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  #1  
Old 27-11-23, 12:19 PM
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Default Royal South Down Militia Officers Mess Tunic

Just recently picked up this very fine tunic. I would like some information as I am not very familiar with the Militia Regiments.
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  #2  
Old 28-11-23, 12:11 AM
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The South Down Militia was raised in 1800. Originally County Down formed one regiment of militia given the title the 9th or Royal Downshire Rgt of Militia on formation in 1793. On April 3, 1800 the Colonel, Lord Downshire, was dismissed, in part because of his opposition to the Act of Union between Great Britain & Ireland. Always a large unit since formation, the opportunity was taken of the Colonel's dismissal to split the regiment into two smaller units to aid administration. The new units were, The Royal North Down Militia and The Royal South Down Militia. The title ‘shire” was dropped from the titles, the county had never been known as “Downshire”.

Like all Irish Militia corps the unit spent some periods of time embodied for active service (usually to garrison home stations and thus free up regular troops) interspersed with long periods of disembodiment where it existed as a skeleton cadre or “just on paper”.

Its lineage is broadly as follows (Year, Precedence Number, Title);
1800, 8, The Royal South Down Militia
1833, 112, The Royal South Down Regiment of Militia
1856, 112, The Royal South Down Light Infantry Militia
1881, N/A, 5th Battalion The Royal Irish Rifles
1908, N/A 5th (Extra Reserve) Battalion The Royal Irish Rifles
1920, N/A 5th Battalion The Royal Ulster Rifles
1952/3 N/A Disbanded

Forum member "Wmr-RHB" has an excellent lineage reference here,

https://hcvv.home.xs4all.nl/milweb/G...list-1793.html

The South Down was embodied during the period 1803–16 in consequences of the Napoleonic Wars. Most of its duties were garrisoning stations in Ireland but it was stationed in England between 1813 and 1814 as part of the militia interchange program between Great Britain and Ireland. It was disembodied after Napoleon had been defeated.

The Royal South Down Militia was next embodied as a result of the Crimean War on 4 Jan. 1855 and was stationed at the following locations,
1855, Mar-July, Newry
1855, Aug, Dublin
1855, Sept- 1856, April, The Curragh
1856, May - Jun, Naas
1856, Jul - Aug, Newry. The regiment was disembodied on Aug. 4, 1856
Hay in “An Epitomized History of the Militia, The Constitutional Force)” gives the embodiment date as Jan 1885 but Colburns United Services Magazine does not show it as embodied until the March 1855 list.

It was soon embodied again on Sept. 21, 1857 as a result of the Indian Mutiny and was stationed as follows,
1857, Oct., Hillsboro
1857, Nov., Dublin
1857, Dec - 1858, Mar., Aldershot
1858, Apr.- May. Hillsboro
It was disembodied on May 18, 1858.

In the period between 1858 and 1881 the militia battalions were generally only embodied for annual training which I think was 27 days or 1 month approx.

In 1876 a mobilization scheme was published for the forces in Great Britain and Ireland comprising eight army corps. The South Down Militia formed part of the 7th Corps which was to be headquartered at York and formed from Irish and English militia. The South Down formed part of the 2nd Brigade (York) of this corps along with the North Down Militia and the Dublin County Militia . A mobilization was carried out in July 1876 but I don’t know if this included the 7th Corps or not. The 2nd Corps certainly did mobilize.
There was no militia embodiment in Ireland in 1880 and 1881 due to the state of unrest in the country.

It was next embodied during the period May 10, 1900 – July 24, 1902. Eleven officers and 424 other ranks (ORs) of the 5th Royal Irish Rifles volunteered for service in South Africa, together with four officers and 110 ORs of the 3rd Bn and three officers and 107 ORs of the 4th Bn. The composite battalion, commanded by the CO of the 5th Battalion, Colonel R.H. Wallace, arrived in Cape Town on 28 April 1901. The role assigned to 5th Royal Irish Rifles was to man blockhouses although initially they had mounted patrols to counter Boer operations.

Your mess jacket obviously dates to pre 1881 and I assume from after the militia was restructured in 1855/56. I personally can’t date that button more precisely but perhaps someone with knowledge of mess jacket uniforms might be able to pin down a more precise date.

John
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Old 28-11-23, 01:09 PM
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Default Royal South Down Militia Officers Mess Tunic

John.

I am amazed by the information. I must admit when it comes to the Militia I have very little knowledge. It will compliment my Royal Meath Tunic

Seoirse
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Old 29-11-23, 02:08 AM
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Given you have a Meath Militia jacket also here is a potted history of that corps (If you will indulge me as I have an interest in the Irish Militia).

This data is compiled from several sources including,
The Record Of The Formation, Services Marches & c of the 5th Battalion, The Prince of Wales' Leinster Regiment ( Royal Canadians), late Royal Meath Militia, Major J. Bingham Kersteman, 1st Battalion, Leinster Regiment, Adjutant of the 5th Battalion. Dublin: Hodges, Figgis, And Co. , Grafton Street. 1882.
• Colburns United Services Magazine, various editions
• 'Hibernian Chronicle' Newspaper, various editions


The regiment was dressed in scarlet with blue facings throughout.

General Lineage (Year, Precedence Number, Title)
1793, 17, The Royal Meath Militia
1833, 119, Royal Meath Rgt of Militia
1856, 119, The Royal Meath Militia
1881, N/A, 5th Battalion, The Leinster Regiment
1908, N/A, 5th (Extra Reserve) Battalion, The Leinster Regiment
1922, N/A, Disbanded

Raising of the Regiment
The Royal Meath Militia was raised early in 1793 by ballot, under the command of Viscount Headfort with the headquarters initially at Kells. It marched from its county in August, 1793 and occupied Cashel. It afterwards moved to Co. Cork where it garrisoned Charles Fort Kinsale, and the Cantonments of Cork.

1794–1802 French Revolutionary War & Irish Rebellion
In 1796, when a French fleet appeared off Bantry, the regiment moved to oppose its landing. The flank companies advanced to Bantry and Dunmanway but on the French fleet retiring, the regiment was diverted and quartered at Youghal and Waterford. It was sent to the relief of Royalist forces in Wexford during the rebellion of 1798 where a company was cut to pieces at the battle of Three Rocks on May 31st. They then advanced to New Ross, and were engaged, with considerable loss, at the Battles of Vinegar Hill, Ross and Fokesmills. After the rebellion was over they were again quartered in Munster. By Oct. 1798 the regiment was stationed in Cork and then Mallow.

In October, 1799, it marched into Connaught, and occupied Castlebar. The regiment marched back to its own county in 1802, and was disbanded at Kells on the 16th of March following the Peace of Amiens.

1803–16 Napoleonic Wars
In 1803, the regiment was embodied to an establishment of eight companies. It marched for Limerick, and from there occupied cantonments at Kerry. In September, 1805, it moved to Ulster, and was quartered successively in the Barracks at Armagh, Aughnacloy, Lifford, and Derry (Londonderry).
In 1809, it marched to Tullamore, and from there to Cork in 1810. The following year, 1811, it volunteered its services for England, and embarked on the 26th of January, 1812.

The regiment disembarked at Harwich in Essex on the 11th of February, from whence it marched to the Barracks at Ipswich, Suffolk, and was quartered there ‘till November. The subsequent movements of the regiment were,
• To Normancross on the 5th of November arriving on the 11th.
• A detachment was sent to Peterborough on the 20th of November.
• The headquarters marched from Normancross for Chelmsford, Essex, on the 31st of March, 1813, the detachment at Peterborough on the following day. The Hqds arrived at Chelmsford on April 5th, and the detachment on April 6th.
• The headquarters left Chelmsford on the 6th, and the remainder on the 7th and marched to Bristol, arriving there on the 17th and 18th of September.
• On the 20th of September, the Regiment embarked at Bristol in six ships for Cork, under the command of Lieut. - Col. W. Battersby and they disembarked at Monkstown, Cork, on the 24th of September.
• On the 25th of September the regiment marched from Cork to Fermoy and then on to Kilkenny. Arriving there in divisions between 5th and 6th Oct.
• On the 23rd of July, 1814, the first division of the regiment marched from Kilkenny to Kells, Co. Meath, to be disembodied. The second division marched on July 25th. The Royal Meath Militia was disembodied at Kells, Co. Meath, on the 1st of August, 1814 following the abdication of Napoleon.

On the 7th of May, 1815, orders were received at Kells, from Dublin Castle, to send out recruiting parties; and on the 28th June, a warrant was received to embody the Royal Meath Regiment as a result of the threat posed by Napoleon’s escape from exile. The first division of the regiment marched from Kells to Cashel on the 21st August, and the second division on the following day.

On the 25th of September, the regiment marched from Cashel to Fethard .
It was disembodied at Kells in May, 1816 and remained disembodied until the outbreak of the Crimean War

1854-56 The Crimean War
The headquarters, adjutant and permanent staff were moved from Kells to Trim on the 25th of July, 1855, prior to the embodiment of the regiment. On the 1st of August, the regiment assembled at Trim for embodiment, under the command of Major Sir John Dillon, Bart. New colours were presented to the regiment at Trim on the 10th of May, 1856, by the Marchioness of Headfort. The regiment was embodied and stationed in Co Meath throughout the period as follows,
1855, April, Trim
1855, May- Aug., Kells
1855, Sept., Trim
1855, Oct. – 1856, July, Kells.
On July 28th, 1856 the regiment was disembodied at Trim.

1857 – 1858 The Indian Mutiny.
The regiment was not embodied.

1858 – 1881,
A rather monotonous existance
1858: The regiment assembled for 21 days training on the 15th July.
1859: The regiment assembled for 21 days' training on 14th of July.
1860: The regiment assembled for 21 days' training on May 1st. During the month of October, the headquarters and permanent staff was moved from Trim to Navan.
1861: The regiment assembled at Navan for 27 days' training on the 15th of May
1862: The regiment assembled for 21 days' training on May 7th
1863: The regiment assembled for 21 days' training on May 14th and dismissed on June 3rd.
1864: The regiment assembled for 21 days’ training and was dismissed on May 21st.
1865: On May 1st, 1865, the regiment assembled for 27 days' training. They were inspected by Colonel Smythe, Inspector- General of Militia, on May 25th, and dismissed on May 27th.
1866: the training of the Irish Militia was suspended.
1867: Training suspended
1868: Training suspended
1869: Training suspended
1870: Training suspended
1871: The regiment assembled at Navan on May 15th for 35 days and dismissed on June 19th.
1872: The regiment assembled for 34 days' training on the 20th of May, under Sir John Dillon, Bart. They were inspected in the drill- field at Black Castle, Navan , on the 11th of June by the Lord Lieutenant,
1873: The regiment assembled at Navan for 27 days' training.
1874: The regiment assembled at Navan on the 8th of May for 27 days' training.
1875: The regiment assembled for 27 days' training on May 13th.
1876: The regiment assembled at Navan on May 29th for 27 days training.
1877: The regiment assembled at Navan on the 2nd of July for 27 days' training.
1878: On the 3rd of April, 1878, the reserve men of the regiment were called up for army service and they were assembled at the headquarters of the regiment, Navan. They left Navan to join the 107th Regiment at Portsmouth on the 25th of April and embarked the same day at Kingstown in HMS. Orontes. The recruits of the regiment assembled at Navan on the 13th of May, and were dismissed on July 5th. The orders for the training of the remainder of the regiment were cancelled on account of smallpox. The reserve men rejoined headquarters at Navan from army service on the 31st of July, and were paid their bounties, and dismissed to their homes same day.
1879: The regiment assembled at Navan for 21 days' training on the 16th of June, and proceeded on the following day by train to the Curragh Camp. They returned to Navan on July 4th, and were dismissed same day.
1880: On the 5th of April, the recruits assembled at Navan and the regiment assembled on May 31 for 27 days annual training. They were dismissed to their homes on June 26th. Fifty -three men joined the reserve this training.
1881: Owing to the disturbed state of the country, the Irish Militia Regiments were not called up for training. On the 1st of July, “The Royal Meath Regiment of Militia " became the “5th Battalion Prince of Wales' Leinster Regiment (Royal Canadians).

1900 The Second Anglo Boer War
Embodied May 2, 1900.
Disembodied at Aldershot. October 18, 1900

Last edited by John Mulcahy; 29-11-23 at 02:31 AM. Reason: corrected "1855, Oct. – 1856, July, Kells".
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Old 29-11-23, 08:39 AM
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I enjoyed reading the stories above. Thanks for posting.
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Interested in the lineage of the unit your badge represents?
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Old 29-11-23, 10:38 AM
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I previously posted an article on my under Royal Meath Regiment of Militia Coatee. There are photographs and some information
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Old 14-06-24, 05:27 PM
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[QUOTE=John Mulcahy;614982]Given you have a Meath Militia jacket also here is a potted history of that corps (If you will indulge me as I have an interest in the Irish Militia).

John if you can indulge me I would appreciate a little further help.

"Thomas Taylour, 2nd Marquess of Headfort was born on 4 May 1787.1 He was the son of Thomas Taylour, 1st Marquess of Headfort. He was appointed Knight, Order of St. Patrick (K.P.) in 1839. He gained the rank of Colonel in the Meath Militia."

Do you have any information on the above service with the Meath Militia.

Seoirse
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Old 15-06-24, 02:11 AM
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To the best of my knowledge he became Colonel of the Meath Militia in 1811. He does not appear in the list of officers in the regiment in the 1809 “List of the Officers of the Militia of the United Kingdom” (attached). The col. listed is I assume his father, the 1st Marquiss. This is the only copy of the Militia List for the period that I have access to. It would be fruitful for you to seek out copies for the period 1810 – 1816 to see if he appears or search newspaper archives for details of service. As colonel he would have been responsible for the leadership and day-to-day management of the regiment and thus would have been with the regiment on its routine garrison stations in England from Jan – Sept 1812 and then in Ireland until disembodiment in 1814 and 1816. Most of this service would have been routine guarding of installations. After 1816 the regiment existed on paper until embodied again in 1855.

I believe he became Honorary Colonel of the Meath Militia on December 14, 1831. This is a largely ceremonial position and does not involve active command or day-to-day management of the regiment and thus “service” would have been limited, representing the regiment, supporting its needs etc.
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Old 15-06-24, 01:55 PM
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John. Thank you very much for the info, much appreciated. Seoirse
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