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
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 second-line duplicate of 1/4th Bn; became 4th (Reserve) Bn and absorbed 5th (Reserve) Bn 1916; stationed in Dublin from June 1918.
  • 3/4th Battalion: formed June 1915 as a reserve battalion; amalgamated with 2/4th Bn 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 Bns; became 5th (Reserve) Bn.
  • 12th Battalion: formed 1 January 1917 from 41st Provisional Bn (TF) in 218th Brigade of 73rd Division, a Home Defence formation; disbanded March 1918.

New Army

  • 10th (Reserve) Battalion: formed October 1914; remained in the UK and supplied drafts to the Service Bns 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 Bns 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, 1st Bn returned to Syria, and then it joined 234th 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. It was reformed in 25th Indian Bde by amalgamating with 8th Bn King's Own and later served in the Italian campaign.[4]


    • On the outbreak of war, 56th A/T Regt mobilised in 42nd (East Lancashire) Division, with which it served in the Battle of France in 1940. In 1942, it was sent to join 70th Division in India, where it was converted into a Light Anti-Aircraft/Anti-Tank regiment in 1943. In this guise it served in the Burma Campaign, mainly with 5th Indian Division. It reconverted to the anti-tank role in late 1944 and in June 1945 it returned to India as a Royal Artillery training unit.[10][11]
  • 5th Battalion mobilised with 42nd (East Lancashire) Division and served with it in France and Belgium in 1940. When the division was converted to armour in October 1941, 5th Bn became 107th Regiment Royal Armoured Corps.[14][15] The battalion continued to wear the King's Own cap badge on the black beret of the RAC.[16]


  • 6th–9th Battalions were formed in 1940 as Pioneer battalions.[2] All four served as GHQ troops during the 1940 campaign in 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, where it was disbanded and its personnel used to reform 1st Bn King's Own.[21]
  • 50th (Holding) Battalion was formed in the UK on 28 May 1940. On 9 October 1940, it was renamed the 10th battalion.[2][23] 10th Battalion was assigned to 225th Independent Infantry Brigade (Home), formed for service in the UK. When the brigade was converted into a tank brigade in December 1941, the battalion became 151st Regiment Royal Armoured Corps.[15][24] When 107th RAC was disbanded in December 1943, a cadre transferred to 151st RAC, which adopted the number of 107th to perpetuate the 5th King's Own, a first line Territorial Battalion.[25][26]


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.[27]

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,[28] 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. ^ 107 RAC (King's Own) War Diary December 1943, The National Archives, Kew, file WO 166/11100.
  26. ^ 151 RAC (10th King's Own) War Diary November 1943 Appendix F, The National Archives file WO 166/11115.
  27. ^ Actions, Movements & Quarters: 1914–1959; and see: Korea 1953–1954 for photographs of the United Nations Memorial Cemetery in Busan.
  28. ^ Museum Introduction and History


External links[edit]