GENERAL INFORMATION ON RESEARCH
The Connaught Rangers Association does not hold records of individual soldiers and officers who served with the Regiment. All records of Irish soldiers who served in the British army were removed to the UK following the setting up of the Irish Free State. King House Museum does not hold records of any nature and is used as a mailing address for the Association as well as kindly donating rooms for displaying artefacts relating to the Regiment. These service records were stored at the Ministry of Defence in London. Unfortunately, most of the enlisted men’s records were destroyed in the London blitz of the Second World War. Those few that did survive the bombing and subsequent fire damage were removed and are presently stored in the National Archives in Kew in London. However over the last number of years the Association Researcher has been engaged in a mammoth and expensive project trying to index the small percentage of surviving records of men who served with the Regiment.
‘I have been researching the records of both officers and enlisted men of the Connaught Rangers who served in World War One for the last decade. My own experience has shown that there about 15 % – 20 % of the records of Connaught Rangers who served between 1900 and 1919 survive. Some of these are in good condition others less so. Not all are intact and some are illegible. There is a particularly poor return for men who served with the 5th Battalion’. – Oliver Fallon Researcher.
The records which are still intact can sometimes be extremely difficult to read and can take sometime to decipher. During World War 1 there were 6 separate battalions of the regiment raised for service. Two pre war regular Battalions, two Service Battalions for the duration of the War and two Reserve Battalions. Each battalion had a day-to-day strength of about 1,000 men. In all, according to the British Army Archives 13,431 men served in the Rangers between 1914 and 1918 in the Great War. Two and half thousand of them were killed in action or died or wounds or disease. Prior to WW1 the Regiment was mainly based on the Indian sub continent. The Connaught Rangers took part in the both Boer Wars as well as the Crimean and the Peninsular Wars and various other campaigns.
NB – One of the objectives of the Association is to gather as much information on soldiers who served with the Regiment from as many sources as possible, including families, and archive it for future generations.
It is possible to check the Medal Rolls for World War 1 to see if man did serve with the Regiment and other very basic information. The Association holds a full and extensive casualty lists from the Boer War and the Great War. We also have a gallantry medals list and rolls of honour and can usually find some specific details about an individual who was killed or awarded a gallantry medal. Amongst other sources utilised are the various Battalion World War One War diaries and regimental historical records. (However it must be pointed out that it is only on rare occasions there is any reference to an individual enlisted man in the War Diaries).
Our researcher is also building up an index of service records that are available in Kew as outlined above. It is important to point out that if a soldier died on active service there will be more information available, for example where they enlisted, than if they survived. Researching individuals who served and had left the regiment prior to 1899 is really impossible unless they were officers, where some limited information may be available.
The Association operates as a charity with limited funds and all members of the Committee give their time for free. In the past the Association has tried to answer all research enquires received – presently we are receiving about 2/3 queries a day which amounts to over 10 a week. Many of these enquires contain such limited information it is impossible to follow them up.
E.G. – ‘My Grandfather’s name was Patrick Kelly and we think he may have served in the Connaught Rangers – can you help?’
Between 1914 and 1918 a total of 31 men with the name Patrick Kelly served with the Connaught Rangers.
Other enquires do not even include the name of the solider.
Information provided has to be specific and detailed.
Individual research is both time consuming and expensive. Even answering the most basic queries takes up a lot of time and money for postage. Therefore we would ask people to consider joining our Association. At present the Association Researcher is receiving two to three enquires per day by letter and email. It is becoming impossible to keep up with this amount of enquires and continue to offer this service free of charge. Therefore it is with reluctance that there we have to charge a search fee of €20 or alternatively one can join the Association for €15.
Please bear in mind that in many cases the most we can find out is if the person served with the Regiment and when. If a person’s service record is intact and we are able to trace that particular individual and follow definite line of enquiry back to Kew and we will inform the person making the enquiry and offer to provide a comprehensive report for a fee. Should you require an individual to be researched it can be done so for an additional fee of €60 or equivalent. This fee funds ongoing research
Please supply all biographical information available to assist with search. The more information supplied the better the chance of a positive return.
NB We must point out at this stage that unless one has the full name and army number the chances of tracing an individual who was not killed in action are virtually nil.
Another important thing to remember is that 50% of the enquires we receive relate to soldiers who never served with the Connaught Rangers.
In the event of a person availing of this service – please check the tick box and you will be redirected to our Online Request Form. Fill in all your details and submit . Our Form contains Captcha Image Security Software to prevents spaming. Please ensure you complete this part of the form (Non completion will result in form not being submitted). On submitting your information you will redirected to a comfirmation form with all your information viewable for you to confirm. This Information will then be forwarded to our Research Officer. This information will be treated in the strictest confidence.
In addition we also receive numerous enquires from budding authors, amateur local historians, collectors etc We have a policy of not giving out information to non relatives however each enquiry will be treated on an individual basis. Alternatively you may contact the PRO at Kew, London directly who will provide you details of opening times etc. They will also provide the names of private researchers who can carry out the research for you for a fee.
Connaught Rangers Association – September 2009