43rd (Monmouthshire) Regiment of Foot

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43rd (Monmouthshire) Regiment of Foot
Active 1741 - 1881
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
Branch British Army
Type Infantry
Engagements Seven Years War
American War of Independence
Peninsular War
Battle of New Orleans
Indian Mutiny
New Zealand Wars

The 43rd (Monmouthshire) Regiment of Foot was an infantry regiment of the British Army. It was raised as Thomas Fowke's Regiment of Foot in 1741 with its headquarters at Winchester. The regiment was numbered 54th Foot until 1748 when it became the 43rd Foot. In 1881 it amalgamated with the 52nd (Oxfordshire) Regiment of Foot (Light Infantry), to form the 1st and 2nd battalions of the Oxfordshire Light Infantry which in 1908 became the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry.

History[edit]

French and Indian War[edit]

The 43rd Regiment of Foot sailed for North America in May 1757, arriving at Halifax, Nova Scotia the following month to defend the British North American Colonies during the French and Indian War (the North American Theatre of the Seven Years' War) against France. A detachment of the 43rd was defeated in a skirmish with Mi'kmaq and Acadian resistance fighters at Bloody Creek near Fort Anne on 8 December. The regiment had spent almost two years on garrison duties when, in 1759, as part of General Wolfe's force, it took part in the capture of Quebec gaining its first battle honour. The next campaign was in the West Indies in 1762 where the 43rd took part in the capture of Martinique and St Lucia from the French and Havana, Cuba from the Spanish.

American War of Independence[edit]

The regiment returned to North America in 1774 and remained there throughout the American War of Independence. The 43rd were joined by the 52nd at Boston and the two regiments fought side by side at Lexington and at Bunker Hill. The 43rd were at Yorktown during the final siege and surrender in 1781.

The 43rd became the 43rd (Monmouthshire) Regiment in 1782. The regiment returned to the West Indies in 1794 to capture for the second time Martinique and St Lucia which following the peace treaty of 1763 had been returned to France. They were defeated at Guadaloupe in 1794 by a much larger French force after defending their position for three months.

Light Infantry[edit]

In 1803, the 43rd, the 52nd and the 95th Rifles became the first Corps of Light Infantry and formed the Light Brigade at Shorncliffe, Kent under the command of Sir John Moore. The regiment was re-titled as the 43rd (Monmouthshire) Light Infantry. The 43rd was part of a force led by Sir Arthur Wellesley which in 1807 captured Copenhagen and the entire Danish fleet.

Peninsular War[edit]

In August 1808, during the Peninsular War, the 43rd fought in the Battle of Vimeiro which drove Napoleon's forces from Portugal. The campaign against the French then moved to Spain where in January 1809 the regiment took part in the retreat to Vigo and Corunna; achieving fame as part of the rearguard to the army before returning to England. In May 1809 the 1st battalion of the 43rd, as part of Sir Robert Craufurd's Light Brigade[disambiguation needed], sailed for Portugal to join Sir Arthur Wellesley's army. On landing at Lisbon the 43rd moved to Spain to support Wellesley's forces there. The battalion's march of 250 miles from Lisbon to Talavera included a march of fifty-two miles in twenty-six hours in the hottest season of the year. The battle of Talavera had been won before the battalion arrived however a company of the 43rd which had been at Lisbon from December 1808 fought in the battle as part of General Richard Stewart's brigade. In 1810 the 43rd formed part of the Light Division under the command of Sir Robert Craufurd. The 43rd fought in the battles of the crossing of the Côa, Sabugal and Bussaco. The 43rd took part in the assault on the fortress of Ciudad Rodrigo in January 1812 and at the Siege of Badajoz in April 1812 when storming the breach the 43rd lost 20 officers and 335 men. Following the end of the Peninsular War in 1814 the Light Division was disbanded and the 43rd returned to England.

The 2nd battalion of the 43rd was part of the expedition to Walcheren in 1809 where many troops lost their lives to fever in the Scheldt marshes, it then took part in the War of 1812.

Battle of New Orleans[edit]

The 43rd returned to America in 1814 as part of an expeditionary force which initially had some success but was defeated during the Battle of New Orleans by the forces of General Jackson in 1815. The regiment then returned to Europe. The 43rd arrived in Belgium too late to fight in the Battle of Waterloo on 18 June 1815. There were however a number of 43rd officers present during the battle including Lord Fitzroy Somerset and Major James Shaw Kennedy who both served on the Duke of Wellington's staff. The regiment formed part of the army of occupation in France until November 1818.

Canada 1836-1846[edit]

The regiment served in Ireland from 1819 to 1823 and then at Gibraltar from 1823 to 1830. Following a period in England the 43rd returned to Canada in 1836. The regiment under the overall command of Sir John Colborne commander-in-chief Canada took part in the suppression of the Rebellions of 1837. In December 1837, in severe weather conditions, the regiment marched from Fredericton to Quebec a distance of 370 miles of many forests, frozen rivers and mountainous terrain in a period of eighteen days. The march received much attention in Canada and the Duke of Wellington expressed his high admiration for the arduous undertaking the 43rd had completed. The regiment left Canada for England in 1846 and was stationed in the south of England and then in Ireland until 1851.

Southern Africa 1851-1853[edit]

The 43rd took part in the Kaffir War in Southern Africa from 1851 to 1853 during which the troopship Birkenhead foundered off the Cape of Good Hope in 1852. The bravery and discipline shown by British troops which included a detachment of the 43rd under the command of Lieutenant Girardot during the ship-wreck received much publicity in England and abroad. King Frederick of Prussia ordered that the story of the bravery shown during the sinking of the troopship be read out to each regiment of his army as an example of devotion to duty.

Indian Mutiny[edit]

The 43rd moved from South Africa to India arriving at Madras in January 1854. The regiment assisted in putting down the Indian Mutiny from 1857 to 1859 and during the campaign marched 1300 miles in six months and engaged in many actions with the enemy along the way. The regiment also won its first Victoria Cross awarded to Henry Addison in 1859.

New Zealand Wars[edit]

In September 1863, the 43rd left India to take part in the New Zealand Wars. The 43rd led the storming column at Gate Pa in April 1864 and took part in the assault on the fort at Te Ranga in June 1864. The regiment returned to England in February 1866.

Later history[edit]

For the next fifteen years the regiment was mainly stationed abroad with only brief periods spent in the UK. The major operation it was engaged in during this time was in the suppression of the rebellion by the Moplahs in Southern India in 1873.

The 43rd became the 1st battalion of the Oxfordshire Light Infantry in 1881 and the 1st battalion of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in 1908. The 1st and 2nd battalions were amalgamated in 1948 and the regiment was re-titled as the 1st Battalion The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, 43rd and 52nd. In 1958 the regiment was renamed the 1st Green Jackets (43rd and 52nd) forming part of the Green Jackets Brigade and became the 1st Battalion The Royal Green Jackets in 1966 and the 2nd Battalion The Rifles in February 2007.[1] The 43rd, in conjunction with the historic 2nd Pennsylvania Regiment, is represented today, in its American Revolutionary form, by a reenactment group based out of the Philadelphia area in the United States [2] and in its Napoleonic form by a reenactment group based in Britain and the continent[3]

Victoria Cross recipients[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Arrived in New Zealand from India in December 1863. Took part in actions at Maketu, 21 April 1864 and lost 7 officers and 13 men at Gate Pa on 29 April. The regiment left New Zealand in April 1866. History of the 43rd (Monmouthshire)
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ [2]

External links[edit]