Wednesday, 12 February 2014

The Royal Irish Artillery

Finding the Pay Lists and Muster Rolls of the Royal Irish Artillery yesterday during our visit to the National Archives piqued my interest, so this morning I did some further research.

Until 1801 the British Army was split into two establishments, the English and Irish Establishments. (The Scottish Establishment had disappeared in 1707 as a result of the Acts of Union when the English and Scottish Establishments were combined.) As a result of the 1800 Act of Union and the creation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, the English and Irish Establishments were amalgamated in 1801, and the Royal Irish Artillery became part of the Royal Artillery.

The Royal Irish Artillery had been created in 1755 as the Artillery Company of Ireland, and had been renamed in 1760. By 1801 it had twenty-one companies, one of which was an Invalid Company. Four of the companies were on service in the West Indies, and these became Lindsay's, Unett's, Stawell Benson's, and Waller's Companies of the 7th Battalion. They were joined in the 7th Battalion by Thornhill's and Jackson's Companies which were on service in Ireland. (Both companies were stationed in Dublin in April 1801 and were then moved to Cork and Londonderry respectively from June onwards.) Young's Invalid Company (which was in Dublin) became part of the Royal Artillery Invalid Battalion.

The remaining companies were disbanded and the personnel were discharged, transferred to existing companies within the Royal Artillery, or used to form four new companies within the 7th Battalion. These new companies were Pritchard's, O'Brien's, Gilbert's, and Viney's Companies.

Most of this information was garnered from the copy of BATTERY RECORDS OF THE ROYAL ARTILLERY 1716-1859 by Lieutenant Colonel M E S Laws OBE, MC, RA (Retd) that we own. It was published in 1952 by the Royal Artillery Institute, and is a very impressive piece of research and a 'bible' for anyone undertaking research into the history of the Royal Artillery.

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