Search Results for 'Connaught Rangers'
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On June 12 1922 a very special ceremony took place at Windsor Castle, near London. Following the establishment of the Irish Free State the previous December, five Irish regiments, including the Connaught Rangers, the Royal Irish, the Leinsters, the Munsters, and the Dublin Fusiliers, which had served the British army with exceptional valour at times, were disbanded. It was a day of special significance for both the participants and onlookers.
This very fine painting ‘Listed for the Connaught Rangers, recruiting in Ireland 1878’, was painted by Elizabeth S Thompson, but following her marriage to Lieutenant General Sir William Butler of Bansha Castle, Co Tipperary, is best known as Lady Butler. It is not only extremely unusual for a woman artist to have so successfully worked in the highly masculine field of military art, but Lady Butler was an exception in many ways. She was an innovator, particularly in her sensitive and humane depiction of the ordinary soldier. Detail was all important. She was a regular visitor to Chelsea Hospital, and other retirement homes for soldiers, to question survivors, sometimes getting them to re-enact a particular scene.
Perhaps fearing that the refusal by Irish soldiers to carry out army duties in Wellington Barracks at Jullundur, northeast India, on June 27 1920; and that the mutiny would spread to an already sympathetic native population, leading to a general protest such as at Amritsar the previous year, the army authorities quickly took decisive action. The commanding officer, Lt Col Leeds, strode into the crowd of excited and rebellious soldiers, demanding to speak to its two leaders John Flannery and Joe Hawes. He warned the men that they could be shot for this; that such behaviour only excited the natives to rebellion. Hawes, smoking a cigarette, replied that he would rather be killed by an Indian bullet than by a British one (His disrespectful attitude to his commanding officer was noted).
At the beginning of the last century, two boys grew up together in Loughrea. Socially they were far apart, but they were great friends. John Oliver was from a particularly poor background. His family lived in a tiny lean-to shack out on the Galway road on the edge of the town. His friend was Tom Wall, who lived in a comfortable house on Patrick Street. John enjoyed visiting their home. His friend played with a band, The Saharas, and there was often music and fun in their house, shared by his brother Ray, and their attractive sister Cissie.
Because of its strategic location, Galway was always an important centre for the military. The original fort in Renmore was known as St Augustine’s Fort and featured prominently in the 1641 rebellion, after which it was abandoned, the purpose for which it had been built having been accomplished.
The Connaught Rangers, the legendary British Army regiment whose members were drawn from the west of Ireland and who were stationed in Galway, will be subject of a new exhibition.
In India in 1920, the Connaught Rangers mutinied in sympathy with their fellow countrymen back home, who were fighting in the War of Independence.
Our photograph today was taken in Eyre Square in 1922, and shows the Connaught Rangers parading through the city on their last day in Galway. It is interesting to see them on horseback, on foot, and with bicycles. As you can see in the foreground, there is a long line of soldiers standing in front of the crowd, and there is what looks like a temporary reviewing stand on the far side of the street.
On June 12 1922 a very special ceremony took place at Windsor Castle, near London. Following the establishment of the Irish Free State the previous December, five Irish regiments, including the Connaught Rangers, the Royal Irish, the Leinsters, the Munsters, and the Dublin Fusiliers, which had served the British army with exceptional valour at times, were disbanded. It was a day of special significance for both the participants and onlookers. It was reported in the London Times.
It’s very hard to describe a true Irishman, without acknowledging that we all share a complicated inheritance. At no time was that complication more powerfully amplified than in the crisis of identity leading up to and during War World I. On the one side is the unionist image of Irish Protestants loyally, and exclusively, rallying to the Union Jack, and sealing that union with their blood; while on the other side, the Catholic and nationalist men and women, the people of the 1916 Rising, who represent the ‘true’ Ireland, in sharp contrast to the misguided Irishmen slaughtered in France on the altar of British imperialism.