Raising of the 83rd Regiment of Foot

Sat, 09/28/1793
Fitch Lawrence
Detail from the William Fitch pastel portrait by Thomas Lawrence, 1784. © Image Copyright, Trustees The Royal Irish Regiment. The original portrait is in the collection of The Royal Irish Regiment.

The Regiment was raised in Dublin by American born Major William Fitch, late of the 55th Regiment of Foot, and then recruited in Ireland; it was therefore an Irish regiment from its beginning.

Fitch was commissioned and promoted by the King on 28 September 1793 as 'Lieutenant Colonel Commandant' and the notification was published in the London Gazette* dated 21 - 24 December 1793. He was therefore both the founder, the first 'Colonel' and the first 'Lieutenant Colonel Commanding'.

Owing to their diminutive stature his soldiers were known by the ironic sobriquet 'Fitch's Grenadiers'. Future titles also included:

1859: The 83rd (County of Dublin) Regiment of Foot

1881: The Royal Irish Rifles

See bottom right of Gazette attachment (below).