Origin and History
The regiment was created from Jacobite followers on December 3 1688 when James II fled from Great Britain and took refuge at the Court of Louis XIV. It was initially designated as the “Queen's Guards” and was commanded by the Marquis d'Autrin.
In March 1689, the regiment accompanied James II when he sailed from Brest and landed in Kinsale in Ireland with an army of 20,000 men, captured Dublin and vainly laid siege to Londonderry. The regiment then took part in the capture of Athlone. In 1690, it took part in the battle of the Boyne. In 1691, it was with the army assembled at Kinsale and fought in the battle of Aughrim. After the capitulation of Limerick, the regiment returned to France.
In 1693, during the Nine Years' War (1688–97), the regiment received James' authorisation to join a French army campaigning in Italy under the command of Catinat. It took part in the capture of the defiles of Veillane and in the battle of Marsaglia. In 1694, it was transferred to the Low Countries. In 1695, it took part in the siege and capture of Dixmude. In 1696, the regiment returned to Italy where it took part in the siege of Valenza. In 1697, it was transferred to Catalonia, participating in the attack on Rosas and in the siege and capture of Barcelona
In 1698, after the Treaty of Ryswick, the regiment entered in the French service where it was designated as “Bourke Infanterie”.
By the time of the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment counted a single battalion.
In May 1701, at the outbreak of the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment formed part of the Army of the Rhine. In July, it was sent to Northern Italy. It was initially posted on the Adige and later fought in the Battle of Chiari. In 1702, it took part in the defence of Cremona when Prince Eugène de Savoie tried to storm the place. It later took part in the siege of Castiglione, in the Battle of Luzzara and in the siege of Guastalla. In 1703, it participated in the siege of Vercelli and in Vendôme's expedition in Trentino; in 1704, in the sieges and capture of Vercelli and Ivrea and in the siege of Verrua; in 1705, in the capture of Verrua, in the blockade of Mirandola, in the siege of Chivas and in the Battle of Cassano where it suffered heavy losses; and in 1706, in the Battle of Calcinato and in the disastrous Battle of Turin. In 1707, the regiment operated in Languedoc against the insurgents of the Cevennes. In 1708, it fought in the Battle of Oudenarde; and in 1709, in the Battle of Malplaquet. In 1710, the regiment took part in the defence of Saint-Venant which was forced to capitulate on 29 September. The garrison obtained the honours of war. In 1712, the regiment took part in an attempt to relieve Landrecies, in the victorious Battle of Denain, in the siege and capture of Marchiennes and in the sieges and capture of Douai and Le Quesnoy; in 1713, in the siege and recapture of Landau, in the attack on the entrenchments of Hornberg and in the siege and capture of Freiburg.
In 1714, the regiment was part of the 40 battalions sent to assist the Spanish army in the siege of Barcelona. On 11 September, it took part in the storming of Barcelona. It then remained in this city as garrison.
On 18 May 1715, after the Treaty of Utrecht, the regiment was transferred to the Spanish Army where it was initially known as “Regimiento del Principe de Astúrias” (aka “Wachop Infantry”).
In 1717, the regiment, as its first service in the Spanish Army, took part in an expedition to reconquer Sardinia, landing at Pula and laying siege to Cagliari. On 10 February 1718, the regiment was renamed “Regimiento de Irlanda”. It later sailed from Pula to Sicily, landed at Punta Solanto, occupied Palermo, laid siege to Messina and fought in the Battle of Milazzo. In 1719, it took part in the victorious Battle of Francavilla. In 1720, it returned to Barcelona.
In 1726, the regiment was transferred to the District of Valencia.
In 1732, the regiment took part in the reconquest of Oran. It then formed part of the garrison of the place. In 1733, it defended Oran against the Moors and then re-embarked and was transported to Majorca. The same year, it incorporated the disbanded Waterford Infantry.
In 1733, at the outbreak of the War of the Polish Succession, the regiment was sent to Italy where it occupied Tuscany and Apulia. In 1734, it took part in the reconquest of Naples, in the Battle of Bitonto, in the capture of Bari, Gaeta and Pescara, and in the expedition against Sicily where it was at the capture of Palermo and at the siege of Syracuse; in 1735, in the capture of Syracuse before returning to Spain.
In 1737, the regiment was transferred to Fuente de Cantos.
In 1740, on the eve of the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment marched to Barcelona. In 1741, it embarked for Italy where it took part in the occupation of Tuscany. In 1742, it reinforced the garrison of Mirandola. In 1743, it fought in the Battle of Campo Santo. In 1744, it took part in the defence of Naples; in 1745, in the siege and capture of Tortona; in 1746, in the Battle of Rottofreddo. In 1747, the regiment returned to Spain and was sent to garrison Majorca. In 1748, it re-embarked for Barcelona.
In 1754, the regiment was transferred to Galicia.
During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was under the command of:
- from 17??: Don Reynaldo Mac-Donnald
- from 22 July 1760: Don Juan Comesford
The regiment was disbanded in 1818.
Service during the War
In 1756, the regiment embarked at Algeciras and was transported to North Africa to reinforce Ceuta, threatened by the Moors.
In 1757, the regiment defended Ceuta when the Moors invested the place in July.
In 1759, the Moors finally abandoned the siege of Ceuta, decamping on 11 November. Relived by other troops, the regiment returned to Barcelona.
In March 1762, the regiment marched from Barcelona to Old Castile. On April 17, it entered into Zamora. It was then incorporated into the second division of the army assembling for the planned invasion of Portugal. On May 5, this division crossed the frontier at Brandilanes and occupied Constantim. The regiment took post at Ifanes to cut the line of retreat of the garrison of Miranda do Douro. This garrison defended the place stubbornly but surrendered when its main powder magazine exploded. The regiment then entered into Miranda by the breach opened by the artillery. Two days later, a detachment of the regiment occupied Bragança. On July 15, the entire regiment marched to Ciudad-Rodrigo where it rested for a few days. On July 20, it marched to Galegos to take part in the Siege of Almeida. On August 25, the place surrendered with the honours of war. On September 9, the regiment marched to Cerveyra. On September 29, the grenadiers of the regiment were detached under General Count de Saldueña to support Brigadier O'Reilly who had been charged to reconnoitre the Portuguese entrenchments in the Talladas. On 4 October, when the Spanish army marched on Sarcedas, the regiment was assigned to the defence of the small place of Castelo Branco where it remained until November 14. Peace was then concluded and, on November 25, the regiment retired to Old Castile.
|red with 13 yellow buttons on the right side
|blue with 13 yellow buttons
Armaments consisted of a musket, a bayonet and a sword (brass hilt).
The colonel, lieutenant-colonel, sargentos mayores and officers carried a spontoon and an officer stick. They used to hang this stick at the second button of the coat. The type of handle of the officer stick was different for each rank:
- gold for the colonel
- silver for the lieutenant-colonel
- silver (but only one finger wide) for the Sargento Mayor and the captains
- ivory for assistants, lieutenants and for the chaplain
- wooden with a silver ring for sub-lieutenants
Sergeants carried a halberd instead of a spontoon. Furthemore, their officer stick had no handle.
An illustration shows a grenadier drummer of Irlanda Infantry in 1762 with a red coat, a red waistcoat and red breeches. Collar, cuffs and turnbacks were blue. He had white gaiters and buttons were made of brass. Collar, cuffs and the front of the coat were edged with a red and white checkered pattern. The drum was blue with red rims and white cords. The barrel was painted with the royal arms and crown, surrounded by the collar of the Order of the Golden Fleece. On both sides of the Royal Arms were two white colors with a red Burgundian cross.
Since 1709, the coronela (colonel) and sencilla (battalion) colours of all Irish regiments were identical. At the beginning of the 1750's the coronela was altered and became slightly different for each regiment (with the name of the regiment written in the lower part of the colour). In most Spanish regiments the practice of writing the name of the regiment on the coronela seems to have been suppressed around 1759. However, the sencillas remained unchanged.
Coronela: White field with a red Burgundian cross; in the upper left corner, a medaillon carrying the arms of the regiment (blue field with a golden harp) surmounted by a golden crown; beneath the medaillon, a scroll with the motto "IN OMNEN TERRAM EXHIVIT SONUS EORUM".
Sencillas: Blue field; centre device consisting of a golden Irish harp.
N.B.: the field of the arms is often represented as blue which could simply be a faded green
This article is mostly made of abridged and adapted excerpts from the following books which are now in the public domain:
- Clonard, Conde de, Historia Orgánica de las Armas de Infantería y Caballería, vol. X, Madrid, 1851-62, pp. 137-164
Album de Taccoli, 1759
Saez Abad, Ruben, Luzuriaga, Juan Carlos and Petinal, Manuel: Heroes Espanoles en America, Almena, Madrid 2016
Juan José Torres and the Asociación Cultural de Modelismo Histórico Alabarda for the information and counselling provided for this article.
Volker Scholz for information on colours and on the uniforms of drummers.