King's Own Royal Regiment (Lancaster)

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The King's Own Royal Regiment (Lancaster)
Active 1680–1959
Country  Kingdom of England (1680–1707)
 Kingdom of Great Britain (1707–1800)
 United Kingdom (1801–1959)
Branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Type Infantry
Role Line Infantry
Garrison/HQ Bowerham Barracks, Lancaster
Nickname Barrell's Blues, The Lions
March Quick: Corn Riggs are Bonnie
Slow: And Shall Trelawny Die?
Engagements Nine Years War, War of the Spanish Succession, Battle of Culloden, Seven Years' War, French Revolutionary Wars, Peninsula War, War of 1812, Waterloo, Crimean War, Indian Rebellion of 1857, 1868 Expedition to Abyssinia, Anglo-Zulu War, Second Boer War, First World War, Second World War

The King's Own Royal Regiment (Lancaster) was an infantry regiment of the line of the British Army. It served under various titles from 1680 to 1959. Its lineage is continued today by the Duke of Lancaster's Regiment (Kings, Lancashire and Border).


The regiment was raised on 13 July 1680, as the 2nd Tangier, or Earl of Plymouth's Regiment of Foot. It saw service for nearly three centuries. In 1751, after various name changes, the regiment was titled the 4th (King's Own) Regiment of Foot. The regiment retained this title until the Childers Reforms of 1881, when it became The King's Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment). In 1921, it was re-designated The King's Own Royal Regiment (Lancaster).

The regiment's first battle honour was gained at Namur (1695) during the War of the Augsburg League, 1688-1697. Soon after, they saw action at Gibraltar in 1704-1705, Guadeloupe 1759, and St. Lucia 1778. In 1746, the regiment received most of the government casualties at the Battle of Culloden.

During the Napoleonic Wars, the regiment fought at Corunna, Badajoz, Salamanca, Vittoria, San Sebastian, Nive, Bladensburg, and Waterloo.

During the Crimean War, the regiment fought at Alma, Inkerman, and Sevastopol. It also saw action in Abyssinia in 1868, South Africa in 1879 and from 1899 to 1902, where it took part in the Relief of Ladysmith.

The regiment also saw colonial service in Australia from 1832 until 1837, being stationed variously at Tasmania, Sydney, Victoria, South Australia, and the Swan River Colony under the command of Lieut. Colonel J. K. McKenzie.

World War I[edit]

The following battalions of the King's Own served during World War I[1][2][3]


Special Reserve (formerly Militia)

  • 3rd (Reserve) Battalion: remained in the UK and supplied drafts to the regular battalions overseas.

Territorial Force (TF)

  • 2/4th Battalion: formed September 1914 as a 2nd Line duplicate of 1/4th Battalion; became 4th (Reserve) Bn and absorbed 5th (Reserve) Battalion 1916; stationed in Dublin from June 1918.
  • 3/4th Battalion: formed June 1915 as a reserve battalion; amalgamated with 2/4th Battalion in January 1916.
  • 3/5th Battalion: formed June 1915 as a reserve battalion; remained in the UK and supplied drafts to the 1/5th and 2/5th Battalions; became 5th (Reserve) Battalion.
  • 12th Battalion: formed 1 January 1917 from 41st Provisional Battalion (TF) in 218th Brigade of 73rd Division, a Home Defence formation; disbanded March 1918.

New Army

  • 7th (Service) Battalion: formed September 1914; attached to 56th Brigade in 19th (Western) Division; landed in France July 1915; disbanded February 1918 due to an Army-wide reorganisation.
  • 8th (Service) Battalion: formed October 1914; attached to 76th Brigade in 25th Division; landed in France September 1915 and served on the Western Front for the war.
  • 10th (Reserve) Battalion: formed October 1914; remained in the UK and supplied drafts to the Service Battalions overseas; converted into 43rd Training Reserve Bn in September 1916.
  • 11th (Service) Battalion: formed August 1915 as a Bantam Battalion; attached to 120th Brigade in 40th Division; landed in France June 1916; disbanded February 1918.
  • 12th (Reserve) Battalion: formed January 1916; remained in the UK and supplied drafts to the Service Battalions overseas; converted into 76th Training Reserve Battalion September 1916.

World War II[edit]

The following battalions served during World War II:


  • 1st Battalion was stationed in Malta on the outbreak of war, moving to Karachi in British India at the end of 1939. It subsequently served in Iraq and Syria with 25th Indian Infantry Brigade of 10th Indian Infantry Division. In August 1942, the battalion embarked from Egypt for Cyprus, but the transport was torpedoed and the troops had to return and re-embark later. In May 1943, the battalion returned to Syria, and then it joined 234th Infantry Brigade in the Aegean Islands in October 1943. Here, the bulk of the battalion was captured by the Germans on 16 November, after the Battle of Leros and only 57 officers and men managed to escape the island. The 1st Battalion was reformed in 25th Indian Infantry Brigade, on 30 January 1944, by amalgamating with the 8th Battalion King's Own. The reformed battalion later served in the Italian Campaign with 25th Indian Brigade for the rest of the war.[4]


  • 5th Battalion mobilised with 42nd (East Lancashire) Infantry Division and served with it in France and Belgium in 1940. When the division was converted to armour in October 1941, 5th Battalion became 107th Regiment Royal Armoured Corps.[14][15] The regiment continued to wear the King's Own cap badge on the black beret of the Royal Armoured Corps, as did all infantry units converted in this way.[16] The regiment was disbanded in December 1943.


  • The 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th Battalions were all formed in 1940 as Pioneer battalions and for hostilities-only.[2] All four units served as GHQ (General Headquarters) troops during the 1940 campaign in both France and Belgium.[17]
  • 8th Battalion joined the Malta garrison in August 1941 and served through the Siege.[20] In November 1943, the battalion was moved to Palestine and then Italy with the 25th Indian Infantry Brigade, part of the 10th Indian Infantry Division. In Italy, on 30 January 1944, the 8th Battalion was disbanded and its personnel merged with the remnants of the 1st Battalion King's Own which was virtually lost during the fighting at Leros and only 58 officers and men managed to escape being captured.[21]


After the war all the units created during the war were disbanded as was the 2nd Battalion in 1948 due to Indian independence. The regiment received the freedom of Lancaster in 1953, before being amalgamated with the Border Regiment into the King's Own Royal Border Regiment on 31 October 1959. In 1953 and 1954, the 1st Battalion of the regiment was stationed in South Korea following the Korean War.[25]

Battle honours[edit]

Colours of Barrell's Regiment, carried at Culloden
  • Namur 1695, Gibraltar 1704-05, Guadeloupe 1759, St. Lucia 1778, Corunna, Badajoz, Salamanca, Vittoria, San Sebastian, Nive, Peninsula, Bladensburg, Waterloo, Alma, Inkerman, Sevastopol, Abyssinia, South Africa 1879, Relief of Ladysmith, South Africa 1899-1902
  • The Great War (16 battalions): Le Cateau, Retreat from Mons, Marne 1914, Aisne 1914, Armentières 1914, Ypres 1915 '17, Gravenstafel, St Julien, Frezenberg, Bellewaarde, Festubert 1915, Loos, Somme 1916 '18, Albert 1916 '18, Bazentin, Delville Wood, Pozières, Guillemont, Ginchy, Flers-Courcelette, Morval, Le Transloy, Ancre Heights, Ancre 1916, Arras 1917 '18, Scarpe 1917 '18, Arleux, Messines 1917, Pilckem, Menin Road, Polygon Wood, Broodseinde, Poelcappelle, Passchendaele, Cambrai 1917 '18, St. Quentin, Lys, Estaires, Hazebrouck, Béthune, Bapaume 1918, Drocourt-Quéant, Hindenburg Line, Canal du Nord, Selle, Valenciennes, Sambre, France and Flanders 1914-18, Struma, Doiran 1917 '18, Macedonia 1915-18, Suvla, Sari Bair, Gallipoli 1915, Egypt 1916, Tigris 1916, Kut al Amara 1917, Baghdad, Mesopotamia 1916-18
  • The Second World War: St Omer-La Bassée, Dunkirk 1940, North-West Europe 1940, Defence of Habbaniya, Falluja, Iraq 1941, Merjayun, Jebel Mazar, Syria 1941, Tobruk 1941, Tobruk Sortie, North Africa 1940-42, Montone, Citta di Castello, San Martino Sogliano, Lamone Bridgehead, Italy 1944-45, Malta 1941-42, Chindits 1944, Burma 1944

Victoria Crosses[edit]

The following members of the regiment were awarded the Victoria Cross:

King's Own Royal Regiment Museum[edit]

The King's Own Royal Regiment Museum is part of the Lancaster City Museum in Lancaster, Lancashire. Opened in 1929,[26] the exhibits include regimental uniforms, medals, regalia, silver, paintings, medals, weapons and other memorabilia reflecting the regiment's history since 1680 to 1960.




  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c d e f
  3. ^
  4. ^ Joslen, pp. 396, 535–6.
  5. ^ Joslen, pp. 470, 473.
  6. ^ Joslen, pp. 253, 257, 475.
  7. ^ Joslen, pp. 257–8.
  8. ^ a b Joslen, p. 536.
  9. ^ Joslen, p. 416.
  10. ^
  11. ^ Joslen, pp. 49, 514, 527.
  12. ^
  13. ^ Joslen, p. 90.
  14. ^ Joslen, pp. 165, 311.
  15. ^ a b
  16. ^ Forty, pp. 50–1.
  17. ^ Joslen, p. 462.
  18. ^ Joslen, pp. 330, 351, 381, 383.
  19. ^ Joslen, pp. 302, 448.
  20. ^ Joslen, pp. 392, 394–6.
  21. ^ Joslen, pp. 535–6.
  22. ^ Joslen, p. 272.
  23. ^
  24. ^ Joslen, pp. 208, 388.
  25. ^ Actions, Movements & Quarters: 1914–1959; and see: Korea 1953–1954 for photographs of the United Nations Memorial Cemetery in Busan.
  26. ^ Museum Introduction and History


External links[edit]