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Regiment Lally
Regiment Lally
 

The French Army of 1756 included quite a few foreign troops, amongst them Swiss, Germans, Swedes, Scots, Italians, Netherlanders, and, of course, the famous Irish "Wild Geese". I wanted to portray one of these red-coated Irish regiments in my army, and chose the Regiment Lally, which was famous for its service in India.

Regiment Lally

I haven't found a picture of the Lally Regiment, so used my imagination somewhat. But I do like the combination of red with green cuffs. By the way, you'll note that Fusilier Seamus O'Grady is giving his life for France (third from left in the picture above)!

Regiment Lally flagsI had never really used the black undercoat method of painting before, but found it works very effectively. The red coats were quite difficult to do, however, as the red paint remained quite dull over the black undercoat.

The original source for my flags was the amazing Nec Pluribus Impar website, though I have textured them somewhat (see right). However, I have since replaced them with GMB Designs flags, which you can see in the photos above. I reversed the colours of the quadrants in GMB's version of the flag, which I felt was incorrect.

I recently found a poem by Rudyard Kipling that he'd written about the Irish Guards in the British Army of the First World war. This poem harks back to the days of the Irish Brigade in French service, even mentioning the colonel of the Regiment Lally. Here it is:

THE IRISH GUARDS   by Rudyard Kipling

WE'RE not so old in the Army List,
But we're not so young at our trade.
For we had the honour at Fontenoy
Of meeting the Guards' Brigade.
'Twas Lally, Dillon, Bulkeley, Clare,
And Lee that led us then,
And after a hundred and seventy years
We're fighting for France again!

Old Days! The wild geese are flighting,
Head to the storm as they faced it before!
For where there are Irish there's bound to be fighting,
And when there's no fighting, it's Ireland no more!
Ireland no more!

The fashion's all for khaki now,
But once through France we went
Full-dressed in scarlet Army cloth,
The English - left at Ghent.
They're fighting on our side today
But, before they changed their clothes,
The half of Europe knew our fame,
As all of Ireland knows!

Old Days! The wild geese are flying,
Head to the storm as they faced it before!
For where there are Irish there's memory undying.
And when we forget, it is Ireland no more!
Ireland no more!

 

From Barry Wood to Gouzeaucourt,
From Boyne to Pilkem Ridge,
The ancient days come back no more
Than water under the bridge.
But the bridge it stands and the water runs
As red as yesterday,
And the Irish move to the sound of the guns
Like salmon to the sea.

Old Days! The wild geese are ranging.
Head to the storm as they faced it before!
For where there are Irish their hearts are unchanging,
And when they are changed, it is Ireland no more!
Ireland no more!

We're not so old in the Army List,
But we're not so new in the ring,
For we carried our packs with Marshal Saxe
When Louis was our King.
But Douglas Haig's our Marshal now
And we're King George's men,
And after one hundred and seventy years
We're fighting for France again!
Ah, France! And did we stand by you,
When life was made splendid with gifts and rewards?
Ah, France! And will we deny you
In the hour of your agony, Mother of Swords?

Old Days! The wild geese are flighting,
Head to the storm as they faced it before!
For where there are Irish there's loving and fighting,
And when we stop either, it's Ireland no more!
Ireland no more!

 

Irish/Belgian stampFontenoy Stamp

In 1995 Belgium and Ireland put out a joint stamp commemorating 250 years since the Battle of Fontenoy in 1745. The Irish Brigade, including the Regiment Lally, suffered many casualties in the battle at the Bois de Barry (or Barry Wood, as Kipling calls it in the poem above). The stamps depict the memorial to the Irish Brigade in the village of Fontenoy, and also two Irish soldiers (though neither, unfortunately, are members of the Regiment Lally).

 
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