1 Origins in the reign of James II
1.1 Raised in the Monmouth Rebellion
The Royal regiment of Fusiliers was the first of the regiments founded by James II on the account of Monmouth's rebellion. It was an ordnance regiment with the prime task of guarding the artillery. By commission of 11 June 1685 its first colonel was George 1st Baron of Dartmouth, then Master General of the Ordnance. This was of course too late to join in the battle of Sedgemoor, but it immediately got the title Royal Fusiliers.
A special characteristic of this regiment was that in stead of pikes, muskets and grenades, all soldiers had a fusil with a bayonet. A fusil was musket that used a flintlock in stead of a matchlock. If soldiers have to protect artillery this makes sense. The notion of a soldier with a musket with a burning fuse attached protecting a gun emplacement with barrels of powder kind of contradicts itself. In stead of a grenadeer company it had a company of miners, a trade in which the English perhaps wanted to gain some experience.
After Sedgemoor the regiment was in camp at Hounslow Heath. It then returned to the Tower of London with the artillery. From there it detached three companies to Sheerness. In 1686 the Fusiliers were again at Hounslow Heath, leading to a description of their activities. in 1687 this pattern repeated.
1.3 During the invasion of 1688
In the summer of 1688 the Fusiliers were again at Hounslow Heath. Later that year a strong detachment of the Royal Fusiliers embarked on the fleet. Its Colonel Dartmouth commanded the fleet and so had some support from it, even while he was at sea. After William III came to power Dartmouth was stripped of all appointments. The regiment itself became a regular regiment, even though it kept its armament.
2 The Fusiliers in the Nine Years War
2.1 Becomes the Earl of Marlborough's regiment
After William III took power were ordered to occupy quarters in Barnet. By February 1689 six companies had been ordered to Yarmouth, where they assisted in proclaiming the accession of William and Mary. On 8 March 1689 the Royal regiment of Fusiliers was ordered to embark for the United Provinces.
The overall command of these forces was with Lieutenant-General John Churchill Earl of Marlborough. On 25 August 1689 the Royal Fusiliers fought at Walcourt. Shortly after John Churchill was awarded the colonelcy of the regimen, which had been vacant for some time.
During the winter of 1689-1690 the Fusliliers were in Gent and Brugge6. Before the campaign of 1690 started it returned to England, where it stayed while King William fought at the Boyne.
2.2 The Regiment at Cork and Kinsale
In September 1690 the regiment participated in the expedition to Cork and Kinsale7. What's remarkable is that next to the army marching from the environs of Dublin, the amphibious force under Marlborough had about 8 English regiments. Together these quickly reduced the strong garrison of Cork, and afterwards that of Kinsale. The Fusiliers then remained in garrison in Kinsale for three months.
2.3 The Regiment goes to Flanders
In January 1691 the Fusliers embarked in Cork. While sailing to Flanders two vessels were wrecked on the English coast, and many men lost. In the 1691 campaign the regiment did not do anything remarkable.
2.4 Becomes George Hamilton's regiment
In January 1692 the Earl of Marlborough was disgraced and the Royal Fusilier regiment was given to George Hamilton (afterwards Lord Orkney)8. On 3 August 1692 the Hamilton regiment participated in the Battle of Steenkerque, where it suffered 10 killed and 15 wounded9. On 1 August 1692 (probably O.S.) George Hamilton became colonel of the Royal Scots.
2.5 Becomes Fitzpatrick's regiment
On 1 August 1692 Edward Fitzpatrick was appointed as colonel10. The regiment then marched to Furnes, which was being put into a state of defense. Next it marched to Dixmude, where it was also employed in building fortifications. During this work it stumbled upon a treasure of gold and silver coins. It ended the year in quarters in Gent.
In June 1693 Fitzpatrick's regiment camped near the Abbey of Parck11. After some maneuvering it was attacked at Landen in July. Here the Fusiliers were in a semi-fortified position. After the battle was already lost, they came under attack and fought well till they made an organized retreat.
Losses were severe: Colonel Edward Fitzpatrick was severely wounded, and had to recover in England for 18 months. Lt-Colonel Thomas Whalley was mortally wounded, Major Wilson was wounded, Captain Ruthwin mortailly wounded, Captains Harte, Betsworth, and Withers wounded. Of the lieutenants Fairbrother, Cooper and Blackmore were killed, and Fletcher wounded. Afterwards the regiment wintered in Gent.
In early 1694 a numerous body of recruits arrived, and so the regiment looked fine during the review. Nothing of consequence happened in the 1694 campaign, and so the regiment returned to Gent to winter.
The campaign of 1695 was about retaking Namur. The Fusiliers, which Fitzpatrick had rejoined on 19 June, took part in this siege. In July it took part in conquering the covered way. Later in July it participated in taking the counterscarp. In August it participated in taking the counterscarp of the citadel. At the end of this successful campaign the fusiliers again winterd in Gent.
In 1696 the Fusiliers were hastily ordered to England to prevent a possible French invasion and a possible rebellion. The regiment embarked at Sas van Gent, went to Flushing, and escorted by Dutch warships it arrived at Gravesend in March 1696. By then the plot had been frustrated, and so the regiment returned to Flanders without landing in England.
The campaign of 1696 was rather uneventful. The regiment joined the army under the Prince de Vaudemont, and it constructed some works to protect Brugge. In October it marched to Gent. Colonel Fitzpatrick drowned while passing to Ireland on 10 November 1696.
2.6 Becomes O'Hara's regiment
On 12 November 1696 Sir Charles O'Hara (b. c. 1640)12 Baron Tyrawley (in 1706) was appointed. O'Hara was mentioned as captain of a company of Cutts' disappeared regiment in 1681 and 1683. In combination with the absence of previous family history in his bio, this gives the impression that this was an appointment based on merit. O'Hara seems to have been a native from the area near Balina (Ireland), where he would invest in land.
On 13 March 1697 the O'Hara regiment left Gent and went into village quarters between Brussel and Malines. Two companies were detached to garrison Oudenaarde, while the remainder encamped behind the forest of Soignies. Here the regiment suffered from wet weather and the fact that their new clothes had not yet arrived from England.
After the September treaty of Rijswijk the regiment returned to England. The Royal regiment of fusiliers survived the post-Rijswijk disbandings by being in Jersey and Guernsey, where it stayed until 1702.
3 O'Hara's regiment in the War of the Spanish Succession
3.1 O'Hara's regiment to Cadiz
In 1702 O'Hara's joined the expedition to Cadiz with three companies. 'Hara's' troops were in the second line of the 15 August 1702 landing. During the landing some boats capsized, and c. 20 men of the regiment drowned. After the landings Port St Mary was plundered. O'Hara was brought to trial but acquitted. At the end of the campaign the three companies of the Fusiliers were placed in garrison at Tibury.
3.2 Marine Service
In 1703 the fusiliers were on board the fleet. At the end of the campaign they garrisoned Portsmouth. From there they send a detachment to Wight in August 1704. In 1705 the regiment garrisoned Plymouth.
3.3 1706: to Barcelona
In 1706 the Anglo-Dutch battle fleet drove the French fleet from the siege of Barcelona. The Fusiliers regiment then landed in Barcelona and the siege was hastily abandoned. The regiment then marched to Girona, where it wintered.
The Fusileers missed the battle of Almanza. Their colonel O'Hara was a Lt-General, and was present, and wounded in that battle. After that battle, it marched from Girona to Lerida. Together with some other regiments under Henry of Hessen-Darmstadt it got besieged in Lerida. They surrendered the town on terms after a vigorous defense.
3.4 1708: back to England
In the spring of 1708 the regiment returned to England to recruit. Till the spring of 1709 it was in cantonments in Devonshire and Somersetshire.
3.5 1709: to Portugal
In 1709 the regiment was embarked to take part in an attempt to surprise Cadiz. Due to contrary winds it only reached Portugal in October, and so this attempt was abandoned, the regiment continuing to Barcelona. It then continued as garrison in Menorca, where it remained for the remainder of the war. On 29 January O'Hara's son James succeeded as colonel of the regiment.
The regimental history is in Historical record of the seventh regiment or Royal Fusiliers
|1) English Army Lists and Commission Registers, 1661-1714, Vol. IV London 1898, page 6 has 11 June 1685 as date of George Lord Dartmouth's appointment (present in the commission entry books)|
|2) English Army Lists, Vol. IV, page 6 has 26 August 1689 as date of John Lord Churchill's appointment (not present in the commission entry books)|
|3) English Army Lists, Vol. IV, page 6 has 23 January 1692 as date of Lord George Hamilton's appointment (present in the commission entry books)|
|4) English Army Lists, Vol. IV, page 6 has 1 August 1692 as date of Edward Fitzpatrick's appointment (present in the commission entry books)|
|5) English Army Lists, Vol. IV, page 6 has 12 November 1696 as date of Charles O'Hara's appointment (present in the commission entry books)|
|6) Wilhelm III von Oranien und Georg Friedrich von Waldeck by P.L. Müller, The Hague 1873 v. 2 page 227 has the appendix D: Die Niederländische Armee unter Waldecks Oberbefehl im Winter 1689-90, it has the Marlborough regment as wintering in Brugge and Gent.|
|7) Historical Records of the British Army London 1837, the Fourth, or the King's own regiment of foot, page 17 lists the Royal Fusiliers as participating in this expedition.|
|8) The Continuation of Mr. Rapin's History of England by N. Tindal London 1761 page 511 about Marlborough's disgrace.|
|9) Wilhelm III von Oranien und Georg Friedrich von Waldeck by P.L. Müller, The Hague 1873 v. 2 page 238 has the appendix G: Verluste der Alliierten bei Steenkerken. 3 Aug. 1692, it has Lt-Gen. Hamilton's regiment with its losses.|
|10) Collin's Peerage of England London 1812 Vol VIII page 307 has these particulars of Edward Fitzpatrick, elder brother of Richard later Baron of Gowran.|
|11) Europische Mercurius for June 1693 page 289 has the Lyste van het leger der Geallieerden, gecampeerd by d'Abdye van Park, onder den Koning van Engeland en den Keurvorst van Beyeren., has the regiment as 'Fitz Patrik'|
|12) For Charles O'Hara Baron Tyrawley (ca 1640 - 1727) see: The Peerage of Ireland London 1768, Vol. II page 179|