The Combined Regiments Association held its Annual commemorative Parade and Remembrance Service at the Cenotaph in London, on Sunday 15 June, 2014. As one of the invited Inspecting Officers, Brig Gen Paul Pakenham, Chairman of the Military Heritage of Ireland Trust (CLG), laid a wreath at the Cenotaph and addressed the Parade.
The origin of the Parade stems from the disbandment of the Southern Irish Regiments in 1922: The Royal Irish Regiment (18th Foot), The Royal Dublin Fusiliers, The Royal Munstcr Fusiliers, The Connaught Rangers, The Prince of Wales Leinster Regiment (Royal Canadians) and The South Irish Horse.
On 12 June 1922, at Windsor Castle, King George V received the colours of five of these Regiments and a regimental engraving on behalf of The South Irish Horse. During the course of his State Visit to the United Kingdom, President Michael D. Higgins viewed these colours in Windsor Castle.
The Inspecting Officers, Maj Gen Walter Courage and Brig Gen Pakenham, took the salute on Whitehall, before the Remembrance Service and Wreath Laying Ceremony. Ms Cathy Barnicle represented the Irish ambassador. The Chairman of the Combined Regiments Association Col David Maitland-Titterton was the Parade Commander. The Remembrance service was conducted by Revd Fr Christopher Tuckwell.
The Honour Guard at the Cenotaph was provided by the Royal Irish Regiment. The Regimental Standard Bearers were drawn from the Regimental Association. Appropriate music was provided by the Band of the Royal Yeomanry, the Pipes and Drums of the London Irish, and the Buglers of the Royal Fusiliers.
Personnel who paraded and laid wreaths included representatives of the Associations of the Disbanded Regiments, descendents of personnel who served in the Disbanded Regiments, representatives of the Irish Guards Association, representatives of the Royal Irish Regiment Association and representatives of the Irish United Nations Veterans Association.
In addressing the Parade, Brig Gen Pakenham stated inter alia: “Mindful of the need to honour and respect the courage and loyalty of men and women who served and continue to serve in Irish Regiments, some of whom made the ultimate sacrifice, and recognising the role of their supporting families, let us continue to honour and commemorate those soldiers in an inclusive and respectful manner, and preserve their unique military heritage for future generations”.
Prince of Wales’s Leinster Regiment Association
As Chairman of the Military Heritage of Ireland Trust, Brig Gen Pakenham was also invited to the Annual dinner of the Prince of Wales’s Leinster Regiment Association on 14 June 2014, and was provided the opportunity of addressing members of the Association. Major-General David O’Morchoe, President of the Regimental Association and a Director of the Trust was in attendance.
The Leinster Regiment Association honours the soldiers, and their descendents, who served in the Prince of Wales’s Leinster Regiment (Royal Canadians), which formed part of the British Army from 1881 until its disbandment in 1922 as one of the Southern Irish Disbanded Regiments. The Regiments territorial association and recruiting area covered King’s County (now Offaly), Longford, Meath, Queen’s County (now Laois) and Westmeath. The colours of the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the Prince of Wales’s Leinster Regiment were laid-up in Windsor Castle in 1922.
Approximately two thousand officers and men of the Prince of Wales’s Leinster Regiment made the ultimate sacrifice during the course of the Great War, when the Regiment fought in four theatres of operations, receiving 32 Battle Honours and 4 Victoria Crosses.
In addressing the Association’s Annual Dinner, Brig Gen Pakenham stated inter alia: “Your Association merits considerable praise arising from its significant contribution to retaining the culture, traditions, ethos and legacy of the disbanded unit, though the active engagement of descendents, those with family links and like minded individuals, coupled with former and serving members of the British Armed Forces and the Irish Defence Forces”.
Photos by Malcolm McNally – Irish Post