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Unit History: Northamptonshire Regiment

Northamptonshire Regiment The Regiment was officially formed in 1881 as part of the Childers reforms when the 48th and 58th Regiments of Foot were amalgamated. However the Regiment can trace its history back a further 140 years prior to this date.

The 48th Regiment of Foot was first formed in 1741 by James Cholmondeley in Norwich, as part of seven Infantry Regiments raised to expand the British Army during the War of Austrian Succession (1740–48). It saw its first action in 1745 when Bonnie Prince Charlie (the grandson of James II) landed in Scotland, attempting to regain the crown to the Stuart family and the Regiment fought at the Battle of Falkirk and Culloden. The 58th Regiment of Foot was first formed in 1755 during the Seven Years’ War, originally number as the 60th Regiment it was renumber the 58th in 1757 following the disbandment of senior Regiments.

During the Seven Years War (1754-1763) the 48th was deployed to North America as part of Major-General Edward Braddock’s campaign to halt the advance of the French into British claimed territories on the East coast. The 48th went on to serve in the West Indies and helped to capture the French Island of Martinique and Havana. In 1773 prior to the American War of Independence (1775–1783), the 48th was stationed in the West Indies and was captured by French forces. The 48th were finally repatriated back to England in 1780 and located in Northampton. In 1782 all British Regiments without Royal titles were awarded county titles in order to aid recruitment from that region therefore the 48th became the 48th (Northamptonshire) Regiment of Foot and the 58th became the 58th (Rutlanshire) Regiment of Foot. Both Regiments took part in the Great Siege of Gibraltar when Franco/Spanish forces attempted to capture Gibraltar for 3 years and seven months.

The 58th went on to serve in Egypt during the French Revolutionary War (1792-1802) fighting at the Battle of Alexandria and Calabria, it also took part in the Capture of Minorca (1798). Both Regiments served during the Peninsular War , the 58th fought at the Battles of Salamanca and Burgos and the 48th fought at the Battles of Talavera, Douro, Albuhera, Badajoz, Salamanca, Vittoria, Pyrenees, Nivelle, Orthes, Toulouse, Albuera.

Both Regiments went on to serve in Australia in various locations, the 48th garrisoned Sydney, Newcastle, Port Macquarie and Parramatta while the 58th took over garrison duties in New South Wales. The 58th also went on to serve in New Zealand from 1845 during the 1st Maori War (1845-47) and remained in New Zealand until 1858 when over 300 men chose to take their discharge in New Zealand. The 48th went on to served during the Crimean War (1854 -56) fighting at the Battle of Sevastopol. While the 58th served in the final stages of Anglo-Zulu War (1879) fighting at the Battle of Ulundi.

In 1881 the Childers Reforms restructured the British army into a network of multi-battalion Regiments, the 48th and the 58th Regiments of Foot were merged to form the Northamptonshire Regiment. The newly formed Regiment went on to serve North West Frontier Operations 1897-98, Second Boer War (1899 - 1902) and two World Wars.

In 1960 the Regiment was merged with the Royal Lincolnshire Regiment to become the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Anglian Regiment.

Northamptonshire 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 to rival 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 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 13 Battalions and received 58 Battle Honours, 4 Victoria Crosses and lost 5,950 men during the course of the war.

1st Battalion
04.08.1914 Stationed at Blackdown, Aldershot as part of the 2nd Brigade of the 1st Division.
13.08.1914 Mobilised for war and Landed at Havre and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
1914
The Battle of Mons and the subsequent retreat, The Battle of the Marne, The Battle of the Aisne, First Battle of Ypres.
1915
Winter Operations 1914-15, The Battle of Aubers, The Battle of Loos.
1916
The Battle of Albert, The Battle of Bazentin, The Battle of Pozieres, The Battle of Flers-Courcelette, The Battle of Morval.
1917
The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, The Second Battle of Passchendaele.
1918
The Battle of Estaires, The Battle of Hazebrouck, The Battle of Bethune, The Battle of Drocourt-Queant, The Battle of Epehy, The Battle of the St Quentin Canal, The Battle of Beaurevoir, The Battle of the Selle, The Battle of the Sambre.
11.11.1918 Ended the war at Fresnoy-le-Grand S.W. of Bohain, France.

2nd Battalion
04.08.1914 Stationed at Alexandria.
Oct 1914 Returned to England at Hursley Park, Winchester to join the 24th Brigade of the 8th Division.
05.11.1914 Mobilised for war and landed at Havre where the 24th Brigade joined the 23rd Division which engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
1915
Trench familiarisation as part of the 20th (Light) and 27th Divisions then took control of the front line at Ferme Grande Flamengrie to the Armentieres-Wez Macquart road and at Bois Grenier.
1916
The German Attack on Vimy Ridge, The Battle of Albert.
15.07.1916 Brigade transferred back to the 8th Division;
1917
The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, The Battle of Pilkem, The Battle of Langemarck.
1918
The Battle of St Quentin, The actions at the Somme crossings, The Battle of Rosieres, The actions of Villers-Bretonneux, The Battle of the Aisne 1918, The Battle of the Scarpe, The Final Advance in Artois.
11.11.1918 Ended the war at Bermissart west of Mons, Belgium.

3rd (Reserve) Battalion
04.08.1914 Formed at Northampton and then moved to Portland.
May 1915 Moved to Gillingham, Kent and then to Strood.
Mar 1916 Moved to Gillingham.
May 1918 Moved to Scrapsgate, Sheppey where it remained.

1/4th Battalion Territorial Force
04.08.1914 Formed at Northampton as part of the East Midlands Brigade of the East Anglian Division and then moved to Bury St. Edmunds.
May 1915 The formation became the 162nd Brigade of the 54th Division and then moved to St. Albans area.
July 1915 Deployed to Lemnos.
15.08.1915 Landed at Suvla Bay and engaged in various actions against the Turkish Army.
Dec 1915 Moved to Egypt to defend the Suez Canal. Then engaged in the Palestine Campaign;
1917
The First Battle of Gaza, The Second Battle of Gaza, The Third Battle of Gaza, The Capture of Gaza, The Battle of Jaffa.
1918
The fight at Ras el'Ain, The operations at Berukin, The Battle of Sharon.
31.10.1918 Ended the war in Beirut, Palestine.

2/4th Battalion Territorial Force
27.11.1914 Formed at Northampton.
1915 Moved to Thetford and then transferred to the 207th Brigade of the 69th Division.
June 1916 Moved to Harrogate and then Stockton.
May 1917 Moved to Carburton Camp, Notts and then on to Clipstone.
14.03.1918 Disbanded and remaining personnel to the 4th (Reserve) Battalion.

3/4th Battalion Territorial Force
12.05.1915 Formed at Northampton and then moved to Windsor Great Park.
Oct 1915 Moved to Halton Park, Tring.
08.04.1916 Became the 4th (Reserve) Battalion.
01.09.1916 Transferred to the East Anglian Reserve Brigade Territorial Force and moved to Halton Park.
Aug 1917 Moved to Crowborough.
Sept 1918 Moved to St Leonards.

5th (Service) Battalion (Pioneers)
Aug 1914 Formed at Northampton as part of the First New Army (K1) and then moved to Shorncliffe attached to the 12th Division and then moved to Hythe.
Jan 1915 Became a Pioneer Battalion of the 12th Division.
Feb 12915 Moved to Aldershot.
30.05.1915 Mobilised for war and landed in France and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
1915
The Battle of Loos.
1916
The Battle of Albert, The Battle of Pozieres, The Battle of Le Transloy.
1917
The First Battle of the Scarpe, The Battle of Arleux, The Third Battle of the Scarpe, The Cambrai operations.
1918
The Battle of Bapaume, The First Battle of Arras 1918, The Battle of Amiens, The Battle of Albert, The Battle of Epehy, The Final Advance in Artois.
11.11.1918 Ended the war east of Orchies, France.

6th (Service) Battalion
Sept 1914 Formed at Northampton as part of the Second New Army (K2) and then moved to Colchester attached to the 18th Division.
Nov 1914 Transferred to the 54th Brigade of the 18th Division.
May 1915 Moved to Salisbury Plain.
26.07.1915 Mobilised for war and landed in France and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
1916
The Battle of Albert, The Battle of Bazentin Ridge, The Battle of Delville Wood, The Battle of Thiepval Ridge, The Battle of the Ancre Heights, The Battle of the Ancre.
1917
Operations on the Ancre, The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, The Third Battle of the Scarpe, The Battle of Pilkem Ridge, The Battle of Langemarck, First Battle of Passchendaele, and The Second Battle of Passchendaele.
1918
The Battle of St Quentin, The Battle of the Avre, The actions of Villers-Brettoneux, The Battle of Amiens, The Battle of Albert, The Second Battle of Bapaume, The Battle of Epehy, The Battle of the St Quentin Canal, The Battle of the Selle, The Battle of the Sambre.
11.11.1918 Ended the war near Le Cateau, France.

7th (Service) Battalion
Sept 1914 Formed at Northampton as part of the Third New Army (K3) and then moved to the South Downs to join the 73rd Brigade of the 24th Division.
Nov 1914 Moved to Southwick.
June 1915 Moved to Inkerman Barracks, Woking.
02.09.1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
1915
The Battle of Loos. (the Division suffered severe casualties and took the rest of the year to rebuild).
1916
The German gas attack at Wulverghem, The Battle of Delville Wood, The Battle of Guillemont.
1917
The Battle of Vimy Ridge, The Battle of Messines, The Battle of Pilkem Ridge, The Battle of Langemarck, The Cambrai Operations.
1918
The Battle of St Quentin, The Actions at the Somme Crossings, The Battle of Rosieres, The First Battle of the Avre, The Battle of Cambrai 1918, The pursuit to the Selle, The Battle of the Sambre, The passage of the Grand Honelle.
11.11.1918 Ended the war at Louvignies near Bavai, France

8th (Reserve) Battalion
Oct 1914 Formed at Weymouth as part of the Fourth New Army (K4) as a Service Battalion of the 103rd Brigade of the 34th Division.
Jan 1915 Moved to Penzance and became a 2nd Reserve Battalion then moved to Colchester.
Mar 1916 Moved to Sittingbourne as part of the 6th Reserve Brigade.

9th Battalion Territorial Force
01.01.1917 Formed at Cley, Norfolk from the 62nd Provisional Battalion of the 223rd Brigade.
1918 Moved to Sheringham until the end of the war.

1st Garrison Battalion
Sept 1915 Formed at Warlington.
Oct 1915 Deployed to Egypt and then Palestine.
Oct 1918 Deployed to Salonika.

2nd (Home Service) Garrison Battalion
June 1916 Formed at Isle of Grain, Sheerness.
Aug 1917 Became the 13th Battalion of the Royal Defence Corps.

Forces Reunited Gallery Images Matching Northamptonshire Regiment

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Memories of Northamptonshire Regiment

(Memories written by members of Forces Reunited)

Northamptonshire Regiment, Malaya in 1947

Written by Sydney William Thomas Wake

Swimming in the sea at Port Dickson on New Years day, followed by beach party. The band for the party was Private Wake, Corporal Walker and Captain Patten.

Forces Reunited Forum Posts Involving Northamptonshire Regiment

"The Northamptonshire Regiment were known as the Steelbacks. I don’t know if it was ever actually said at any time, but my father used to quote,"halt the Bays, steady The Greys, and let the Steelbacks pass." "
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"My fathers WWII service consisted mainly of 1 Northamptonshire Regiment guarding 28 POW camp (mainly Italians I believe) in India. I should like to find out all I can about this camp. "
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"I was at Doniford with the Northamptonshire Regiment for the amalgamation with the Royal Lincolns in 1961. I was "A" company Clerk. "
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"Hello All, Anyone out there who served with 1st Batallion the Northamptonshire Regiment, 1955 - 6 - 7 at San Wai Camp, Fanling, Hong Kong and later at Doniford Camp, Watchet, Somerset ? Corp. Alan (Creepy) Crawley of the Signal Platoon and later "A" Company calling. Any of my old mates about ?"
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" I am looking for the battle & casualty records of my grandather’s battalion in WW1, the 1st Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment 1914-18. He was was killed 24th September 1918 was buried and later moved and re-interred in Bellicourt Cemetery France. I would like to know how i can find out where he fell and was originally buried, medals given, service, where he served and his unit, and any other dispatches from the battalion and any records of his service in the Army "
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Active From: 1741 - 1960

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