Kensington Regiment (Princess Louise's)

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The Kensington Regiment (Princess Louise's) was a regiment of the British Army.

Formation[edit]

The 4th Middlesex V(olunteer) R(eserve) C(orps) Corps and the 2nd (South) Middlesex V.R.C. were formed amongst bands of the concerned citizenry of West London in answer to a then perceived threat of military attack upon England by France.[1]

Boer War[edit]

Men from both units went out to South Africa with the City Imperial Volunteers, thereby earning their Corps the right to the Battle Honour of 'South Africa 1900-1902'.[2]

Territorial Force[edit]

In 1908 as part of the Haldane Reforms of the Kingdom's volunteer forces, the "Kensingtons" Regiment was formed in an amalgamation of the 4th Middlesex V.R.C. and the 2nd (South) Middlesex, V.R.C., the newly minted unit being titled the 13th London Regiment (Kensingtons), T.F.. It based itself at the old 4th Middlesex V.R.C.'s Head Quarters in the Borough of Kensington, which adopted it and consented for it to use its name in its new military formation's title. The Regiment took as its Latin unit motto Quid Nobis Ardui (English: Nothing is too arduous for us) from the Borough of Kensington's Arms. Her Royal Highness the Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll consented to the use of her name by the Regiment and it became officially designated as the Princess Louise's Kensingtons.[3]

World War 1[edit]

During World War 1 the Regiment was increased to war fighting capacity with three separate battalions being formed.[4]

1/13th London Regiment (1st Kensingtons Battalion)[edit]

This Battalion was mobilized on the declaration of war on 4 August 1914. In November 1914 it departed England for France, and saw action on the Western Front, including the battles of Neuve Chapelle (1915), Aubers Ridge (the Regiment's defining action in the War) (1915), Somme (1916), Arras (1917), Passchendaele (1917), Cambrai (1917), Somme (1918), & the Hundred Days Offensive (1918). It returned to the Corps' Head Quarters in Kensington from France for demobilization in May 1919.[5]

2/13th London Regiment (2nd Kensingtons Battalion)[edit]

The Battalion was formed in August 1914 with the intention of acting as the Regiment's home training unit, furnishing reinforcements to the 1st Battalion in the field to replace losses sustained in action. However, by November 1914 it was decided by the War Office that with the war's scale of operations rapidly escalating the new 2nd battalions of the London Territorial Force's infantry regiments were also to be mobilized for active service in the field. The 2nd Kensingtons did send drafts of reinforcements to join the 1st Battalion in France throughout 1915 whilst it was training in England, but this was ended by the close of that year and the responsibility for the Regiment's reinforcement supply was transferred to the 3rd Battalion, in preparation for the 2nd Battalion's departure on active service. The 2nd Kensingtons was dispatched to Ireland in April 1916 to deal with the Easter Rising. Afterwards it saw action on the Western Front in France (1916); Salonika (1917), taking part the Battle of Doiran; and Palestine (1917-1918), taking part in the Third Battle of Gaza, the Battle of Jerusalem, Capture of Jericho, the First Transjordan attack on Amman, Second Transjordan attack on Shunet Nimrin and Es Salt and the Battle of Sharon. The Battalion was broken up and demoblized in camps at Sidi Bashir in Egypt, and Mersin in Asia Minor in February to March 1919.[6]

3/13th London Regiment (3rd Kensingtons Battalion)[edit]

The 3rd Battalion was formed in November 1914 as the home training battalion of the Regiment with responsibility for supplying reinforcement drafts to the Regiment's two fighting battalions in the field, a role that it fulfilled until the end of the conflict in late 1918.[7]

World War 2[edit]

During Second World War the Kensingtons were the first Territorial Army unit to guard the Tower of London, including performing the Ceremony of the Keys. It also changed its role from infantry to a heavy fire support unit armed with mortars, medium machine-guns and Oerlikon anti-aircraft guns. The 1st Kensingtons served with the British Expeditionary Force in France, and later deployed to North Africa to be part of British First Army to prepare for the Sicilian campaign, and later the Italian front, with the 78th Battleaxe Infantry Division. The 2nd Kensingtons served first in Iceland and were to see action from Normandy to Arnhem, with the 49th (West Riding) Infantry Division.

4.2-inch mortar of the 2nd Kensington Regiment, 49th (West Riding) Infantry Division in action at Turnhout, Belgium, 1 October 1944

In 1945, the Regiment became part of the Royal Corps of Signals with the Army Phantom Signal Regiment (Princess Louise's Kensington Regiment). The Regiment reformed as 41 (PLK) Signal Regiment TA in 1961 and became a trunk communications Signal Regiment with squadrons in Portsmouth, Coulsdon and Hammersmith.

After World War 2[edit]

In 1967, with the reorganisation of the TA, 41 Signal Regiment became a squadron of 31 Signal Regiment. The Regiment was made up of three Radio Squadrons and a HQ Squadron. Each Radio Squadron had a number of Radio detachments. A detachment consists of four soldiers normally based in a Land Rover to provide high mobility, although there are some detachments that use 4 tonne vehicles. Detachments can be deployed as part of a squadron or independently to other locations. HQ Squadron provides all the support elements, such as fuel and equipment, which enable the Regiment to function as well, as a small number of discrete radio detachments The Squadron still retains it links with the PLK and proudly wears the Kensington badges and buttons on its uniform.

The squadron was reassigned from 31 (City of London) Signal Regiment to 38 (City of Sheffield) Signal Regiment in 2010. In 2014, 41 Squadron, following its transfer to 71 Signal Regiment, was reduced to a Troop and merged with 47 Squadron, with the new Squadron being named 31 (MX Yeo and PLK) Signal Squadron.

References[edit]

  1. ^ 'The Kensingtons - 13th London Regiment' by O. Bailey & H. Hollier (Pub. 1936).
  2. ^ 'The Kensingtons - 13th London Regiment' by Bailey & Hollier (Pub. 1936).
  3. ^ Foxwell, Byrne (2013). "Princess Louise's Kensington Regiment". kensingtonbattalion3624.org.uk. Retrieved 21 October 2014. 
  4. ^ 'The Kensingtons - 13th London Regiment' by Bailey & Hollier (Pub. 1936).
  5. ^ 'The Kensingtons - 13th London Regiment' by Bailey & Hollier (Pub. 1936).
  6. ^ 'The Kensingtons - 13th London Regiment' by Bailey & Hollier (Pub. 1936).
  7. ^ 'The Kensingtons - 13th London Regiment' by Bailey & Hollier (Pub. 1936).