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South Cork Light Infantry Militia

Updated 23 Sep 1999

Transcribed from public records by Michael Cronin and posted here with his kind permission.

These notes on the South Cork Light Infantry Militia were taken from the regimental history: G.S. Ormerod, Regimental Records of the Third Battalion of the Royal Munster Fusiliers (Cork: Purcell, 1906). Available from the LDS film #0824226. In taking these notes I have limited myself to the time the regiment was in County Cork.

ESTABLISHMENT OF THE REGIMENT

This militia regiment was created under an act of Parliament: 33rd Geo.III., sub-sec. xv., c.22. under which it was the intention to have one county regiment and one city regiment.

"Whereas, a respectable Military Force under the command of Officers possessing landed property within this Kingdom, is essential to the safety and protection of this realm and its constitution, and the Militia laws now in force in this Kingdom have been found incapable of effecting the purposes of their institution, be it therefore enacted by the King's Most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice of the Lord's Spiritual and Temporal and Commons in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, that the Governors of the several counties shall have full power and authority and are hereby required to call together and array, arm, and cause to be trained and exercised, such persons and in such manner as hereinafter directed once a year, …..."

"And be it further enacted, that the number of men to be raised by virtue of this Act shall be as follows, that is to say:- For the county of Cork, if with the city of Cork, if such city and county of the city of Cork shall be made part of the said county of Cork, for the purpose of this Act, 1,464 men. For the city and county of the city of Cork, 488 men. For the county in like case, 976 men."

In the event two county regiments were established: The North Cork, north of the Blackwater; and the South Cork, south of the Blackwater.

COMPOSITION OF THE REGIMENT

The establishment of regiments at this period consisted of from 8 to 12 companies.

The Grenadier Company consisted of 1 Captain, 2 Lieutenants, 3 Sergeants, 3 Corporals, 2 Drummers, 2 Fifers and 57 Privates; the Light Infantry Company consisted of 1 Captain, 2 Lieutenants, 3 Sergeants, 3 Corporals, 2 Drummers and 57 Privates; and each Battalion Company of 1 Captain, 1 Lieutenant, 1 Ensign, 3 Sergeants, 3 Corporals, 2 Drummers, and 57 Privates.

The Regimental Staff consisted of the following:--- 1 Colonel, 1 Lieutenant-Colonel, 1 Major, Adjutant, Paymaster, Surgeon, Assistant-Surgeon (called Surgeon's Mate), Quarter-Master, Sergeant-Major, and Quarter-Master-Sergeant.

PROPERTY QUALIFICATION OF OFFICERS

The Militia Act of 1793 sets forth that----- "Every person who has been or shall hereafter be appointed an Officer of the Militia of any of the ranks following, shall be in possession of an estate for his own life or the life of another, or for some greater estate in land or heritage's in the United Kingdom of the yearly value hereinafter mentioned in connection with such respective rank, or be heir apparent of some person who shall be in possession of a life estate in property of the like yearly value."

Colonel Commandant, £2,000 year, or heir to £3,000 a year
Lieut.-Colonel, £1,200 year, or heir to £1,800 a year
Major, £300 a year, or heir to £600 a year
Captain, £200 a year, or heir to £400 a year
Lieutenant, £50 a year, or heir to £500 personal property a year
Ensign, £20 a year, or heir to £200 personal property a year

The Colonel and Leiut.-Colonel to have one-half their property in the county.

In 1855 an Act was passed in which no property qualification was required for officers in the militia below the rank of Captain, and the existing qualifications were considerably reduced.

In 1869 an Act was passed abolishing all property qualifications.

1793-1815

For most of this period the regiment was embodied (except for a short time in 1800 and again in 1814) and was deployed to various parts of Ireland (except for 1813-14 in England). The only significant event inside County Cork was in 1796 when the French attempted an invasion of Bantry Bay

"About the 24th of December 1796 the French Fleet reached Bantry Bay, where they were drawn up ready for action. At night the lights could be distinctly seen on board from the land, and so certain were the authorities that they intended landing that Mr (later Sir Richard) White sent a message to the inhabitants of the town that all who wished to leave should depart forthwith."

The regiment attempted a forced march from Limerick but got only as far as Cork when the French were blown out to sea, the invasion never took place. They remained in County Cork at Mammoor Camp west of Bandon until 1798.

1815-54

On disembodiment, 16 Mar 1815, the staff were located in Rathcormac where Lord Riversdale had constructed a barrack at his own expense. The major problem at this time was what to do with 600 odd former militiamen many of whom were unemployable as civilians, the army had forbidden them to re-enlist but Riversdale agreed to turn a blind eye allowing a large number to join the regular army.

The staff remained at Rathcormac for the next 40 years. There were several reductions in the size of the staff until 1829 by which time it consisted:
1 Adjutant
1 Sergeant Major
13 Sergeants
1 Drum-Major
6 Drummers
The staff was allowed to decline further over the next 25 years by not replacing those who retired or left.

1854-6

After a long period of neglect most of the militia regiments throughout Britain and Ireland were embodied on the outbreak of the Crimean war, the intention was that they would perform garrison duty 'at home' freeing the regular army regiments for active service.

To quote directly from the regimental history:

"It was towards the end of this year that the so-called Staff of the 87th South Cork Light Infantry, which for nearly 40 years had been calmly resting in the quiet little village of Rathcormac, received orders to proceed to Bandon prior to the embodiment of the Regiment. What a staff it was after long years of neglect and indifference! Colonel the Hon. H.B. Bernard was fond of describing the appearance it presented, when, as commanding officer, he received this small remnant of what was once a crack corps, as it halted on the Barrack Square of Bandon. The whole lock, stock and barrel did not number more than 3 individuals...........from this very small beginning there spread the present South Cork Light Infantry--later still known as the 3rd Battalion Royal Munster Fusiliers."

As in the case of previous embodiments the regiment volunteered for foreign service but this time the offer was not accepted, which may have been just as well considering that this was a very 'green' regiment even by the standards of the time. When embodiment was completed in March 1855 the regiment, consisting 10 companies, marched to Kinsale, but even as late as June recruiting parties were sent out to Mitchelstown, Cork, Kanturk, Skibbereen, Cloyne, and Bandon. It can be assumed from this that they were still not up to strength which reinforces the correctness of the decision not to commit them to active service.

On October 29 they went by rail to Limerick but remained there only until December 8 when they went by rail to Dublin for garrison duty. They returned to Cork July 11, 1856. The old colours were retired to Ballymodan Church on July 1, and the regiment was disembodied on August 11 at Cork.

1856-81 On disembodiment the permanent staff of the regiment returned to Bandon. At this time it consisted of:
1 Adjutant
1 Quarter Master
1 Sergeant Major
1 Quarter Masters Clerk
20 Sergeants
10 Drummers

Starting in 1858 the regiment began annual training, usually in the summer months. Because there was no rifle range at Bandon the training consisted mostly of drill, in fact it was not until 1874, when the venue was changed to Fermoy, that any shot was fired in training. In 1872 control of the militia was transferred from the Lord Lieutenant to the War Office.

The following table sums up this period:
1858 The regiment assembled at Bandon on July 15 them marched to Kinsale for training.
1859-65 Annual training at Bandon commencing July 1.
1866-70 No training due to the 'disturbed condition of the country'.
1871 Training resumed at Bandon.
1872 No training.
1873 Training at Bandon. A Militia reserve was also formed this year.
1874 Training at Fermoy including musket practice for the first time.
1875 Training at Fermoy.
1876 The number of companies was reduced to eight. A trial mobilisation was carried out in July involving all available military forces including militia and regular army. The South Cork went to England and trained as part of the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division, 2nd Army Corps near Horsham, Sussex (the North Cork and Galway militias were also part of this brigade). They returned to Cork on July 26.
1877 Training at Fermoy.
1878 Because of the Russian war scare the reserve were sent to Belfast to join the 104th but were soon disembodied and returned home.
1879-80 Training at Fermoy.

1881-99

In 1881 the army reforms saw the amalgamation of the line and militia regiments, the South Cork became the 3rd Battalion of the Royal Munster Fusiliers but retained its militia status. Regimental HQ was at Tralee in Co. Kerry but battalion HQ remained at Bandon. Training was discontinued for three years but resumed in 1884:

1884 Training at Fermoy and Curragh.
1885 Training at Kinsale.
1886 Training at Fermoy.
1887 Training at Charles Fort, near Kinsale.
1888 Training at Kinsale. New colours were presented in August by the Countess of Bandon and in September the old colours were retired to Warren's Court.
1889 Training at Fermoy
1890 The permanent staff moved from Bandon to Charles Fort near Kinsale.
1891-6 Training at Charles Fort.
1897 Training at Kilworth Camp as part of the Munster Militia Brigade.
1898 Training at Charles Fort.

1899-1902

In December 1900 the battalion was embodied for garrison duty at Dover for the duration of the Boer War but on arrival there volunteered for active service in South Africa. This offer was accepted and they arrived in Cape Town March 19, 1900 beginning their first overseas deployment. The duties in South Africa included escorting supply convoys, guarding prisoners, and general garrison duties.

On arrival the battalion consisted of 24 officers and 426 men but during their time there the received a number of reinforcements:
30 April 1900: 104 men from the 4th battalion and 118 from the 5th.
13 July 1900: 134 men from the 1st battalion.
15 April 1901: 22 3rd battalion men.

During their time in South Africa 3 were killed in action, 6 wounded, and 10 died from disease.

They returned to Cork in March 1902 and were disembodied.

OFFICERS OF THE SOUTH CORK LIGHT INFANTRY MILITIA

This is a list of officers and the year they were commissioned starting in 1800. For the full list see Ormerod’s book. Land owning qualifications applied to all officers until 1869 and for this reason officers joining before that date were almost certainly wealthy land owning Protestants.

1800
William Blair
George Laughton
John Heuson

1801
Lord Riversdale
George Atkins
Thomas Poole

1803
Chambers Corker
John Browne
Richard Newman

1804
Jonas Morris
Edward Evanson
Arthur Browne
William Gregg
Henry Harris
John Bernard

1805
William Kirby
Richard Bagley
Francis Bernard
William Elwood
Raymond Barry

1806
Devonshire Penrose
Henry Hungerford
George Jackson
George Bennett
James Godsell
Roger Langley
Charles McCarthy
Edward Barnet
Thomas Baldwin
Michael French
Thomas Townsend
Richard Carey
William Morris

1807
Horace Townsend
Capel Garde
Henry Daunt
Emanuel Hungerford
William Wellstead
John Payne

1808
Eyre Bruce
John Lloyd
Hays St Leger
John Crowe
Jonas Morris
Francis Heard
Michael Carey
Edward Foot
Thomas Lindsay
Kilney Barry
John Harris
Robert Stewards
John Chambly
Charles Miller
Samuel Godsell
Edward Long

1809
Thomas Nash
Thomas Beamish

1810
Henry Wallis
James Ludlow Stawell
Thomas Hungerford
William Stawell
Percy Scott
Edward Scott
Goff Ashton

1811
J D Freeman
Charles Stawell
Samuel Bennett
Phil Somerville
St Leger S Watkins
William Austin
S Walton
Gumbleton Daunt

1812
E Evans
William Long
Jonathan Bruce
John Sealy
Ralph Evans

1813
John French
Henry Baldwin
Thomas Hungerford
J H Whiteney
George Willis

1814
John Sealy
Pascoe Goggin
Hugh Nurcott
John Milward

1816
James Crowe

1830
Viscount Boyle
Viscount Bernard

1834
Sampson French
Hewitt Poole

1846
George Bowles
Francis Jones
Crewe C Townsend
William Bowles
William Ryder
Joseph Deane Freeman
George Robert Bruce
Arthur Hyde Lucas
Vere Hunt Bowles
John Glover Gregg
John Nagle
Robert Heard
John Lucas

1848
W St Leger Alcock Stawell

1852
Edmund A Shuldham
William Broderick

1853
John Peter Hardy
Richard W Doherty

1854
Hon. Henry Burgh Bernard
J R Wheeler
Michael Wall
Richard Tonson Rye
Chambers Baldwin
S L Newman
Frederick Cornwall

1855
Hon. W Evans Freek
Sir James Lawrence Cotter Bt.
H D Gaynor
William Johnson
Godfrey Baldwin
Robert Holmes
Denis Cummins
John Harding Cole
J J Tresillian
Charles Deane
Francis Heard
Richard White
W P Hosford
James H Morrogh
Samuel Hawkes
William H Bird
Thomas Deane Perry
Richard Ager
Thomas H Markham
Thomas Somerville
John Penrose Warren
Robert Cole Bowen
Walter Humphries
Beaumont Hotham
Thomas George Walker
C F Tuckey
M Alcock
Lancelot J Kiggell
H Slovach

1856
W C Seton
S Medlicott
Francis Rowland

1858
James H F Donegan
Richard Nettles

1861
Henry Lucas

1863
Edmund Roche

1864
Frederick Bell

1865
Sir Augustus Riversdale Warren Bt.

1866
Percy Broderick Bernard

1867
William Belcher

1868
James F W L B Bernard
James P Furlong

1869
Stephen P Coppinger

1871
J Byrne
H G Kelly
Thomas F Lyons
John R Newman

1872
A Poole Beamish
A D Jackson
T H Baylor
J T F Otway
Sir Ludlow Cotter

1873
George Lucas
Walter Baldwin

1874
A C Donovan
Hon. C A Winn

1875
J T Brinkley
T D O’Grady

1876
Christopher M Davidson
Brooke R Brazier
A J Lucas

1877
G R Westropp
Cunningham Fowler
J C Swete
Thomas Hone

1878
H Pratt
Ivone Kirkpatrick

1879
Ludlow T Bowles
Thomas H Underwood
Henry Comins
George W Dowell

1880
C W Murphy

1881
Richard W Cooper
P J W Considine
J E H Herrick
F H B Connor
G S Riach
M W O’Donovan
C J Butler Kearney
H L Helyar

1882
W W Newenham
A Riversdale J B Warren
William Sullivan

1883
J G P Glynn
A L Coppinger
C M Davidson
Frank Burke Graves

1884
C J T Blakeway
John H Cramer
T R Sarsfield
Henry Wrixon Becher
Henry Innes L’Estrange

1885
J H O’Connell
J W Jopp Parker
Alexander Deane

1886
W P Sellar
B N C Roberts
R F Creighton

1887
A L E Des Barres
E O J Allen
George L’Estrange

1888
Ludlow Strange Payne
Thomas Gosselin Elliott
A J Moseley
J McNamara

1889
H G L Davidson

1892
C C Mahony
F A Clarke

1893
W D Beamish

1894
C Gravice
G W C Soden
H G Richardson

1895
R H Townsend
G R Braddell
T W S Green

1896
D S MacCarthy Morrogh

1897
W H Forsdick
B V S Domvile
A W J F Abbott

1898
P W Brooks
R S Popham

1899
E P Conway
A St Leger Goldie
P C Shaw
A W S Brock
A C Ferguson
F Bleazby
H S L Maydwell
G O B Harley
W T R Browne

1900
A B J Webber
S D Nash
S H Dix
R W Oldnall
A Arnott
L C Richardson
F G Wintour
H G C Perry Ayscough
W S Browne
H B T Rye
A E King
D H Powell

1901
R Leahy
Fitz G B Crosbie
W J Hewett
D de C C MacGillcuddy
H B S Stephenson
H B Purdon
F F O’Halloran
F S Popham
G H Powell
H StJohn Hazeldine

1902
H W Powel

1903
R J Meade
R E E B Doherty
H E MacCarthy Morrogh
J C Cullimore Lee
R F Penrose
A H Darnell
R Hutchins
S G S Payne

1904
T C W Fowle
G S Ormerod
G M H Wright
R H Maunsell-Eyre

1905
A E Saunderson
T A Wise
H StJohn Hazeldine

1906
E N Appelbe


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