Military Subjects: Organization, Strategy & Tactics

 

Where Have All the Regiments Gone? The Modern Descendants of the Regiments of the 1815 British Army: 26th to 60th Foot

Compiled by Donald E. Graves

 

Continuing on in our examination of the fate of the 1815 army, we come first to the 26th Foot which, with the 90th Foot, became a later entity, The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles). The Cameronians were always a rather fractious, independent-minded lot and, in 1968, they chose disbandment rather than undergo a very unpopular amalgamation.

The lineage of the 27th, 29th, 30th, 31st, 33rd, 34th, 35th, 36th, 37th, 38th, 40th, 41st, 42nd, 44th, 45th, 47th, 48th, 50th, 55th., 56th, 57th, 58th and 59th Foot remains clear through the 2006 and earlier organizations and is not a problem in lineage terms. Note that The Yorkshire Regiment, formed in 2006, actually maintains a link with it numbered predecessors by including them its title. Not that there is not some sadness in this matter. The Black Watch, the old 42nd, is now the 3rd Battalion of the new Royal Regiment of Scotland although it places its name before its battalion number as a means of maintaining its identiy but one wonders how long that is going to last.

The real problem occurs when we get to those units which are now part of the The Rifles, a new regiment created in 2006 from four existing regiments which, with their old numbers, are as follows

The Devonshire and Dorset Light Infantry  (11th, 39th and 54th)
The Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Light Infantry (28th, 49th and 61st, 62nd, and 99th Foot)
The Royal Green Jackets (43rd, 52nd, 60th  and 95th)
The Light Infantry (32nd, 46th, 51st, 53rd, 68th and 85th)

The Devonshire and Dorset and The Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire, according to Ministry of Defence sources, now form the 1st Battalion, The Rifles, so their lineage is clear. When we come to the 2nd through 4th Battalions, however, things get muddled. According to the ministry, 1st Battalion, Royal Greenjackets is now 2nd Battalion, The Rifles, while 2nd Battalion, Royal Greenjackets, is now the 4th Battalion, The Rifles, and 1st Battalion and 2nd Battalions, The Light Infantry, are respectively the 3rd and 5th Battalions, The Rifles. Unfortunately, both the Royal Green Jackets and The Light Infantry disbanded regular battalions in the late 1960s and early 1970s so the path back to the ten 1815 units is getting somewhat faint. Until I can find better information, or someone straightens the this out, the best I can do at this point is indicate that 1815 units which can be traced down through The Light Infantry and Royal Green Jackets are now in one or the other of the 2nd to 5th Battalions, The Rifles.

Sadly, the 2006 creation of The Rifles also does away with the old distinctions of infantry of the line; light infantry; and rifles, each of which had their old traditions. Apparently, this new  regiment has retained all the traditional rifle attributes: green dress uniforms, rifle Maltese cross badge, fast march pace, and different words of command for drill such as fixing “swords” instead of bayonets. Ironically, the unit that started all this, the 95th of the Napoleonic period, is at best – if its lineage can be traced – now only the 3rd Battalion of The Rifles.

On the other hand, its an ill amalgamation that does not cause some good. Consider the humble 49th Foot, which started life as a garrison unit in the West Indies in 1741 assembled from various independent companies that had been left there, some for more than three decades. The 49th was always a solid regiment, nothing flashy, however, but it always did its bit, notably at Crysler’s Farm in 1813 and was content with its county affiliation to Hertfordshire. Now, it has managed to move up considerably to becoming the 1st Battalion of The Rifles which, nominally at least, should be an elite unit.

 

Title in 1815 Army List

Title in 2009 (and fate if disbanded)

   

26th (or Cameronian) Regiment of Foot

Disbanded in 1968 at own request as The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) rather than go through an amalgamation

27th (or Inniskilling) Regiment of Foot

1st Battalion, The Royal Irish Regiment

28th (or the North Gloucestershire) Regiment of Foot

1st Battalion, The Rifles

29th (or the Worcestershire) Regiment of Foot

2nd Battalion, The Mercian Regiment (Worcesters and Foresters)

30th (or the Cambridgeshire) Regiment of Foot

2nd Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment (King’s, Lancashire and Border)

31st (or the Huntingdonshire) Regiment of Foot

2nd Battalion, The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment (Queen’s and Hampshire)

32nd (or the Cornwall) Regiment of Foot

Either 3rd or 5th Battalion, The Rifles

33rd (or the 1st Yorkshire West Riding) Regiment of Foot

3rd Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment (14th/15th, 19th and 33rd/76th Foot)

34th (or the Cumberland) Regiment of Foot

1st Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment (King’s, Lancashire and Border)

35th (or the Sussex ) Regiment of Foot

2nd Battalion, The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment (Queen’s and Royal Hampshires)

36th (or the Herefordshire) Regiment of Foot

2nd Battalion, The Mercian Regiment (Worcesters and Foresters)

37th (or the North Hampshire) Regiment of Foot

1st Battalion, The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment (Queen’s and Royal Hampshires)

38th (or the 1st Staffordshire) Regiment of Foot

3rd Battalion, The Mercian Regiment (Staffords)

39th (or the Dorsetshire) Regiment of Foot

1st Battalion, The Rifles

40th (or the 2nd Somersetshire) Regiment of Foot

2nd Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment (King’s, Lancashire and Border)

41st Regiment of Foot

2nd Battalion, The Royal Welsh (The Royal Regiment of Wales )

42nd (or the Royal Highland) Regiment of Foot

The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland

43rd (or the Monmouthshire) Regiment of Foot (Light Infantry)

Either 2nd or 4th Battalion, The Rifles

44th (or the East Essex) Regiment of Foot

1st Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment

45th (or the Nottinghamshire) Regiment of Foot

2nd Battalion, The Mercian Regiment (Worcesters and Foresters)

46th (or the South Devonshire) Regiment of Foot

Either 3rd or 5th Battalion, The Rifles

47th (or the Lancashire) Regiment of Foot

2nd Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiments (King’s, Lancashire and Border)

48th (or the Northamptonshire) Regiment of Foot

2nd Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment

49th (or the Hertfordshire) Regiment of Footd

1st Battalion, The Rifles

50th (or the West Kent) Regiment of Foot

2nd Battalion, The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment (Queen’s and Royal Hampshires)

51st (or the 2nd Yorkshire West Riding) Regiment of Foot (Light Infantry)

Either 3rd or 5th Battalion, The Rifles

52nd (or the Oxfordshire) Regiment of Foot (Light Infantry)

Either 2nd or 4th Battalion, The Rifles

53rd (or the Shropshire) Regiment of Foot

Either 3rd or 5th Battalion, The Rifles

54th (or the West Norfolk) Regiment of Foot

1st Battalion, The Rifles

55th (or the Westmoreland) Regiment of Foot

1st Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment (King’s, Lancashire and Borders

56th (or the West Essex) Regiment of Foot

2nd Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment

57th (or the West Middlesex) Regiment of Foot

1st Battalion, The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment (Queen’s and Royal Hampshires)

58th (or the Rutlandshire) Regiment of Foot

2nd Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment

59th (or the 2nd Nottinghamshire) Regiment of Foot

2nd Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment (King’s, Lancashire and Border)

60th (or Royal American) Regiment of Foot

Either 2nd or 4th Battalion, The Rifles

 

 

Placed on the Napoleon Series: March 2009

 

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