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13 (Martinique) Battery RA - Martinique Day 

 

The Battery was raised in Dublin in May 1755 as 1st Company, 7th Battalion, Royal Irish Artillery and later became Capt Lindsay’s Company, 7th Battalion, Royal Artillery after the Act of Union 1801. On the 29th July 1934 the War Office gave approval to the inclusion of ‘Martinique 1809’ in the Battery’s title in recognition of its distinguished conduct during the capture of Fort Desaix, Island of Martinique, on 26th February 1809. A letter of the period in the Battery History states:

The conduct of the Artillery in these Operations was Excellent, both as regards professional skill and preserving spirit, having remained five nights and four days in their Batteries carrying on incessant fire, without any relief’s, notwithstanding many of the Officers and Men were suffering under severe dysentery and illness. The Lieutenant-General Commanding the Forces expressed his full approbation of the behaviour of the Regiment, both in General Orders and in an Address, and presented this Company with Battle Axes from the Enemy, as a mark of his entire satisfaction.’

During the 19th Century, in addition to its service, the Battery was to find itself in Ireland, Newfoundland, the West Indies, Canada, Gibraltar, South Africa and India.

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 Battle Axe Day - 74 Bty (The Battle Axe Company) RA

 

On 24 February, the Battery celebrates the capture of the island of Martinique and the bestowing of its Battle Honour. It is not known when the Battle Axe was first trooped, but it seems fairly certain that the custom was established by the time the Company came home in 1822.

The Battle Axe has always been trooped for the Company Commander and for him alone. It has been suggested, though no written authority exists, that the reason for this is that it was only by the Company Commander’s importunity that the Company obtained a Battle Axe instead of the conventional gun.

The tallest man in the Company always carries the Battle Axe on parade. As a reminder of “les Moustaches” from whom the Battle Axe was taken, the bearer wears a moustache. This is the full set to represent the status of the veterans of battle as was the custom at the time.( Currently a member of the Intelligence Corps)

The Battle Axe is trooped through the ranks of the Company to commemorate the valour and sacrifices of our forebears and to remind us of the standards they set and to encourage us to maintain them.