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Unit History: King's Royal Rifle Corps

King's Royal Rifle Corps
The Regiment was formed during 1755-56 in North America initially as the 62nd and then as the 60th Royal American Regiment.  The Regiment recruited from colonists and volunteers from other British Regiments with the purpose of adopting an ‘Indian system’ of forest warfare with lighter equipment, more mobile and open formations.  This was because the European method of mass volleys launched in unison proved to be ineffectual when fighting in the dense woodland of North America.  The Regiment formation was in direct response to ‘Braddock's Defeat’ in 1755 when a British military expedition failed to capture the French Fort Duquesne during the French and Indian War.
 
The 1st battalion was commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Henri Bouquet and his ingenuity led to the Regiment being more lightly equipped and camouflaged and focused upon certain attributes such as independent action and swift initiative enforced with firm discipline.  The Royal American Regiment played a distinguished part in establishing British power in North America.
 
The Regiment became an invaluable part of any campaign therefore were present at most actions of the British Empire including; The Conquest Of Canada 1785, The Peninsula War 1808-1814, The Indian Mutiny 1857–1859, The Zulu War 1879, The American Civil War 1861–1865, Afghanistan, Manipur & Burma 1878–1898 and South Africa 1899–1902.  Following the Napoleonic Wars in 1815 the Regiment was awarded the new title of The Duke of York's Own Rifle Corps when His Royal Highness Frederick, Duke of York became colonel (and later Commander-in-Chief) until his death in 1827.  This was changed to the King's Royal Rifle Corps (KRRC) in 1830 when King George IV ascended to the throne and his brother His Royal Highness Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge became colonel.
 
In 1948 the Regiment was merged with The Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own) to form The Green Jackets Brigade, further amalgamations followed with the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in1958.  In 1966 these three Regiments became the three battalions of the Royal Green Jackets and in 2007 were further merged with the Devonshire and Dorset Light Infantry, The Light Infantry and The Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Light Infantry to become The Rifles.

King's Royal Rifle Corps 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 22 Battalions in total during the course of World War I and saw action on the Western Front, Macedonia and Italy, winning 60 battle honours including 7 Victoria Crosses. The regiment lost 12,840 men who were killed during the course of the war.

1st Battalion
04.08.1914 Stationed at Aldershot at the outbreak of war as part of the 6th Brigade of the 2nd Division.
13.08.1914 Mobilised for war and landed at Rouen and were engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
During 1914
The Battle of Mons and the subsequent retreat, The Battle of the Marne, The Battle of the Aisne, First Battle of Ypres during which B, C and D, companies were surrounded and overwhelmed losing a total of 1.027 men either killed, missing or wounded in just 6 weeks.
During 1915
Battle of Givenchy, The Battle of Festubert, The Battle of Loos.
13.12.1915 Transferred to the 99th Brigade of the 2nd Division.
During 1916
The Battle of Delville Wood, The Battle of the Ancre, Operations on the Ancre.
During 1917
Attack on Vimy Ridge, The First and Second Battles of the Scarpe, The Battle of Arleux, The Battle of Cambrai.
During 1918
The Battle of St Quentin, The Battle of Bapaume, The First Battle of Arras 1918, The Battle of Albert, The Second Battle of Bapaume, The Battle of Havrincourt, The Battle of the Canal du Nord, The Battle of Cambrai 1918, The Battle of the Selle.
11.11.1918 Ended the war in France, Capelle N.E. of Solesmes.

2nd Battalion
04.08.1914 Stationed at Blackdown, Aldershot at the outbreak of war as part of the 2nd Brigade of the 1st Division.
13.08.1914 Mobilised for war and landed at Havre and engaged in various action on the Western Front including;
During 1914
The Battle of Mons and the subsequent retreat, The Battle of the Marne, The Battle of the Aisne, First Battle of Ypres.
During 1915
Winter Operations 1914-15, The Battle of Aubers, The Battle of Loos.
During 1916
The Battle of Albert, The Battle of Bazentin, The Battle of Pozieres, The Battle of Flers-Courcelette, The Battle of Morval.
During 1917
The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, The Second Battle of Passchendaele.
During 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 in France, Fresnoy le Grand.

3rd Battalion
04.08.1918 Stationed at Meerut, India at the outbreak of war.
16.10.1914 Embarked for England from Bombay arriving in Plymouth and moved to Winchester to join the 80th Brigade of the 27th Division.
21.12.1914 Mobilised for war and landed at Havre and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
During 1915
The action of St Eloi, The Second Battle of Ypres.
18.11.1915 Moved to Salonika embarking from Marseilles and arriving 05.12.1915 and engaged in various actions against the Bulgarian army including;
During 1916
The capture of Karajakois, The capture of Yenikoi, The battle of Tumbitza Farm.
During 1917
The capture of Homondos.
During 1918
The final offensive in Salonika, The capture of the Roche Noir Salient, The passage of the Vardar River and The pursuit to the Strumica valley.
30.09.1918 Ended the war in Macedonia, Robrovo south of Kosturino and N.W. of Lake Dorain.

4th Battalion
04.08.1914 Stationed at Gharial, India at the outbreak of war.
16.10.1914 Embarked for England from Bombay arriving in Plymouth and moved to Winchester to join the 80th Brigade of the 27th Division.
Dec 1914 Mobilised for war and landed at Havre and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
During 1915
The action of St Eloi, The Second Battle of Ypres.
19.11.1915 Moved to Salonika embarking from Marseilles and arriving 25.11.1915 and engaged in various actions against the Bulgarian army including;
During 1916
The capture of Karajakois, The capture of Yenikoi, The battle of Tumbitza Farm.
During 1917
The capture of Homondos.
June 1918 Embarked for France arriving in Serqueux early July and transferred to the 151st Brigade of the 50th Division and once again engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
The Battle of the St Quentin Canal, The Battle of the Beaurevoir Line, The Battle of Cambrai 1918, The pursuit to the Selle, The Battle of the Selle, The Battle of Valenciennes.
11.11.1918 |Ended the war in France, St. Remy-Chaussee, N.W. of Avesnes.

5th and 6th (Reserve) Battalions
04.08.1914 Stationed at Winchester at the outbreak of war and then moved to Sheerness were they remained.

7th (Service) Battalion
19.08.1914 Formed in Winchester as part of the First New Army (K1) then moved to Aldershot to join the 41st Brigade of the 14th Division.
Nov 1914 Moved to Grayshott then Bordon and back to Aldershot.
19.05.1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne and ended in various actions on the Western Front including;
During 1915
The Action of Hooge, The Second Attack on Bellewaarde.
During 1916
The Battle of Delville Wood, The Battle of Flers-Courcelette.
During 1917
The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, The First and Third Battles of the Scarpe, The Battle of Langemark, The First and Second Battles of Passchendaele.
02.02.1918 Transferred to the 43rd Brigade of the 14th Division
25.04.1918 Reduced to training cadre.
16.06.1918 Transferred to the 16th Division and then return to England where it was absorbed into the 34th Battalion of the London regiment.

8th (Service) Battalion
21.08.1914 Formed in Winchester as part of the First New Army (K1) then moved to Aldershot to join the 41st Brigade of the 14th Division.
Nov 1914 Moved to Hindhead then Bordon and back to Aldershot.
May 1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne and ended in various actions on the Western Front including;
During 1915
The Action of Hooge, The Second Attack on Bellewaarde.
During 1916
The Battle of Delville Wood, The Battle of Flers-Courcelette.
During 1917
The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, The First and Third Battles of the Scarpe, The Battle of Langemark, The First and Second Battles of Passchendaele.
27.04.1918 Reduced to training cadre.
16.06.1918 Transferred to the 34th Division
03.08.1918 Disbanded in France, Desvres.

9th (Service) Battalion
Aug 1914 Formed in Winchester as part of the First New Army (K1) then moved to Aldershot to join the 42nd Brigade of the 14th Division.
Nov 1914 Moved to Petworth and then back to Aldershot.
20.05.1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne and ended in various actions on the Western Front including;
During 1915
The Action of Hooge, The Second Attack on Bellewaarde.
During 1916
The Battle of Delville Wood, The Battle of Flers-Courcelette.
During 1917
The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, The First and Third Battles of the Scarpe, The Battle of Langemark, The First and Second Battles of Passchendaele.
27.04.1918 Reduced to training cadre.
16.06.1918 Transferred to the 34th Division
03.08.1918 Disbanded in France, Desvres.

10th (Service) Battalion
14.09.1914 Formed in Winchester as part of the Second New Army (K2) then moved to Blackdown, Aldershot to join the 59th Brigade of the 20th Division.
Feb 1914 Moved to Witley and then to camp near Stonehenge.
21.07.1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne and ended in various actions on the Western Front including;
During 1916
The Battle of Mount Sorrel, The Battle of Delville Wood, The Battle of Guillemont, The Battle of Flers-Courcelette, The Battle of Morval, The Battle of Le Transloy.
During 1917
The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, The Battle of Langemarck, The Battle of the Menin Road Ridge, The Battle of Polygon Wood, The Cambrai Operations.
05.02.1918 Disbanded in Belgium at Dickebusch south of Ypres.

11th (Service) Battalion
Sept 1914 Formed in Winchester as part of the Second New Army (K2) then moved to Blackdown, Aldershot to join the 59th Brigade of the 20th Division.
Feb 1915 Moved to Witley and then to camp near Salisbury Plain.
21.07.1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne and ended in various actions on the Western Front including;
During 1916
The Battle of Mount Sorrel, The Battle of Delville Wood, The Battle of Guillemont, The Battle of Flers-Courcelette, The Battle of Morval, The Battle of Le Transloy.
During 1917
The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, The Battle of Langemarck, The Battle of the Menin Road Ridge, The Battle of Polygon Wood, The Cambrai Operations.
During 1918
The Battle of St Quentin, The actions at the Somme crossings, The Battle of Rosieres, The Battle of the Selle, The Battle of Valenciennes, The Battle of the Sambre.
11.11.1918 Ended the war in France, Jenlain north of Le Quesnoy.

12th (Service) Battalion
21.09.1914 Formed in Winchester as part of the Second New Army (K2) then moved to Cowshot, Bisley to join the 60th Brigade of the 20th Division.
Nov 1914 Moved to Blackdown and then to Larkhill, Salisbury Plain.
22.07.1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne and ended in various actions on the Western Front including;
During 1916
The Battle of Mount Sorrel, The Battle of Delville Wood, The Battle of Guillemont, The Battle of Flers-Courcelette, The Battle of Morval, The Battle of Le Transloy.
During 1917
The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, The Battle of Langemarck, The Battle of the Menin Road Ridge, The Battle of Polygon Wood, The Cambrai Operations.
During 1918
The Battle of St Quentin, The actions at the Somme crossings, The Battle of Rosieres, The Battle of the Selle, The Battle of Valenciennes, The Battle of the Sambre.
11.11.1918 Ended the war in France, Caudry

14th and 15th (Reserve) Battalions
Oct 1914 Formed in Sheerness as a service battalion as part of the Fourth New Army (K4) then moved to Westcliff-on-Sea to join the 92nd Brigade of the 31st Division.
10.04.1915 Became the 2nd Reserve Battalions of the 4th Reserve Brigade and moved to Balhus Park, Purfleet and then on to Seaforth.
01.09.1916 The 14th battalion absorbed into the Training Reserve battalion and the 15th became the 18th Reserve Battalion of the 4th Reserve Brigade.

16th (Service) Battalion (Church Lads Brigade)
19.09.1914 Formed by Field Marshal Lord Grenfell (Comdt.) in Denham, Bucks.
Mar 1915 Moved to Essex, back to Denham and then to Clipstone to join the 100th Brigade of the 33rd Division.
01.07.1915 Taken over by the War Office and moved to Salisbury Plain.
17.11.1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Havre and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
During 1916
The Battle of Albert, The Battle of Bazentin, The attacks on High Wood, The capture of Boritska and Dewdrop Trenches.
During 1917
The First and Second Battles of the Scarpe, The actions on the Hindenburg Line, Operations on the Flanders coast, The Battle of the Menin Road Ridge, The Battle of Polygon Wood.
During 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 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.

17th (Service) Battalion (British Empire League)
16.04.1915 Formed by the British Empire League in London.
July 1915 Moved to Padockhurst, Sussex to join the 117th Brigade of the 39th Division.
01.08.1915 Taken over by the War Office and moved to Hursley Park, Witley, Aldershot and then back to Witley by Jan 1916
08.03.1916 Mobilised for war and landed at Havre and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
During 1916
The Battle of Thiepval Ridge, The Battle of the Ancre.
During 1917
The Battle of Pilkem Ridge, The Battle of Langemarck, The Battle of the Menin Road Ridge, The Battle of Polygon Wood, The Second Battle of Passchendaele.
16.05.1918 Reduced to training cadre and then transferred to the 197th Brigade of the 66th Division to defend the Lines of Communication.

18th (Service) Battalion (Arts and Crafts)
04.06.1915 Formed by Major Sir Herbert Raphael at Gidea park, Essex.
04.09.1915 Taken over by the War Office and moved to Witley to join the 122nd Brigade of the 41st Division.
03.05.1916 Mobilised for war and landed at Havre and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
During 1916
The Battle of Flers-Courcelette, The Battle of the Transloy Ridges.
During 1917
The Battle of Messines, The Battle of Pilkem Ridge, The Battle of the Menin Road, Operations on the Flanders coast
Nov 1917 Moved to Italy to strengthen the Italian resistance.
Mar 1918 Returned to France and once again engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
During 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 in Belgium, Nukerke south of Audenarde.

19th (Reserve) Battalion
Oct 1915 Formed from the depot companies of the 16th and 17th battalions at Bexhill as a local reserve battalion.
Nov 1915 Moved to Andover and joined the 24th Reserve Brigade and then to Banbury and on to Wimbledon to join the 26th Reserve Brigade.
01.09.1916 Became the 109th Training Reserve battalion at Wimbledon.

20th (Service) Battalion (British Empire League)
20.08.1915 Formed by the British Empire League in Green Park, London.
Feb 1916 Moved to Wellingborough attached to the 23rd Reserve Brigade.
30.03.1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Havre and joined the 3rd Division as a Pioneer Battalion and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
During 1916
The Actions of the Bluff and St Eloi Craters, The Battle of Albert, The Battle of Bazentin, The Battle of Delville Wood, The Battle of the Ancre.
During 1917
The First, Second and Third Battles of the Scarpe, The Battle of Arleux, The Battle of the Menin Road, The Battle of Polygon Wood, The Battle of Cambrai.
During 1918
The Battle of St Quentin, The Battle of Bapaume, The Battle of Arras, The Battle of Estaires, The Battle of Hazebrouck, The Battle of Bethune, The Battle of Albert, The Second Battle of Bapaume, The Battle of the Canal du Nord, The Battle of Cambrai 1918, The Battle of the Selle.
11.11.1918 Ended the war in France, Ruesnes N.W. of Le Quesnoy.

21st (Service) Battalion (Yeoman Rifles)
Sept 1915 Formed from companies of farmers from Yorkshire, Northumberland, Durham, Lincoln, Leicestershire and Norfolk.
Jan 1916 Moved to Aldershot and joined the 124th Brigade of the 41st Division.
04.05.1916 Mobilised for war and landed in France and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
During 1916
The Battle of Flers-Courcelette, The Battle of the Transloy Ridges.
During 1917
The Battle of Messines, The Battle of Pilkem Ridge, The Battle of the Menin Road.
Nov 1917 Moved to Italy to strengthen Italian resistance.
Mar 1918 Returned to France landing at Sombrin and disbanded in France on 16.03.1918.

22nd (Reserve) Battalion
Sept 1915 Formed from the depot companies of the 20th battalion as a local reserve battalion.
Oct 1915 Moved to Andover and joined the 24th Reserve Brigade and then to Banbury and on to Wimbledon to join the 26th Reserve Brigade.
01.09.1916 Became the 109th Training Reserve battalion at Wimbledon.

23rd (Reserve) Battalion
Autumn 1915 Formed from the depot companies of the 18th battalion as a local reserve battalion.
Oct 1915 Moved to Banbury and joined the 26th Reserve Brigade and then to Wimbledon. 01.09.1916 Became the 111th Training Reserve battalion at Wimbledon.

24th (Reserve) Battalion
April 1916 Formed from the depot companies of the 21th battalion in Skipton as a local reserve battalion.
May 1916 Moved to Blyth and joined the 21st Reserve Brigade and then to Cambois. 01.09.1916 Absorbed into the Training Reserve Battalions.

25th (Service) Battalion (Pioneers)
13.05.1918 Formed in France from the Provisional Garrison Guard Battalion and joined the 59th Division.
16.06.1918 Became the Pioneer Battalion of the 59th Division and engaged in various actions on the Western Front.
11.11.1918 Ended the war in Belgium, north of Tournai.

51st (Graduated) Battalion
27.10.1917 Formed at Canterbury from the 284th Graduated Battalion (previously the 17th Training Reserved Battalion) as part of the 202nd Brigade of the 67th Division and then moved to Colchester.

52nd (Graduated) Battalion
27.10.1917 Formed at Canterbury from the 285th Graduated Battalion (previously the 22nd Training Reserved Battalion) as part of the 202nd Brigade of the 67th Division and then moved to Colchester.

53rd (Young Soldier) Battalion
27.10.1917 Formed at Northampton from the 20th Young Soldier Battalion (previously the 15th Rifle Brigade) as part of the 4th Reserve Brigade.

King's Royal Rifle Corps during WW2

WW2 Battalions of The King's Royal Rifle Corps

1st Battalion:
03 September 1939: The Battalion was part of Pivot Group, near Wadi el Nagamish, Egypt. They fought almost to the last at Sidi Rezegh, with only 55 men of all ranks escaping the battle where the regiment’s 23rd VC was won. It served with 7th Armoured Division throughout the North African Campaign until 4th Armoured Brigade was detached from the Division after El Alamein.
January 1943: It left 4th Armoured Brigade. It then served in Italy as part of 2nd Armoured Brigade, 1st Armoured Division.
October 1944: 2nd Armoured Brigade became an independent Brigade. It joined 61st Infantry Brigade, 6th Armoured Division with which it served until the end of the war, with 2nd Battalion The Rifle Brigade, with which it had started the war with in 7th Armoured Division.

9th Battalion:
September 1939: This unit was 1st Rangers, The King's Royal Rifle Corps stationed in London as part of 3rd London Infantry Brigade, 1st London Division.
March 1941: It was renamed 9th Bn. (The Rangers) KRRC it fought a desperate rearguard action in Greece, as part of 1st Armoured Brigade attached to 6th Australian Division. It caused heavy casualties on the Germans, before the battalion was evacuated to Crete. There it served in the Suda Bay area south of Canea attached to 1st Battalion, The Welch Regiment. What was left of the poorly equipped battalion was overwhelmed during the German invasion of the island with only 14 members escaping to Egypt.
1942: It briefly served with 7th Armoured Division during the Gazala battles with 7th Motor Brigade, where as part of the Garrison of the Retma Box it was overrun.
August 1942: They briefly served with 2nd Armoured Brigade, 1st Armoured Division, before being taken out of the line. Later that month it was decided to disband the Battalion in order to reinforce the other KRRC Battalion in North Africa.
December 1942: The Battalion had been put into suspended animation and its personnel assigned to 1st Bn. and 2nd Bn. KRRC to make up for loses in them.
December 1947: The battalion was finally disbanded.
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1

Active From: 1756 - 1948

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