The Royal Dublin Fusiliers actually originated in India! In the mid-1600s, the East India Company established a garrison, Fort St. George, to protect one of their factories. They recruited 50 men, the kernel of the Madras European Regiment. Before 1700, 500 Irishmen were soldiers with the Company. The regiment became the 102nd Royal Madras Fusiliers.
The Boer War brought the 2nd Royal Dublin Fusiliers’ first victory, though at a high cost. In November 1899, a party of Dubs was taken prisoner by the Boers. A London Evening Post journalist accompanying them, Winston Churchill, was also imprisoned, but escaped after two months. He telegraphed their Colonel,
“My earnest congratulations on the honour of the Dublin Fusiliers more than any other Regiment have won for the land of their birth. We are all wearing the Shamrock here.”
Three reserve battalions were added to the two regular battalions of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers during the Great War. In September 1914, the 1st RDF were in Madras. The 2nd Battalion were part of General French’s British Expeditionary Force, (sent to France in August 1914) and fought at Le Cateau. The 1st, 6th and 7th were sent to Gallipoli, the 6th and 7th subsequently fighting at Salonika. The 1st and 2nd were at the opening of the Battle of the Somme. The 8th, 9th and 10th fought at the Somme later in 1916. The 1st, 2nd, 8th, 9th and 10th were all involved in the 3rd Battle of Ypres, also known as Passchendaele. By the end of the Great War, 4,777 Royal Dublin Fusiliers had been killed.
As 1918 ended, demobilization had already started. The 1st Battalion of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers (The Blue Caps), served in Germany before returning to England. The 2nd Battalion was re-organized: A and D Companies were formed for non-commissioned officers and men who had civil employment to which to return. B Company catered for those attending the battalion school. C Company was for men without a trade or the prospect of a civilian job. The 2nd Royal Dublin Fusiliers served in Turkey, then India, before being recalled to England. On June 22, 1922, the Colours (silk flags bearing the regimental crest and battle honours) were ceremoniously handed over to King George at Windsor Castle and the Royal Dublin Fusiliers was disbanded.