From Our Records - February 2015
13th Feb 2015
It was eight years ago on 1st February that a new regiment was formed – The Rifles’ and the museum changed its name, some of its displays and its flag accordingly.
In February 1760 - 255 years ago - The 62nd Regiment defended Carrickfergus Castle, Ireland while they were garrisoned there. On 23 February 1760, a French force of approximately 600 men conducted an amphibious assault and laid siege to the castle. The castle's defences were in a state of disrepair, including a 50 foot breach in the wall. Under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel John Jennings, the four under-strength companies, approximately 200 men in all, withstood three assaults on the castle. In addition to being outnumbered, the garrison was short of ammunition, having to melt down their buttons to make bullets. By the time the French made their third attack, the defenders had expended all their ammunition and were left with rocks and bayonets. After the third attempt was beaten back, Colonel Jennings was forced to seek terms. After meeting with the French commander, Jennings and his men were allowed to surrender the castle, give their parole, and retain their arms and colours. The French, in return, promised not to plunder the town of Carrickfergus.
Thirty years ago on 28 Feb 1985, while The Duke of Edinburgh’s Royal Regiment were serving there, the IRA carried out a mortar bomb attack on a police station in Newry, Northern Ireland. 9 Royal Ulster Constabulary officers were killed - the RUC's highest loss of life on a single day during the Troubles.