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News > Tales from the Archive > 2024 – one hundred years since the RHMS amalgamated with the DYRMS

2024 – one hundred years since the RHMS amalgamated with the DYRMS

In 1924 the Royal Hibernian Military School based in Shorncliffe Camp was amalgamated with the Duke of York's Royal Military School, ending 155 years of unique Irish military history.
The Royal Hibernian Military School on parade in 1924 at Somerset Barracks, Shorncliffe Camp.
The Royal Hibernian Military School on parade in 1924 at Somerset Barracks, Shorncliffe Camp.

On 15 July 1924 the Royal Hibernian Military School (RHMS) held its last muster parade at Shorncliffe Camp near Folkestone, which included parading its colours for the last time. By September 1924 any boys remaining on the RHMS' strength had moved across to the Duke of York's Royal Military School (DYRMS).

As most readers will know the RHMS was originally set up in 1769 on the south side of Phoenix Park west of Dublin, near the village of Chapelizod - many of the school's original still exist today. However, the 1920s were a time of political turmoil in Ireland and the War Office had to consider the RHMS' future location. There had been a plan in 1921 to move the RHMS from its Dublin home to a location in Northern Ireland.  However, there were no funds available to develop a school site in Ulster and a move from Dublin was made urgent with the establishment of the Irish Free State in 1922. So, an ex-cavalry barracks in Shorncliffe (Somerset Barracks) was selected as a location for the school and the RHMS boys moved there in 1922.

The RHMS' final muster parade at Somerset Barracks included four student companies (A, C, D and G companies), a school band of seventy-five musicians and the school's military staff. The last school roll call dated 16 July 1924 listed 240 'Hib' students. However, this roll included boys destined to leave the school in the summer of 1924, so not all the 240 were transferred to the DYRMS site. Once at 'Lone Tree Hill' the 'Hibs' would initially maintain their own identity as two separate companies and a band, but eventually they would be fully integrated into the DYRMS. The date this full integration took place is not readily available, but probably occured sometime in the mid to late 1920s.

On the school's disestablishment its colours were initially laid up in St George's Hall at Windsor Castle in September 1924, joining other stands of colours belonging to Irish regiments disbanded in 1922 (i.e. the Royal Irish Regiment, the Connaught Rangers, the South Irish Horse, the Prince of Wales's Leinster Regiment, the Royal Munster Fusiliers and the Royal Dublin Fusiliers). However, the colours would eventually find their way to the DYRMS school chapel where they remain today. A small stained glass window taken from the RHMS Anglican Chapel in Dublin and other RHMS memorials are also to be found in our chapel.

2024 is therefore a significant anniversary for the school as it marks 100 hundred years since the disestablishment of the RHMS and its amalgamation with our school. This coming together of the two schools and loss of Hibernian heritage was regretted my many 'Hibs', to quote one RHMS old boy's memory of the two schools coming together in 1924:

'So, 1769 to 1924 gone in a flash'.

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