The 88th Regiment of Foot was established in Connaught in 1793 and it bore on its colours and appointments a harp and a crown with the motto Quis Separabit – "Who shall divide us".
It first saw service in 1794 in Flanders in the disastrous Walcheren campaign against Napoleon's troops and, despite their inexperience, the troops fought well, but hundreds perished in the British Army’s winter retreat that year. The regiment later fought in the West Indies, Egypt, India and South America before it joined Wellington’s army in the Peninsular in 1808. It was during the Peninsular campaign that the 88th distinguished itself as one of the finest regiments in what Wellington himself was later to describe as "that most astonishing infantry".
Posterity has ensured that we have a first hand account of some of the most extraordinary actions that took place in the Peninsular of that time by the published diaries of Lieutenant William Grattan who served with the 88th in Spain from 1809 until 1813. The Connaught Rangers were "the most Irish of all Irish regiments" (Oman) and in Grattan's own words were "a parcel of lads that took the world aisy" and "without shoes they fancied themselves at home, without food they were nearly at home."
The 88th served under General Picton in the 3rd Division or the "Fighting Division" as Grattan was proud to call them. Picton himself seemed to have had a love-hate relationship with the 88th. When he first addressed them he called them "The Connaught Footpads" in reference to their reputation for plundering, but he soon recognised their abilities when it came to a hard fight and it was Picton who came to give them the infamous nick name of "The Devil’s Own".*
This 54mm (1/32) figure has been modelled on a picture of a 1/88th Regt. Officer in "Wellington's Peninsula Regiments Vol. 1 - The Irish" published by Osprey as part of their Men-at-Arms series. It is beautifully cast in polyurethane resin and is one of a set of seven historical figures from available from Sphere Studio.
Prices start at £15 each, with £25 for two or £30 for three.
* Historical facts taken from the website of The Connaught Rangers 88th Regiment of Foot - The Devil's Own