King's Shropshire Light Infantry

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The King’s Shropshire Light Infantry (53rd and 85th)
Active 1881–1968
Country  United Kingdom
Branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Type Infantry
Role Light Infantry
Part of Light Infantry Brigade (1948 to 1968)
Garrison/HQ Copthorne Barracks, Shrewsbury
Motto Aucto Splendore Resurgo ("I rise again with increased splendour")
Colors burgundy, gold, dark blue and dark green
March Quick : 1st Bn : "Old Towler" - 2de Bn : "The daughter of the regiment"
Raymond Northland Revell Reade

The King's Shropshire Light Infantry (KSLI) was a regiment of the British Army, formed in 1881, but with antecedents dating back to 1755. The KSLI was amalgamated with three other English county light infantry regiments in 1968 to became part of The Light Infantry. In February 2007 The Light Infantry itself became part of the new large regiment, The Rifles.


The King's Light Infantry (Shropshire Regiment) was formed on July 1, 1881, as the county regiment of Herefordshire and Shropshire as part of the Childers Reforms. It was renamed as The King's (Shropshire Light Infantry) in March 1882.

The regiment was an amalgamation of the 53rd (Shropshire) Regiment of Foot and the 85th (King's Light Infantry) Regiment of Foot, which became the regular 1st and 2nd Battalions. The 1881 reforms also redesignated the militia and rifle volunteers units within the regimental district as battalions of the regiment. Accordingly the Shropshire Militia and Royal Herefordshire Militia became the 3rd and 4th (Militia) Battalions respectively, and the 1st and 2nd Shropshire Rifle Volunteer Corps became the 1st and 2nd Volunteer Battalions. The 1st Herefordshire (Herefordshire and Radnorshire) Rifle Volunteer Corps was also affiliated as a volunteer battalion, without change of title.

In 1908 the Territorial Force was formed, the two militia battalions were merged to form the 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion and the 1st and 2nd VBs were merged to form the 4th Battalion (TF). At the same time, the Herefordshire RVC became an independent territorial Herefordshire Regiment.

The regiment was greatly expanded during the First World War with 13 battalions serving in various theatres. In 1921 the regiment was renamed as The King's Shropshire Light Infantry. The KSLI again formed additional battalions during the Second World War, although not on the same scale as the previous conflict.

In 1948 the KSLI was reduced to one regular battalion and became part of the Light Infantry Brigade, and in 1968 the four regiments of the Brigade (the KSLI, Somerset and Cornwall Light Infantry, King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry and Durham Light Infantry) amalgamated to form The Light Infantry, with the 1st KSLI being redesignated as the 3rd Battalion of the new regiment.


The KSLI served with distinction in Egypt in 1882, the Eastern Sudan, 1885-86 and in all the major campaigns of the 20th Century, including the Second Boer War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and other tours. Notably it was a member of the KSLI who was recorded as the first British Army casualty of the Second World War, killed in France during the "Phoney War period′′ - Corporal Thomas Priday was killed by a German landmine near Metz on 9 December 1939 when 1 KSLI was based near the Maginot Line as part of the original British Expeditionary Force. Remarkably, it was also members of the KSLI who were part of the operation to arrest Grand-Admiral Karl Dönitz, successor to Hitler, at the very end of the war. The second battalion began the war in Jamaica, with a company detached to Bermuda Garrison.

Battle honours[edit]

As well as inheriting the battle honours of the 53rd and 85th Foot the KSLI bore the following honours on their colours:[1]

  • Egypt 1882
  • Suakin 1885
  • Paardeberg
  • South Africa 1899-1902
  • Ten selected honours for the First World War:
    • Armentieres, 1914
    • Ypres 1915, '17
    • Frezenberg
    • Somme 1916, '18
    • Arras, 1917, '18
    • Cambrai, 1917, '18
    • Bligny
    • Epehy
    • Doiran, 1917, '18
    • Jerusalem
  • Ten selected honours for the Second World War:
    • Dunkirk, 1940
    • Normandy Landing
    • Antwerp
    • Venraij
    • Hochwald
    • Bremen
    • North-West Europe 1940, '44-'45
    • Tunis
    • Anzio
    • Italy, 1943-5
  • Korea, 1951-2

Dépot and museum[edit]

The KSLI were based at Copthorne Barracks in Shrewsbury: this is now the HQ of the 143 West Midlands Brigade, along with TA, cadet and support units. Its regimental museum has been located in Shrewsbury Castle since 1985 and combines the collections of the 53rd, the 85th, the KSLI to 1968, the local Militia, Rifle Volunteers and Territorials, as well as those of other county regiments - the Shropshire Yeomanry and the Shropshire Artillery. The museum was attacked by the IRA in 1992 and extensive damage to the collection and to some of the Castle resulted. It re-opened in 1995.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Arthur Swinson, A Register of the Regiments and Corps of the British Army, London, 1972

External links[edit]