Aid to the Civil Power, 108th Regiment to Preston.

Wednesday, 16 February, 1881

The 3rd Madras (European) Regiment was raised for service in the East India Company in 1853 and was converted to become the 108th Regiment in 1861. It was linked under the 'localisation plan' of Cardwell's Army Reforms to the 27th Inniskillings in 1872. From 1853 to 1876, the 108th served in India until embarking, on 21 November 1876, for Portsmouth.

The Regiment proceeded to Colchester for its very first home posting and provided detachments at Falmouth, Purfleet and Landguard Fort. Its next move in 1879 was to Clarence Barracks, Portsmouth where on 16 February 1881 it was deployed in aid of the civil powers to Fulwood Barracks*, Preston with detachments at Fleetwood, St Helens, Liverpool and Skelmersdale - a long way and very different from the 108th's previous stations in India.

It was later that year that the Childers Army Reforms directed the 108th Regiment to become the 2nd Battalion The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, bringing forward its honours and traditions. This may be the origin of the 2nd Battalion's nickname - The Lumps - as perhaps the Inniskillings felt the 108th had been 'imposed' upon the Regiment!

In this barracks in 1861, a 19-year-old Private (Patrick McCaffery of County Kildare) of the 32nd (Cornwall) Regiment murdered his Commanding Officer and Adjutant with a single shot from his musket. He was tried and his subsequent public execution in Liverpool gave rise to the Irish ballad McCafferty, sung to the tune of The Croppy Boy that includes the lines:

'It was my captain I meant to kill
But I shot my colonel against my will

Local lore has it that his ghost still haunts Fulwood Barracks.