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Unit History: Royal Leicestershire Regiment

The Regiment was first formed in 1688 by Colonel Solomon Richards during the last days of King James II’s reign. After the Glorious Revolution, when Prince William of Orange deposed the unpopular James II to become King William III, the Regiment pledged allegiance to the new monarch and went on to serve during the War of the Spanish Succession in 1701. As was the tradition of the time the Regiment was known by the name of the various Colonels until 1751 when the naming convention was simplified and each Regiment assigned a raked number therefore becoming The 17th Regiment of Foot.

From 1756 the Regiment served in Canada as part of the brigade commanded by General Wolfe and helped capture of the French fortress of Louisberg (1758) and later at the attack on Quebec where he died. A black stripe was subsequently added to the Regimental ribbon to commemorate General Wolf. The Regiment went on to served with distinction in the West Indies, capturing the island of Martinique in 1762 and then Havannah and also during the American War of Independence (1775–1783). At the Battle of Princeton (1777) the Regiment was alone and surrounded by General Washington’s army, and managed to extricate itself through fierce hand to hand fighting.

In 1782 all British Regiments without Royal titles received a county titles in order to aid recruitment from that area, therefore the Regiment became The 17th (the Leicestershire) Regiment of Foot. The Regiment went on to serve in India for 18 years from 1804 as part of the Honourable East India Company (HEIC) which ruled India by proxy for the British government. It was involved in fighting at Bundelkund in 1807, on the Sutlej in 1808, The Gurkha War (1814–1816) and the relief of Nagpore in 1817. After this service the “Royal Tiger” badge was awarded to the Regiment.
In 1839 the Regiment proceeded to Afghanistan to again serve the HEIC in the First Afghan War (1839-1842) as they fought to restore the pro-British ruler, Shah Soojah after he was deposed by the pro-Russian Dost Mohamed. The 17th took part in the storming and capture of the Ghuznee fortress and Khelat. The Regiment went on to serve during the Crimean War (1853–1856) where it won its first Victoria Cross. It returned to Afghanistan for The Second Anglo-Afghan War (1878-79), and also served during The Second Boer War (1899-1902) where it defended Ladysmith while under siege and two World Wars.

In 1881 as part of The Childers reforms the Regiment was renamed The Leicestershire Regiment and in 1946 the Regiment was awarded the titled of "royal" and became the Royal Leicestershire Regiment. In 1964, The Royal Leicestershire Regiment was amalgamated with Norfolk and Suffolk Regiment and the Duchess of Gloucester's Own Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire Regiment to become The Royal Anglian Regiment.

Royal Leicestershire Regiment during WW1

Since 1815 the balance of power in Europe had been maintained by a series of treaties. In 1888 Wilhelm II was crowned ‘German Emperor and King of Prussia’ and moved from a policy of maintaining the status quo to a more aggressive position. He did not renew a treaty with Russia, aligned Germany with the declining Austro-Hungarian Empire and started to build a Navy rivalling that of Britain. These actions greatly concerned Germany’s neighbours, who quickly forged new treaties and alliances in the event of war. On 28th June 1914 Franz Ferdinand the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne was assassinated by the Bosnian-Serb nationalist group Young Bosnia who wanted pan-Serbian independence. Franz Joseph's the Austro-Hungarian Emperor (with the backing of Germany) responded aggressively, presenting Serbia with an intentionally unacceptable ultimatum, to provoke Serbia into war. Serbia agreed to 8 of the 10 terms and on the 28th July 1914 the Austro-Hungarian Empire declared war on Serbia, producing a cascade effect across Europe. Russia bound by treaty to Serbia declared war with Austro-Hungary, Germany declared war with Russia and France declared war with Germany. Germany’s army crossed into neutral Belgium in order to reach Paris, forcing Britain to declare war with Germany (due to the Treaty of London (1839) whereby Britain agreed to defend Belgium in the event of invasion). By the 4th August 1914 Britain and much of Europe were pulled into a war which would last 1,566 days, cost 8,528,831 lives and 28,938,073 casualties or missing on both sides.

The Regiment raised a total of 19 Battalions during the course of the First World War and served in France and Flanders, Mesopotamia and Palestine, losing approximately 6,000 men throughout the war.

1st Battalion
04.08.1914 Stationed at Fermoy, Ireland as part of the 16th Brigade of the 6th Division.
19.08.1914 Moved to Cambridge.
10.09.1914 Mobilised for war and landed at St. Nazaire and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
During 1914
The actions on the Aisne heights
17.11.1915 Transferred to the 71st Brigade of the same Division and continued to engaged in various action including;
During 1915
The action at Hooge
During 1916
The Battle of Flers-Courcelette, The Battle of Morval, The Battle of Le Transloy.
During 1917
The Battle of Hill 70, The Cambrai operations.
During 1918
The Battle of St Quentin, The Battle of Bailleul, The First Battle of Kemmel Ridge, The Second Battle of Kemmel Ridge, The Advance in Flanders, The Battle of Epehy, The Battle of the St Quentin Canal, The Battle of Beaurevoir, The Battle of Cambrai 1918, The pursuit to the Selle, The Battle of the Selle.
11.11.1918 Ended the war in France, Bohain.

2nd Battalion
04.08.1914 Stationed at Ranikhet, India as part of the Garhwal Brigade of the Meerut Division.
12.10.1914 Mobilised for war and landed at Marseilles and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including the Battle of Neuve Chapelle.
17.11.1915 Moved to Alexandria and transferred to the 28th Indian Brigade of the 7th Indian Division.
23.11.1915 Moved to Mesopotamia and engaged in various actions against the Ottoman Empire including; the battles of Shaikh Saad, Kut-al-Amara, the various battles of Sannaiyat, and the capture of Baghdad.
22.01.1918 Moved to Palestine and engaged in various actions against the Turkish army including; the captured of 'North and South Sister' Hills, raid of 'Piffer Ridge', and the Battle of Megiddo.
31.10.1918 Ended the war in Syria, Shaikh Badaur near Tripoli.

3rd (Reserve) Battalion
04.08.1914 Stationed at Leicester and then moved to Portsmouth.
May 1915 Moved to Hull where it remained for the duration of the war.

1/4th and 1/5th Battalion Territorial Force
04.08.1914 The 1/4th stationed at Leicester and the 1/5th stationed at Loughborough both as part of the Lincoln & Leicester Brigade of the North Midland Division, then moved to Luton.
03.03.1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Havre where the formation became the 138th Brigade of the 46th Division which engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
The German liquid fire attack at Hooge, The attack at the Hohenzollern Redoubt.
21.01.1916 Embarked for Egypt at Marseilles but disembarked the following day as the move was cancelled and once again engaged in various actions on the Western Front including; Attack at Gommecourt.
During 1917
Operations on the Ancre, Occupation of the Gommecourt defences, The attack on Rettemoy Graben, The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, The attack on Lievin, The Battle of Hill 70.
During 1918
The Battle of the St Quentin canal, The Battle of the Beaurevoir Line, The Battle of Cambrai, The Battle of the Selle, The Battle of Sambre.
11.11.1918 Ended the war in France, Sains du Nord S.E. of Avesnes.

2/4th and 2/5th Battalion Territorial Force
Sept 1914 The 2/4th formed at Leicester and the 2/5th formed at Loughborough and both moved to Luton to join the 2/1st Lincoln & Leicester Brigade of the 2/North Midland Division.
July 1915 Moved to St. Albans and the formation became 177th Brigade of the 59th Division.
April 1916 Moved to Ireland to quell the troubles there.
Jan 1917 Returned to England at Fovant, Wiltshire.
24.02.1917 Mobilised for war and landed in France and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
The pursuit of the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, The Battle of the Menin Road Ridge, The Battle of Polygon Wood, The capture of Bourlon Wood,
During 1918
The Battle of St Quentin, The Battle of Bapaume, The Battle of Bailleul, The First Battle of Kemmel Ridge.
03.02.1918 The 2/5th disbanded.
08.05.1918 The 2/4th reduced to training cadre and returned to England with the 16th Division.
20.06.1918 Absorbed by the 14th Leicester Battalion at Aldeburgh.

3/4th & 3/5th Battalion Territorial Force
1915 Formed.
April 1916 Became the 4th and 5th Reserve Battalions.
01.09.1916 The 4th absorbed the 5th and moved to Grantham and then Catterick, then on to North Coates and Louth as part of the North Midland Brigade Territorial Force.

6th and 7th (Service) Battalion
Aug 1914 The 6th formed at Leicester as part of the First New Army (K1).
Sept 1914 The 7th formed at Leicester as part of the Second New Army (K2) and both moved to Aldershot, the 6th attached to the 6th Division and the 7th attached to the 15th Division.
April 1915 Transferred to the 110th Brigade of the 37th Division and moved to Salisbury Plain.
29.07.1915 Mobilised for war and landed in France and engaged in various actions on the Western Front.
07.07.1916 Transferred to the 110th Brigade of the 21st Division and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
During 1916
The Battle of Bazentin Ridge, The Battle of Flers-Courcelette, The Battle of Morval, The Battle of Le Transloy.
During 1917
The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, The First and Third Battles of the Scarpe, The flanking operations around Bullecourt, The Battle of Polygon Wood, The Battle of Broodseinde, The Second Battle of Passchendaele, The Cambrai Operations.
During 1918
The Battle of St Quentin, The First Battle of Bapaume, The Battle of Messines, The Second Battle of Kemmel, The Battle of the Aisne 1918, The Battle of Albert, The Second Battle of Bapaume, The Battle of Epehy, The Battle of the St Quentin Canal, The Battle of Cambrai 1918, The Battle of the Selle.
11.11.1918 Ended the war in France, Berlaimont.

8th (Service) Battalion
Sept 1914 Formed at Leicester as part of the Third New Army (K3) and moved to Aldershot attached to the 23rd Division.
April 1915 Transferred to the 110th Brigade of the 37th Division and then moved to Salisbury Plain.
29.07.1915 Mobilised for war and landed in France.
07.07.1916 Transferred to the 110th Brigade of the 21st Division and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
During 1916
The Battle of Bazentin Ridge, The Battle of Flers-Courcelette, The Battle of Morval, The Battle of Le Transloy.
During 1917
The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, The First and Third Battles of the Scarpe, The flanking operations around Bullecourt, The Battle of Polygon Wood, The Battle of Broodseinde, The Second Battle of Passchendaele, The Cambrai Operations.
28.06.1918 Reduced to Training cadre and surplus personnel transferred to the 7th Battalion.
29.06.1918 Transferred to the 25th Division and returned to England.
07.07.1918 Cadre formed the 14th West Riding Regiment at Clacton.

9th (Service) Battalion
Sept 1914 Formed at Leicester as part of the Third New Army (K3) and moved to Aldershot attached to the 23rd Division.
April 1915 Transferred to the 110th Brigade of the 37th Division and then moved to Salisbury Plain.
29.07.1915 Mobilised for war and landed in France.
07.07.1916 Transferred to the 110th Brigade of the 21st Division and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
During 1916
The Battle of Bazentin Ridge, The Battle of Flers-Courcelette, The Battle of Morval, The Battle of Le Transloy.
During 1917
The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, The First and Third Battles of the Scarpe, The flanking operations around Bullecourt, The Battle of Polygon Wood, The Battle of Broodseinde, The Second Battle of Passchendaele, The Cambrai Operations.
20.02.1918 Disbanded in France at Moislains, remaining personnel to the 6th 7th 8th and 11th Battalion and VII Corps Reinforcement Camp.

10th (Reserve) Battalion
Nov 1914 Formed at Portsmouth as a service battalion of the Fourth New Army (K4) and joined the 96th Brigade of the 32nd Division.
10.04.1915 Became the 2nd reserve battalion.
June 1915 Moved to Barnards Castle and then Rugeley as part of the 1st Reserve Brigade.
01.09.1916 Became the 5th Training Reserve Battalion.

11th (Service) Battalion (Midland Pioneers)
Oct 1915 Formed at Leicester by the Mayor and local committee.
Mar 1916 Mobilised for war and landed in France and attached to the 6th Division which engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
During 1916
The Battle of Flers-Courcelette, The Battle of Morval, The Battle of Le Transloy.
During 1917
The Battle of Hill 70, The Cambrai operations.
During 1918
The Battle of St Quentin, The Battle of Bailleul, The First Battle of Kemmel Ridge, The Second Battle of Kemmel Ridge, The Advance in Flanders, The Battle of Epehy, The Battle of the St Quentin Canal, The Battle of Beaurevoir, The Battle of Cambrai 1918, The pursuit to the Selle, The Battle of the Selle.
11.11.1918 Ended the war in France, Bohain.

12th (Reserve) Battalion
Mar 1916 Formed at Leicester from the depot companies of the 11th and 19th Reserve Brigade as a local reserve battalion.
July 1916 Moved to Newcastle-on-Tyne.
01.09.1916 Became the 83rd Training reserve Battalion in the 19th Reserve Brigade.

13th (Labour) Battalion
Autumn 1916 Formed.
April 1917 Mobilised for war and landed in France.
April 1917 Attached to the Labour Corps as the 20th and 21st Labour Companies.

14th (Service) Battalion
June 1918 Formed at Aldeburgh absorbing the 2/4th Battalion.
26.06.1918 Joined the 47th Brigade of the 16th Division and moved to Aldershot.
30.07.1918 Mobilised for war and landed in France and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including; The Final Advance in Artois.
11.11.1918 Ended the war in Belgium, south of Tournai.

1st (Home Service) Garrison Battalion
May 1916 Formed at Easington where it remained.
Aug 1917 Became the 9th Battalion of the Royal Defence Corps.

51st (Graduated) Battalion
27.10.1917 Formed at Ipswich from the 261st Graduated battalion (previously the 10th Training Reserve Battalion), as part of the 216th Brigade of the 72nd Division.
Jan 1918 Transferred to the 207th Brigade of the 69th Division and moved to Clipstone.
April 1918 Moved to Thoresby Park and transferred to the 208th Brigade of the same Division.

52nd (Graduated) Battalion
27.10.1917 Formed at Essex from the 267th Graduated battalion (previously the 15th Training Reserve Battalion), as part of the 218th Brigade of the 73rd Division.
Jan 1918 Transferred to the 207th Brigade of the 69th Division and moved to Clipstone.
April 1918 Moved to Thoresby Park and transferred to the 208th Brigade of the same Division.

53rd (Young Soldier) Battalion
27.10.1917 Formed at Rugeley from the 12th Young Soldier Battalion of the Training Reserve (previously the 13th Sherwood Foresters), then moved to Cannock Chase in the 1st Training Reserve Brigade.
Nov 1918 Moved to Clipstone.

Forces Reunited Forum Posts Involving Royal Leicestershire Regiment

"...Signal Regiment Movement Control, Bristol Channel Ports Queens Own Royal West Kent Regiment Radio Servicing Flight (RSF) RAF Hunsdon RFA Wave Commander RIT Royal Canadian Regiment Airborne Royal Engineers Band Chatham Royal Jordanian Air Force Royal Leicestershire Regiment Royal Navy Submarine Service Royal Signals Catterick Camp Royal Warwickshire Fusiliers Singapore Signals Centre ACSEA Special Security Force Special Wireless Regiment Thornhill Barracks Aldershot Training Battalion RASC ..."
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"Richard Murray. Royal Leicestershire Regiment. 1962 - 1965"
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"Please contact me on my E mail address.It would be great to hear from you and talk over old times in the Tigers.Roger G Hill Intelligence Section Royal Leicestershire Regiment Buller Barracks Münster Germany"
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"Geoff Wardle served with the 1st Royal Leicestershire Regiment. 1958 to 1964"
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"Michael (Dick) Greatrex. Royal Warwickshire Regiment June 1957 to January 1959. Royal Leicestershire Regiment from January 1959 to June 1959"
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Active From: 1782 - 1964

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