Loyal Regiment (North Lancashire)

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The Loyal Regiment (North Lancashire)
Loyal Regiment Badge.jpg
Badge of the Loyal Regiment (North Lancashire)
Active 1 July 1881 – 1 September 1970
Country  United Kingdom
Branch British Army
Type Line Infantry
Garrison/HQ Fulwood Barracks, Preston
Nickname Cauliflowers, the Lancashire Lads, and Wolfe's Own
Motto Loyauté M'Oblige
(Loyalty Binds Me)
Colors Scarlet with White Facings
Anniversaries 15 February (Kimberley)
4 July (Maida)
31 December (Tarifa)

The Loyal Regiment (North Lancashire) (until 1921 known as The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment) was an infantry regiment of the line in the British Army from 1881 to 1970. Today, the regiment's lineage is continued by The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment.

History[edit]

Formation, 1881[edit]

The regiment was formed as part of the Childers reforms of 1881 by the amalgamation of the 47th (Lancashire) Regiment of Foot, 81st (Loyal Lincoln Volunteers) Regiment of Foot, 3rd Duke of Lancaster's Own Royal Lancashire Militia and the 11th and 14th Lancashire Rifle Volunteer Corps. The Loyals were one of seven county regiments recruiting in Lancashire. The depot was at Preston, and the regimental district also included the towns of Bolton, Chorley, Farnworth, Hindley. The regiment also recruited in the Isle of Man.[citation needed] As part of the Cardwell Reforms, the 47th and 81st regiments were linked. The depot for the linked regiment was Fulwood Barracks at Preston. Beginning in 1873, the regiments which would eventually be re-designated as the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment began moving their depot units to Fulwood. However, it would not be until 1877 that the moves were completed when the required facilities were completed.[1]

The barracks themselves had been completed in 1848 and served as the station for a number of units between 1848 and 1881. Notably, in the 1860s, it was occupied by the 11th Depot Battalion, which served as depot unit for 11th Hussars and of the 1st/10th, 2nd/10th, 1st/11th, 32nd, 41st and 55th Regiments of Foot. In 1861, Pte Patrick McCaffery, a 19-year old private soldier with 32nd Regiment shot and killed the Depot's commander, Colonel Hugh Crofton, and Depot's adjutant, Captain John Hanham, with a single shot. The incident began over McCaffery's punishment for failing to vigorously pursue an investigation into some children who had broken some windows at the barracks. McCaffery was tried and convicted at the Liverpool Assizes. He was executed on 11 January 1862. It is said that since that time, his ghost haunts the officer's mess at Fulwood barracks.[2]

Boer War, 1899–1902[edit]

Loyal North Lancashires marching in Kimberly.
Officers of the 1st Battalion, Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, c. 1899.

In 1899, the Loyal Regiment found itself assigned to South Africa. With hostilities seeming likely in the aftermath of the Jameson Raid, the De Beers company became increasingly concerned with the security of its operations in Kimberly. Although a town guard and other volunteer formations had been raised, the De Beers company and citizens of Kimberly petitioned for additional security measures. On 7 October 1899, an artillery battery and four companies of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment were dispatched to secure the town under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Kekewich. Five days later, with the start of hostilities, Boer forces arrived and began to beisolate Kimberley. For the next 126 days, the North Lancs and the local militias would be cut off and subjected to regular shelling from the Boer artillery. The siege was finally lifted when Brigadier-General Sir John French's Cavalry Division was able to breakthrough the Boer lines on 15 February 1900.[3]

With its commander and four of its companies under siege in Kimberly, the balance of the 1st Battalion served with Lord Methuen. Together with the 1st Northumberland Fusiliers, 2nd Northampton Regiment, and 2nd King's Own (Yorkshire Light Infantry), they formed the 9th Brigade of the 1st Division. They served with 9th Brigade at the Battles of Belmont, Modder River and Magersfotein.[4]

Following the relief of Kimberly in February 1900, the battalion. The Loyals would remain a part of Methuen's command until July when it was detached to guard Oliphant's Nek. However, on 8 August, they abandoned this task at the orders of Colonel Baden-Powell and left the area unguarded. This allowed Christiaan de Wet to escape the British forces attempting to catch him. Although the Boer escaped, it was ruled that orders received by the Loyals were to blame, and the regiment escaped censure.[5]

The end of 1900 found 1st Loyals back with the 9th Brigade. As part of the brigade, they took part in actions around Klerksdorp. Remaining under Lord Methuen's command for the rest of the war, the Loyals provided men to be formed into mounted infantry companies as the war shifted from large engagements into a guerrilla war. The Loyals would continue to serve throughout the guerrilla phase, engaging Boer commandos on a number of occasions until the end of the war with the signing of the Treaty of Vereeniging.[5]

First World War, 1914–1918[edit]

Men of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment showing off their new steel helmets in 1916

The Regiment raised a number of extra war service battalions during The Great War. In all the Loyal North Lancs raised 21 battalions of infantry for service at home and abroad.[6] Of these, there were the two regular battalions (the 1st and 2nd Battalions), the initial reserve battalion (3rd Battalion), ten Territorial Force battalions (1/4th, 1/5th, 2/4th, 2/5th, 3/4th, 3/5th, 4/5th, 1/12th(Pioneers), 2/12th, and 14th Battalions), and seven service battalions for the Kitchener's Army (6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th (Reserve), and 15th Battalions), as well as a home service battalion (13th (Home Service) Battalion).

During the First World War, the 6th Battalion of the Loyal Regiment was raised in August 1914, as part of the "Kitchener Army"'s first wave (sometimes referred to as K1). It was moved to Tildworth and then to Blackdown in February 1915. Eventually it sailed as part of the 38th Brigade of the 13th (Western) Division to join the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force. As part of the 13th (Western) Division, the battalion served in the Gallipoli Campaign. The division landed at Anzac Cove on 4 August 1915. After participating in the battles at Anzac Cove and Suvla Bay, the 6th Battalion along with the rest of the division were withdrawn from Suvla and moved to the Helles landing beaches. The division was finally withdrawn from Gallipoli and sent to Egypt to refit in January 1916.

In February 1916, the division was ordered to move to join the Tigris Corps in its operations to relieve the Anglo-Indian garrison besieged at Kut. As part of the Tigris Corps, the battalion attempted to lift the siege of Kut. Initially deployed along the left bank of the Tigris River, the North Lancs participated in the Battle of Fallahiya, on 6 April 1916, and Battle of Sanniyat, on 9 April 1916. The 6th North Lancs managed to break into the Turkish positions at the Sanniyat, but because follow-on forces were unable to link up with them, they along with the rest of the 38th Brigade were eventually driven back.

After the failure of the Tigris Corps to relieve Kut, the 6th North Lancs, as well as the rest of the division remained in theater. Receiving replacement drafts from home, the 6th North Lancs began training to prepare for the winter campaign to retake Kut and drive on Baghdad. After the capture of Kut, the 38th Brigade, of which the 6th North Lancs was a part, was the spearhead for the drive across the Diyala River. After the failure of the first attempt to cross the river, 6th North Lancs were tasked with seizing the beachhead on the far side of the river. Approximately 100 men of the 6th North Lancs were able to make the initial crossing on 8 March 1917. Subjected to multiple counter-attacks through the day, North Lancs held on to the beachhead despite the main force being unable to land more troops. By the end of 8 March 1917, there only 40 effectives left. Throughout the next day, the North Lancs defended their beachhead against a further counter-attack and shelling by the Turkish Army. They were not relieved until the next day when the Turkish forces retreated after their position became untenable due to advances by the British and Indian forces on the right bank of the Tigris River. In the course of two days, 6th North Lancs suffered 31 KIA[7] and 65 wounded.

Following the fall of Baghdad, the 6th North Lancs, participated in the drive north to Kirkuk. At the conclusion of the war, the 6th North Lancs was selected as one of the battalions which would make up the initial occupation force of the region (eventually renamed Iraq). They were transferred to 34th Indian Infantry Brigade for occupation duties in 1918 after the armistice with Turkey was signed on 31 October 1918. The 6th North Lancs were eventually demobilized in 1919.

Between the wars[edit]

Even though The Great War ended with the Armistice, battalions of the Loyal Regiment remained active in the early post-war years. The 2nd Loyals were sent to Ireland for service during the Irish War of Independence. The Loyals were dispatched to serve during the Chanak Crisis. Both battalions of the Loyals served in China during the Warlord Era and the Chinese Civil War, protecting the legation in Peking and the international settlements at Tientsin, Canton, and most importantly Shanghai. The 1st Loyals also saw action in policing the British Mandate of Palestine during the 1936–1939 Arab revolt in Palestine.[8]

Second World War, 1939–1945[edit]

Regular Army battalions[edit]

At the outbreak of the Second World War, the 1st Loyals were part of the 2nd Infantry Brigade, attached to the 1st Infantry Division. The 1st Loyals would remain with the 2nd Brigade throughout the war, participating in the fighting in France in 1940, including acting as part of the rearguard for the Dunkirk evacuation. Eventually, the 1st Loyals would see action in Tunisia in 1943, and Italy and at the Battle of Anzio where the 1st Division saw some of the fiercest fighting of the war. The battalion along with the rest of 1st Division were sent to Palestine in 1945.

Upon the commencement of hostilities in 1939, the 2nd Loyals found themselves stationed in the Far East as part of Singapore Fortress's Malaya Brigade. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the 2nd Loyals fought in Malaya as part of the delaying action during the Battle of Malaya. Eventually, the 2nd Loyals surrendered along with the rest of the Singapore garrison on 15 February 1942. The survivors spent the rest of the war as POWs Japan.

Following the destruction of the 2nd Loyals with its surrender at Singapore, the battalion was reformed in Britain. The 10th Battalion was re-designated as 2nd Loyals on 28 May 1942.[9] Eventually the battalion was deployed as part of 20th Indian Infantry Brigade of the 10th Indian Infantry Division in Italy during the closing phases of the Italian Campaign.[10]

Territorial battalions[edit]

In addition to the two regular battalions, the Loyal Regiment also had three Territorial Army battalions (4th, 5th, and 6th Battalions) at the start of the war. The 5th Battalion was converted in 1941 into a Reconnaissance Corps unit for the 18th (East Anglian) Infantry Division and re-designated as the 18th Battalion Reconnaissance Corps.[11] The 18th Recce (5th Loyals) was transferred with the rest of the 18th Division as reinforcements for the Battle of Singapore. They arrived at Singapore late in the campaign without much of their equipment and were used as regular infantrymen until the surrender on 15 February 1942. Like the men of the 2nd Loyals captured in Singapore, the men of 18th Recce spent the rest of the war as prisoners of the Imperial Japanese Army.

The 6th Battalion Loyals were also converted in 1941 from their infantry role. Like the 5th Loyals, they were converted and re-designated as 2nd Reconnaissance Regiment, joining the 2nd Infantry Division on 30 April 1941. With the rest of the division, it was transferred to India where it would be engaged against the Imperial Japanese Army, notably in India at Kohima and then as part of Slim's offensive to re-capture Burma.

Service Battalions[edit]

The 7th Battalion of the Loyal Regiment (North Lancashire) was a wartime infantry unit raised at the regimental headquarters, Fulwood Barracks, Preston, on 4 July 1940. The bulk of the battalion's recruits were men from Merseyside, Cheshire and Lancashire, who had been called up for military service. The battalion was initially based in Caernarvon, North Wales. It was later on anti-invasion duties in Liverpool, the Scarborough coast, Darlington and Redcar guarding against a possible German invasion. On November 13, 1941, the battalion was converted to the 92nd (Loyals) Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery. 92 LAA Regt RA landed in Normandy as part of 3rd British Infantry Division on D-Day, 6 June 1944, and performed notable service during Operation Tonga in defence of Pegasus Bridge and Horsa Bridge. The regiment was disbanded in 1946.

The 8th Battalion was raised in 1940 and was converted to the 93rd Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment of the Royal Artillery.

The 9th Battalion was also raised in 1940 and was converted to armour in 1941, becoming 148th Regiment Royal Armoured Corps. They continued to wear their Loyals cap badge on the black beret of the RAC.[12]

The 10th Battalion was raised in 1940 and was re-designated as the 2nd Battalion in May 1942 after the battalion was lost at Singapore.

Loyal Regiment (North Lancashire), 1946–1970[edit]

The Loyal Regiment continued to serve during the sunset of the British Empire. Battalions of the regiment served in the Palestine Mandate. The 1st Battalion served in the Malayan Emergency from 1957 to 1959.[13] C Company was dispatched to Aden during the Emergency in 1966. B Company was also despatched the following year-1967 prior to the withdrawal of British troops that year.[14] The Regiment was amalgamated with The Lancashire Regiment (Prince of Wales's Volunteers) to form The Queen's Lancashire Regiment in 1970, at Connaught Barracks, Dover.

Battle honours[edit]

The following are the battle honours earned by the Loyal Regiment. This includes those awarded to the 47th (Lancashire) Regiment of Foot, 81st (Loyal Lincoln Volunteers) Regiment of Foot, the predecessors of the Loyal Regiment (North Lancashire).

  • Peninsula Campaign: Maida, Corunna, Tarifa, Vittoria, San Sebastian, Nive, Peninsula.
  • First Anglo-Burmese War, 1824–1826: Ava
  • Crimean War, 1854–1856: Alma; Inkermann, Sevastopol.
  • Second Afghan War, 1878–1880: Ali Masjid, Afghanistan 1878-9
  • Anglo-Boer War, 1899–1902: Defence of Kimberley, South Africa 1899–1902; Mediterranean 1900–01
  • First World War, 1914–1918: Mons; Aisne 1914, 1918; Ypres 1914, 1917, 1918; Somme 1916, 1918; Lys; Hindenburg Line; Suvla; Gaza; Baghdad; Kilimanjaro. Retreat from Mons; Marne 1914, 1918; Langemarck 1914; Gheluvelt; Nonne Bosschen; Givenchy 1914; Aubers; Festubert 1915; Loos; Albert 1916; Bazentin; Pozières; Guillemont; Ginchy; Flers-Courcelette; Morval; Ancre Heights; Ancre 1916; Arras 1917, 1918; Scarpe 1917; Arleux; Messines 1917; Pilckem; Menin Road; Polygon Wood; Poelcapelle; Passchendaele; Cambrai 1917, 1918; St Quentin; Bapaume 1918; Estaires; Bailleul; Kemmel; Béthune; Scherpenberg; Soissonnais-Ourcq; Drocourt-Quéant; Epéhy; Canal du Nord; St Quentin Canal; Courtrai; Selle; Sambre; France and Flanders 1914–18; Doiran 1917; Macedonia 1917; Sari Bair; Gallipoli 1915; Egypt 1916; Nebi Samwil; Jerusalem; Jaffa; Tell'Asur; Palestine 1917–18; Tigris 1916; Kut al Amara 1917; Mesopotamia 1916–18; East Africa 1914–16.
  • Second World War, 1939–1945: Dunkirk 1940; Djebel Kess Kiss; Gueriat el Atach Ridge; North Africa 1943; Anzio; Fiesole; Monte Grande; Italy 1944-5; Johore; Singapore Island. North-West Europe 1940; Banana Ridge; Medjez Plain; Djebel Bou Aoukaz 1943 I; Gab Gab Gap; Rome; Gothic Line; Monte Gamberaldi; Monte Ceco; Batu Pahar; Malaya 1941-2

Regimental traditions[edit]

Anniversaries[edit]

As with many British Army regiments, the Loyals accumulated a number of traditional observances during their existence. The first to happen each year was the celebration of the regiment's defence of Kimberley during the Boer War. Annually, the regiment would celebrate this battle honour on 15 February.[15] The next anniversary on the calendar commemorated the victory at the Battle of Maida, where the 1st Battalion of the 81st Regiment, won the battle honour carried by the Loyals. Annually, the regiment commemorated the battle with a parade and dinner in the mess.[16] Annually on 13 September, the Loyals commemorated Quebec Day. This celebrated the 47th Regiment's participation in the capture of Quebec under General Wolfe. Men of the 1st Battalion of the Loyals, successors to the 47th (Lancashire) Regiment of Foot, were eligible to become members of the Wolfe Society. The anniversary was marked by a trooping of the colours while the regimental band played the 47th Regiment's slow march followed by Quebec.[16] On New Year's Eve, the Sergeants' Mess of the Loyals would hold a ball in celebration of Tarifa Day. The ball commemorated the defense of Tarifa by the 47th Regiment in 1811 against a determined assault by the French army.[16]

Nicknames[edit]

The Loyal Regiment inherited its nicknames from its predecessor formations. The regiment's uniform, which was initially scarlet with white facings and the Lancashire rose on their cap badges earned them the name "Cauliflowers" because of the similar looks. For their service under Wolfe during the Seven Years' War, as well as his earlier service in the regiment, they were known as "Wolfe's Own". As they recruited and were affiliated within Lancashire, they were also known as the "Lancashire Lads".[17]

Possessions[edit]

Over the years, the Loyals, as well as their predecessors acquired a number of possessions which were prized by the regiment. Important to every regiment of the British Army was its silver. In 1958, in honour of the Queen Elizabeth II, the regiment's officers purchased an equestrian statue which was placed in front of the commanding officer's place setting. Before the junior lieutenant's place setting, there was placed a silver fox statute, acquired by the regiment in 1928. Finally, there was the Subaltern's Cup. This was a silver goblet which was part of the place setting of the senior lieutenant of the regiment. It was used as part of a drinking ritual when the senior lieutenant was finally promoted to captain.[16] Perhaps the oldest of the regiment's treasures was a snuff box made from a tortoise shell. After the Battle of Maida, the commander of the 1/81st Regiment, Lieutenant-Colonel Kempt, had a dinner made from a tortoise found near the battle. He turned the shell of the tortoise into a snuff box and presented it to the officer's mess.[16]

Victoria Cross recipients[edit]

  • Private John McDermond (47th Regiment of Foot, later 1st Battalion, Loyal North Lancashire Regiment) 5 November 1854, Inkerman, Crimea.
  • Private Henry Edward Kenny (1st Battalion, Loyal North Lancashire Regiment) 25 September 1915, Loos, France.
  • (Temporary) Lieutenant Thomas Orde Lawder Wilkinson (7th Battalion, Loyal North Lancashire Regiment) 5 July 1916, posthumously.
  • Lieutenant Richard Basil Brandram Jones (8th Battalion, Loyal North Lancashire Regiment), 21 May 1916, Vimy, France, posthumously.
  • Lieutenant Willward Alexander Sandys-Clarke (1st Battalion, Loyal Regiment (North Lancashire)), 23 April 1943, Guiriat El Atach, Tunisia, posthumously.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Qlrmuseum.co.uk
  2. ^ Qlrmuseum.co.uk
  3. ^ George H. Cassar, The Tragedy of Sir John French, (Cranbury, NJ: University of Delaware Press., 1985) p. 47–49
  4. ^ Northumberland Regiment in Anglo-Boer War
  5. ^ a b Loyal North Lancashire Regiment in the Anglo-Boer War
  6. ^ "Loyal North Lancashire Regiment battalions". at The Long, Long Trail recovered on 2009-07-31
  7. ^ killed-in-action. This was a casualty category used by the army during the period of early twentieth century.
  8. ^ Ministry of Defence
  9. ^ Ordersofbattle.com
  10. ^ Milhist.net
  11. ^ Ordersofbattle.com
  12. ^ George Forty (1998), "British Army Handbook 1939–1945", Stoud: Sutton Publishing, pp. 50–1.
  13. ^ "Infantry Units".  British and Commonwealth Units that served in the Malayan Emergency retrieved on 2009-07-31
  14. ^ "Infantry Units".  British units serving in Aden 1955–67
  15. ^ P.D. Griffin, Encyclopedia of Modern British Army Regiments, (Phoenix Mill: Sutton Publishing, 2006) p.91.
  16. ^ a b c d e Griffin, p. 92.
  17. ^ Anon., Regimental Nicknames and Traditions of the British Army (London: Gale & Polen, 1916), p. 85.

17. Loyal North Lancashire Regiment 1914–18

References[edit]