Gloucestershire Regiment

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Gloucestershire Regiment
Gloucestershire Regiment Badge.jpg
Cap badge (left) and back badge (right) of the Gloucestershire Regiment
Active 1881–1994
Country  United Kingdom
Branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Type Infantry
Role Line infantry
Garrison/HQ Horfield Barracks, Bristol
Nickname(s) The Glorious Glosters
Motto By our deeds we are known
March The Kennegad Slashers
Anniversaries Back Badge Day (21 Mar)
Decorations Streamer PUC Army.PNG   United States Army Presidential Unit Citation

The Gloucestershire Regiment was a line infantry regiment of the British Army. Nicknamed "The Glorious Glosters", the regiment carried more battle honours on their regimental colours than any other British Army line regiment. The Gloucestershire Regiment existed from 1881 until 1994 when it was amalgamated with the Duke of Edinburgh's Royal Regiment (Berkshire and Wiltshire) to form the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment which was merged with the Devonshire and Dorset Regiment, The Light Infantry and the Royal Green Jackets to create a new large regiment, The Rifles.

Soldiers of the Gloucestershire Regiment, and subsequently the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment from 1994 onwards, wore a cap badge on both the front and the rear of their headdress, a tradition maintained by soldiers in The Rifles when in service dress. The back badge is unique in the British Army and was adopted by the 28th (North Gloucestershire) Regiment of Foot to commemorate their actions at the Battle of Alexandria in 1801.

Origins and early history[edit]

The origins of the regiment lie in the regiment formed in Portsmouth in 1694 by Colonel John Gibson. This was named the 28th Regiment of Foot in 1751 and renamed the 28th (North Gloucestershire) Regiment of Foot in 1782. After the Childers Reforms of 1881, the regiment amalgamated with the 61st (South Gloucestershire) Regiment of Foot to form the two-battalion Gloucestershire Regiment on 1 July 1881.[1]

Second Boer War[edit]

The 1st battallion of the regiment saw active service when they sought to capture a pass known as Nicholson's Nek at the Battle of Ladysmith in October 1899 during the Second Boer War: some 6 officers and 33 other ranks from the battalion were killed in the action.[2] The 2nd battalion also saw action at the Battle of Driefontein in March 1900.[2]

First World War[edit]

During the course of the war, the regiment expanded to 24 battalions.[3]

Regular Army[edit]

The 1st Battalion landed at Le Havre in August 1914 as part of 3rd Brigade in the 1st Division and saw action on the Western Front.[3] The 2nd Battaion landed at Le Havre in December 1914 and saw action on the Western Front as part of the 81st Brigade in the 27th Division; the battalion moved to Salonica in late November 1915 and saw action on the Macedonian Front before transferring to the 82nd Brigade in same Division in November 1916.[3]

Territorial Force[edit]

The 1/4th (City of Bristol) Battalion landed at Boulogne in March 1915 and saw action on the Western Front as part of the 144th Brigade in the 48th (South Midland) Division.[3] The 1/5th Battalion landed at Boulogne in March 1915 and also saw action on the Western Front as part of the 145th Brigade in the 48th (South Midland) Division.[3] The 1/6th Battalion landed at Boulogne in March 1915 and saw action on the Western Front as part of the 144th Brigade in the 48th (South Midland) Division.[3] The 2/4th (City of Bristol) Battalion landed in France in May 1916 and saw action on the Western Front as part of the 183rd Brigade in the 61st (2nd South Midland) Division.[3] The 2/5th Battalion landed in France in May 1916 and saw action on the Western Front as part of the 184th Brigade in the 61st (2nd South Midland) Division.[3] The 2/6th Battalion landed in France in May 1916 and saw action on the Western Front as part of the 183rd Brigade in the 61st (2nd South Midland) Division.[3]

New Armies[edit]

The 7th (Service) Battalion landed at Gallipoli in June 1915 as part of the 39th Brigade in the 13th (Western) Division and, having been evacuated from Gallipoli in December 1915, was deployed to Egypt in January 1916.[3] The 8th (Service) Battalion landed in France in July 1915 as part of the 57th Brigade in the 19th (Western) Division and saw action on the Western Front.[3] The 9th (Service) Battalion landed in France in September 1915 as part of the 78th Brigade in the 26th Division before moving to Salonika in November 1915 and returning to France in July 1918.[3] The 10th (Service) Battalion landed in France in August 1915 as part of the 1st Brigade in the 1st Division.[3] The 12th (Service) Battalion (Bristol) landed in France in November 1915 as part of the 95th Brigade in the 5th Division.[3] The 13th (Service) Battalion (Forest of Dean) (Pioneers) landed in France in March 1916 as Divisional Pioneers to the 39th Division.[3] The 14th (Service) Battalion (West of England) landed at Le Havre in January 1916 as part of the 105th Brigade in 35th Division.[3] The 18th (Service) Battalion landed in France in August 1918 as part of the 49th Brigade in the 16th Division.[3]

Second World War[edit]

Regular Army[edit]

Private G. Mills of the 2nd Gloucestershire Battalion, 6 March 1945

The 1st Battalion was serving in British India on the outbreak of the Second World War, having been there since 1932.[4] The battalion saw active service in the Burma Campaign against Imperial Japanese Army forces in early 1942 whilst serving with the 63rd Indian Infantry Brigade, 17th Indian Infantry Division in the early stages of the campaign. The battalion spent the rest of the war mainly on internal security duties in India.[5]

The 2nd Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment was a Regular Army unit originally assigned to the 8th Infantry Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division and was sent to France in September 1939, shortly after the outbreak of war.[6] The division was commanded by Major-General Bernard Montgomery. In February 1940 the battalion was exchanged for the 4th Battalion, Royal Berkshire Regiment and joined the 145th Infantry Brigade attached to 48th (South Midland) Infantry Division and fought with them in the Battle of Dunkirk and were evacuated there after fierce fighting in Belgium and France. After returning to England, the battalion spent many years on home defence, anticipating a German invasion which never arrived. The battalion remained with 145th Brigade until late December. Later, in early 1944, the battalion was reassigned to the 56th Infantry Brigade (including 2nd South Wales Borderers and 2nd Essex Regiment). The brigade was involved in the D-Day landings on 6 June 1944 and fought through the entire Normandy Campaign attached to many different divisions until August 1944 when it officially joined the 49th (West Riding) Infantry Division and remained with it for the rest of the war. By the end of the war in Europe 2nd Glosters had suffered 718 officers and men killed, wounded or missing in action.[7]

Territorial Army[edit]

The 5th Battalion was a Territorial Army unit that served with the 2nd Battalion in the 48th Division and was also involved in the fighting around Dunkirk and were evacuated to England. In 1941, the battalion was transferred to the Reconnaissance Corps and redesignated the 48th Battalion, Reconnaissance Corps and acted as the divisional reconnaissance for the 48th (South Midland) Division. In November 1941 it was transferred to the 43rd (Wessex) Division and was again redesignated the 43rd Reconnaissance Regiment. The regiment served with the 43rd (Wessex) Division for the rest of the war in particular during the Normandy Campaign and Operation Market Garden.[8]

Before the war, the 6th Battalion, Glosters was converted into the 44th Royal Tank Regiment and was assigned to the 21st Army Tank Brigade.[9]

The 7th Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment was raised in 1939 as a 2nd Line duplicate of the 5th Battalion when the Territorial Army was doubled in size as another large European conflict seemed almost inevitable. The battalion was assigned to the 183rd Infantry Brigade, 61st (South Midland) Infantry Division and served with the same brigade and division until July 1944 when it was transferred to the 213th Brigade, 47th Division and was converted into a reserve training battalion.[10]

Hostilities-only[edit]

The 8th (Home Defence) Battalion was raised in late 1939 from the National Defence Companies and, like most other home service units, consisted of a mixture of older veterans with previous military experience who were too old for active service and younger soldiers who were too young to be conscripted. These younger soldiers would later be transferred to help form the 70th (Young Soldiers) Battalion.[11]

The 10th Battalion was raised in 1940 due to the huge expansion of the Army and was assigned to the 212th Independent Infantry Brigade (Home).[12] The battalion was converted to armour in 1942 as 159th Regiment in the Royal Armoured Corps though retaining its Glosters cap badge on the black beret of the Royal Armoured Corps and, after being sent to India, joined the 255th Indian Armoured Brigade.[13] It re-converted to infantry as 10th Glosters the following year in India and joined the 72nd Infantry Brigade attached to the 36th Infantry Division.[14]

The 11th Battalion was raised in 1940, assigned to the 221st Independent Infantry Brigade (Home).[15] In February 1942 it was transferred to the Royal Regiment of Artillery and converted into the 118th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery,[16] serving with the 49th (West Riding) Division from May to August. From August 1942 to June 1943 it served with Home Forces and was sent to British India.[17]

The 70th (Young Soldiers) Battalion was formed in 1940 from young soldiers around the ages of 18 and 19 who were, at the time, too young to be conscripted into the military as the age was 20. Like other similar units, the battalion remained in the United Kingdom throughout the war on internal security duties and was disbanded in late 1942, shortly before the British government lowered the age of recruitment to 18.[11]

Korean War[edit]

The regiment saw heavy fighting in the Korean War. After their actions at Gloster Hill during the Battle of the Imjin River in 1951, following which the regiment was awarded the United States Distinguished Unit Citation for its heroic last stand against overwhelming Chinese forces. This entitled the 1st Battalion of the regiment to place a blue streamer on the regimental colour and to wear a dark blue watered ribbon in a gold frame on the shoulder of the uniform.[18][19]

Modern history[edit]

The regiment amalgamated with the Duke of Edinburgh's Royal Regiment in 1994 to form the 1st Battalion, the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment.[20]

Regimental museum[edit]

The regimental archives and memorabilia of The Glosters as well as their antecedents, The 28th and 61st Regiments of Foot are held by The Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum, which is located within the Historic Docks in Gloucester and available on-line at Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum.[21]

Battle honours[edit]

The regiment's colours in Gloucester Cathedral

The regiment was awarded the following battle honours:[22]

  • From 28th Regiment of Foot: Egypt, Corunna, Barrosa, Albuhera, Vittoria, Pyrenees, Nivelle, Nive, Orthes, Toulouse, Peninsula, Waterloo, Alma, Inkerman, Sevastopol
  • From 61st Regiment of Foot: Egypt, Maida, Talavera, Salamanca, Pyrenees, Nivelle, Nive, Orthes, Toulouse, Peninsula, Chillianwallah, Goojerat, Punjaub, Delhi 1857
  • Ramillies, Louisburg, Guadaloupe 1759, Quebec 1759, Martinique 1762, Havannah, St Lucia 1778, Busaco, Defence of Ladysmith, Relief of Kimberley, Paardeberg, South Africa 1899–1902
  • The Great War (25 battalions): Mons, Retreat from Mons, Marne 1914, Aisne 1914 '18, Ypres 1914 '15 '17, Langemarck 1914 '17, Gheluvelt, Nonne Bosschen, Givenchy 1914, Gravenstafel, St Julien, Frezenberg, Bellewaarde, Aubers, Loos, Somme 1916 '18, Albert 1916, '18, Bazentin, Delville Wood, Pozières, Guillemont, Flers-Courcelette, Morval, Ancre Heights, Ancre 1916, Arras 1917 '18, Vimy 1917, Scarpe 1917, Messines 1917 '18, Pilckem, Menin Road, Polygon Wood, Broodseinde, Poelcappelle, Passchendaele, Cambrai 1917 '18, St Quentin, Bapaume 1918, Rosières, Avre, Lys, Estaires, Hazebrouck, Bailleul, Kemmel, Béthune, Drocourt-Quéant, Hindenburg Line, Épéhy, Canal du Nord, St Quentin Canal, Beaurevoir, Selle, Valenciennes, Sambre, France and Flanders 1914–18, Piave, Vittorio Veneto, Italy 1917–18, Struma, Doiran 1917, Macedonia 1915–18, Suvla, Sari Bair, Scimitar Hill, Gallipoli 1915–16, Egypt 1916, Tigris 1916, Kut al Amara 1917, Baghdad, Mesopotamia 1916–18, Persia 1918
  • The Second World War: Defence of Escaut, St Omer-La-Bassée, Wormhoudt, Cassel, Villers Bocage, Mont Pincon, Falaise, Risle Crossing, Le Havre, Zetten, North-West Europe 1940 '44–45, Taukyan, Paungde, Monywa 1942, North Arakan, Mayu Tunnels, Pinwe, Shweli, Myitson, Burma 1942 '44–45
  • Korean War: Hill 327, Imjin, Korea 1950–51
  • 4th Battalion (Militia): St. Helena 1901, South Africa 1900–02
    (Under an Army Order issued in October 1910 battle honours awarded to former militia battalions were to cease to be borne: special reserve battalions could continue to carry colours with the old honours "as a temporary measure" if they chose, but only until they were presented with replacement colours.)[23]
  • 4th, 5th Battalions: South Africa 1900–02
    (Following the First World War it was decided that each infantry regiment, including the territorial battalions, should have a single roll of battle honours. Accordingly, the territorial battalions of the Gloucestershire Regiment adopted the honours of the regular battalions.)[24]

Gloucestershire Regiment Victoria Crosses[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The London Gazette: no. 24992. pp. 3300–3301. 1 July 1881.
  2. ^ a b "Gloucestershire Regiment". Anglo Boer War. Retrieved 29 December 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q "The Gloucestershire Regiment". The Long, Long Trail. Retrieved 29 December 2015. 
  4. ^ "1st Bn, The Gloucestershire Regiment: Service". Archived from the original on 3 January 2006. Retrieved 29 December 2015. 
  5. ^ Datasouth UK Ltd. "Soldiers of Gloucestershire military museum, online shop and genealogy search". Retrieved 29 December 2015. 
  6. ^ "2nd Bn, The Gloucestershire Regiment: Service". Archived from the original on 10 January 2006. Retrieved 29 December 2015. 
  7. ^ The Polar Bears - Monty's Left Flank: From Normandy to the relief of Holland with the 49th Division, Patrick Delaforce
  8. ^ "1944 - Invasion & Liberation". Soldiers of Gloucestershire. Retrieved 29 December 2015. 
  9. ^ "44th Royal Tank Regiment [UK]". Archived from the original on 27 December 2005. Retrieved 29 December 2015. 
  10. ^ Joslen, p. 376
  11. ^ a b "The Officers of the 70th Young Soldiers Battalion, DLI, October 1941". Retrieved 28 December 2015. 
  12. ^ Joslen, p. 375.
  13. ^ Forty p. 51
  14. ^ Joslen p. 497.
  15. ^ Joslen, p. 384.
  16. ^ "Holland & Germany". Soliers of Gloucestershire. Retrieved 28 December 2015. 
  17. ^ "Private Papers of Major R O Garne". Imperial War Museum. Retrieved 28 December 2015. 
  18. ^ "Heroism of the Gloucesters". The Times. 9 May 1951. p. 6. 
  19. ^ "Return of the Gloucesters". The Times. 21 December 1951. p. 6. 
  20. ^ "The Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment". Retrieved 24 May 2014. 
  21. ^ "Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum". the Ogilby Trust. Retrieved 29 December 2015. 
  22. ^ "Gloucestershire Regiment". Regiments.org. Retrieved 29 December 2015. 
  23. ^ "Colours of the Special Reserve". The Times. 27 February 1911. p. 7. 
  24. ^ "Territorial Army. Pre-War Battle Honours On Colours.". The Times. 7 July 1924. p. 11. 

References[edit]

  • Tim Carew, The Glorious Glosters: A short history of the Gloucestershire Regiment 1945–1970. Leo Cooper, 1970, ISBN 978-0-85052-024-8.
  • David Scott Daniell, Cap of Honour. 2nd Edition 1975, reprinted 2005 ISBN 0-7509-4172-3.
  • George Forty, "British Army Handbook 1939–1945", Stroud: Sutton Publishing, 1998, ISBN 0-7509-1403-3.
  • Lt-Col H.F. Joslen, Orders of Battle, United Kingdom and Colonial Formations and Units in the Second World War, 1939–1945, Volume I, London: HM Stationery Office, 1960/Uckfield: Naval & Military, 2003, ISBN 1843424746.

External links[edit]