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PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2015 0:20 am 
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Real Name: Ray Beazley
Group: 7 Para, California Historical Society
I have a question regarding religions in the Irish Regiments. Were the various regiments segregated by religion? i.e some regiments primarily Protestant and some primarily Catholic? If so, does any one know which regiments were primarily which religion? Thanks.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 28, 2015 19:19 pm 
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Real Name: Matt
rbeaz505pir wrote:
I have a question regarding religions in the Irish Regiments. Were the various regiments segregated by religion? i.e some regiments primarily Protestant and some primarily Catholic? If so, does any one know which regiments were primarily which religion? Thanks.


Ray I will try to answer your question.

Unfortunately it's not really my area of knowledge though. Basically Ireland was/is two separate countries split into Eire (Southern) and Northern Ireland. Eire was classed as neutral during the war so any Irish regiments would of come from the North which is part of the UK.

Thus we can assume any regiment would of been predominantly Protestant, and Catholic members would of joined at their own free will. The link below might help.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/38th_(Irish)_Infantry_Brigade

You could also search for the individual regiments: Royal Ulster Rifles, Royal Irish Fusiliers, Royal Enniskilling Fusiliers, London Irish Rifles.

There are probably many others I've not mentioned and perhaps someone with more knowledge will be able to help you out. I hope this might be of some use to you.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 29, 2015 18:12 pm 
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The short answer is 'No'.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2015 4:17 am 
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Real Name: Ray Beazley
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From my web surfing and the assistance I received on this forum, I think I have a plausible answer. The only statement mentioned about religion that I have found from the numerous Internet web sites I visited was that the Irish Guards prior to and during WW1 were approximately 90% Catholic and that may be because 98% of the Irish Guards were from Ireland itself. Nothing has been written about the other Irish regiments whether they be from Northern Ireland or England (such as the London Irish, etc.) Based on the absence of comments on the other numerous web sites, I am concluding, as Combover states, that there was no segregation based on religion. Thanks to all who posted to assist me and if anyone finds further information, please post those findings.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2015 8:37 am 
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I wouldnt assume that more than 50% of the Irish regiments were Irish.... let alone their religions

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2015 18:12 pm 
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You have to remember too, that until partition ( from 1921) there was no such thing as the concept of 'Northern' or 'Southern' Irish, Ireland was just Ireland.
Taken as a whole island though,as a point of interest, the largest percentage of the population was, and is, Catholic, by a large margin.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2015 20:46 pm 
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Real Name: Ray Beazley
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lordduvet wrote:
I wouldnt assume that more than 50% of the Irish regiments were Irish.... let alone their religions


Quite true, especially later in the war when manpower was critical. I saw an interview with Wally Parr of D Coy, 2 Ox & Bucks who stated that a large number of his unit were Londoners.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2015 22:07 pm 
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It happened all over. One Sapper with 15th Scottish Division bemoaned the Welsh in his Field Company because they would speak Welsh when annoyed with him, for instance.

A quick look at CWGC will tell you all you need to know on that score.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2016 21:20 pm 
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Combover wrote:
The short answer is 'No'.


What he said.

There's some hearsay evidence to suggest that some chaps from the Republic elected not to join Northern regiments because of the possibility of friction, but that says as much about them as it does about the unit's recruitment policy.

FWIW immediately pre war the 1Bn. RUR had to have a Church Parade on Friday due to the relatively large Jewish compliment.

If you're being shot at, the faith or politics of the lad beside you in the line is some way down your list of priorities.

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