the 2nd and 6th Battalions the 2nd Bengal European Regiment, the 3rd and 4th Battalions the 3rd Bengal European Regiment. The uniform of the 1st European Regiment was with buff and silver lace. It formed part of the force sent to Lucknow in 1797 to depose Vizier Ali and place Sydaat Ali on the throne of Oude. About this time it became the custom to call the regiment after their commanding officers, and the 1st Bengal European Regiment was named after its then colonel, Clark-ka-Gora (Clark's Corps), by which appellation it was entered into the Indian Army Lists, and remained known to the natives, so long as the Fast India Company continued to exist.
In 1798 the 3rd Bengal European Regiment was drafted into the 1st and 2nd Regiments, and in 1803 the 2nd Bengal Europeans was drafted into the Marine Battalion, the 1st reverting, to its original Position of The Bengal European Regiment.
The Bengal, European Regiment made the campaigns under Lord Lake in 1803-5; and was present at the capture of Deig, in the several desperate but unsuccessful assaults on Bhurtpore, and in the pursuit of the enemy to the Sutlej. Some twenty years later the regiment was ordered to place on its colours the word, "Guzerat" in commemoration of its service in that part of the Bombay Presidency during 1803-4. However the regimental historian states that neither history nor the orders, nor the records afford any evidence of its having been there at all!
The regiment was at the occupation of Macao in 1808, and was present at the capture of Amboyna in 1810. A detachment was employed on the Nepal frontier in 1814-15, and another detachment was in Java. The headquarters remained in the Moluccas and Celebes Island, until these settlements were restored to the Dutch, when the regiment returned to its Presidency. Part of the regiment was employed with the grand army under the Marquis of Hastings against the Pindarrees in 1817-19.
In 1822, a 2nd Bengal European Regiment was formed with volunteers from the 1st Regiment, and was employed in Arracan. This regiment in 1830 was again amalgamated with the 1st European Regiment, which in the meantime had been greatly distinguished at the siege and capture of Bhurtpore in 1825. On the amalgamation of the regiments, The Bengal European Regiment was divided into right and left wings. The uniform was then scarlet with French grey facings and gold lace. The Bengal European Regiment joined the army of the Indus, and served in Afghanistan in 1839-40, including the capture of Ghuznee. On return to India, from Kabul in 1840 it was formed into a corps of light infantry, in recognition of its past services.
A 2nd Bengal European Regiment was at this time formed once more. That regiment became the 2nd Battalion The Royal Munster Fusiliers. The uniform of the 1st Bengal European Light Infantry, as the original regiment was now styled, was scarlet with sky-blue facings and. gold lace.
In the first Sikh War, the 1st Bengal European Light Infantry bore a distinguished part in the great battles of Ferozehure and Sobraon. The colours carried by the regiment in that campaign are now in Winchester Cathedral. On the regimental colour may yet be seen the blood-stain of the gallant Ensign Moxon, from whose dead body, in one of the Khalsa entrenchments, it was taken, at great personal risk, by Ensign P. R. Innes, the future historian of the corps. In recognition of its services in this campaign the 1st European Light Infantry was made a Fusilier corps, under the name and style of the 1st Bengal European Fusiliers, the facings being changed at the same time to blue.
The heavy losses experienced by the regiment in this campaign prevented its employment in the Second Sikh War. But in 1850 it embarked for Burma, and served throughout the Second Burmese War of 1851-3.
At the outbreak of the Mutiny the 1st Bengal Fusiliers were at Lahore, and on 13th May 1857, marched for Umballa, accomplishing the 60 miles in 38 hours. They fought it Budlee-ke-Serai, and throughout the siege of Delhi. After the fall of the city they were employed in some minor operations under Brigadier-General Sir Thomas Seaton, after which they were at the relief of Futteghur, at Cawnpore, and at the siege and capture of Lucknow. After the fall of Lucknow, the regiment was employed in Oude, and did not finally return to quarters until April 1859.
In 1861 the regiment became the 101st (Royal Bengal Fusiliers) in the British line. Under this new title it did good service in the Umbeyla campaign of 1863. The regiment was brought home to England in 1868. In 1874 the regiment embarked for Malta, whence in 1876 it proceeded to Nova Scotia. It served in Nova Scotia and Bermuda until 1883, when it returned home. In 1899 it proceeded to Cape Town.
In the 1881 Cardwell territorial reforms of the British Army, the 101st (Royal Bengal Fusiliers) were renamed the First Battalion, The Royal Munster Fusiliers. The 104th Regiment of Foot (Bengal Fusiliers) became the Second Battalion.
104th Regiment of Foot
There have been several regiments numbered 104 in the Line of the British Army. There was a 104th (King's Volunteers) Regiment of Foot raised in 1761. This served for a time at Martinique, and was disbanded in 1763. There was another 104th, of 1780-83, of which very little is recorded.
At the outbreak of the French Revolutionary War, the 104th (Royal Manchester Volunteers) Regiment of Foot was raised, and sent to Ireland. There it was drafted to recruit some of the older regiments. Their colours, worked and presented by the ladies of Manchester, were long laid up in the Manchester Town Hall beside those of the old 72nd (Royal Manchester Volunteers) of the preceding decade.
The place in the Line remained vacant until 1806, when another 104th was formed. This regiment performed a memorable forced march on snow-shoes, through the backwoods of Canada, from St John's, New Brunswick, to Quebec, in the winter of 1812-13. It did good service in the American War of 1813-14, and was disbanded at Montreal on the 24th May 1817.
Lastly, when the East India Company's European troops were taken into the Queen's service after the Mutiny, the number 104 was assigned to the 2nd Bengal European Fusiliers, which became the 104th (Bengal Fusiliers).
This regiment was originally raised on the Honourable East India Company establishment during the first Afghan War. It was formed at Hazeerabagh, under all order dated 29th July 1839, of volunteers from the 1st Bengal European Regiment. Although officers were serving with the latter who had been in the old 2nd Bengal Europeans of 1822-30, the new corps was officered from the general list. It was styled the 2nd Bengal European Regiment, and was ordered to wear white facings, which it seems had been worn by the old 2nd Bengal Europeans of the preceding century, and gold lace. It was stationed for some time at Subathu. On the breaking out of the Second Sikh War was sent to the front, and in General Gilbert's division took part in the victories of Chillianwallah and Goojerat, and the pursuit of the enemy to the mouth of the Khyber Pass. At the conclusion of the campaign the 2nd Bengal Europeans was converted into a Fusilier corps, "to mark the high sense entertained by the Government of the gallant, exemplary, and praiseworthy conduct of the regiment in the late operations." The facings were changed at the same time from white to dark blue.
In 1850 the 2nd Bengal Fusiliers, as the corps had been named, marched right across India to embark for Burmah, and served through the second Burmese War of 18.51-3. lit the Mutiny it fought at Budlee-ke-Serai, and the siege and storming of Delhi, after which it was employed in minor operations in the Maywatta district and elsewhere. In 1861 it was brought into the Line as the 104th (Bengal Fusiliers), but continued to serve in various parts of India until 1871, when it came home. In 1882 the battalion went to Malta, and afterwards to Madras. In 1887 it joined file expeditionary force in Burma, and subsequently returned to India. In 1881, the 104th Foot was redesignated the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Munster Fusiliers; its old ally, the 101st Foot becoming the 1st Battalion.
World War I
In World War I, the Royal Munster Fusiliers raised a total of 11 battalions from the pre-war two regular and two reserve battalions. The regiment won 51 battle honours and three Victoria Crosses but lost 3,070 casualties.
The 1st Battalion was in Rangoon, Burma at the outbreak of war and sailed for the UK in Dec 1914, arriving at Avonmouth on 10 Jan 1915. It was moved to Coventry where it joined 86th Brigade in the 29th Division. On 16 Mar 1915 it sailed from Avonmouth for the Dardanelles operation, arriving at Alexandria and then Mudros, Greece in April. On 24 Apr 1915 it landed at Helles Beach. By 30 Apr 1915, the battalion had lost so many casualties that it temporarily amalgamated with the 1st Battalion The Royal Dublin Fusiliers; the composite battalion being known locally as the "Dubsters". They resumed their own identities on 19 May 1915 after receiving battle casualty replacements from the reserve battalions. The battalion was withdrawn from Gallipoli in Jan 1916 and rested in Egypt. On 16 mar 1916 it sailed from Port Said and arrived in France at Marseilles on 22 mar 1916. After two months in the Lines of Communications it was assigned to 48th Brigade in 16th Division on 28 May 1915. On 30 May it absorbed 3 officers and 146 men from the disbanded 9th Battalion. On 22 Nov 1916 it was transferred to the 47th Brigade and absorbed 21 officers and 446 men from the disbanded 8th Battalion. On 19 Apr 1918 it absorbed the surplus of the 2nd Battalion which had been reduced to a cadre. On 20 Apr 1918 the battalion was transferred to 172nd Brigade in 57th Division. It ended the war at Lille, France in that formation.
The 2nd Battalion was based in Malplaquet Barracks, Aldershot, Hampshire on the outbreak of war and was assigned to the 1st (Guards) Brigade in 1st Division. It embarked from France as part of the original British Expeditionary Force on 14 Aug 1914, landing at Le Havre. On 14 Sep 1914 it was transferred to Army Troops and in November to the 3rd Brigade in 1st Division. On 30 May 1916 it absorbed 7 officers and 140 men from the disbanded 9th Battalion. On 3 Feb 1918 it was transferred to 48th Brigade in 16th Division. On 19 Apr 1918 it was reduced to a training cadre and the surplus men were transferred to the 1st Battalion. On 6 Jun 1918 it was reconstituted with drafts from the disbanded 6th Battalion and later that month was transferred to Lines of Communication duties. On 15 Jul 1918 it was transferred again to 150 Brigade in 50th Division at Martin Eglise. It ended the war in that formation at Sars Poteries, north-east of Avesnes, France.
The 3rd (Reserve) Battalion was mobilised at Tralee on 4 Aug 1914 and later that month deployed to Berehaven and Bantry Bay. On Oct 1914 it was moved to Cork. In may 1915 it was relocated to Aghada and Cork Harbour. In Oct 1917 it was located at Ballincolig. In Nov 1917 the battalion was moved to England at Devonport. About May 1918 it absorbed the 4th and 5th Battalions but remained at Plymouth Garrison until the Armistice.
The 4th (Extra Reserve) Battalion was mobilised at Kinsale on 4 Aug 1914 and moved later that month to Queenstown. In Nov 1914 it was at Aghada and Cork Harbour. In May 1915 it was at South Shields and in Sep 1915 at Fermoy. Feb 1916 found the battalion at Fermoy, followed by a move to The Curragh in Apr 1917. In Aug 19117 it was at Castlebar, Co Mayo. In Nov 1917 it was moved to Scotland at Dreghorn, Ayrshire and in Apr 1918 to Portobello, Midlothian. About May 1918 it was absorbed by the 3rd Battalion at Plymouth.
The 5th (Extra Reserve) Battalion was mobilised at Limerick on 4 Aug 1914 and deployed to Queenstown later that month. In Oct 1914 it was at Bere Island, moving to Crosshaven and Cork Harbour in Mar 1915. The battalion moved again to North Shields in May 1915 and in Sep 1915 to The Curragh. Aug 1917 found the battalion at Galway from where it was moved to Scotland in Nov 1917, being based at Invergordon. In April it was at Fort George, Inverness before being absorbed into the 3rd Battalion at Plymouth in May 1917.
The 6th (Service) Battalion was formed at Tralee in Aug 1914 as part of Kitchener's First New Army and was moved to The Curragh in 30th Brigade in 10th Division. In May 1915 the battalion was moved to England at Basingstoke. On 9 Jul 1915 it sailed for the Dardanelles campaign from Liverpool, arriving at Mudros, Greece in late Jul 1915. On 7 Aug 1915 it was landed at Suvla Bay. On 2 Oct 1915 it was withdrawn to Mudros then moved to Salonika. On 3 Nov 1916 it absorbed the remainder of the 7th Battalion. In Sep 1917 it was moved to Egypt. On 30 Apr 1918 it left 10th Division and sailed from France, arriving at Marseilles on 1 Jun. On 5 Jun, it was absorbed by the 2nd Battalion. The remaining cadre was disbanded on 3 Aug 1918.
The 7th Service Battalion was formed at Tralee in Aug 1914 as part of Kitchener's First New Army and was moved to The Curragh in 30th Brigade in 10th Division. In May 1915 the battalion was moved to England at Basingstoke. On 9 Jul 1915 it sailed for the Dardanelles campaign from Liverpool, arriving at Mudros, Greece in late Jul 1915. On 7 Aug 1915 it was landed at Suvla Bay. On 2 Oct 1915 it was withdrawn to Mudros then moved to Salonika. On 3 Nov 1916 it the remainder of the 7th Battalion was transferred to the 6th Battalion.
The 8th (Service) Battalion was formed in Sep/Oct 1914 as part of Kitchener's Second New Army and was moved to Fermoy in 47th Brigade in 16th Division. In Nov 1914 it was moved to Mitchelstown, Co Cork, in Feb 1915 to Templemore, and in May 1915 to Fermoy. In Sep 1915 it was moved to England at Blackdown, Hampshire. About 18 Dec 1915 the battalion landed in France at Le Havre. On 30 May 1916 it absorbed 12 officers and 200 men from the disbanded 9th Battalion. On 23 Nov 1916 the battalion was disbanded in France; 21 officers and 446 men being drafted to the 1st Battalion.
The 9th (Service) Battalion was formed in Sep/Oct 1914 as part of Kitchener's Second New Army and was moved to Kilworth in 48th Brigade in 16th Division. In Jan 1915 it was moved to Ballyvonare, near Buttevant, in Jun 1915 to Ballyhooly near Fermoy. In Sep 1915 it was moved to England at Blackdown, Hampshire. About 20 Dec 1915 the battalion landed in France at Le Havre. On 30 May 1916 the battalion was disbanded in France; the remaining personnel being drafted to the 1st, 2nd and 8th Battalions.
The 1st (Garrison) Battalion was formed at Cork on 1 Apr 1917 from the 1st (Home Service) Garrison Battalion, Durham Light Infantry. In Nov 1917 it was moved to England at Prees Heath, Shropshire. On 11 Nov 1917 the battalion HQ and 3 companies formed 1st garrison Battalion which went to Italy where it remained on the Lines of Communications until the end of the war.
The 2nd (Home Service) Garrison Battalion was formed at Prees Heath, Shropshire in Nov 1917 from one company of the 1st Garrison Battalion. In Apr 1918 it was relocated to Cosham, Hampshire where it remained as part of Portsmouth Garrison for the remainder of the war.
The Royal Munster Fusiliers won the following battle honours during World War I:
France and Flanders: Retreat from Mons; Marne 1914; Aisne 1914; Ypres 1914; Langemarck 1914; Gheluvell; Nonne Boschen; Givenchy 1914; Aubers; Loos; Mount Sorrel; Somme 1916; Albert 1916; Bazentin; Pozieres; Guillemont; Ginchy; Fiers Courcelette; Morval; Messines 1917; Ypres 1917; Langemarck 1917; Passchendaele; Somme 1918; St Quentin; Bapaume 1918; Rosieres; Arras 1918; Avre; Drocourt-Queant; Hindenburg Line; Canal du Nord; St Quentin Canal; Beaurevoir; Cambrai 1918; Selle; Sambre; Pursuit to Mons; France and Flanders 1914-1918.
Italy: Italy 1917-1918.
Macedonia and Salonika: Struma; Macedonia 1915-1918.
The Dardanelles: Helles; Landing at Helles; Krithia; Suvla; Landing at Suvla; Scimitar Hill; Gallipoli 1915-1916.
Egypt: Egypt 1915-1917.
Palestine: Gaza; Jerusalem; Tell 'Asur; Palestine 1917-1918.
In common with other Irish regiments of the British Army, the Royal Munster Fusiliers were disbanded in 1922 with the creation of the Irish Free State.
Text on this page © Iain Kerr. The Society would like to thank Iain Kerr, Phil Curme and James F. O' Sullivan for their invaluable help with this project.