Battle Honour MARTINIQUE 1762

Sat, 01/16/1762

MARTINIQUE 1762 is emblazoned on the Regimental Colours of The Royal Irish Regiment and is the earliest distinction awarded to our forebears.

Following their defeat of the French in Canada, the British turned their attention towards the French possessions of Martinique, Dominica and St Lucia in the West Indies. General Monckton's expedition of eleven regiments and several companies of colonial American Rangers embarked in October 1761 at Staten Island. He sailed for Barbados where his force was joined by another four regiments. On 5 January 1762, escorted by Admiral Rodney's fleet, the expedition sailed to the French island of Martinique.

Monckton's 13,000 strong force, which included the Inniskillings in Hunt Walsh's Brigade, disembarked on 16 January and landed unopposed at Cas de Navières, some three miles by road from Fort Royal. The French had constructed fortified outposts along the mountainous road and positioned batteries on Morne Garnier and Morne Tortenson. These two batteries were to threaten Monckton's advance and force him to construct supporting batteries to counter them. Construction was completed by 23 January and the following day the battalion of Grenadiers, led by Lieutenant Colonel Eyre Massey* of the Inniskillings, led the attack on the road's outposts and Morne Tortenson; the latter falling by 0900 hours. The Inniskillings total casualties were four dead and 20 wounded and Eyre Massey* leading the Grenadiers was so severely wounded that he was not expected to live.

Monckton then raised batteries for the attack on Fort Royal but the fire from Morne Garnier, which overlooked Tortenson, had to be silenced. On the afternoon of 27 January, the French counterattacked but were defeated and Morne Garnier was cleared and captured just as darkness approached. This allowed Monckton to commence bombardment of Fort Royal three days later and by 3 February the French Governor offered to discuss terms of surrender, eventually marching his garrison out of Fort Royal on 5 February. When Monckton then turned his attentions to the island's capital, St Pierre, the island Deputies sued for peace and Martinique became a British possession. French losses were around 1,000.

Later, The 27th (Inniskilling) Regiment of Foot was granted MARTINIQUE 1762 as a Battle Honour.

Eyre Massey became Colonel of the 27th (Inniskillings) Regiment of Foot on 19 February 1773. During a distinguished military career he was promoted to General on 3 May 1796, elevated to the peerage as Baron Clarina of Elm Park, County Limerick on 27 December 1800 and became Marshal of the Army in Ireland. He died on 17 May 1804.