Royal Berkshire Regiment

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The Royal Berkshire Regiment
Active 1881–1959
Country  United Kingdom
Branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Type Infantry
Role Line Infantry
Size 2 Regular Battalions
1 Militia Battalion (Royal Berkshire Regiment of Militia)
1 - 2 Territorial and Volunteer Battalions
Up to 12 hostilities-only Battalions
Garrison/HQ Reading
Nickname The Biscuit Boys
Anniversaries Maiwand (27 July)

The Royal Berkshire Regiment (Princess Charlotte of Wales's) was an infantry regiment of the line in the British Army, formed in 1881 by the amalgamation of the 49th (Princess Charlotte of Wales's) (Hertfordshire) Regiment of Foot and the 66th (Berkshire) Regiment of Foot.[1] Its lineage is continued today by The Rifles.[1]

Formation and antecedents[edit]

The regiment was formed as part of the reforms carried out by Edward Cardwell and Hugh Childers, Secretaries of State for War in the late nineteenth century. The first stage, under Cardwell in 1873, introduced a "localisation scheme". This saw the United Kingdom divided into "Brigade Districts" consisting of a county or counties. Each district was assigned two regular infantry battalions, one of which would be on foreign service while the other was on home service. The home-based battalion was to provide drafts to the battalion on foreign duty as required. County militia regiments were also to be linked with the regular battalions, with all sharing a single depot in the brigade district. It was announced that a depot was to be built at Reading, Berkshire, which would serve a district comprising the County of Berkshire. The two line battalions which were to be linked were the 49th and 66th Regiments of Foot, along with the Berkshire Militia.[2] On 1 July 1881, the reforms were completed under Childers, with the formation of the The Princess Charlotte of Wales's (Berkshire Regiment)

  • 1st Battalion (formerly the 49th (Princess Charlotte of Wales's) (Hertfordshire) Regiment of Foot). The regiment had been raised in 1743, and had been granted the title "Princess Charlotte of Wales's" in 1816.[3][4]
  • 2nd Battalion (formerly the 66th (Berkshire) Regiment of Foot) . The regiment had been raised in 1758.[4]
  • 3rd (Militia) Battalion (formerly the Berkshire Militia)[1][5]
  • 1st Volunteer Battalion (formerly the 1st Berkshire Rifle Volunteer Corps, formed in 1859).[5]

In 1885, following its service at the Battle of Tofrek, the regiment was granted "royal" status, to become The Princess Charlotte of Wales's (Royal Berkshire Regiment)[6]

In 1921 the titles switched to become The Royal Berkshire Regiment (Princess Charlotte of Wales's).

After service in the First and Second World Wars, it was amalgamated into The Duke of Edinburgh's Royal Regiment (Berkshire and Wiltshire) in 1959.


  • 1881 - 1891: General Thomas Henry Johnston (formerly colonel of 66th Foot)[7]
  • 1891 - 1894: General Sir William Pollexfen Radcliffe, KCB[8]
  • 1894 - 1905: Lieutenant-General Robert William Lowry, CB[9][10]
  • 1905 - 1913: Major-General Sir William Bellairs, KCMG, CB[11][12]
  • 1913 - 1930: Major-General Edward Thompson Dickson[13][14]
  • 1930 - 1940: General Sir Felix Fordati Ready CB, CSI, CMG, CSO[15]
  • 1940 - 1947: General Robert John Collins
  • 1947 - 1956: General Sir Miles Dempsey[16]
  • 1956 - 1959: Brigadier Dudley William Bruce Trower Hogg

Battle Honours[edit]

Members of the 10th Battalion climbing the heights of Calvi Risorta in the Allied invasion of Italy, October 1943
  • From 49th Regiment of Foot: Egmont-op-Zee, Copenhagen, Queenstown, China, Alma, Inkerman, Sevastopol
  • From 66th Regiment of Foot: Douro, Talavera, Albuhera, Vittoria, Pyrenees, Nivelle, Nive, Orthes, Peninsula, Kandahar 1880, Afghanistan 1879-80 (Maiwand)
  • St. Lucia 1778, Egypt 1882, Tofrek, Suakin 1885, South Africa 1899-1902
  • The Great War (16 battalions): Mons, Retreat from Mons, Marne 1914, Aisne 1914 '18, Ypres 1914 '17, Langemarck 1914 '17, Gheluvelt, Nonne Bosschen, Neuve Chapelle, Aubers, Festubert 1915, Loos, Somme 1916 '18, Albert 1916 '18, Bazentin, Delville Wood, Pozières, Flers-Courcelette, Morval, Thiepval, Le Transloy, Ancre Heights, Ancre 1916 '18, Arras 1917 '18, Scarpe 1917 '18, Arleux, Pilckem, Polygon Wood, Broodseinde, Poelcappelle, Passchendaele, Cambrai 1917 '18, St. Quentin, Bapaume 1918, Rosières, Avre, Villers Bretonneux, Lys, Hazebrouck, Béthune, Amiens, Hindenburg Line, Havrincourt, Épéhy, Canal du Nord, St. Quentin Canal, Selle, Valenciennes, Sambre, France and Flanders 1914-18, Piave, Vittorio Veneto, Italy 1917-18, Doiran 1917 '18, Macedonia 1915-18
  • The Second World War: Dyle, St. Omer-La Bassée, Dunkirk 1940, Normandy Landing, Rhine, North-West Europe 1940 '44-45, Pursuit to Messina, Sicily 1943, Monte Camino, Calabritto, Garigliano Crossing, Damiano, Anzio, Carroceto, Italy 1943-45, Donbaik, Kohima, Mao Songsang, Shwebo, Kyaukmyaung Bridgehead, Mandalay, Fort Dufferin, Rangoon Road, Toungoo, Burma 1942-45


  1. ^ a b c "The Berkshire Regiment 1881-1885, The Royal Berkshire Regiment 1885-1959". The Rifles (Berkshire and Wiltshire) Museum. Retrieved 11 November 2013. 
  2. ^ "The Army Localisation Scheme". The Morning Post. 12 February 1873. p. 3. 
  3. ^ "His Royal Highness the Prince Regent has been pleased, in the name and on behalf of his Majesty, to approve of the 49th (or the Hertfordshire) Regiment being in future styled the 49th (or Princess Charlotte of Wales's) Regiment, retaining its County Title." The London Gazette: no. 17111. p. 308. 17 February 1816.
  4. ^ a b Swinson, Arthur (1972). A Register of the Regiments and Corps of the British Army. London: The Archive Press. ISBN 0-85591-000-3. 
  5. ^ a b "The Militia, Volunteers and Territorial Army". The Rifles (Berkshire and Wiltshire) Museum. Retrieved 11 November 2013. 
  6. ^ "The Queen has been graciously pleased to approve... of the Princess Charlotte of Wales's (Berkshire Regiment), being in future designated " Princess Charlotte of Wales's (Royal Berkshire Regiment), in recognition of the gallant conduct of the 1st Battalion of the Regiment, in the action at Tofrek, near Suakin, on the 22nd March, 1885." The London Gazette: no. 25515. p. 4558. 29 September 1885.
  7. ^ "Deaths". The Times. 31 December 1891. p. 1. 
  8. ^ The London Gazette: no. 26263. p. 1201. 1 March 1892.
  9. ^ The London Gazette: no. 26492. p. 1370. 6 March 1894.
  10. ^ "Obituary". The Times. 9 June 1905. p. 9. 
  11. ^ The London Gazette: no. 27821. p. 5145. 25 July 1905.
  12. ^ "Obituary: Sir William Bellairs". The Times. 25 July 1913. p. 11. 
  13. ^ The London Gazette: no. 28750. p. 6083. 26 August 1913.
  14. ^ "Deaths". The Times. 24 August 1938. p. 1. 
  15. ^ "Military Appointments". The Times. 3 June 1930. p. 16. 
  16. ^ "Obituary: Gen Sir Miles Dempsey An outstanding Second World War Commander". The Times. 7 June 1969. p. 10.