WELCOME to the web site of the LONDON IRISH RIFLES ASSOCIATION.
We are really looking forward to the Association's visit to Sicily which should be a marvellous few days when we remember the time when both our Battalions stayed on the island during 1943. I had the good fortune to make a preparatory visit to Sicily in April and I was delighted by the warm welcome accorded to me, as a representative of the London Irish Association, and this made it clear that those friendships established by our Regimental forebears over 70 years ago remain very strong indeed.
In terms of other major historical commemorations, September 2016 will also see the 100th anniversary of 1/18th Battalion's contribution to the capture of High Wood during the Battle of the Somme. No doubt, the Association, D Company and the wider London Regiment family will take the opportunity to pause for appropriate contemplation of those momentous few days for the London Irish Rifles and other units of the 47th (London) Division.
I was also recently reminded that it was during June 1916 that our 2nd Battalion (2/18th London Regiment) travelled with 60th (2/2nd London) Division to the Western Front and for a few weeks were positioned in the trenches close to the 1st Battalion (1/18th London Regiment) near to Vimy Ridge...their war had started later than most but would take them onto Macedonia and Palestine over the subsequent two years of front line service.
Finally, for those Members concerned that they have not yet received a copy of the 2016 Emerald, just to confirm that this year's journal will be sent out over the summer time period.
We look forward to seeing many of you in attendance at one of our Parades or at the Field of Remembrance later in the year.
Major Peter Lough TD
Chairman of the London Irish Rifles Association.
We have a thriving Regimental Association and our members take part in regular events as well as occasional battlefield tours. Our Welfare Team provides support to former and current London Irish Riflemen, liaising with external organisations, including SSAFA, on matters that require further investigation. Each year, members receive the journal of the London Irish Rifles, the 'Emerald', which has been published annually since 1949.
We also have a Northern Ireland Branch, which meets every three months in Newtownabbey, under the chairmanship of Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Maher.
If you or a member of your family has served with the 1st or 2nd Battalions, the war time raised (Young Soldiers') 70th Battalion or more recently with D Company, we would most certainly like to welcome you as an Association member.
THE LONDON IRISH RIFLES TODAY.
The London Irish Rifles now form D Company (London Irish Rifles), The London Regiment.
The London Irish Rifles was formed in 1859 and at that time was known as the 28th Middlesex (London Irish) Rifle Volunteer Corps. Numbered among the ranks of its first members were the Marquesses of Donegall and Conyngham, the Earls of Arran and Belmore, and also former Prime Minster, Lord Palmerston, who, at the age of 76, joined as a private soldier.
The London Irish Rifles would gain 65 battle honours in the Boer War and in both World Wars - probably the Regiment's most famous battle honour was gained in September 1915 at the Battle of Loos, when men of the London Irish Rifles kicked a football into German trenches, thereafter entering immortality as 'The Footballers of Loos'. This event is commemorated by the Regimental Association every year on Loos Sunday at Connaught House.
THE PIPES AND DRUMS.
The Regimental Pipes and Drums was founded in 1906, and has been affiliated with the Regimental Association since 1969. Today, they take part in many events including ones at Connaught House and 'The Lord Mayor's Show' through the City of London in November.
Read more about the activities of the Regimental Pipes and Drums and to find out how you could join the Band.
We have a Regimental Museum at Connaught House, which contains many interesting artifacts, including the original Loos Football, which has recently been re-conditioned.
Alex Shooter and Nigel Wilkinson are available at all Regimental Association events and they can provide you with further information on the history of the Regiment.
OUR SOCIAL LINKS.
The London Irish Rifles has a well deserved reputation as a fighting Regiment.....at the same time, we are equally well known as being an extremely friendly bunch. Even during the midst of battle, it was reported that one of our riflemen walked into a bar in Loos on September 25th 1915, asked for a cafe au lait, drank it slowly and then picked up his rifle and returned to the fight.
So it is not surprising that we have excellent connections with three very fine hostelries:
The Sportsman at Seasalter in Kent, where our 1st Battalion took German prisoners after the Battle of Graveney Marsh in September 1940.
The Rifleman in Whitton which has been re-signed in honour of local resident Rifleman Frank Edwards and his comrades, 'The Footballers of Loos'.
Order a pint of the black stuff and enjoy the craic.
LONDON IRISH RIFLES SHOP.
We have a variety of items for sale at the museum and at Mulqueens, including a fantastic limited edition print of four eras of the London Irish Rifles (left), which was painted by renowned war artist, David Rowlands.
There are also several books available about the Regiment, including the 'History of the Pipes and Drums' and 'The Footballers of Loos'.
The London Irish Rifles has Army Cadet Force detachments at locations in the South East and North West sector.
RESOURCES AND USEFUL LINKS.
There have been a number of books written about the London Irish Rifles' rich history with some available from the Regimental Museum while others can be purchased from reputable book sellers.
Connaught House is located in Camberwell, South London, and is easily accessible by car, bus, train and tube.