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Other Any other topic on military history covering ancient and medieval battles and any other related topics

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Old 22-08-2007, 10:38
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Post Royal Berkshire Regiment

Here is an extract from 'Her Majesty's Army's' (c.1900) charting the history of this regiment:



The Princess Charlotte Of Wales (Royal Berkshire Regiment).
The 49th, Princess Charlotte of Wale’s Regiment, a title granted in 1815 for its having formed a guard of honour for the Princess at Weymouth, is a Hertfordshire regiment. And in 1782 was so designated; and its linked battalion, the 66th, or Berkshire Regiment (also receiving its county title 1782), was united to it under the present name in 1882. The prefix “Royal” was bestowed upon the regiment because of the gallantry of the 1st battalion at Tofrek, near Suakin, in 1885. The 49th had a sort of colonial origin in two companies of the 22nd Regiment, which on returning to England, in Anne’s reign, had left them as “Independent Companies” in Jamaica. To these other six companies were added before they left the colony and became in 1744 a regiment of the Line, known at first as the 63rd Americans; but on the reduction of some other regiments it received its late number about 1748.Its first visit to England took place in 1762, when it was relieved by its present 2nd battalion; but it sailed West again to join Lord Howe in 1776, and fought at Bunker’s Hill, Brooklyn, Long Island, Brandywine, etc. During the campaign the light companies were allowed to wear red and the grenadiers white and black plumes; but the authority for this has disappeared.After doing hard work at St. Domingo, at Ostend and Egmont-op-Zee in 1798-99, as marines on board the fleet and at Copengagen in 1801, and in Canada between 1803 and 1814, fighting at Queenstown, Chrystler’s Farm, Fort George, Black Rock, Stony Creek, etc., the 49th did only general duty until 1841, when it shared in the first China War. It was engaged at Chusan, Canton, Amoy, Shanghai, and Ningpo, and for its gallant service earned the distinction of the “Dragon Badge.”
It was one of the earliest regiments in the Crimea, was present at the battles of the Alma and Inkerman, and shared in the siege of Sevastopol and the desperate fighting of the assaults on the Quarries and the Redan. In this campaign Sergeant G. Walters and Corporal J. Owens won the cross for valour for bravery and for assisting General Adams and Major Conolly. In 1882 it formed part of the army despatched to Egypt; did not accompany the rest of the army to Ismailia, but assisted in the capture of Kafr-ed-Dauar. Near Chalouffe one man of the 49th had an extraordinary escape-a shell passed between his legs and the explosion carried away the seat of his trousers, yet he was otherwise uninjured. It also did good service round Suakin, fighting at the battles of Hasheen and Tofrek in 1885, and shared in the arduous labours of the Nile campaign for the relief of Gordon.The 66th Foot, which is now the 2nd battalion of the Berkshire Regiment, formed in 1775, a 2nd battalion of the 19th regiment, but three years later it was made independent under its late number. After much foreign service, during which its first colours were deposited in the Court house of Kingston, Jamaica, instead of the parish church of a county town, it was first actively engaged at St. Domingo between 1795 and 1797, where its loss from various causes amounted to 705 officers and men.
Proceeding to India in 1806, it was with Ochterlony on the Nepaul frontier from 1814 to 1816, doing gallant service at Muckwanpore; and in 1817 it was amalgamated with a 2nd battalion, that had been raised in 1803, at ST. Helena, where it remained as a guard over the Emperor Napoleon I. Until he died, when the regiment formed the guard of honour at his funeral at Longwood. In Canada, from 1827 to 1841, it assisted in the suppression of the Rebellion of 1838, being present at the affair of St. Charles; during the Russian War it again served in North America. The 66th was in India from 1857 to 1865, when it came home; to return there in 1870 and take part later in the Afghan War as part of the Kandahar Field Force. It was engaged with General Burrows at Girishk, fought with the mutinous troops of the Wali of Kandahar in 1880, and again in the defence of the City, as well as in the battle fought by Sir Frederick Roberts which finished the campaign. But meanwhile, with the exception of two companies in garrison at Khelat-I-Gilzai, the bulk of the regiment had shared in the brilliant but disastrous “affair” of Maiwand. No pen can well describe the devoted bravery of the officers and men of the 66th on the 27th July, 1880, when they fought against overwhelming odds. Olivey and Honeywood carried the colours, and the latter was heard to cry as he held the flag on high, “Men, what shall we do to save this?” when he fell dead, as did Sergeant Major Cuphage, who next tried to take it. Elsewhere a detachment of about a hundred fought till all were slain, the last survivors forming a group, till “standing in the open, back to back, firing steadily and truly, every shot telling, surrounded by thousands, these eleven officers and men died.” A monument to the memory of these most gallant soldiers has since been erected in the public gardens at Reading.
The 66th had a distinguished 2nd battalion, mentioned above, from 1803 until 1817. It added the Peninsular battles to the honour-roll for its gallant services at the Douro, Busaco, Talavera, Albuhera (where it lost 316 men), Arroyo dos Molinos, Badajoz, Vittoria, Nivelle, Garros, Nive, Orthes, Toulouse, and Bayonne; and during the war its total loss was 547 officers and men, or more than half its strength. Forming part of the garrison of St. Helena in the early part of Napoleon’s exile there, it was amalgamated in 1817 with the 1st battalion, which came from India for that purpose.Before the Afghan War the 66th had a regimental pet named “Bob,” He was a dog, and was present at and survived the battle of Maiwand. He died at Chatham, and his dead body was stuffed to adorn the sergeant’s mess.The original facings of both battalions were green, the 49th having first “full” green and next “Lincoln green,” and the latter inheriting the colour from the 19th Regiment; now they are “Royal Blue.” The first regimental badge is the Chinese Dragon with “China,” derived from the 49th. The 66th provides the second, a stag under an oak, which was worn by the Berkshire Militia. The dragon, crowned, with “Berkshire” and “Princess Charlotte of Wale’s,” decorates the button; the dragon is worn on the collar and forage cap; the helmet-plate bears the stag, with the regimental title; the waist-plate the dragon and title.The Royal Berks Miltia forms the 3rd battalion. The volunteer battalion is furnished by the 1st Berkshire, with head-quarters at Reading, and is dressed in scarlet and blue. The Brigadier of the Home District Brigade, Lord Wantage, V.C., K.C.B., etc., was long its distinguished colonel. To this battalion are also attached the cadet corps of Wellington and Bradfield Colleges.The 49th see to have no “pet name”; the 66th were called the “Green Howards,” from the colour of their facings and their colonel’s name.
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