Galway senator praises royal tribute to disbanded Irish regiments in British Army

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Disbanded Irish Regiments' Colours on display at Windsor Castle in England. Photo by Allan Hillery from D Ball collection

Galway senator Gerard Craughwell has praised a commemorative service in England to mark the centenary of the handing over the Colours of the six Irish regiments of the British Army which were disbanded in 1922.

Senator Craughwell, the Irish Ambassador, senior service personnel, and representatives of all the regiments currently serving in the British Army with Irish connections attended the ceremony at Windsor Castle on Tuesday.

The late Queen Elizabeth II expressed her wish that such an event should take place while she was at Balmoral Castle in Scotland earlier this year.

That wish was endorsed by the new king, with senior military authorities recognising the importance of this centenary year.

The commemoration service, presided over by Father Pip Smith, took place at Windsor Castle where the colours of the Irish regiments are exhibited.

The governor and constable of Windsor Castle held a reception in his private quarters, attended by representatives of the Regimental Associations of the six regiments.

Local senator Gerard P Craughwell, President of the Connaught Rangers’ Association and former member of both the Irish Defence Forces and British Army, said: “We are grateful to the military authorities in London for making this centenary happen especially in such a significant year, and I acknowledge the impetus from those well-placed generals with Irish connections.

“It is important to recognise the extraordinary contribution, service and huge sacrifice of the men, and families, of these fine Irish Regiments, especially in the Great War 1914-18.

“No less than 15 Victoria Crosses, the highest award for valour in the British Army, were won by these Irish Regiments since their formation in 1881.”

At the reception, a presentational box containing commemorative coins of the six disbanded Irish regiments, especially designed and produced by Sean Collopy of Limerick, will be handed over for safekeeping in the castle.

The 80th and 90th anniversaries of the handing over the Colours in 1922 had previously been held at Windsor Castle, both hosted by Prince Andrew.