Book charts the history of Irish Fusiliers Old Comrades group

Pictured at the launch of the history of the RIFus Regiment Association (Portadown Branch) are ' left to right ' Sam Thompson, chairman, Col Arthur Reid, Craigavon Mayor Colin McCusker. General David O'Morchoe, David Simpson MP abd Sydney Anderson MLA.
Pictured at the launch of the history of the RIFus Regiment Association (Portadown Branch) are ' left to right ' Sam Thompson, chairman, Col Arthur Reid, Craigavon Mayor Colin McCusker. General David O'Morchoe, David Simpson MP abd Sydney Anderson MLA.

A book has been published on the history of the Royal Irish Fusiliers Regiment Association’s Portadown branch.

The History of The Royal Irish Fusiliers Regimental Association (Old Comrades Association) Portadown branch 1947-2014, was launched recently in Portadown.

The Royal Irish Fusiliers was an Irish Infantry Regiment formed in 1881 by the amalgamation of the 87th and 89th Regiments of Foot. The 87th and 89th were raised in 1793. The 87th Regiment had the distinction of capturing the first French Eagle during the Napoleonic Wars at the Battle of Barrosa, Spain on March 5 1811. The regiment’s motto is “Faugh a Ballagh” and means “Clear the Way”. This is now the motto of the Royal Irish Regiment. The Royal Irish Fusiliers were also involved in the Boer War 1899-1902.

In the First World War the regiment raised 14 battalions mainly recruited from Monaghan, Cavan and Armagh. The one connected to Portadown was the 9th Battalion raised by Major Blacker and was mostly recruited from the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF.) This battalion was part of the 36th (Ulster) Division fought at the Somme on July 1, 1916.

Two Victoria Crosses were won, Private Robert Morrow, Messines, Belgium, April 12, 1915 and Lieutenant Shillington Cather, Somme, France July 1, 1916. The number of World War One dead listed on the Portadown War Memorial is 321, of which 195 are recorded as being Royal Irish Fusiliers. The regiment had four battalions during the Second World War and saw action in France, North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Malta, Austria and Leros.

The Portadown branch of The Royal Irish Fusiliers Regimental Association (Old Comrades Association) formed in 1947 and the book lists key events between 1947 and 2014.

A small committee endeavoured to ensure all dates and articles recorded are as accurate as possible.

The main guest was General David O’Morchoe the last Commanding Officer of the 1st Battalion The Royal Irish Fusiliers before they amalgamated with the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and The Royal Ulster Rifles on July 1, 1968. The launch was on the 204th anniversary of the Battle of Barrosa on March 5, 1811.

A cheque from the Portadown Royal Irish Fusiliers OCA was presented to Col Hubert McAllister for the Army Benevolent Fund, The Soldiers Charity.