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The Dubs come to Naas

James Durney

On 3 March 1873, General Order No. 18 was specially issued introducing a new scheme for the localization of the British Army. Under this scheme the 102nd Royal Madras Fusiliers and the 103rd Royal Bombay Fusiliers were linked together and formed the 66th Sub-District with a Brigade Depot at Naas military barracks. The Counties of Dublin, Wicklow, Kildare and Carlow composed the sub-district, while to the two regular regiments were affiliated the following five Militia Battalions: the Carlow Rifles, the Kildare Rifles, the Wicklow Rifles, the Royal Dublin City (Queen’s Own Royal Regiment), and the Dublin County Light Infantry.
The command of the Brigade Depot was bestowed upon Colonel J. B. Spurgin, C.B., C.S.I. Spurgin had risen from the rank of lieutenant and had served with the Madras Fusiliers – the famous ‘Blue Caps’ – in the Second Burmese War and the Indian Mutiny. On 14 June 1873 the establishment of the Regiment was fixed at 28 officers, 42 non-commissioned officers, 16 drummers, 40 corporals and 480 privates.
With the issuing of General Order No. 69, in July 1881, the 102nd and 103rd Regiments formed henceforth the 1st and 2nd Battalions respectively of ‘The Royal Dublin Fusiliers,’ of which the Carlow, Kildare, Dublin City and Dublin County Militia formed the 3rd, 4th and 5th Battalions. The headquarters of the Regimental District was still at Naas. So began nearly forty years of association between the Dublin Fusiliers and Naas. The Dubs travelled to the far reaches of the globe, winning fame and glory, on battlefields from South Africa’s velds to Flanders field’s and from the Madras to the Dardanelles. Hundreds of Naas men passed through the ranks of the Dublin Fusiliers and probably bestowed many local connections to the Dubs lore, so much so that ‘Bradley’s river’ at Rathasker was known as the ‘Madras.’

In 1873 Naas Barracks became the Depot of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers

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