Buffs (Royal East Kent Regiment)

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Royal East Kent Regiment ("The Buffs"); 3rd Regiment of Foot
Coat of Arms of The Buffs.JPG
Badge of The Buffs
Active 1572 to 1961.
Country  Kingdom of England (1572–1707)
 Kingdom of Great Britain (1707–1800)
 United Kingdom (1801–1961)
Branch  British Army
Type Infantry
Role Line infantry
Garrison/HQ Howe Barracks, Canterbury
Nickname(s) Howard's Buffs
The Old Buffs.
Motto Veteri Frondescit Honore
Latin: "Its Ancient Honour Flourishes"; "Its Ancient Honour is Ever-Green"
Colors Buff Facings
March Quick: The Buffs
Slow: The Men of Kent
Anniversaries Albuhera Day (16 May).
Engagements Corunna (17 January 1809)
Albuhera (16 May 1811)
Colonel Charles Churchill (1689–1707)
John Campbell, 2nd Duke of Argyll (1707–1713)
Archibald Douglas, 2nd Earl of Forfar (1713–1715)
Lieutenant-General Thomas Howard (1737–1749)
Colonel Sir George Howard (1749–1763).

The Buffs (Royal East Kent Regiment), formerly the 3rd Regiment of Foot, was a line infantry regiment of the British Army. It had a history dating back to 1572 and was one of the oldest regiments in the British Army, being third in order of precedence (ranked as the 3rd Regiment of the line). The regiment provided distinguished service over a period of almost four hundred years accumulating one hundred and sixteen battle honours. In 1881 under the Childers Reforms it was known as the Buffs (East Kent Regiment) and later, on 3 June 1935, was renamed the Buffs (Royal East Kent Regiment).

In 1961 it was amalgamated with the Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment to form the Queen's Own Buffs, The Royal Kent Regiment which was later merged, on 31 December 1966, with the Queen's Royal Surrey Regiment, the Royal Sussex Regiment and the Middlesex Regiment (Duke of Cambridge's Own) to form the Queen's Regiment which was again amalgamated with the Royal Hampshire Regiment, in September 1992, to create the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment (Queen's and Royal Hampshires).


The origins of the regiment lay in Thomas Morgan's Company of Foot, The London Trained Bands which was in existence from 1572 to 1648. In 1665 it was known as the 4th (The Holland Maritime) Regiment and by 1668 as the 4th (The Holland) Regiment. In 1688–1689 it was "4th The Lord High Admiral's Regiment" until 1751 it was named as other regiments after the Colonel Commanding being the 3rd (Howard's) Regiment of Foot from 1737 to 1743 at which point it became the 3rd Regiment of Foot, "Howard's Buffs".

  • 1751–1782 3rd (Kent) Regiment of Foot, "The Buffs"
  • 1782–1881 3rd (East Kent) Regiment of Foot ("The Buffs")
  • 1881–1935 The Buffs, (East Kent Regiment)
  • 1935–1961 The Buffs, (Royal East Kent Regiment)

Origin of "The Buffs"[edit]

The 3rd Regiment's nickname of "The Buffs" is said to have originated in its use of protective buff coats—made of soft leather— during service in the Netherlands in the 17th century. Later they adopted buff-coloured facings and waistcoats as uniform distinctions and wore equipment of natural buff leather rather than pipe-clayed the customary white.

The name of "The Old Buffs" originated during the Battle of Dettingen in 1743, when the 31st (Huntingdonshire) Regiment of Foot marched past King George II and onto the battlefield with great spirit. Mistaking them for the 3rd due to their similar buff facings, the sovereign called out, "Bravo, Buffs! Bravo!". When one of his aides, an officer of the 3rd regiment, corrected His Majesty, the non-plussed monarch then cheered "Bravo, Young Buffs! Bravo!" When the 31st subsequently adopted the nickname of "Young Buffs", the 3rd Regiment took to calling themselves the "Old Buffs" to distinguish themselves from the 31st.

The two Howards[edit]

The Buffs obtained the name of "The Buffs" officially in 1744 while on campaign in the Low Countries. The 3rd Regiment was then under the command of Lieutenant-General Thomas Howard. At the same time, the 19th Regiment of Foot were commanded by their colonel, the Honourable Sir Charles Howard. In order to avoid confusion (because regiments were then named after their colonels, which would have made them both Howard's Regiment of Foot), the regiments took the colours of their facings as part of their names – the 19th Foot became the Green Howards, while the 3rd Foot became Howard's Buffs, eventually being shortened to simply The Buffs.

Australian service[edit]

In between the campaigns of the Napoleonic Wars and India, "The Buffs" had a tour of service from 1821 until 1827 in the British colony of New South Wales. For the duration of their service, The Buffs were divided into four detachments. The first was based in Sydney from 1821. The second arrived in Hobart in 1822. The third, entitled "The Buffs' Headquarters", arrived in Sydney in 1823. The fourth arrived in Sydney in 1824, but variously saw service throughout the colonies, being stationed at Port Dalrymple, Parramatta, Liverpool, Newcastle, Port Macquarie and Bathurst. The regiment reunited and was transferred to Calcutta in 1827. During their service in New South Wales, The Buffs were commanded by Lieut. Colonel W. Stewart and Lieut Colonel C. Cameron.[1]

"Steady, The Buffs!"[edit]

This famous cry has been rumoured by many to have been uttered on the field of battle, but it was actually born on a garrison parade ground. In 1858, the 2nd Battalion was stationed in Malta and quartered with the 21st Royal (North British) Fusiliers. Lieutenant John Cotter, Adjutant of the 2nd Buffs,[2] had formerly served as a Sergeant Major. Lieutenant Cotter would not brook any disarray on the parade ground from his raw recruits, shouting "Steady, The Buffs! The Fusiliers are watching you!" This greatly amused the Fusiliers who took to calling out "Steady, The Buffs!" on the slightest provocation, first in Malta and later whenever the two regiments met from then on. The phrase caught on and was soon shouted whenever The Buffs marched by. It then passed into common usage, even appearing in Rudyard Kipling's novel Soldiers Three (1888) and his play Pity Poor Mama.

Among several characters in literature and television who have uttered the phrase are: Lord Peter Wimsey, Arthur Daley in Minder, Rab C. Nesbitt, Bertie Wooster and Lord Grantham in Downton Abbey series (season 6 episode 6). Dennis and Margaret Thatcher in the film The Iron Lady are portrayed using the phrase.

Reorganisations and amalgamations[edit]

  • From 1595 to 1665, the four regiments of the English Brigade served under Dutch command. In 1665, with the coming of the Second Anglo-Dutch War the British and Scotch Brigades were ordered to swear loyalty to the Stadtholder. Those who obeyed would be allowed to continue in Dutch service and those who disobeyed would be cashiered. Using his own funds, Sir George Downing, the English ambassador to the Netherlands, raised the Holland Regiment from the starving remnants of those who refused to sign. It was designated as the 4th Regiment of Foot.
  • In 1688 the Glorious Revolution deposed James II Stuart and seated William Henry, Prince of Orange-Nassau and Stadtholder of the United Netherlands, on the throne of Great Britain as William III of England. To reduce confusion between the Regent's Dutch Blue Guards regiment and the Stuart-era "Holland Regiment", the latter was renumbered the 3rd Regiment and had its title changed to The Lord Admiral's Regiment. Since Prince George of Denmark was Lord Admiral (and thus was its Honorary Colonel), it was also known as Prince George of Denmark's Regiment until his death in 1708.
  • The 1st (Regular) Battalion existed continuously from 1572 to 1961.
  • The 2nd (Regular) Battalion was intermittently raised in 1678–1679, 1756–1758,[3] 1803–1815, and 1857–1949.
  • In the Childers Reforms of 1881 the East Kent Militia became the regiment's 3rd (Militia) Battalion (1881–1953) and its short-lived 4th (Militia) Battalion (1881–1888).
  • In 1881–1908 two Kent rifle volunteer corps were redesignated as the 1st Volunteer Battalion and 2nd (The Weald of Kent) Volunteer Battalion of the Buffs. With the creation of the Territorial Force (TF) in 1908 they became the regiment's 4th and 5th (TF) Battalions. In 1921 the TF was reformed as the Territorial Army (TA) and the two units were merged as the 4th/5th (TA) Battalion. The two battalions resumed separate existences on the doubling of the TA in 1939, but were again merged in 1947.

Second China War (1855–1860)[edit]

The following unit participated in the Taku Forts action during the Second China War:

  • 1st Battalion, 3rd (East Kent) Regiment of Foot[4]

Perak War (1875–1876)[edit]

The following unit participated in the Perak War:

  • 1st Battalion, 3rd (East Kent) Regiment of Foot[4]

Anglo-Zulu War (1879)[edit]

The following units participated in the Anglo-Zulu War:

  • 2nd Battalion, 3rd (East Kent) Regiment of Foot[5]

Anglo-Egyptian War (1882)[edit]

The following units participated in the Anglo-Egyptian War:

  • 1st Battalion, The Buffs (East Kent Regiment)

Second Boer War (1899–1902)[edit]

Spion Kop Memorial to Captain Naunton Henry Vertue of the 2nd Battalion

The following units participated in the Second Boer War:[6]

  • 2nd Battalion, The Buffs (East Kent Regiment)
  • 3rd Battalion, The Buffs (East Kent Regiment)
  • 1st Volunteer (Militia) Battalion, The Buffs (East Kent Regiment)
  • 2nd Volunteer (Weald of Kent) Battalion, The Buffs (East Kent Regiment)

Captain Naunton Henry Vertue of the 2nd Battalion also served as Brigade Major to the 11th Infantry Brigade under Major General Edward Woodgate at the Battle of Spion Kop where he was mortally wounded.[7]

First World War (1914–1918)[edit]

For service in World War I, ten additional battalions were raised:

  • 2/4th (Territorial Force) Battalion [1914–1917]
  • 3/4th (Territorial Force) Battalion [1915–1916]; 3/4th (Reserve) Battalion [1916–1919]
  • 2/5th (Territorial Force) Battalion [1914–1917]
  • 3/5th (Territorial Force) Battalion [1915–1916]
  • 6th (Service) Battalion [1914–1919]
  • 7th (Service) Battalion [1914–1919]
  • 8th (Service) Battalion [1914–1918]
  • 9th (Service) Battalion [1914–1915]; 9th (Reserve) Battalion [1915–1916]
  • 10th (Royal East Kent & West Kent Yeomanry) Battalion [1917–1918]
  • 1st (Home Service) Garrison Battalion

Corporal William Richard Cotter was awarded the VC whilst serving with the 6th Battalion.

Third Afghan War (1919)[edit]

The 4th Battalion fought during the brief Third Afghan War of 1919.[citation needed]

Second World War (1939–1945)[edit]

For service in World War II, eight battalions were raised in addition to the two regular and one Territorial units:

  • 1st (Regular Army)
  • 2nd (Regular Army)
  • 4th (Territorial Army) Battalion was captured in November 1943
  • 5th (Territorial Army) Battalion formed in October 1939 as a duplicate of the 4th Battalion
  • 6th (Home Defence) Battalion formed in November 1939 from No. 1 Group National Defence Companies; redesignated as 30th Battalion in December 1941
  • 7th Battalion was formed in July 1940. It was converted to armour in November 1941 as 141st Regiment and joined the Royal Armoured Corps (7th Battalion The Buffs). They continued to wear their Buffs cap badge on the black beret of the RAC.[8]
  • 8th Battalion was formed in July 1940 from a cadre of the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry and converted to 9th Medium Regiment, Royal Artillery in November 1942
  • 9th Battalion was formed in July 1940 from a cadre of the Northamptonshire Regiment and converted to an infantry training unit in July 1944
  • 10th Battalion was formed in July 1940 and disbanded in October 1943
  • 11th Battalion was formed in October 1940 and converted to 89th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery in November 1940
  • 30th Battalion was formed in December 1941 by the redesignation of the 6th Battalion and disbanded March 1943
  • 70th (Young Soldiers) Battalion was formed in September 1940 from companies of the 6th Battalion; it was disbanded in January 1943

The 1st Battalion served in many different brigades and divisions, mainly with British Indian Army units, and fought in many different battles and campaigns such as the North African Campaign, the Italian Campaign and the Battle of Anzio when they were a part of 18th Infantry Brigade, assigned to the 1st Infantry Division where they were involved in some of the fiercest fighting of the war. The 18th Brigade returned to the 1st Armoured Division in August 1944 but on 1 January 1945 the division was disbanded and 18th Brigade was broken up and used as replacements for other units. The 1st Buffs spent the rest of the war with the 24th Guards Brigade attached to the 56th (London) Infantry Division. With the 56th Division the battalion fought in Operation Grapeshot, the final offensive in Italy which effectively ended the campaign in Italy.

The 2nd Battalion was sent to France in 1940 with the 132nd Infantry Brigade attached to 44th (Home Counties) Infantry Division to join the British Expeditionary Force and fought in the short but fierce Battle of Dunkirk and were evacuated at Dunkirk back to Britain. The 44th Division were sent to fight in the North African Campaign where it was broken up due to an apparently poor performance in the Battle of Alam el Halfa despite the division having only the 132nd Brigade under command as other brigades were attached to other divisions. The 132nd Brigade disbanded and 2nd Buffs then was transferred to the Far East with the 26th Indian Infantry Brigade and remained there for the war. In 1944 the brigade was redesignated the 26th British Infantry Brigade which itself became part of the 36th British Infantry Division and served with the British Fourteenth Army in the Burma Campaign 1944–45.

The 4th Battalion Buffs was a 1st Line Territorial Army unit serving with the BEF in France 1940. The battalion was transferred to the island of Malta in 1941 and served throughout the siege. The battalion then joined the 234th Infantry Brigade which included the 2nd Battalion Royal West Kents. The brigade took part in the disastrous Battle of Leros in an attempt to capture the Dodecanese Islands in late 1943. The brigade and other Allied forces, mainly Italian, attempted to hold the island from the Germans but without success. This was due mainly to German air superiority as the Allies had very few planes to cover them. The 234th Brigade Commander, Robert Tilney, ordered surrender after many days of resistance and hard fighting. The Battle of Leros has often been referred to as the Last Great British Defeat of World War II.

The 5th Battalion was reformed in 1939 as a 2nd Line duplicate of the 4th Battalion raised when the Territorial Army was doubled in size. The battalion also saw service in France 1940 with the 12th (Eastern) Infantry Division, which itself was a 2nd Line duplicate of the 44th (Home Counties) Division. The 5th Buffs were serving 6th and 7th Royal West Kents in the 36th Infantry Brigade. Like the 2nd and 4th Battalions they served with the BEF in France in 1940 and fought in the Battle of France and were evacuated at Dunkirk. The 12th Division suffered heavy casualties due mainly to most of the men having little training and the division having no artillery or support units. After returning to England the division was disbanded in July 1940, due to the casualties it sustained. In 1942 the 36th Brigade was assigned to the newly raised 78th Battleaxe Division and took part in Operation Torch, the Allied landings in North Africa, followed by the campaign in Tunisia where the 78th Division, as part of the British First Army, gained an excellent reputation, notably during the crucial capture of Longstop Hill. The division then fought in the Sicilian Campaign, where it gained a reputation as the best mountain division in the British Eighth Army. The 5th Buffs and the rest of 78th Division then took part in the fighting in Italy and served there for the rest of the war until the 1945 Offensive.

The Buffs also raised many more battalions during the war, mainly for home defence or as training units. None, save the 7th Battalion, saw active service overseas. The 7th Battalion was raised in 1940 and was converted to the 141st Regiment Royal Armoured Corps in 1941 due to the shortage of armoured troops in the British Army.

Post-War amalgamations[edit]

In 1956 the 410th (Kent) Coast Regiment (Royal Artillery) was disbanded and converted into infantry. It was then combined with elements of the 4th (Territorial Army) Battalion, The Buffs (Royal East Kent) Regiment to form the 5th (Territorial Army) Battalion of The Queen's Own Buffs, The Royal Kent Regiment and was the last separate unit to bear the distinct honours of The Buffs. In 1966 it became the 5th Battalion, The Queen's Regiment. In 1967 it merged with the 4th Battalion to become the 4th/5th (East Kent TAVR) Battalion, The Queen's Regiment.

In 1961 the "Buffs", Royal East Kent Regiment was amalgamated with the Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment to form: the Queen's Own Buffs, The Royal Kent Regiment.

In 1966, the Queen's Own Buffs, The Royal Kent Regiment was amalgamated with the other three regiments of the Home Counties Brigade to form the Queen's Regiment.

In 1992 the Queen's Regiment was amalgamated with the Royal Hampshire Regiment to form the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment.



Notable soldiers[edit]

  • During the Battle of Albuhera, the 3rd Regiment, serving as part of Colborne’s brigade, was caught in a heavy rainstorm. Then they were caught in the open by French cavalry, their muskets rendered useless by the downpour. Before they could form square, the cavalry had ripped through their ranks and began slaughtering them. Ensign Thomas, who had earlier rallied his company after his captain was wounded and captured, was carrying the Regimental Colour. He was later surrounded and was called upon to surrender. Crying "Only with my life," he only gave up the Colour after being cut down and mortally wounded (though it was later recaptured by Sergeant Gough of the 1st Battalion, Royal Fusiliers). He was buried after the battle by a sergeant and a private of his company, the only two men out of an original complement of 63 to survive the battle.
  • Also during the Battle of Albuhera, a similar act of heroism was to unfold. Ensign Charles Walsh was carrying the King’s Colour. The pikestaff of the Colour had been broken by cannon shot, his escort had fallen and he was surrounded and badly wounded. Just before he was about to be taken prisoner, Lieutenant Latham rushed forward and seized the Colour from him with his left hand and defended it with heroic gallantry with his sword in the other, refusing to yield it to the enemy. Then a French Hussar seized the staff and struck Latham with a sabre blow that severed one side of his face and nose but he still continued to struggle. A second sabre stroke severed his left arm, but Latham seized the staff with his right hand and continued to resist until he was thrown down, trampled on and pierced several times with lance thrusts. At this moment a British Cavalry regiment, the 4th (Queen's Own) Dragoons, arrived and drove off the French troopers. Latham then exerted the little strength left to him to conceal the Colour in his jacket, where it was later found. Latham survived his grievous wounds and not only recuperated but stayed in the army until he retired in 1820. As a reward for his gallantry and his heroic defence of the Colour, Latham was given a special promotion to Captain and was later presented with a gold medal by his brother officers. A trophy depicting the scene made in sterling silver, called the "Latham Centerpiece", was designed for the 3rd Regiment's Officer's Mess; it is now in the Regimental museum along with Latham's gold medal. Latham is buried in Blingel churchyard in the Pas de Calais, France. His headstone commemorates his brave action and mentions the 'loss of his arm and half his face'.
  • Among the small garrison of 1879 Rorke's Drift (Zulu Land) was Sgt Frederick Milne (2260) 2nd Battalion, The Buffs. Said to have found and retrieved the watercart during the night. He survived the battle and soon left the service.
  • Captain William Douglas-Home served in the 7th battalion (also known as 141 RAC) in World War II and was imprisoned for refusing to obey orders. After the war he became a successful playwright.

Freedom of the City of London[edit]

The Buffs was one of five regiments enjoying the Freedom of the City of London. This gave them the right to march through the City with drums beating, bayonets fixed, and colours flying. This is due to a Royal Warrant written in 1672 allowing them to raise volunteers "by beat of drum" in the City of London. Since recruiting parties paraded in full array accompanied by company or regimental musicians and marched with a colour, this right was given to the regiment as a whole.

Battle honours[edit]

The honours in capital lettering were worn on the Colours. The regiment was awarded 116 battle honours.

War of the Spanish Succession, (Queen Anne's War)

War of the Austrian Succession, (King George's War)

Seven Years' War, (French and Indian War)

Napoleonic Wars

  • DOURO (1809) = 1st Battalion.
  • TALAVERA (1809) = 1st Battalion.
  • ALBUHERA (1811) = 1st Battalion.
  • VITTORIA (1813) = 1st Battalion.
  • PYRENEES (1813) = 1st Battalion.
  • NIVELLE (1813) = 1st Battalion.
  • NIVE (1813) = 1st Battalion.
  • ORTHES (1814) = 1st Battalion.
  • TOULOUSE (1814) = 1st Battalion.
  • PENINSULA (1808–13) = 1st Battalion.

"Pax Britannia"

World War I (1914–1919)

  • Aisne (1914) = 1st Battalion.
  • ARMENTIERES 1914 = 1st Battalion.
  • YPRES 1915-17 = 2nd, 7th & 8th Battalions.
  • Gravenstafel 1915 = 2nd Battalion.
  • St. Julien 1915 = 2nd Battalion.
  • Frezenberg (1915) = 2nd Battalion.
  • Bellewaarde (1915) = 2nd Battalion.
  • Hooge 1915 = 1st Battalion.
  • LOOS (1915) = 2nd, 6th, & 8th Battalions.
  • Somme 1916-18 = 1st, 6th, 7th, & 8th Battalions
  • Albert 1916-18 = 6th & 7th Battalions.
  • Bazentin (1916) = 7th Battalion.
  • Delville Wood (1916) = 8th Battalion.
  • Poziers (1916) = 6th Battalion.
  • Flers-Courcelette (1916) = 1st Battalion.
  • Morval (1916) = 1st Battalion.
  • Thiepval (1916) = 7th Battalion.
  • Le Transloy (1916) = 6th Battalion.
  • Ancre Heights (1916) = 7th Battalion.
  • Ancre 1916-18 = 6th & 7th Battalions.
  • Arras 1917 = 6th & 7th Battalions.
  • Scarpe 1917 = 7th Battalion.
  • Messines 1917 = 8th Battalion.
  • Pilckem (1917) = 8th Battalion.
  • Passchendale (1917) = 7th Battalion.
  • Cambrai 1917-1918 = 1st & 6th Battalions.
  • St. Quentin (1918) = 1st & 6th Battalions.
  • Avre (1918) = 7th Battalion.
  • Amiens (1918) = 6th & 7th Battalions.
  • Bapaume (1918) = 7th & 10th Battalions.
  • HINDENBURG LINE (1918) = 1st, 6th, 7th, & 10th Battalions.
  • Épehy (1918) = 1st, 6th, 7th, & 10th Battalions.
  • St. Quentin Canal (1918) = 1st & 6th Battalions.
  • Selle (1918) = 1st & 7th Battalions.
  • Sambre (1918) = 7th Battalion.
  • France and Flanders 1914–18 = 1st, 2nd, 6th, 7th, 8th & 10th Battalions.
  • STRUMA (1916–17) = 2nd Battalion.
  • Doiran (1918) = 2nd Battalion.
  • Macedonia 1915–18 = 2nd Battalion.
  • Gaza (1917) = 10th Battalion.
  • JERUSALEM (1917) = 10th Battalion.
  • Tel Asur (1918) = 10th Battalion.
  • Palestine 1917–18 = 10th Battalion.
  • Aden (1915–16) = 4th Battalion.
  • Tigris (1916) = 5th Battalion.
  • Kut al Amara 1917 = 5th Battalion.
  • BAGDAD (1917) = 5th Battalion.
  • Mesopotamia 1915–18 = 5th Battalion.

World War II (1939–1945)

  • Defence of Escaut (1940) = 2nd Battalion.
  • St Omer-La Bassée (1940) = 2nd Battalion.
  • Withdrawal to Seine (1940) = 4th Battalion.
  • NORTH-WEST EUROPE 1940 = 2nd, 4th, & 5th Battalions.
  • Sidi Suleiman (1941) = 1st Battalion.
  • ALEM HAMZA (1941) = 1st Battalion.
  • Alam El Halfa (1942) = 2nd Battalion.
  • EL ALAMEIN (1942) = 2nd Battalion.
  • El Agheila (1942) = 1st Battalion.
  • Advance on Tripoli (1942–43) = 1st Battalion.
  • Tebaga Gap (1943) = 1st Battalion.
  • El Hamma (1943) = 1st Battalion.
  • Akarit (1943) = 1st Battalion.
  • Djebel Azzag (1943) = 5th Battalion.
  • ROBAA VALLEY (1943) = 5th Battalion.
  • Djebel Bech Chekaoui (1943) = 5th Battalion.
  • Heidous (1943) = 5th Battalion.
  • Medjez Plain (1943) = 5th Battalion.
  • Long Stop Hill (1943) = 5th Battalion.
  • North Africa 1941–1943 1st, 2nd, & 5th Battalions.
  • Centuripe (1943) = 5th Battalion.
  • Monte Rivoglia (1943) = 5th Battalion.
  • SICILY 1943 = 5th Battalion.
  • Termoli (1943) = 5th Battalion.
  • TRIGNO (1943) = 5th Battalion.
  • Sangro (1943) = 5th Battalion.
  • ANZIO (1944) = 1st Battalion.
  • Cassino I (1944) = 5th Battalion.
  • Liri Valley (1944) = 5th Battalion.
  • Aquino (1944) = 5th Battalion.
  • Rome (1944) = 1st Battalion.
  • Trasimene Line (1944) = 5th Battalion.
  • Coriano (1944) = 1st Battalion.
  • Monte Spaduro (1944) = 1st Battalion.
  • Senio (1945) = 5th Battalion.
  • ARGENTA GAP (1945) = 1st & 5th Battalions.
  • Italy 1943–45 = 1st & 5th Battalions.
  • LEROS (1943) = 4th Battalion.
  • Middle East 1943= 2nd Battalion.
  • Malta 1940–42 = 4th Battalion.
  • SHWELI (1945) = 2nd Battalion.
  • Myitson (1945) = 2nd Battalion.
  • Burma 1945 = 2nd Battalion.

Victoria Cross[edit]

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

Uniform and insignia[edit]

Soldier of the 3rd Foot in 1742

In 1667 the Holland Regiment is recorded as wearing "red jackets lined with yellow". Subsequently, Nathan Brook's Army List of 1684 referred to "Coated red, lined with a flesh colour". This marked the beginning of the historic association of the Regiment with buff facings (a dull-yellow colour). A notice in the London Gazette of 21 January 1685 describing the clothing of three deserters from what was still the Holland Regiment, referred for the first time to the colour buff:"a new Red Coat lin'd with a Buff colour'd lining, surtout Sleeves, cross Pockets with three scallops, large plain pewter Buttons, Breeches of ths same colour as the Coat lining".[11]

An illustration of the Colonel's colour in 1707 shows a dragon on a buff background, following the award of this distinctive symbol to the regiment as "a reward for its gallant conduct on all occasions"; according to the Army historian Richard Cannon in a book published in 1839. The dragon was believed to have been adopted as it was one of the supporters of the royal arms of Elizabeth I, who issued the warrant for the raising of the regiment in 1572.[12] Through the remainder of the 18th century both the dragon and the buff facings (worn on cuffs, lapels and coat linings) remained as particular distinctions of the regiment. A Royal Warrant of 1751 standardising all colours (flags), badges and uniforms listed the "3rd Regiment, or The Buffs".[12] The Buffs were at this time the only infantry regiment to owe their official title to their facing colours. The green dragon was recorded in the same document as the "ancient badge" of the Buffs – displayed as a woven or painted device on the mitre cap of the Regiment's grenadiers, the colours and the drums.[12]

In 1881 the reorganisation of most infantry regiments on a territorial basis under the Childers Reforms led to the newly renamed "The Buffs (East Kent Regiment)" losing its buff facings in favour of the white collars and cuffs intended to distinguish all non-Royal English and Welsh regiments.[13] The dragon survived as part of the (now metal) headdress badge, although replaced on collars by the white horse of Kent.[14] The horse had formed the insignia of the East Kent Militia with formed the 3rd battalion of the new regiment. Both changes were unpopular within the Regiment and in 1887 the Buffs were authorised to convert the white facings on their scarlet tunics to buff – at the Regiment's expense and using a pipeclay mixture developed by an officer of the 2nd Battalion.[15] In 1890 buff was officially restored as the regimental colour on flags, tunics and mess jackets.[16] On 23 May 1894 approval was given for the dragon to be resumed as the collar badge.[17] For the remainder of its history both dragon and buff facings remained as primary distinctions of this "distinguished old Regiment". This was the case even on the simplified dark blue "No. 1 Dress" worn by most of the British Army as full dress after World War II, although the buff colour was here reduced to piping edging the shoulder straps.


Regimental museum[edit]

The Buffs Regimental Museum is located at Canterbury, Kent, though ownership of the museum's objects was transferred to the National Army Museum in London in 2000. It closed for maintenance from November 2008 until 2012, with its collections being housed at NAM's London base during that period.[18][19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sargent, Clem (1995). "The Buffs in Australia—1822 to 1827". Sabretache (Military Historical Society of Australia) 36 (1): 3–15. ISSN 0048-8933. 
  2. ^ Hart, Lieut.-Col. H.T. (1858) The New Army List and Militia List, No. LXXIX, 1st July 1858. London: John Murray. p. 76
  3. ^ The 2nd Battalion raised in 1756 was converted into the 61st Regiment of Foot in 1758. Its lineage is now continued by The Rifles.
  4. ^ a b "Medals of the Buffs". Retrieved 2011-03-03. 
  5. ^ "The Battle of Gingindlovu". Retrieved 2008-11-01. 
  6. ^ "Canterbury Boer War Memorial Transcription" (PDF). Retrieved 2008-11-01. 
  7. ^ "Anglo Boer War – Officer casualties, surname U – V". Retrieved 2008-11-01. 
  8. ^ George Forty (1998), "British Army Handbook 1939–1945", Stoud: Sutton Publishing, pp. 50–1.
  9. ^ Sir Francis Doyle: Moyse, the Private of the Buffs
  10. ^ Spagnoly, Tony and Smith, Ted (1999), Cameos of the Western Front: Salient Points Three: Ypres & Picardy 1914-18, Pen and Sword Books Ltd, ISBN 978-0850527902 (pp. 27-31)
  11. ^ The London Gazette: no. 2106. p. 2. 21 January 1685.
  12. ^ a b c Edwards, T J (1953). Standards, Guidons and Colours of the Commonwealth Forces. Aldershot: Gale & Polden. pp. 192, 195, 204. 
  13. ^ G.O. 41/1881 1 May 1881 amended by G.O.70/1881 1 July 1881. "X. The facings, and the Officers lace will be the same for all regiments belonging to the same Country (Royal and Rifle Regiments excepted), and will as follows: English Regiments: Facings – White, Pattern of Lace – Rose"
  14. ^ Kipling, Arthur L; King, Hugh L (2006). Head-Dress Badges of the British Army: Volume One – Up to The end of the Great War. Uckfield: Naval & Military Press. p. 140. ISBN 1-84342-512-2. 
  15. ^ Blaxland, Gregory (1972). The Buffs. Oxford: Osprey. p. 21. ISBN 978-0-85045-064-4. 
  16. ^ "Naval and Military Intelligence". The Times. 13 September 1890. p. 7. The regimental colours will in future be buff instead of white; and the Commander-in-Chief has directed that the facings of the regiment be described in the Queen's Regulations and the Army List as buff. 
  17. ^ Churchill, Colin (2002). History of the British Army Infantry Collar Badge. Uckfield: Naval & Military Press. pp. 26–28. ISBN 978-1-897632-69-7. 
  18. ^ Collinson, Peter (2010). "Canterbury City Council Online". Canterbury Royal Museum & Art Gallery with Buffs Regimental Museum. CCC. Retrieved 7 February 2010. 
  19. ^ "Army Museum; Ogilby Trust". Buffs, Royal East Kent Regiment Museum Collection. 2010. Retrieved 7 February 2010. 

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