Other Regimental Mascots

Interestingly, on the army listings web page, Wolfhound (1 Regimental mascot) is listed separately from Dogs (1,300).

The Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment

Otherwise known as the "Dirty Half Hundred" and its origins can be indirectly traced back to 1743. The "Half Hundred" comes from it being the 50th Regiment of Foot (dating from December 1756) and the "Dirty" to the black dye in the uniforms not being colourfast and being spread over the faces of the men as they wiped away the sweat during the Battle of Salamanca in the Peninsular War.

In 1961 the Royal West Kent Regiment was amalgamated with The Buffs (Royal East Kent Regiment), to form The Queen's Own Buffs, Royal Kent Regiment.

My thanks to Christopher Jupp, Hon. Regimental Archivist & Historian, QORWK Regiment for all but the first photograph shown here, and for the information that they probably date back to mid/late 1915 and were taken at Tonbridge, Kent.

The Irish wolfhound in the photographs was presented to the 2/5th (Territorial Force) Battalion by Kathleen, Duchess of Newcastle, whose main interest was in Borzois. 2/5th RWK were a Home Service TF Bn and trained and supplied troops for the Battalions abroad. The hound was called Lion and known as the "grand fella".

I have not been able to find out anything about Lion's origins. There was only one hound registered to the Duchess of Newcastle and that was listed in Kennel Club records as a bitch named Giuin, wh. July 10th, 1911, by Everett's Felixstowe Gweebarra ex Miss Stark's Adel Colleen, sold to Miss McCheane and then transferred in July 1912 to Kathleen, Duchess of Newcastle.

soldier with two dogs 
 Soldier wearing the uniform of the Royal West Kent Regiment
Postcard produced by B.C. Flemons, Tonbridge, Kent
 The Battalion and Lion
 Obviously someone has made a great joke, since they are all smiling, even the dogs
Lt. Col. Willis and Lion 
 Lt. Col. E. Basset Willis and Lion
 Lion and Friends

The Regimental Museum is at Maidstone Museum and Art Gallery, St Faith's Street, Maidstone, Kent ME14 1LH Phone: (01622) 754497, Fax: (01622) 602193.

For more information on the Royal West Kent Regiment go to the Association Site at http://www.the-queens-own-buffs.com/main_pages/Queens/Mainpage_queens.html
and the regiments.org page at http://www.regiments.org/regiments/uk/inf/050QORWK.htm#history

South African Irish Regiment

At the outbreak of World War 1 in August 1914 three officers met at the Irish Club in Johannesburg with a view to raising an Irish regiment from among the citizens of Johannesburg and its environs. They were Maj. George Twomey, Capt J. Jeoffreys, and a Capt MacDonald. Authority was granted by Defence Headquarters and Lt. Col. Brennan, VD (Volunteer Decoration), was appointed as Commanding Officer, with Maj Twomey as Recruiting Officer. Recruits were quickly found and the battalion formed up at Booysens Camp, Johannesburg, on 9 September 1914, its establishment consisting of six companies. The Honorary Colonel was Mrs Louis Botha, who was an Irish girl (formerly named Emmett), and the wife of the General.

The dress for the South African Irish in 1914-15 shared the common features of the uniform of South African military forces, and as with many other units on active service the slouch hat or sun helmet was worn. However, a green shamrock cloth patch was worn on the left hand side of the hat or helmet. The badge was produced locally and worn on the cloth patch, and also as collar badges, this comprised a brass shamrock upon which was stamped 'S.A. IRISH'.

In 1939 the First South African Irish Regiment was reformed through the efforts of Maj. Twomey, Capt. Jeoffreys and Capt. Cullinan (son of Sir Thomas Cullinan, of diamond fame). Cullinan was the Transport Officer in East Africa and later the Honorary Colonel of the Regiment. The unit was designated as the First South African Irish but, in fact, a Second Battalion was never formed, for men intended for this Second Battalion were drafted to the First. Thus, the usual designation was simply 'South African Irish'.

HQ, Support Company and 'A' Company were recruited in Central Johannesburg, 'B' Company on the East Rand and 'C' Company on the West Rand. A pipe band was formed, the pipes and music being obtained in Eire and the personnel wearing saffron kilts and green stockings. The regimental mascot was, predictably, an Irish terrier. However, in 1946 it seems that an Irish wolfhound, Paddy, was the regimental mascot. (I have no details of Paddy or where he came from, or even how long he was with the Regiment)

In 1943 the unit returned to the Union of South Africa, to become 4/22 Field Regiment, South African Artillery. In this form it returned to North Africa as a component of 6 South African Armoured Division, later serving later in Italy. Authority was granted for the formation of an artillery unit, to be designated 22 Field Regiment (South African Irish) South African Artillery. Such a unit was formed in June 1946 and operated until 31 December 1959 as an artillery regiment, its members (drawn from ballotees residing in Johannesburg) wearing the gunners's insignia. On 1 January 1960 the Regiment reverted to its original infantry role and regained its old title, 'The South African Irish Regiment.' In this form it was involved in controlling the disturbances of 1960-1961 in South Africa

The South African Irish Regiment was allied in 1940 to the London Irish Rifles, and after the war former prisoners-of-war met their comrades in London. In 1949 the affiliation between the two Regiments was announced.

More about the South African Irish Regiment can be found on http://www.regiments.org/regiments/southafrica/volmil/inf/SAirish.htm
and on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_African_Irish_Regiment

There has been a regimental website but at present (April, 2006) it seems to be unavailable and I have not been able to find out what has happened to it. So watch this space.

Information about the Regiment taken from O.E.F. Baker (Military History Journal, Vol 6 No 1) at http://rapidttp.com/milhist/vol061ob.html

Royal Foot Guards (France)

Royal Foot Guards, Rue de Beauvans (Clisson). "Clisson is a mighty wolfhound whose frightening bulk is made more fearsome by his keen snout and rows of sharp teeth. Ever alert, he spends his days patrolling the regimental home snuffling for enemies." (I have no further details about this hound, nor even whether it was, in fact, an Irish wolfhound)

69th New York Regiment

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Updated 3/23/2008