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Edward Baird

Edward Baird enlisted at Liverpool to join the 89th regiment on the 12th of march 1960 at 18 years of age. He served in the army for 21 years and 191 days and was discharged as a member of the Royal Irish Rifles on the 23rd of may 1882.


About the 89th regiment-

The 89th regiment was raised in Dublin in 1793 to meet Britain's man-power needs during the French revolution and was sent to Flanders the following year. They returned to Ireland in 1798 to supress the Irish rebellion of that year. In 1833, Princess Victoria -the heiress to William IV, king of England-  presented the 89th regiment with new colours. The regiment spent from 1831 to 1854 garrisoning Gibraltar, the west indies, Canada, and Britain, before being sent to fight in the Crimean war (1854-56) where it served at Sevastopol in 1855. In 1855 they moved to the Cape Colony (now South Africa) to fight against an uprising by the Xhosa, before moving to Bombay in 1857 for service during the Indian mutiny (1857-1859). It stayed in India for eight years and in 1866 -a year after its return to Britain- it was presented with another new set of colours By the now Queen Victoria. That year she renamed the regiment  "Princess Victoria's" in memory of the 1833 presentation. The regiment then spent four years in Ireland before being sent to India once again. It was there still in 1881, when it was amalgamated with the 87th regiment (The royal Irish Fusiliers) of Foot to form the Princess Victoria's Royal Irish Fusiliers.

The Meritorious Conduct medal-

The Meritorious Conduct medal was instituted on the 19th of December 1845 to recognise meritorious service by NCOs. Eligibility- Recipients of this medal they must have 20 years of service, attained the rank of substantive sergeant and be a holder of the Good Conduct Medal. It requires good, faithful, valuable, and meritorious service with conduct judged to be irreproachable throughout. Today the medal ribbon has three white stripes on a Crimson background, however, in the 1800s it was simply a plain crimson ribbon. To reinforce the special character of the MSM, only 201 may be awarded annually, although historically many fewer than these numbers are actually awarded.

Military career and notable milestones-

Edward Baird was promoted to corporal on the 14th of march 1867, sergeant on the 18th of march 1868, and finally paymaster sergeant on the 1st of may 1878. During his career he received the good conduct medal, which was later replaced by the Meritorious conduct medal. He spent 6 years and 99 days serving abroad. He was stationed in: Gibraltar (26th of October 1864- 18th of April 1867), Cape of good hope (19th of April 1867- 16th of December 1867), Mauritius (17th of December 1867- 12th of July 1870), Cape of good hope (13th of July 1870 to 20th of December 1870), and finally he landed in England on the 24th of January 1871, he married two months later.


The 1901 census records that Edward Baird, now 57 years old, was a clerk in army pay office and lived at 23 Stonyford street with his wife Ellen, 46 years old at the time. Edward is recorded as being born in county down and Ellen in India. Edward had a younger brother named Henry Baird. Edward and Ellen's Children residing at the same address are as follows: Margaret Matilda Kearney- 29 years old (occupation- carder of hem), her husband George Kearney- 30 years old (occupation- labourer in iron works), their child (Edward and Ellen's grandchild) Ellen Jane Kearney- 6 years old, David- 16 years old (occupation- apprentice painter), Elizabeth- 13 years old, Henry- 10 years old, Ellen- 8 years old, George- 6 years old. The family are all recorded as Episcopalian (church of Ireland). The Children not residing at 23 Stonyford street, but recorded in the army pay book are: Jane- born in Bangor on the 26th of December 1874, Edward- born in Belfast on the 30th of March 1877, and Samuel- born in Belfast on the 4th of March 1879. 

The 1911 census records the family now residing at 57 Chamberlain Street. Edward Baird is now recorded as an army pensioner aged 67 years old, his wife Ellen is recorded age 55 years. They have been married for 40 years and had 10 children, 8 of whom are still living. Their daughter Margaret and her husband George still live with them and George's occupation is now a smith helper and they have one child Elizabeth B Kearney- 3 years old. There is also Ellen J Kearney- 16 years old now boarding in the house, this could be a sister or niece of George's. The following are still living at home: Henry Baird- 20 years old (employed as a caulker), Ellen Baird- 18 years old (occupation- tailoress), Ellen J Kearney- 16 years old (occupation- Hemstitcher in a warehouse), George- 16 years old (occupation- apprentice polisher). All recorded as church of Ireland. The number of the house recorded in the census does not always comply with the house number of the street, it is clear the family were living at 16 Chamberlain Street and not 57. 

The Ulster covenant-

Edward Baird's wife, sons, daughters and granddaughter who lived at chamberlain street all signed the covenant. There is no record that he himself signed the covenant, he may have died in 1911- to be confirmed.

World war 1-

Rifleman Samuel Baird, 1st Battalion Royal Irish Rifles, 16 Worcester terrace died on the 16th of November 1914- aged 35 years old. He is commemorated on panel 42 and 43 of the le touret memorial, France. He was the son of the late Edward and Ellen Baird.

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