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Duke of Wellington's Regiment

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Title: Duke of Wellington's Regiment  
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Subject: 76th Regiment of Foot, Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, Battle of the Hook, Philip Christison, East Yorkshire Regiment
Collection: 1702 Establishments in England, Infantry Regiments of the British Army, Military History of West Yorkshire, Military Units and Formations Disestablished in 2006, Military Units and Formations Established in 1702, Military Units and Formations in West Yorkshire, Military Units and Formations of the United Kingdom in the Korean War, Regiments of the British Army in World War I, Regiments of the British Army in World War II, Regiments of Yorkshire, The Duke of Wellington's Regiment
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Duke of Wellington's Regiment

The Duke of Wellington's Regiment
(West Riding)
Cap badge of the Duke of Wellington's Regiment
Active 1 July 1702 – 6 June 2006
Country  United Kingdom
Branch  British Army
Type Line infantry
Role Armoured infantry (Warrior IFV)
Size One Battalion (at final amalgamation)
Garrison/HQ Battlesbury Barracks, Warminster
Nickname(s) "The Dukes",
"The Havercake Lads",
"The Pattern",
"The Immortals",
"The Pigs",
"The Old Seventy-Sixth",
"The Old Seven and Sixpennies",
"The Duke of Boot's
Motto Virtutis Fortuna Comes (Latin: "Fortune Favours the Brave")
Colours and facings Colours: 2 Regulation & 2 Honorary
March Quick: The Wellesley
Mascot Indian Elephant
Anniversaries Waterloo Day (18 June)
Engagements See #Battle honours
Last Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Phil Lewis OBE
Last Colonel in Chief His Grace Arthur Valerian Wellesley KG LVO OBE MC DL, 8th Duke of Wellington
Last Colonel of the Regiment Major-General Sir Evelyn John Webb-Carter KCVO OBE
Lt Col Brian Webb-Carter
General Sir Charles Huxtable KCB OBE DL
Tactical Recognition Flash

The Duke of Wellington's Regiment (West Riding) was a line infantry regiment of the British Army, forming part of the King's Division.

In 1702 Colonel Gloucester. As was the custom in those days the regiment was named Huntingdon's Regiment after its Colonel. As Colonel succeeded Colonel the name changed, but in 1751 regiments were given numbers, and the regiment was from that time officially known as the 33rd Regiment of Foot. In 1782 the regiment's title was changed to the 33rd (or First Yorkshire West Riding) Regiment, thus formalising an association with the West Riding of Yorkshire which, even then, had been long established. The first Duke of Wellington died in 1852 and in the following year Queen Victoria, in recognition of the regiment's long ties to him, ordered that the regiment's title be changed to the 33rd (or The Duke of Wellington's) Regiment. In 1881, following the Cardwell Reforms, the 33rd was linked with the 76th Regiment of Foot, who shared their depot in Halifax. The 76th had first been raised in 1745, by Simon Harcourt and disbanded in 1746, re-raised in 1756 disbanded again in 1763, before being raised again in 1777, disbanded in 1784 and finally re-raised, in 1787, for service in India, by the Honorable East India Company.[1][2] The two regiments became, respectively, the 1st and 2nd battalions of the Duke of Wellington's Regiment. In 1948 the 1st and 2nd battalions were amalgamated into a single battalion, the 1st Battalion. On 6 June 2006 the 'Dukes' were amalgamated with the Prince of Wales's Own Regiment of Yorkshire and the Green Howards to form the 3rd Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment (14th/15th, 19th and 33rd/76th Foot). Following further merges, in 2012, the battalion was redesignated as the new 1st Battalion (1 Yorks) of the regiment.[3]

Battalions from the regiment had served in most land conflicts involving British forces since its formation, from the Wars of the Austrian and Spanish successions, through the American war of Independence and various campaigns in India and Africa, the Napoleonic Wars, the Second Boer War and many of the greatest battles of World War I (the Battle of Mons, the Battle of the Somme, the Battle of Passchendaele, the Battle of Cambrai) and the Third Anglo-Afghan War in 1919. In World War II the regiment fought as part of the British Expeditionary Force in France, forming part of the rearguard at Dunkirk; in North Africa; Italy and in France, following the D-Day landings, and as Chindits in Burma. In Korea, the 'Dukes' desperate defence of the Hook position halted the last major Chinese attempt to break the United Nations Line before the truce, in July 1953, brought the war to an end. In Cyprus the battalion was successful in Operation Golden Rain, destroying a major EOKA terrorist group operating in the Troodos Mountains in 1956. In 1964 the battalion joined the NATO deterrence in Germany on the front line in the Cold War and from 1971 was regularly engaged in 'the Troubles' in Ulster until 1997. They were amongst the first units to cross the border from Kuwait in the 2003 Iraq War.

Nine soldiers from the regiment have been awarded the Victoria Cross, and Corporal Wayne Mills of the 1st Battalion became the first recipient of the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross in 1994, whilst serving with the United Nations forces in Bosnia.


  • Formation and name 1
  • 1702–1881 2
    • American Revolution 2.1
      • Guilford Court House 2.1.1
      • Green Spring 2.1.2
    • Flanders 2.2
    • India 2.3
    • Napoleon's Return and Waterloo 2.4
    • West Indies 2.5
    • Crimea 2.6
    • Abyssinia 2.7
  • Duties of Empire (1881–1914) 3
  • World War I (1914–1918) 4
  • Inter-war (1919–1938) 5
  • World War II (1939–1945) 6
    • 1st Battalion 6.1
    • 2nd Battalion 6.2
    • 1/6th and 1/7th battalions 6.3
    • 2/6th and 2/7th battalions 6.4
    • 8th Battalion 6.5
    • 9th Battalion 6.6
  • Korean War (1952–1956) 7
    • Battle of The Hook 7.1
  • Post-Korean War (1956–2005) 8
    • Garrison duties 8.1
    • Bosnia (1994–1995) 8.2
    • 1995–2005 8.3
    • Amalgamation 8.4
  • Regimental colours 9
  • Battle honours 10
  • Uniforms 11
  • Alliances 12
  • Victoria Cross recipients 13
  • Colonels of the Regiment 14
  • Sport 15
  • Other information 16
  • See also 17
  • Notes 18
  • References 19
  • External links 20

Formation and name

33rd Regiment Insignia

The Duke of Wellington's Regiment was originally formed in 1702 as Huntingdon's Regiment. As regiments at that time took the name of the Colonel taking it over it became:- Henry Leigh's Regiment; then Robert Duncansons Regiment and George Wade's Regiment. It was disbanded on 25 March 1714, but was officially registered as the 33rd Regiment of Foot in January 1715 and re-raised on 25 March 1715, as George Wade's Regiment; then Henry Hawley's Regiment; Robert Dalzell's Regiment and John Johnson Regiment.[4]

In 1782 Lord Cornwallis, the then Colonel of the Regiment, wrote that "The 33rd Regiment of Infantry has always recruited in the West Riding of Yorkshire and has a very good interest and the general goodwill of the people in that part of the country:- I should therefore wish not only to be permitted to recruit in that county, but that my Regiment may bear the name of the 33rd or West Yorkshire Regiment". On 31 August 1782 Lord Cornwallis heard that the King had approved of the new title:- 33rd (or the 1st West Yorkshire West Riding) Regiment of Foot.[4]

Owing to its links with the Duke of Wellington, the title 'The Duke of Wellington's Regiment' was granted to the 33rd Regiment on 18 June 1853, on the anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo in the year following Wellington's death.[4]

76th Regiment Insignia

The 76th Regiment was originally raised, by Simon Harcourt as Lord Harcourts Regiment on 17 November 1745 and disbanded in June 1746. Following the loss of Minorca, to the French, it was reraised in November 1756 as the 61st Regiment, but renumbered to 76th, by General Order in 1758, and again disbanded in 1763. A second battalion raised by that regiment in October 1758, for service in Africa, was renumbered as the 86th Regiment and also disbanded in 1763. On 25 December 1777, the 76th was again re-raised, as the 76th Regiment of Foot (Macdonald's Highlanders), by Colonel John MacDonell of Lochgarry, in the West of Scotland and Western Isles, as a Scottish Light Infantry regiment. It was disbanded at Stirling Castle in March 1784. The regiment was again raised for service in India by the Honorable East India Company in 1787.[5]

In 1881 the 76th Regiment, which shared the same Depot in Halifax as the 33rd, was linked to the 33rd, under the Cardwell Reforms, to become the 2nd Battalion. Although retitled as the Halifax Regiment (Duke of Wellington's) this title only lasted six months until it was changed on 30 June 1881, in a revised appendix to General order 41, to:- The Duke of Wellington's (West Riding Regiment), or 'W Rid R' for short. In January 1921 it was again retitled to The Duke of Wellington's Regiment (West Riding), or 'DWR' for short.[4]


Within months of its original raising the regiment was despatched to join Malborough's army in Holland. After five months and only two battles it was sent to Portugal, along with five other of Malborough's best regiments, where it remained for the next six years. The 33rd fought in many battles including Valencia de Alcantara (1705), Zaragossa (1710), and less favourably at Almansa and Brihuega. It was only one of the two foot regiments not to be disbanded and in 1743 the regiment was sent to Germany, where it distinguished itself in the Battle of Dettingen, gaining its first battle honour, then again at the Battle of Fontenoy in 1745 and again in Rocoux and Lauffeld in 1747.[6]

American Revolution

The 33rd itself had a good reputation for its professionalism and capability, which was seemingly unequalled by any other regiment of the British Army for some time. It was because of their professionalism in the field during the American War of Independence, that the regiment was given the nickname 'The Pattern'; the regiment then became the standard of soldiering which all other regiments should attain.[7]

The 33rd saw much action during the American War of Independence, with its first engagement at the Battle of Sullivan's Island (First Siege of Charleston) in early 1776, when British forces attempted an assault on that city's defences. In August of that year, the 33rd were involved in the Battle of Long Island. After heavy fighting which lasted several days, the Americans evacuated their remaining forces to Manhattan. The British were victorious.[8]

The regiment's next action came a month later, in September at the move around the flank of the British. The British took the bait and advanced further up the plateau. The American flanking force was encountered by the British, which showed them the imminent danger they faced. After some further fighting, the British retreated to a field, where they were joined by the 33rd and a number of Hessian battalions. After further fighting, the Americans retreated.[8]

The regiment was also involved in the Battle of Fort Washington. After that, the 33rd were not involved in a major battle until September 1777, when they took part in the Battle of Brandywine, where the British suffered 550 casualties and the Americans about 1,000. The regiment took part in further action that year, at the Battle of Germantown and the Battle of White Marsh, where they fought the Americans who had retreated from the fighting at Germantown.[8]

The following year was just as active, with the 33rd seeing action at the Battle of Monmouth, an engagement that became the largest one-day battle of the war. The 33rd was also part of the defence of Newport and Quaker Hill.[8]

Two years later, in 1780, the 33rd took part in the Siege of Charleston. By 11 May, the American General Benjamin Lincoln began to negotiate terms of surrender. The following day Lincoln, along with over 7,000 American soldiers, surrendered to the British forces under the command of Lieutenant-General Henry Clinton. In August that year, the 33rd were involved at the Battle of Camden, a victory for the British.[8]

Guilford Court House

The year 1781 proved to be the deadliest but most successful year for the 33rd. The regiment took part in the Battle of Wetzell's Mill, but the more famous action took place that same month during a battle at Guilford Court House.

Map of the Guilford Court House Battleground

On 14 March 1781, Lord Cornwallis, the British commander, was informed that General Richard Butler was marching to attack his army. With Butler was a body of North Carolina Militia, plus reinforcements from Virginia, consisting of 3,000 Virginia Militia, a Virginia State regiment, a Corp of Virginian "eighteen-month men" and recruits for the Maryland Line. They had joined the command of Major General Nathanael Greene, creating a force of some nine to ten thousand men in total. During the night, further reports confirmed the American force was at Guilford Court House, some 12 miles (20 km) away. Cornwallis decided to give battle, though he had only 1,900 men at his disposal.[9]

33rd Regiment at a reenactment

At dawn on 15 March 1781, before the men had a chance to have breakfast, Cornwallis started for Guilford, arriving there at mid-day.[10]

Cornwallis' troops included Bose's Hessian Regiment and the 71st commanded by Major General Alexander Leslie and the 23rd and 33rd commanded by Lieutenant Colonel James Webster of the 33rd. The second line comprised the two battalions of Foot Guards, the Light Infantry and the Grenadiers commanded by Brigadier Charles O'Hara of the 2nd Coldstream Regiment of Foot Guards. There was then a reserve consisting of Tarleton's Light Dragoons.[9]

The British troops advanced under heavy musket fire. Webster attacked the right flank of the American second line and managed to push it back. He also attacked the American third line. An American counterattack then led to a confused situation. Meanwhile, Tarleton's Light Dragoons charged the right flank.[9] The American troops then withdrew. The British technically defeated the American force, but Webster was killed and O'Hara was wounded.[9]

Green Spring

The 33rd also fought at the Battle of Green Spring in July of that year.[8] Their last engagement of the war was at the Siege of Yorktown, when they were part of the outnumbered British forces.[8]


In 1793 the 'Honourable Arthur Wesley', third son of the Earl of Mornington, the future Duke of Wellington, purchased a 'Majority' in the 33rd.[4]

By 1794 the 33rd was under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel (promoted to full Colonel in 1797) Arthur Wellesley. They took part in the disastrous Flanders Campaign and the retreat from Germany, and embarked, from Bremen, for England on 13 April 1795.[4]


In 1799 the regiment took part in the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War in a Division commanded by Colonel Arthur Wellesley, as part of a British East India Company army, commanded by Major General Harris, with Major General Sir David Baird as second in command. Arthur's eldest brother Richard Wellesley, 2nd Earl of Mornington, later 1st Marquess Wellesley, had just become Governor General of India. So in addition to the 33rd, Arthur, who had now become Colonel Arthur Wellesley, was given command of the 10,000 men of the Nizam of Hyderabad.[11] They had a decisive part to play in the Battle of Seringapatam. The regiment, involved in bitter fighting with the Tippu Sultan's warriors, were repulsed with heavy losses when they attacked a wood, which was strongly defended by the Sultan's forces. The 33rd rallied and fought further actions throughout the battle, with the British emerging decisively victorious and the Tippoo Sultan being killed. The regiment won a battle honour for its involvement in the action.[12]

Napoleon's Return and Waterloo

Reenactors in the red-coated uniform of the 33rd Regiment of Foot as worn during the Napoleonic Wars between 1812 and 1816. Note the brighter scarlet of the officer on the right.

By early March 1815, the regiment was again under the command of the Duke of Wellington, this time during the Hundred Days campaign of Napoleon. Having taken part in the action of the previous day, at the Battle of Quatre Bras, they took part in the action at Waterloo; the 33rd was part of the 5th Brigade under the command of Major General Sir Colin Halkett.[13]

West Indies

Having departed from Paris on 23 December 1815, the regiment spent the post Waterloo period, from January 1816 to 1821, in uneventful garrison duties in Guernsey, Stirling, Glasgow, Ulster and Dublin.[14]

In 1822, the regiment was posted to Jamaica. The West Indies were notorious as the death bed of the British Army because of the high mortality rate from malaria, dysentery, yellow fever and other such endemic diseases.[14]


Owing to its links with Wellington, the title 33rd (The Duke of Wellington's) Regiment was granted to the 33rd, on 18 June 1853 (the 38th Anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo) by Queen Victoria, in honour of the 1st Duke of Wellington, who had died on 14 September the previous year.[15]

At the

  • Regimental Association website (
  • Yorkshire Regiment MOD website
  • Regimental museum
  • Reenactment unit portraying the 33rd in the American Revolution
  • DWR's service with 62 Division in the Great War
  • Yorkshire Volunteers

External links

  1. ^ The Duke of Wellington's Regiment (West Riding) A Short History, by Major ACS Savoury MBE and Major General DE Isles CB OBE DL, (Page 4), printed By Reuben Holroyd's, Halifax, 19878
  2. ^ The History of The Duke of Wellington's Regiment (West Riding) 1702–1992, By JM Brereton AND Major ACS Savoury MBE, ISBN 0-9521552-0-6, Published by The Duke of Wellingtons Regiment Regimental Headquarters
  3. ^ [1] Yorkshire Regiment regimental history
  4. ^ a b c d e f g
  5. ^ The Duke of Wellington's Regiment (West Riding) A Short History, by Major ACS Savoury MBE and Major General DE Isles CB OBE DL, (Page 4, Lineage of the Duke of Wellington's Regiment (West Riding)), printed By Reuben Holroyd's, Halifax, 1987
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ a b c d e f g
  9. ^ a b c d
  10. ^ History of the Duke of Wellington's Regiment, (page 69), Brereton / Savoury, ISBN 0-9521552-0-6
  11. ^ Wellington — The Years of the Sword, by Elizabeth Pakenham, Countess of Longford
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ a b
  15. ^ a b c
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^ History of the Duke of Wellington's Regiment, (page 184), Brereton / Savoury, ISBN 0-9521552-0-6
  19. ^
  20. ^ History of the Duke of Wellington's Regiment, (page 189), Brereton / Savoury, ISBN 0-9521552-0-6
  21. ^ London Gazette 28 July 1868
  22. ^ 'The History of The Duke of Wellington's Regiment (West Riding) 1702–1992, page 191 – JM Brereton and ACS Savoury (ISBN 0-9521552-0-6)
  23. ^
  24. ^ "The War - Return of Troops" The Times (London). Wednesday, 28 May 1902. (36779), p. 9.
  25. ^ a b c
  26. ^ a b c d
  27. ^ 7DWR War Diary 1944, Annexe B — Report on Battle of Haalderen by Major CD Hamilton, 8 December 1944
  28. ^ 7DWR War Diaries 1944, National Archives, Kew, London
  29. ^ a b c George Forty (1998), "British Army Handbook 1939–1945", Stoud: Sutton Publishing, pp. 50–1.
  30. ^
  31. ^ History of the Duke of Wellington's Regiment, (page 290), Brereton / Savoury, ISBN 0-9521552-0-6
  32. ^ History of the Duke of Wellington's Regiment, (page 291), Brereton / Savoury, ISBN 0-9521552-0-6
  33. ^ History of the Duke of Wellington's Regiment, (page 294), Brereton / Savoury, ISBN 0-9521552-0-6
  34. ^ The Korean War, Page 336.
  35. ^
  36. ^ a b c d
  37. ^ a b c d e f g h
  38. ^
  39. ^
  40. ^
  41. ^ 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment (Duke of Wellington's) Archived 3 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  42. ^ W.Y.Carman, page 61 "Uniforms of the British Army — the Infantry Regiments", ISBN 0-86350-031-5,
  43. ^
  44. ^
  45. ^ a b c
  46. ^ The Dukes 1701–2006 (Concise History and Digest of The DoW Regiment), page 119, paragraph 2, by Butterworth, Flaving and Harvey, published by the Regimental Museum and Archives


  1. ^ That the regiment was formed from the 33rd and 76th Regiments of Foot and that the 2nd Battalion formed 33rd and 76th Columns of the Chindits is not a coincidence.


See also

Other information

Several members of the regiment played cricket for the Free Foresters Cricket Club and Pte Brian Stead played for the Yorkshire County Cricket Club.[46]

The regiment's rugby league internationals include: Brian Curry, England, 1956; Norman Field, GB, 1963; Roy Sabine, GB; Jack Scroby, Army 1959, GB Halifax & Bradford Northern; Charlie Renilson, Scotland, GB, 1965 and Arthur 'Ollie' Keegan, GB.[45]

For Rugby union they list:- Capt (Bull) Faithfull, England (3 Caps) 1924. Lieutenant WF (Horsey) Brown, Army & Ireland (12 Caps), 1925–1928. Captain Mike Campbell-Lamerton, Army, London Scottish, Scotland (23 Caps), British Lions in South Africa in 1962, Captain of the British Lions in Australia & New Zealand in 1966. Lieutenant CF Grieve and FJ Reynolds Toured South Africa in 1938 with the British Lions. In the early 1950s DW Shuttleworth and EMP Hardy provided the Half Back pairing for England. Corporals Waqabaca and Ponjiasi played for Fiji. Brigadier DW Shuttleworth became the President of the English Rugby Football Union during the 1985/86 season. In 1957–1959, whilst stationed in Northern Ireland, the 'Dukes' played rugby throughout Ulster. At the end of the tour the Ulster Team honoured the regiment by playing them at Ravenhill, with the 'Dukes' winning 19 – 8. In 1960 during an emergency posting to Kenya the Kenyan Champions Nakuru heard the Dukes were there and challenged them to a match. The Kenyan Regiment loaned them their team strip to wear. The 'Dukes' won the match.[45]

The 'Dukes' had a long and proud Rugby tradition. They produced in their history 11 international players, 7 English, 1 Irish and 3 Scottish, with over 50 players capped for the army against the Navy & Air Force since 1914.[45]


Colonels of the regiment have been:[44]

Colonels of the Regiment

Victoria Cross recipients have been:[43]

Victoria Cross recipients

DWR & les Voltigeurs de Québec Regimental affiliation plague


On formation in 1702 as the Earl of Huntingdon's Regiment a red coat lined with yellow was worn, together with yellow breeches. Later in the 18th Century the coats had red facings but white linings which showed in the turn-backed skirts. For the remainder of its history the Regiment was unusual in that the collars, cuffs and shoulder straps of its red coats were also red (most British regiments had facings of contrasting colours). This continued to be the case with the scarlet tunic worn by all ranks in full dress until 1914 and by bandsmen until amalgamation (see illustrations above). Officers were distinguished by silver buttons and braid until 1830 and thereafter by gold, After 1893 the badge of the Duke of Wellington was worn.[42]


Battle honours

Regimental Colours of the 1st Battalion, Duke of Wellington's Regiment (West Riding), in Halifax Parish Church

On Saturday 31 March 2007 the stand of Regimental Regulation colours taken out of service in 2002, in Osnabrück, Germany, at the Regiments Tercentenary parade were laid up in the Halifax Parish church. The Colour party, with two escorts of 40 troops, marched from the Town hall to the Parish Church, preceded by the Regimental Drums and the Heavy Cavalry and Cambrai Band. There was a short ceremony in the church grounds where the Troops were inspected by the Mayor of Halifax, Councillor Colin Stout, and the Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire Dr Ingrid Roscoe.

The Honorary Colours were approximately 6-foot 6 inch by 6-foot. Following rebadging, on 6 June 2006 the 'Dukes' retained the Honorary Colours as:- The 3rd Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment (Duke of Wellington's). The Honorary Colours will only be paraded by the 3rd Battalion (Duke of Wellington's).

click on image to enlarge

The Duke of Wellington's Regiment had four colours on parade. The first pair of colours were the standard set of Regulation Colours, which all Regiments are presented with. The second pair was a set of Honorary Colours, which were originally presented to the 76th Regiment of Foot in 1808 for their actions during the Battle of Ally Ghur and Delhi in 1803.

Dukes final morning parade before rebadging (6 June 2006)

Regimental colours

When required an additional rifle company was formed:- D Company — Dettingen — commemorating the Battle of Dettingen, during the War of the Austrian Succession in 1743 and an additional administration company:- W Company — Waterloo — commemorating the Battle of Waterloo, during the Waterloo campaign in 1815. Both companies having previously existed during the Dukes existence.

A Company — Alma — commemorating the Battle of Alma, during the Crimean War 1853–1856
B Company — Burma — commemorating the Burma Campaign, during the Second World War 1941–1944
C Company — Corunna — commemorating the Battle of Corunna, during the Peninsular War of 1809–1813
Support Company — Somme — commemorating the Battle of the Somme, during the First World War 1914–1918
Headquarter Company — Hook — commemorating the Battle of the Hook, during the Korean war 1952–1953

The 'Dukes' had five companies, named to commemorate five significant campaigns and battles, in which the Dukes took part and were awarded a Battle honour, which have been retained by the battalion in the Yorkshire Regiment:[41]

In December 2004, as part of the infantry, it was announced that the Duke of Wellington's Regiment would be amalgamated with the Prince of Wales's Own Regiment of Yorkshire and the Green Howards', all Yorkshire-based regiments in the King's Division, to form the Yorkshire Regiment. The re-badging parade took place on 6 June 2006.[40]


On 12 November 2005, the Regiment was awarded the "Keys to the Town" of Erquinghem-Lys in France.[39]

The regiment had a beer called Havercake Ale named in their honour by the Timothy Taylor Brewery, Keighley, to mark the regiment's tercentenary. Timothy Taylor, the founder of the brewery, had served in an antecedent unit of the regiment during 1859. Since then other members of the family and employees had also enlisted as a 'Duke'.[38]

During 2003, in Osnabrück, Germany, where the 'Dukes' were then based, the Regiment celebrated its 300th year in existence. Over 2000 past and present members converged on the town to take part in the celebrations. The 'Dukes' were presented with new colours by HM Queen Elizabeth II, represented by The Colonel of The Regiment Major-General Sir Evelyn John Webb-Carter KCB, due to the ill health of the Queen's representative, the regiments Colonel-in-Chief the Duke of Wellington.[37]

DWR Drums platoon lead the Regiment to Erquinghem Lys Town Hall to receive the Keys to The town.
Havercake Ale

In 2003, the 'Dukes' were part of Operation Telic, the invasion of Iraq, as part of 1 (United Kingdom) Armoured Division. The 'Dukes' returned, as part of 4 (Armoured) Brigade, to the South-East of Iraq, in October 2004, to join the British-led Multi-National Division (South-East), as a fully equipped armoured infantry battalion with Warrior Armoured Personnel Carriers.[37]

In February 2001, a company from the 'Dukes' deployed to Kosovo, with the objective of preventing arms and munitions being transported from Albania into Kosovo, then onto the Former Yugolav Republic Of Macedonia, now known as the Republic of Macedonia.[37]

In March 1995, the 'Dukes' were again posted to Northern Ireland for a two-year tour of duty.[37] In March 1997, a composite company from the 1st Battalion was deployed to the Falkland Islands. In 1998, C Company deployed for a tour of duty in South Armagh. During the period 1998–2000, the 1st Battalion served as a public duties unit in London.[37]


Lieutenant-Colonel David Santa-Olalla received the Distinguished Service Order for his inspirational leadership and courage during the 'Dukes' deployment to Bosnia. He arranged for the mutual withdrawal of both Serbian and Muslim forces, from the besieged town of Goražde, just as the Geneva talks were being held on the town.[37]

Corporal Wayne Mills of the 1st Battalion became the first recipient of the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross, second only to the Victoria Cross. On (29 April 1994), a patrol led by Corporal Mills came under heavy small-arms fire from a group of Bosnian-Serbs. The patrol returned fire, killing two of the attackers. The patrol then withdrew, but the attackers persisted in firing on the patrol. The patrol soon reached an open clearing, where it was obvious they would be highly vulnerable to fire from the attackers. Corporal Mills then performed an astonishing feat of bravery. He turned back and engaged the group in a fire-fight, delaying the attackers long enough to allow the rest of his patrol to cross the clearing. While doing this brave act, Corporal Mills shot the leader of the group, with the rest scattering into the woods. Due to that action he returned to his patrol safely, who were giving covering fire.[37]

'C/Sgt Wayne Mills

In March 1994, the 'Dukes' deployed to Bosnia, with an area of responsibility covering Bugojno, Vitez, Travnik and the besieged enclave of Goražde. The latter was under siege for much of the war. It was declared a UN Safe Zone in that year. The 'Dukes' were one of the first units to enter the town. The Regiment pushed the Bosnian-Serb Army from their positions around the town to a distance of over one mile. Their objective in doing this was to create a safe zone for the town. While at Goražde, Private Shaun Taylor of C Company was killed during an engagement with Bosnian-Serb forces while manning an observation post. The engagement lasted fifteen minutes, with over 2,000 rounds of ammunition being expended by the 'Dukes'. Seven of the Bosnian-Serb soldiers were killed in the fire-fight. Goražde remained a safe zone, being held by British troops from 1994 to 1995. It was the only safe zone to survive the war and avoided the tragedies that occurred in other UN safe zones such as Srebrenica and Žepa.[37]

Bosnia (1994–1995)

In 1985, the 'Dukes' deployed to Belize for a six-month tour of duty, taking part in operation 'Holdfast'.[36] In 1987 the 'Dukes' deployed again to Northern Ireland for a two-year tour, based in Palace Barracks, just outside the city of Belfast.[36]

The 'Dukes' returned to the UK in 1970. Then deployed to Northern Ireland a number of times during 'The Troubles'. In one deployment in 1972 three soldiers were killed.[36]

After the bloody encounters in the Korean War, the 'Dukes' were occupied by a series of garrison duties. The 'Dukes' were first deployed to Gibraltar, then to Cyprus in 1956, where they participated in anti-terrorist operations against EOKA. The following year, the 'Dukes' deployed to Northern Ireland. They moved back to the mainland in 1959, joining the new UK Strategic Reserve, as part of 19 Infantry Brigade).[36] On 6 August 1959 the Regimental Depot, at Wellesley Barracks, was closed down. training of new recruits was Done at the Kings Division depot at Strensal Barracks.

Garrison duties

Post-Korean War (1956–2005)

The 'Dukes' embarked for Gibraltar on 13 November 1953, arriving on 10 December. In May 1954, during a visit to Gibraltar by Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh, the Commanding Officer of the 'Dukes' (Lieutenant Colonel FR St P Bunbury) and a further 10 officers and other ranks received decorations for their actions in Korea.[35]

In 1953, the 1st Battalion relieved the Black Watch, who had been defending a position known as The Hook, a crescent shaped ridge, which was of tactical importance in the Commonwealth sector. The third Battle of the Hook began on 28 May. An initial bombardment of the British positions took place, with the Chinese forces charging the forward British positions once the bombardment ceased. The fighting that ensued was bloody and more akin to the battles that the 'Dukes' had fought in World War I. Shells were now raining down on the Hook from artillery and mortars, from both the Chinese and UN forces. The Chinese launched a second attack but were cut down by heavy fire from UN the forces. Further attacks occurred on 28 May, but all were defeated in heavy fighting. Just 30 minutes into 29 May, the Chinese forces launched another attack but, as before, they were beaten back. Alma Company of 'The 'Dukes' then began advancing up the line of the original trenches to dislodge the remaining Chinese forces in the forward trenches. The 'Dukes' secured the Hook at 3:30 a.m. The 'Dukes' losses were three officers and 17 other ranks killed and two officers and 84 other ranks wounded, plus 20 other ranks missing.[34]

Men of the 1st Battalion, The Duke of Wellington's Regiment in Korea
Successive Chinese assaults on the Hook position on the night of 28–29 May 1953. Redrawn from poor quality sketch maps filed with 1DWR Regimental War Diaries, archived as WO/308/53 at the Public Record Office, London

Battle of The Hook

The 1st Battalion was deployed to Korea in 1952, two years after the Korean War had broken out. They were part of the 1st Commonwealth Division.

Korean War (1952–1956)

The 9th Battalion was also converted to armour, becoming [29]

9th Battalion

The regiment's 8th Battalion was raised in July 1940 and in 1941 it was also converted to a tank unit becoming [29] The regiment served in 21st Army Tank Brigade, equipped with Churchill tanks.[30] It joined 1st Army in Algeria, North Africa and was transferred to 25th Army Tank Brigade in support of 24 Guards Brigade (1st Division) on the push through Casablanca and Oran to Tunisia.[31] It was one of the units in support of the Dukes 1st Battalion and the Loyal Regiment (North Lancashire) at the Battle of Banana Ridge, over looking the Medjez el Bab plain, as the front part of a five-mile-wide divisional offensive to advance on Tunis. The battle on the ridge resulted in the 1st Dukes and the QLR's being the only units to be award the battle honour Banana Ridge.[32] A following battle resulted in the award of the battle honour Djebel Bou Aoukaz on the 1st Dukes, the 1st King's Shropshire Light Infantry and 145th Regiment RAC (8th DWR).[33]

8th Battalion

Throughout the spring and summer of 1939, the [29]

2/6th and 2/7th battalions

After the failure of Bemmel where they received sporadic shelling from heavy artillery, whilst putting out patrols to guard against a potential water borne attack on the Nijmegen bridge.[28] The next notable service seen by the battalion was in the Liberation of Arnhem in April 1945, shortly before Victory in Europe Day.

The 1/6th and 1/7th battalions of the regiment were both assigned to the 147th Infantry Brigade, alongside the 1/5th West Yorkshire Regiment, which itself was part of the 49th (West Riding) Infantry Division. The brigade did not see service with the rest of the division in the Norwegian Campaign, but were instead sent to Iceland after it was invaded in 1940, and remained there until May 1942 when it was transferred back to the United Kingdom. In 28 February 1943, both battalions lost the '1/' prefix, becoming, simply, the 6th and 7th battalions, respectively. They both landed in Normandy on 12 June 1944 shortly after the D-Day landings of 6 June. They fought in the Battle of Normandy as part of the British Second Army in its attempts to capture the city of Caen. In particular, the 6th Battalion was severely mauled during Operation Martlet and, due to the heavy casualties sustained, was returned to the United Kingdom and disbanded, most of its men being sent to the 7th Battalion. They were replaced in the brigade by the 1st Battalion, Leicestershire Regiment. The 7th DWR continued to fight in the Normandy Campaign in the Second Battle of the Odon, and clearing the Channel Ports in Operation Astonia.

1/6th and 1/7th battalions

In the Far East, the 2nd Battalion took part in the rearguard action at the Battle of Sittang Bridge in February 1942. They were trained as Chindits, to operate behind Japanese lines, who were at that time attacking India, they were formed into two columns, the 33rd and 76th,[1] to operate behind the Japanese lines during the fierce battles for Imphal and Kohima.[26]

2nd Battalion

The 'Dukes' also fought in the Italian Campaign. They took part in the Anzio Campaign, in an attempt to outflank the Gustav Line and force a German retreat from Monte Cassino. The 'Dukes' fought with distinction at the Battle of Monte Ceco in October 1944 where Captain Arthur Burns was awarded a DSO and Private Richard Henry Burton of the 1st Battalion was awarded a Victoria Cross for his courageous action in the battle.[26]

The 'Dukes' fought in the North Africa Campaign, fighting with distinction in a number of actions and gaining several Battle Honours, as part of the 3rd Infantry Brigade. They fought at the Battle of Medjez Plain and the Battle of Banana Ridge and in the Battle of Djebel bou Aoukaz. The Bou was a ridge dominating the Medjez el Bab to Tunis road.[26]

The Second World War was declared on 3 September 1939 and the 1st Battalion was immediately sent to France as part of the 3rd Infantry Brigade of the 1st Infantry Division of 1st Corps of the BEF. During the retreat to Dunkirk, the 'Dukes' formed part of the rearguard.[26]

1st Battalion

World War II (1939–1945)

In 1919, the 1st Battalion took part in the Third Anglo-Afghan War and eventually returned home in 1921.[25] Meanwhile, the Regiment's title altered slightly in 1921 to Duke of Wellington's Regiment (West Riding).[4]

Inter-war (1919–1938)

The 2nd Battalion was also at the Battle of Hill 60 during which the British launched a massive bombardment, followed by an assault that led to vicious hand-to-hand fighting. The 8th Battalion saw service in the Gallipoli Campaign and the 10th Battalion was in action at Piave in Italy.[25]

The 1st Battalion (Regular) remained in India throughout the war, but the 2nd Battalion (Regular) first saw action at the Battle of Mons. It then fought a rearguard action at the Battle of Le Cateau, an action during the retreat from Mons. The 2nd Battalion also fought at the First Battle of the Marne, the Battle of the Aisne, the Battle of La Bassée and the brutal first Battle of Ypres.[25]

World War I (1914–1918)

A 3rd (Militia) Battalion (previously the 6th West York Militia) was embodied in January 1900 for service in South Africa, returning to the United Kingdom in late May 1902.[24]

The regiment began the first year of the 20th century at war when it arrived in South Africa, in 1900, as reinforcements for British forces fighting Boers, in the Second Boer War. The battalion took part in the Relief of Kimberley, in February 1901, which had been under siege by the Boers since October 1899. The battalion also took part in the Battle of Paardeberg, which was eventually captured by the British, after the Boers surrendered on 27 February 1901.[23]

Uniforms of The Duke of Wellington's Regiment as worn 1902–14, by Harry Payne

Duties of Empire (1881–1914)

Tewodros II was found dead inside the second gate, having shot himself with a pistol that had been a gift from Queen Victoria. When his death was announced all opposition ceased. The regiment later received the battle honour Abyssinia.[22]

On reaching the gate there was a pause in the advance, as it was discovered the engineer unit had forgot their powder kegs and scaling ladders and were ordered to return for them. General Staveley was not happy at any further delay and ordered the 33rd to continue the attack. Several officers and the men of the 33rd Regiment, along with an officer from the Royal Engineers, parted from the main force and, after climbing the cliff face, found their way blocked by a thorny hedge over a wall. Private James Bergin, a very tall man, used his bayonet to cut a hole in the hedge and Drummer Michael Magner climbed onto his shoulders through the hedge in the gap and dragged Bergin up behind him as Ensign Conner and Corporal Murphy helped shove from below. Bergin kept up a rapid rate of fire on the Koket-Bir as Magner dragged more men through the gap in the hedge. As more men poured through and opened fire as they advanced with their bayonets the defenders withdrew through the second gate. The party rushed the Koket-bir before it was fully closed and then took the second gate breaking through to the Amba. Ensign Wynter scrambled up onto the top of the second gate and fixed the 33rd Regiments Colours to show the Plateau had been taken. Private Bergin and Drummer Magner were later awarded the Victoria Cross for their part in the action.[21]

As the British force moved on to Magdala, Tewodros II sent two of the hostages on parole to offer terms. Napier insisted on the release of all the hostages and an unconditional surrender. Tewodros refused to cede to the unconditional surrender, but did release the European hostages. The British continued the advance and assaulted the fortress. (The native hostages were later found to have had their hands and feet cut off before being sent over the edge of the precipice surrounding the plateau.)[20]

Lord Napier arrived in early January 1868 and the expedition started from the advance camp at Senafe at the beginning of February. It took two months to reach their objective, advancing through rough terrain. In his despatch to London Lord Napier reported: "Yesterday morning (we) descended three thousand nine hundred feet to Bashilo River and approached Magdala with 'First Brigade' to reconnoiter it. Theodore opened fire with seven guns from outwork, one thousand feet above us, and three thousand five hundred men of the garrison made a gallant sortie which was repulsed with very heavy loss and the enemy driven into Magdala. British loss, twenty wounded".[19]

The plateau at Arogye, across the route to Magdala

The 33rd was committed to Abyssinia in October 1867 and embarked on 21 November, arriving at Annesley Bay on 4 December; but did not disembark for three days due to the chaos on shore.[18]

The 33rd were part of an expedition sent to the East African nation of Abyssinia, now known as Ethiopia after several European citizens had been taken hostage by the self-appointed 'King' Emperor Tewodros II in 1864. In March 1866 a British envoy had been despatched to secure the release of a group of missionaries who had first been seized when a letter Tewdros II had sent to Queen Victoria.[15]


The 33rd was involved in the Siege of Sevastopol, which lasted for 11 months. By 1856, the war was over but for little gain.[15]

At the Battle of Inkerman, the 33rd were again involved in some bitter fighting, in which the British infantry advanced despite heavy losses and a strong defence by the Russians. The fighting was fierce, at times some soldiers resorting to attacking their enemy with the butts of their guns. The 33rd suffered further casualties: 3 officers and 61 men.[17]


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