The Connaught Rangers (“The Devil’s Own”) was an Irish line infantry regiment of the British Army formed by the amalgamation of the 88th Regiment of Foot (Connaught Rangers) (which formed the 1st Battalion) and the 94th Regiment of Foot (which formed the 2nd Battalion) in July 1881.
The amalgamation of the two regiments into one with the title The Connaught Rangers, was part of the United Kingdom government’s reorganisation of the British Army under the Childers Reforms, a continuation of the Cardwell Reforms implemented in 1879.
Between the time of its formation and Irish independence, it was one of eight Irish regiments raised largely in Ireland. Its home depot was in Galway.
It was disbanded following the establishment of the independent Irish Free State in 1922, along with the other five regiments that had their traditional recruiting grounds in the counties of the new state.
Following demobilization, the Connaught Rangers was reduced to its peacetime establishment of two regular battalions. With the outbreak of the Irish War of Independence in 1919 both were stationed outside Ireland (the 2nd Battalion in Dover and the 1st in India).
This was part of a general policy aimed at minimizing the pressures of divided loyalties, by relocating the serving Irish regiments during “the troubles”.
On 30 June 1920, two mutineers from the Jalandhar barracks (Frank Geraghty and Patrick Kelly) travelled to Solon barracks where C Company were stationed and, despite the arrest, helped spark a mutiny there, led by Private James Daly, whose brother William also took part in the protest.
James Daly was shot by a firing squad at Dagshai Prison on 2 November 1920. He was the last member of the British Armed Forces to be executed for mutiny.