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The Second Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers in the South African War With a Description of the Operations in the Aden Hinterland   By: (1864-)

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With a Description of the Operations in the Aden Hinterland



[Illustration: W. & D. Downey.

H.R.H. The Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, K.G., Commander in Chief of The Mediterranean Forces, and Colonel in Chief of The Royal Dublin Fusiliers.]

[Illustration: E Libris, The Royal Dublin Fusiliers.]

London: A. L. Humphreys, 187 Piccadilly, W. 1908


The 2nd Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers is one of the oldest regiments in the service. It was raised in February and March, 1661, to form the garrison of Bombay, which had been ceded to the Crown as part of the dowry of the Infanta of Portugal, on her marriage with King Charles II. It then consisted of four companies, the establishment of each being one captain, one lieutenant, one ensign, two sergeants, three corporals, two drummers, and 100 privates, and arrived at Bombay on September 18th, 1662, under the command of Sir Abraham Shipman. Under various titles it took part in nearly all the continuous fighting of which the history of India of those days is principally composed, being generally known as the Bombay European Regiment, until in March, 1843, it was granted the title of 1st Bombay Fusiliers. In 1862 the regiment was transferred to the Crown, when the word 'Royal' was added to its title, and it became known as the 103rd Regiment, The Royal Bombay Fusiliers. In 1873 the regiment was linked to the Royal Madras Fusiliers, whose history up to that time had been very similar to its own. By General Order 41, of 1881, the titles of the two regiments underwent yet another change, when they became known by their present names, the 1st and 2nd Battalions Royal Dublin Fusiliers.

The 2nd Battalion first left India for home service on January 2nd, 1871, when it embarked on H.M.S. Malabar , arriving at Portsmouth Harbour about 8 a.m. on February 4th, and was stationed at Parkhurst. Its home service lasted until 1884, when it embarked for Gibraltar. In 1885 it moved to Egypt, and in 1886 to India, where it was quartered until 1897, when it was suddenly ordered to South Africa, on account of our strained relations with the Transvaal Republic. On arrival at Durban, however, the difficulties had been settled for the time being, and the regiment was quartered at Pietermaritzburg until it moved up to Dundee in 1899, just previous to the outbreak of war.

The late Major General Penn Symons assumed command of the Natal force in 1897, and from that date commenced the firm friendship and mutual regard between him and the regiment, which lasted without a break until the day when he met his death at Talana. The interest he took in the battalion and his zeal resulted in a stiff training, but a training for which we must always feel grateful, and remember with kind, if sad, recollections. It was his custom to see a great deal of the regiments under his command, and he very frequently lunched with us, by which means he not only made himself personally acquainted with the characters of the officers of the regiment, but also had an opportunity of seeing for himself the deep esprit de corps which existed in it, and without which no regiment can ever hope to successfully overcome the perils and hardships incidental to active service.

As the shadow of the coming war grew dark and ever darker on the Northern horizon, the disposition of the Natal troops underwent some change, and General Penn Symons' brigade, of which the regiment formed part, was moved up to Dundee, and was there stationed at the time of the outbreak of hostilities. In spite of the long roll of battle honours, of which both battalions are so justly proud, the South African Campaign was the first active service either had seen under their present titles, and the first opportunity afforded them of making those new titles as celebrated as the old ones which had done so much towards the acquisition of our Indian Empire... Continue reading book >>

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