The 9th (Service) Battalion, Princess Victoria's (Royal Irish Fusiliers) (County Armagh) was one of thirteen infantry battalions raised for 36th (Ulster) Division.
It was made up largely of men of the Ulster Volunteers from the north of County Armagh and commanded by Lieutenant Colonel S W W Blacker, a scion of the Ulster Unionist movement.
Amalgamated with the 2nd North Irish Horse in September 1917, it became the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion, Princess Victoria's (Royal Irish Fusiliers). By the time the war ended it was a mix of Protestant and Roman Catholic Irishmen, Englishmen from Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire and London, regular soldiers, war-time volunteers and conscripts.
The formation of 36th (Ulster) Division was steeped in the politics surrounding the long-running Home Rule crisis in the early years of the 20th Century.
In 1912 the Third Home Rule Bill proposed granting self-government to Ireland. As a direct consequence, in the northern counties of Ireland the Ulster Volunteer Force was formed to resist the imposition of the Act.
On the outbreak of war in 1914 the implementation of Home Rule was suspended and the Ulster Volunteers provided the basis for the recruitment of 36th (Ulster) Division.
This background information is taken from the website about the book "Blackers Boys" by Nick Metcalfe.
Blacker's Boys tells the story of one of the finest infantry battalions raised in Ireland during the First World War, from its birth in September 1914 to its demise in June 1919.
For more information on the Blackers Boys please click here
Barrosa Imperial French Eagle
In September 1793 Britain had been fighting Revolutionary France for less than a year but was already in need of men.
That month a new line infantry unit was raised it was numbered 87th (Royal Irish Fusiliers) Regiment of Foot
In 1804 the regiment raised a 2nd Battalion, which lasted 13 years and mainly served in Ireland and the Channel Islands.
The one exception was the battalion’s time in the Peninsular War from 1809 to 1814. During the battalion’s charge at Barrosa, Sergeant Patrick Masterson captured a French eagle standard, which was added to the regimental badge.