The Royal Irish Regiment

Mounted Infantry by Stratford St Leger

This painting of Mounted Infantry watering their horses was made by Captain Stratford Edward St Leger who commanded the Cork Company MI of the Royal Irish Regiment. Although his family were of French/Irish origin he was born in the Cape Colony in 1867 the son of the Anglican Rector of Queenstown. He was educated in England, at Tonbridge school and completed his education at Diocesan College in Rondebosch. He entered the Royal Irish Regiment in 1890 and was an accomplished cricketer and rugby player. In the Boer War he led his company bravely through many battles but fell sick in Pretoria, hospitalised at Wynberg and invalided home.

He made pencil sketches while on the march and worked them up into coloured paintings when he had time. His work was published in the London magazine 'Black and White' by July 1900, and a book was published called War Sketches in Colour, in 1903. He also exhibited at the Bruton Galleries in Mayfair in May and June 1904.

In the First World War he was in the retreat from Mons during which he was wounded and cut off from his battalion. He met up with a party of 8 other soldiers and they managed to make their way, without maps, through enemy lines, travelling by night and hiding by day. They were sought by the Germans and had some hair-raising escapes. However, they reached the Belgian lines at Oudenarde and were returned to England. They were the only group of soldiers to come through with their arms and equipment intact during the retreat from Mons. St Leger was awarded the DSO, and at the end of the War the CMG. He was posted as AAG at the War Office and retired in 1922 with the rank of Colonel. He was married and had a daughter, Moira Murdoch of Minerton, Cape. He died aged 68 at Hove in Sussex on 12th Oct 1935.

Regimental Details


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by Stephen Luscombe