Regimental Mascots

Royal Munster Fusiliers

Thanks to Alexandra Bennett and James F. O'Sullivan for details on this page

The infantry regiment which became known as The Royal Munster Fusiliers was originally formed by the merging of two other infantry regiments dating from the 1760's. These were the 101st. and the 104th. Regiments of the British Army, which had seen service mainly in India. There were four regiments numbered 101 from 1760 to 1817 which existed only briefly, and another Regiment called the 101st. gave over a century's service with The East India Company from 1756 to 1861.

This was in the days when military regiments were raised by their leaders or by trading companies and then gave service to governments when required. In 1861, the control of the 101st. passed from The East India Company to the English Crown. It remained a part of The British Army until 1922, when The Royal Munster Fusiliers was disbanded. As this name denotes, "The Munsters" were recruited from Ireland's Southern Province of Munster, which is comprised of the Irish Counties of Clare, Cork, Kerry, Tipperary, Limerick and Waterford.

 The RMF in the Boer War
 Part of a 1901 Stereoview - the Royal Munster Fusiliers lining the trenches
on a Boer Alarm, Honey Nest Kloof, South Africa
 On the back of the card it states: "Royal Munster Fusiliers wisely kept behind the Redoubt at Hones Nest Kloof (Feb. 16) S. Africa.

During the 1914 - 1918 War, the Regiment grew to encompass 11 Battalions, with the 3rd. Reserve, the 4th. & 5th. Extra Reserve, the 6th., 7th., 8th., & 9th. Service Battalions and the 1st. & 2nd. Garrison Battalions being added to the 1st. & 2nd. Regular Battalions.

 Uniforms of Royal Munster Fusiliers
Types of Uniform of the Royal Munster Fusiliers 1900-1922
(left to right) 1900 Officer in Levee Order. 1900 Fusilier Soldier Khaki. 1912 Fusilier Soldier Review Order. 1912 Officer Review Order.
1918 Officer Fighting Kit. 1918 Soldier Gunner - Lewis Gun.
Levee Order - uniform worn with extra ornamentation, used for special occasions such as in the presence of Royalty or eminent personage.

The 3rd Battalion (Kerry Militia) existed from 1881-1922 and was formed by redesignation of South Cork Light Infantry Militia. The Battalion was mobilised at Tralee on August 4th, 1914 and later that month was deployed to Berehaven and Bantry Bay. In October, 1914 it was moved to Cork. In May, 1915 it was relocated to Aghada and Cork Harbour. In October, 1917 it was located at Ballincolig, Co. Cork. In November, 1917 the battalion was moved to England at Devonport.

RMF silk from time of Boer War 
 Royal Munster Fusiliers Silk
(This silk Card was issued with B.D.V Cigarettes)
 3rd Battalion RMF Insignia
 Insignia of 3rd Battalion Royal Munster Fusiliers
(from a 1916 Christmas card)

About May 1918 it absorbed the 4th and 5th Battalions but remained at Plymouth Garrison until the Armistice in November, 1918.

In 1914, Miss V.H.Grant of Lichborough Hall, Weedon, Northampton, offered a hound as mascot for the Leinster Regiment but the offer was declined as the Regiment was being sent into battle and, although the Commanding Officer was willing to take the hound and have him looked after by their transport while the Regiment was in the trenches, he felt that Miss Grant would prefer the dog to stay in the U.K. He was then offered to the 3rd Battalion Royal Munster Fusiliers, in Aghada, Co. Cork and the following letter was received:

letter 
It reads:
"Dear Sir,
Your letter to the Adjutant, Depot R.M. Fus., has been passed to me and the Commanding Officer has asked me to write and say that he would very much like to have the wolf-hound for the Battalion , he would have a good home and would be well cared for, my only fear would that he would be too well looked after the men all love a dog and show it by feeding him on every opportunity, however I think we can prevent this from being overdone.
"It would also be well that any conditions which you wished to impose should be clearly stated such as your having first refusal of him if at any time it was found impossible for the Regiment to keep him.
Yours sincerely,
"

The letter was signed by the Adjutant, Captain Walter McClelland Crosbie, who the following year was promoted to Major and was Commanding support companies of the 8th Service Battalion as they prepared at 3.00 am to mount an attack on Guillemont. By September 4th the Battalion had 265 casualties, among them was Major Crosbie, wounded in action.

The dog was Lichborough Garryowen, bred by Mr. Foster, by Wickham O'Hara out of Eastmar Vespa (unregistered), and born June 3rd, 1910, although he was actually purchased at the age of 10 months for the sum of £5 from an Ernest Smith who no longer wanted him because he had grown "too big". He was known in the Regiment as "Garry" and was over five years old when he finally reached the barracks in Aghada towards the end of 1915.

Lichborough Garryowen 
 Garry in 1911, aged about 1 year
 Garry at Aghada
 Garry at Aghada 1915
Cork Examiner 
THE REGIMENTAL MASCOT -
LIEUTENANT J. O'SHEA, 3rd Royal Munster Fusiliers,
in company with the regimental mascot, 'Garryowen.'
A prominent member in musical circles in the south, his
abilities and energy in this direction are much appreciated
by the troops quartered in Aghada. He has been through
France and was wounded.
Cork Examiner  11/10/1916

Garry was with the 3rd Battalion until 1918, when it was disbanded, and he was then taken over by the 1st Battalion. When the 1st Battalion was sent to Silesia, Garry was taken care of by the Regimental Depot but in 1922 he was returned to Lichborough Hall with an officer to deliver him, as the Royal Munster Fusiliers was being disbanded..

Garry with the 1st Battalion 
Garry in 1921 with the 1st Battalion
Garry leading the Battalion
Garry leading the Band on a wet day outside North Road Station in Plymouth
It is thought that this photograph may have been of troops leaving Plymouth
and could well be those that went to Tarnowitz in Silesia during the troubles there in 1921-1922.

Photo by kind permission of Jill Trafford
Garry in November, 1922 
Garry in November, 1922 with Miss Grant

One of the interesting points about Garry is that there is no mention of him in the official records of the Regiment, so he was never an "official" regimental pet or mascot.

For more information on the Royal Munster Fusiliers visit James O'Sullivan's site at http://munsterfusiliers.net/
and The Fame of Tipperary Group's site on The Irish in Uniform at http://homepage.tinet.ie/~tipperaryfame/mnstrfus.htm

More on the RMF can be found on the regiments.org website of T.F. Mills at
http://www.regiments.org/regiments/uk/inf/101Munst.htm. Go to Sqn. Ldr. W. J. P. Hamill-Keays, BEM CEng MSc MRAeS MIMechE MILT RAF rtd. website http://freespace.virgin.net/sh.k/xvidiv.html for details on the 16th Irish Division, which included the Royal Munster Fusiliers, and to http://freespace.virgin.net/sh.k/wardogs.html for a page on the use of dogs during the First World War.

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Updated 6/14/2008