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Dublin: 14°C Saturday 16 October 2021

Lives of Irish soldiers unveiled in newly published records

The records have been published as part of a newly-digitised collection of those pensioned from the British army by the Royal Hospital Kilmainham.

The Royal Hospital in Kilmainham
The Royal Hospital in Kilmainham
Image: FindMyPast.ie

THE RECORDS OF soldiers pensioned from the British army by the Royal Hospital Kilmainham have been released online, and include the records of Irish men.

One Irish soldier, Private Hugh Burke, was one of the so-called ‘Green Redcoats’, and his records can be found on the family history site findmypast.ie. These records are part of a major collection of newly-digitised records of those pensioned from the British army by the Royal Hospital Kilmainham. To view the records, a paid subscription to the site is required.

They contain the names and discharge documents of almost 20,000 soldiers held at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham from 1783-1822, and were catalogued by a team of 14 people from the Friends of the National Archives volunteer group over 3 years. There are 19,109 soldiers’ details in the record.

The Royal Hospital Kilmainham – which now houses the Irish Museum of Modern Art – was established in 1681 to house sick and veteran troops from the British Army.

The records hold many details about the soldiers, including where they served and their regiment as well as their height, weight, colour of hair and eyes, and any distinguishing features such as tattoos or scars.

Hugh Burke

Among the records are those of Private Hugh Burke from Wicklow, who was pensioned from the army on 26 June 1816 after four years’ service. He was deemed unfit for further service after:

a gunshot wound to the left shoulder [was] received in action near New Orleans in America on 8  January 1815.

(Pic: Findmypast.ie)

The Battle of New Orleans was the last major battle between the British and American forces in the War of 1812 and was fought after a peace treaty had already been signed.

Brian Donovan, a family historian from findmypast said:

The number of Irish men who fought in the British army was extensive and these records allow us to glimpse the lives and careers of these soldiers. What makes the Kilmainham series so exciting is how far in time they stretch back. There is detailed information about rank and file soldiers born before 1750, about the regiments they served with, where they travelled, and injuries received. Scanned in colour, indexed and published online for the first time, these records are a fantastic addition to the findmypast collection.

Read: First military census shows pressures faced by 1922 army>

Read: A snapshot of the Irish in World War I>

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