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Unit History: Queen's (Royal West Surrey Regiment)

Queen's (Royal West Surrey Regiment) The Regiment is the oldest English line Infantry Regiment in the British Army as it was first raised in 1661 as The Earl of Peterborough’s Regiment of Foot, by Henry Mordaunt 2nd Earl of Peterborough. The newly-restored King Charles II agreed to marry Catherine of Braganza and gained possession of Portuguese territories of Bombay and Tangier as part of her Dowry in return for her religious freedom and military support for Portugal against Spain. The Regiment was raised to garrison Tangier and defend against the Moors, also becoming known as the Tangier Regiment, remaining in Tangier for 23 years.

Upon its return to England (due to financial pressures Charles II chose to abandon Tangier) it was granted the Royal title of the Queen Dowager’s Regiment of Foot. After the King’s death the crown passed to his brother King James II, who only reigned for only 3 years due to his unpopular Catholic convictions, in Protestant England. However, the Regiment was soon in action for its new King at the Battle of Sedgemoor during the Monmouth Rebellion (1685), when James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth (the oldest of Charles II illegitimate sons and the current King’s nephew) unsuccessfully attempted to overthrow King James II. Four year later it would be fighting against the King at the Battle of Boyne, following the Glorious Revolution of 1688, when Prince William of Orange was invited to take the throne by the English Lords becoming King William III and deposing James II.

The Regiment went on to serve during the Spanish War of Succession (1701–1714) fighting at Cadiz, Vigo, the sieges of Valencia de Alcantara, Alburquerque, Badajoz, Alcantara and Ciudad Rodrigo, and at the disastrous Battle of Almansa where the Regiment was virtually destroyed. In 1703 the Regiment confirmed its reputation for tenacity and courage at the Battle of Tongres, where 40,000 French troops were held at bay by the Regiment and one Dutch Battalion for 28 hours until reinforcements arrived. For this action it was awarded the title ‘Royal’ to become The Queen's Royal Regiment of Foot.

In 1715, the Regiment was renamed ‘The Princess of Wales's Own Regiment of Foot’ after Caroline of Ansbach, Princess of Wales. In 1727 it once again became the Queen’s Regiment with the ascension of the Princess of Wales to Queen Caroline, queen-consort to George II. In 1751 it was ranked as 2nd Foot and renamed the ‘2nd (The Queen's Royal) Regiment of Foot’.

In 1808 after a period of garrison duty in various areas the Regiment served during the Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815), fighting at the Battles of Vimeiro and Corunna and then took part in the unsuccessful Walcheren Campaign, returning to the Peninsular for the Battle of Fuentes de Oñoro, the second Siege of Ciudad Rodrigo, the Battle of Salamanca and the unsuccessful Siege of Burgos. The Regiment was so depleted by combat and disease in 1812 it formed a Provisional Battalion with the 53rd Foot before going onto fight at the Battle of Vittoria, the Siege of San Sebastian and the Battles of Orthes and Toulouse.

The Regiment went on to serve during the First Afghan War and was part of the force that stormed the previously-impregnable city of Ghazni to open up the way to Kabul. The Regiment also took part in the Cape Frontier Wars (1811-1858) in South Africa, when the native Xhosa tribes became armed and rebelled against continuing European rule. The Regiment gained enduring admiration in 1852, when 52 men of the Regiment (as well as men of the 74th (Highland) Regiment of Foot) on board the shipwrecked HMS Birkenhead, paraded on deck while the women and children were put into the lifeboats.

In 1881 The Childers Reforms restructured the British army infantry Regiments into a network of multi-battalion Regiments of two regular and two militia battalions. The Queen’s avoided amalgamation with any other Regiment but it became associated with West Surrey and was re-titled as The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey Regiment). The Regiment went onto serve in the Third Anglo-Burmese War (1885), the Second Opium War (1856–1860), took part in the Tirah Expedition (1897–1898) on the North-West Frontier and the Second Boer War (1899–1902) as well as two World Wars.

In 1921, its title was slightly altered to The Queen's Royal Regiment (West Surrey) and by 1950 it was simply known as The Queen's Royal Regiment. In 1959 the Regiment was amalgamated with the East Surrey Regiment to form the Queen's Royal Surrey Regiment and in 1992 it was further amalgamated with The Royal Hampshire Regiment to form The Princesses of Wales's Royal Regiment.

Queen's (Royal West Surrey Regiment) during WW1

The Regiment formed 28 Battalions and was awarded 74 Battle Honours and 4 Victoria Crosses, losing 8,000 men during the course of the First World War.

1st Battalion
04.08.1914 Stationed at Bordon as part of the 3rd 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.
08.11.1914 Transferred to I Corps Troops.
21.07.1915 Transferred to the 5th Brigade of the 2nd Division;
1915
The Battle of Festubert, The Battle of Loos.
15.12.1915 Transferred to the 100th Brigade of the 33rd Division;
1916
The Battle of Albert, The Battle of Bazentin, The attacks on High Wood, The capture of Boritska and Dewdrop Trenches.
1917
The First Battle of the Scarpe, The Second Battle of the Scarpe, The actions on the Hindenburg Line, Operations on the Flanders coast (Operation Hush), The Battle of the Menin Road Ridge, The Battle of Polygon Wood.
05.02.1918 Transferred to the 19th Brigade of the 33rd Division;
1918
The Battle of Messines, The Battle of Hazebrouck, The Battle of Bailleul, The defence of Neuve Eglise, The First Battle for Kemmel Ridge, The fighting for and recapture of Ridge Wood, The Battle of the Epehy, The Battle of the St Quentin Canal, The Battle of the Beaurevoir Line, The Battle of Cambrai, The pursuit to the Selle, The Battle of the Selle.
11.11.1918 Ended the war in Berlaimont, France.

2nd Battalion
04.08.1914 Stationed at Pretoria, South Africa.
27.08.1914 Embarked for England from Cape Town arriving at Southampton 19.09.1914 and moved to Lyndhurst to join the 22nd Brigade of the 7th Division.
06.10.1914 Mobilised for war and landed at Zeebrugge and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
1914
The First Battle of Ypres (the Division suffered such heavy casualties it took until 1915 to rebuild up to full strength).
1915
The Battle of Neuve Chapelle, The Battle of Aubers, The Battle of Festubert, The second action of Givenchy, The Battle of Loos.
20.12.1915 Transferred to the 91st Brigade of the 7th Division;
1916
The Battle of Albert, The Battle of Bazentin, The Battle of Delville Wood, The Battle of Guillemont, Operations on the Ancre.
1917
The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, The Battle of Polygon Wood, The Battle of Broodseinde, The Battle of Poelcapelle, The Second Battle of Passchendaele.
24.11.1917 Deployed to Italy to strengthen the Italian resistance after a recent disaster at Caporetto and positioned along the River Piave and engaged in various actions including; the Battle of Vittorio Veneto.
04.11.1918 Ended the war in Italy west of Udine.

3rd (Reserve) Battalion
04.08.1914 Stationed at Guildford.
Aug 1914 Moved to Chattenden on Thames Medway Defences.
Nov 1914 Moved to Rochester.
Feb 1916 Moved to Sittingbourne as part of the Sittingbourne Special Reserve Brigade.

1/4th Battalion Territorial Force
04.08.1914 Stationed at Croydon as part of the Surrey Brigade of the Home Counties Division then moved to Maidstone and then Canterbury.
29.10.1914 Embarked For India from Southampton arriving at Bombay 03.12.1914 and the Division broken up and Battalion remained in India until the end of the war.

1/5th Battalion Territorial Force
04.08.1914 Stationed at Guildford as part of the Surrey Brigade of the Home Counties Division then moved to Maidstone and then Canterbury.
29.10.1914 Embarked For India from Southampton arriving at Bombay 02.12.1914 and the Division broken up.
07.12.1915 Deployed to Basra and joined the 34th Indian Brigade.
11.11.1916 Transferred to the 12th Indian Brigade of the 12th Indian Division.
May 1916 Brigade transferred to the 15th Indian Division.
31.10.1918 Ended the war in Mesopotamia, near Hilla south of Baghdad.

2/4th Battalion Territorial Force
Aug 1914 Formed at Croydon and then moved to Windsor to join the 2/Surrey Brigade of the 2/Home Counties Division.
24.04.1915 Moved to Cambridge and transferred to the 160th Brigade of the 53rd Division.
18.07.1915 Mobilised for war and embarked for Gallipoli from Devonport, Plymouth.
09.08.1915 Landed at Gallipoli and engaged in various actions against the Turkish Army.
19.12.1915 Evacuated from Gallipoli to Egypt due to severe casualties from combat, disease and harsh weather. (The Division was reduced to just 162 officers and 2428 men approx. 15% of its full strength). The Division then went on to fight in the Palestine Campaign;
1916
The Battle of Romani.
1917
The First Battle of Gaza, The Second Battle of Gaza, The Third Battle of Gaza, The Capture of Beersheba, The Capture of Tell Khuweilfe, The Capture of Jerusalem, The Defence of Jerusalem.
1918
The Battle of Tell'Asur.
22.06.1918 Deployed to Belgium from Alexandria via Taranto, Italy.
29.06.1918 Transferred to the 101st Brigade of the 34th Division at Proven, Belgium;
The Battle of the Soissonais and of the Ourcq, The capture of Baigneux Ridge, The Battle of Ypres, The Battle of Courtrai, The action of Ooteghem, The action of Tieghem.
11.11.1918 Ended the war near Courtrai, Belgium.

2/5th Battalion Territorial Force
Sept 1914 Formed at Guildford and then moved to Windsor to join the 2/Surrey Brigade of the 2/Home Counties Division.
May 1915 400 men transferred to the 2/4th Battalion of the 53rd Division to form composite battalion.
Nov 1915 Moved to Reigate.
July 1916 Moved to Westbere, then to Margate and then back to Westbere.
Sept 1917 All available men posted as drafts and remained absorbed into the 200th Brigade.
Aug 1915 2/Home Counties Division became the 67th Division.

3/4th Battalion Territorial Force
June 1915 Formed at Windsor from excess personnel of the 2/4th Battalion after joining the 53rd Division as a composite Battalion.
July 1915 Moved to Tunbridge Wells and transferred to the 200th Brigade of the 67th Division.
Oct 1915 Moved to Reigate and the Westbere and then Ramsgate.
April 1917 Moved back to Westbere.
01.06.1917 Mobilised for war and landed at Havre and attached to the 9th 4th and 12th Divisions.
09.08.1917 Transferred to 62nd Brigade of the 21st Division and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
1917
The Battle of Polygon Wood, The Battle of Broodseinde, The Second Battle of Passchendaele, The Cambrai Operations.
11.02.1918 Disbanded at Moislains remaining personnel to the 1st 6th 7th and 8th Battalions.

3/5th Battalion Territorial Force
01.06.1915 Formed at Guildford, then moved to Windsor and then Purfleet and Cambridge.
08.04.1916 Became the 5th (Reserve) Battalion and moved to Crowborough.
01.09.1916 Absorbed into the 4th (Reserve) Battalion.

4/4th Battalion Territorial Force
July 1915 Formed at Croydon then moved to Windsor and then Purfleet.
08.04.1916 Became the 4th (Reserve) Battalion and moved to Crowborough.
01.09.1916 Absorbed into the 5th (Reserve) Battalion.
Oct 1916 Moved to Tunbridge Wells where it remained as part of the Home Counties Reserve Brigade of the Territorial Force.

6th (Service) Battalion
Aug 1914 Formed at Guildford as part of the First New Army (K1) and then moved to Purfleet to join the 37th Brigade of the 12th Division then moved to Hythe.
Feb 1915 Moved to Aldershot.
May 1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne
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 in Rumegies, East of Orchies, France.

7th (Service) Battalion
Sept 1914 Formed at Guildford as part of the Second New Army (K2) and then moved to Purfleet to join the 55th Brigade of the 18th Division then moved to Colchester.
May 1915 Moved to Salisbury Plain.
27.07.1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne
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, 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 at Pommereuil east of Le Cateau, France.

8th (Service) Battalion
Sept 1914 Formed at Guildford as part of the Third New Army (K3) and then moved to Shoreham to join the 72nd Brigade of the 24th Division then moved to Worthing.
April 1915 Moved back to Shoreham and then Blackdown, Aldershot.
31.08.1915 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 over 4178 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.
07.02.1918 Transferred to the 17th Brigade of the same Division.
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 Bavai, France.

9th (Service) Battalion
Oct 1914 Formed at Gravesend as a service battalion of the Fourth New Army (K4) in the 93rd Brigade of the 31st Division.
Mar 1915 Moved to Wrotham and became a 2nd Reserve Battalion and the Brigade became the 5th Reserve Brigade.
May 1915 Moved to Colchester and then Shoreham.
01.09.1916 Absorbed into the Training Reserve Battalion.

10th (Service) Battalion (Battersea)
03.06.1915 Formed by the Mayor and Borough of Battersea and joined the 124th Brigade of the 41st Division.
Feb 1916 Moved to Stanhope Lines, Aldershot.
06.05.1916 Mobilised for war and landed at Havre and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
1916
The Battle of Flers-Courcelette, The Battle of the Transloy Ridges.
1917
The Battle of Messines, The Battle of Pilkem Ridge, The Battle of the Menin Road, Operations on the Flanders coast.
Nov 1917 Deployed to Italy to strengthen the Italian resistance after a recent disaster at Caporetto and positioned along the River Piave.
05.03.1918 Deployed back to France;
1918
The Battle of St Quentin, The Battle of Bapaume, The Battle of Arras, The Battles of the Lys, The Advance in Flanders, The Battle of Ypres, The Battle of Courtrai, The action of Ooteghem.
11.11.1918 Ended the war at Tenbosch near Nederbrakel, Belgium.

11th (Service) Battalion (Lambeth)
16.06.1915 Formed by the Mayor and Borough of Lambeth.
Feb 1916 Moved to Aldershot and joined the 123rd Brigade of the 41st Division.
05.05.1916 Mobilised for war and landed at Havre
1916
The Battle of Flers-Courcelette, The Battle of the Transloy Ridges.
1917
The Battle of Messines, The Battle of Pilkem Ridge, The Battle of the Menin Road, Operations on the Flanders coast.
Nov 1917 Deployed to Italy to strengthen the Italian resistance after a recent disaster at Caporetto and positioned along the River Piave.
05.03.1918 Deployed back to France;
1918
The Battle of St Quentin, The Battle of Bapaume, The Battle of Arras, The Battles of the Lys, The Advance in Flanders, The Battle of Ypres, The Battle of Courtrai, The action of Ooteghem.
11.11.1918 Ended the war at west of Nederbrakel, Belgium.

12th (Reserve) Battalion
Oct 1915 Formed at Brixton from the depot companies of the 10th & 11th Battalions as a local reserve battalion, then moved to Northampton and joined the 23rd Reserve Brigade.
May 1916 Moved to Aldershot.
01.09.1916 Became the 97th Training Reserve Battalion of the 23rd Reserve Brigade.

13th 14th & 15th (Labour) Battalions
July – Sept 1916 The 13th formed at Balmer and the 14th & 15th formed at Crawley then went to France.
01.06.1917 Transferred to Labour Corps as the 93rd 94th 95th 96th 97th & 98th Labour Companies.

16th (Home Service) Battalion
11.11.1916 Formed at Farnham and joined the 213th Brigade of the 71st Division.
Mar 1917 Moved to Colchester.
Nov 1917 Transferred to the 214th Brigade of the same Division.
12.02.1918 Transferred to the 67th Division.
Oct 1918 Left 67th Division and remained at Colchester.

17th & 18th (Labour) Battalion
Nov 1916 Formed at Crawley.
Mar 1917 Moved to Purfleet.
Jun 1917 Transferred to Labour Corps and became Eastern Command Labour Centre.

19th Battalion Territorial Force
01.01.1917 Formed in Lowestoft from the 69th Provisional Battalion of the 225th Brigade and remained at Lowestoft.

20th Battalion
01.06.1918 Formed at Cromer.
03.07.1918 Absorbed by the 21st Middlesex Regiment.

51st (Graduated) Battalion
27.10.1917 Formed at Thoresby from the 245th Graduated Battalion (previously the 28th Training Reserve Battalion) of the 208th Brigade of the 69th Division.
Jan 1918 Moved to Sheffield.
April 1918 Moved to Norwich and transferred to the 192nd Brigade of the 64th Division.
July 1918 Moved to Bury St. Edmunds and transferred to the 204th Brigade of the 68th Division.

52nd (Graduated) Battalion
27.10.1917 Formed at Colchester from the 255th Graduated Battalion (previously the 29th Training Reserve Battalion) of the 213th Brigade of the 71st Division.
18.02.1918 Moved to Norwich and transferred to the 192nd Brigade of the 64th Division.
Nov 1918 Moved to Cromer.

53rd (Young Soldier) Battalion
27.10.1917 Formed at St Albans from the 25th Young Soldier Battalion (previously the 10th Royal Sussex Battalion) of the 4th Reserve Brigade.
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Active From: 1921 - 1959

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