Unit History: Border Regiment
The Border Regiment was officially formed in 1881 when the 34th and 55th Regiments of Foot were amalgamated as part of the Childers Reforms. However the Regiment can trace its history back over a hundred years prior to this.
The 34th was first raised in 1702 in East Anglia as ‘Lord Lucas's Regiment of Foot’. The Regiment went on to serve during the Spanish War of Succession (1701–1714), fighting at the capture of Douai, Bouchain and Barcelona and then during The War of Austrian Succession the regiment fought at the battle of Fontenoy (1745). They and many other Regiments were hurried back to England in 1745 to serve during the Jacobite Rising and fought at the Battle of Culloden. When Bonnie Prince Charlie (the grandson of James II) landed in Scotland and unsuccessfully attempted to regain the throne to the Stuart family.
Until 1750 all Regiments were named after the current Colonel, after this date the naming system was simplified and all Regiments were assigned ranked numbers therefore from 1751 the Regiment became the ‘34th Regiment of Foot’. The 34th went on to serve in Europe during The Seven Years War (1756-63), fighting at the defence of Fort St Philip on Minorca, capturing Cherbourg and at the battle of Belleisle (1761). During the American War of Independence (1775-83) the 34th fought to relieve the besiege Quebec and was part of the Saratoga Campaign (1777) when General John Burgoyne was forced to surrender his entire army after being surrounded and overwhelmed.
1782 saw more changes to the Regiment naming conventions as county titles were added in order to aid recruitment from that region and therefore the Regiment became ‘The 34th (Cumberland) Regiment of Foot’. During the Napoleonic Wars the Regiment served in the West Indies and Portugal also fighting during in The Peninsular War. The Regiment was stationed in India for a number of years to help the Honourable East India Company to suppress various rebellions including the Third Mahratta War (1817–1818). The 34th then went on to serve during the Crimean War fighting at the siege of Sevastopol and returned to Indian to suppress The Indian Mutiny of 1857.
The 55th was first raised in 1755 during the Seven Years War under the threat of renewed French Hostilities in Stirling, Scotland. The Regiment were swiftly dispatched to North America and trained in the art of ‘bush fighting’ by Lord Howe, fighting against the French at Ticonderoga, the siege of Fort Niagara, and the taking of Montreal. It went on to fight during Pontiac's War (1763–1766) when Native Americans rebelled against British rule. The Regiment returned to serve in America during the American War of Independence (1775-83) and fought at the battle of Brooklyn, the capture of New York and the battle of Brandywine. In 1782 the 55th was give a county title and became ‘The 55th (Westmoreland) Regiment of Foot’. The Regiment went on to serve during the 1st Anglo-Chinese War (1840–42) and the Crimean War (1853-1855).
In 1881 both of these historic Regiments were merged as part of the Childers Reforms to become The Border Regiment. The newly formed Regiment went on to serve in the Second Anglo-Boer War (1899) and two World Wars. Further amalgamations occurred in 1958 when The King’s Own Royal Regiment (Lancaster) and The Border Regiment merged to form The King’s Own Royal Border Regiment. In 2006 The Regiment was further merged with The King’s Regiment, The Queen’s Lancashire Regiment, The Lancastrian and Cumbrian Volunteers and The King’s and Cheshire Regiment, to form The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment (King’s, Lancashire and Border).
Border 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 16 Battalions and was awarded 5 Victoria Crosses during the course of the war.
04.08.1914 Stationed at Maymyo, Burma at the outbreak of war.
09.12.1914 Embarked for England from Bombay landing at Avonmouth.
10.01.1915 Moved to Rugby to join the 87th Brigade of the29th Division.
17.03.1915 Mobilised for war and embarked for Gallipoli from Avonmouth via Alexandria and Mudros.
25.04.1915 Landed at Gallipoli and engaged in various actions against the Turkish Army.
09.01.1916 Evacuated to Mudros due to heavy casualties from combat, disease and severe weather, and then moved to Alexandria.
Mar 1916 Moved to France and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
The Battle of Albert, The Battle of the Transloy Ridges.
The First, Second and Third Battles of the Scarpe, The Battle of Langemarck, The Battle of Broodseinde, The Battle of Poelcapelle, The Battle of Cambrai.
The Battle of Estaires, The Battle of Messines 1918, The Battle of Hazebrouck, The Battle of Bailleul, The Action of Outtersteene Ridge, The capture of Ploegsteert and Hill 63, The Battle of Ypres 1918, The Battle of Courtrai.
11.11.1918 Ended the war in Belgium near Celles S.W. of Renaix.
04.08.1914 Stationed at Pembroke Dock and then moved to Lyndhurst to join the 20th 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;
The First Battle of Ypres.
Dec 1914 This Battalion took part in the Christmas Truce of 1914.
The Battle of Neuve Chapelle, The Battle of Aubers, The Battle of Festubert, The second action of Givenchy, The Battle of Loos.
The Battle of Albert, The Battle of Bazentin and the attacks on High Wood, The Battle of Delville Wood, The Battle of Guillemont, Operations on the Ancre.
The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, The Arras offensive, The Battle of Polygon Wood, The Battle of Broodseinde, The Battle of Poelcapelle, The Second Battle of Passchendaele,
Nov 1917 Moved to Italy to strengthen the Italian resistance.
04.11.1918 Ended the war in Italy, Pozzo east of Pordenone.
3rd (Reserve) Battalion)
04.08.1914 Stationed at Carlisle then moved to Shoeburyness.
Jan 1916 Moved to Conway and then Barrow.
Mar 1917 Moved to Great Crosby, near Liverpool until the end of the war.
1/4th (Cumberland & Westmorland) Battalion Territorial Force
04.08.1914 Stationed at Carlisle and attached to the East Lancs. Division and then moved to Barrow.
Sept 1914 Moved to Sittingbourne and transferred to the Middlesex Brigade of the Home Counties Division.
29.10.1914 Embarked for India from Southampton arriving at Rangoon Dec 1914, Division then broken up and remained in India throughout the war.
1/5th (Cumberland) Battalion Territorial Force
04.08.1914 Stationed at Workington attached to the East Lancs. Division and then moved to Barrow.
26.10.1914 Mobilised for war and landed at Havre to defend the Lines of Communication.
05.05.1915 Transferred to 149th Brigade of the 50th Division.
20.12.1915 Transferred to 151st Brigade of the 50th Division and continued to engage in various actions on the Western Front including;
The Battle of St Julien, The Battle of Frezenburg Ridge, The Battle of Bellewaarde Ridge.
The Battle of Flers-Courcelette, The Battle of Morval, The Battle of the Transloy Ridges.
The First Battle of the Scarpe, The Capture of Wancourt Ridge, The Second Battle of the Scarpe, The Second Battle of Passchendaele.
12.02.1918 Transferred as a Pioneer Battalion to the 66th Division.
The Battle of St Quentin, The Actions at the Somme Crossings, The Battle of Rosieres.
07.05.1918 Absorbed the personnel of 11th Battalion and transferred to 97th Brigade of the 32nd Division
31.07.1918 Absorbed the cadre of the 11th Battalion and continued to engage in various actions on the Western Front including;
The Battle of Cambrai, The Pursuit to the Selle, The Battle of the Selle.
11.11.1918 Ended the war in France, near Avesnes.
2/4th (Cumberland & Westmorland) Battalion Territorial Force
Oct 1914 Formed at Kendal and then moved to Blackpool.
04.03.1915 Embarked for India from Avonmouth arriving at Bombay 31.03.1915 and remained for the duration of the war.
2/5th (Cumberland) Battalion Territorial Force
Oct 1914 Formed at Kendal.
Nov 1915 Moved to Falkirk and joined the 2/4th and 2/5th of the Royal Scots Fusiliers to form the 13th Battalion of the 194th Brigade of the 65th Division.
Jan 1916 Absorbed by the 2/4th Royal Scots Fusiliers.
3/4th and 3/5th Battalion Territorial Force
Mar 1915 Formed and then moved to Ramsey, Isle of Man.
08.04.1916 Became the 4th and 5th (Reserve) Battalion.
01.09.1916 The 4th absorbed the 5th as part of the East Lancs. Reserve Brigade.
Jan 1917 Moved to Ripon and then Scarborough, finally to Filey where it remained.
6th (Service) Battalion
Aug 1914 Formed at Carlisle as part of the First New Army (K1) and then moved to Grantham to join the 33rd Brigade of the 11th Division and then moved to Frensham.
01.07.1915 Mobilised for war and embarked for Gallipoli from Liverpool via Mudros.
20.07.1915 Landed at Helles.
31.07.1915 Moved back to Mudros.
07.08.1915 Landed at Suvla Bay.
18.12.1915 Evacuated to Imbros due to heavy losses from combat, disease and severe weather.
01.02.1916 Moved to Alexandria to defend the Suez Canal.
30.06.1916 Embarked for France from Alexandria landing at Marseilles and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
The capture of the Wundt-Werk, The Battle of Flers-Courcelette, The Battle of Thiepval.
Operations on the Ancre, The Battle of Messines, The Battle of the Langemarck, The Battle of Polygon Wood, The Battle of Broodseinde, The Battle of Poelcapelle.
09.02.1918 Disbanded in France at Mazingarbe.
7th (Service) Battalion
07.09.1914 Formed at Carlisle as part of the Second New Army (K2) and then moved to Wool to join the 51st Brigade of the 17th Division and then moved to Andover.
Jan 1915 Moved to Bovington and then Winchester.
15.07.1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
Defensive actions during The Actions of Spring 1916, The Battle of Albert, The Battle of Delville Wood.
The First and Second Battles of the Scarpe, The Capture of Roeux, The First Battle of Passchendaele, The Second Battle of Passchendaele.
22.09.1917 Absorbed 21 Officers & 239 men of the now dismounted Westmorland & Cumberland Yeomanry, and became the 7th (Westmorland & Cumberland Yeomanry) Battalion. Once again engaged in various actions including;
The Battle of St Quentin, The Battle of Bapaume, The Battle of Amiens, The Battle of Albert, The Battle of Bapaume, The Battle of Havrincourt, The Battle of Epehy, The Battle of Cambrai 1918, The pursuit to the Selle, The Battle of the Selle, The Battle of the Sambre.
11.11.1918 Ended the war in France, Aulnoye.
8th (Service) Battalion
Sept 1914 Formed at Carlisle as part of the Third New Army (K3) and then moved to Codford to join the 75th Brigade of the 25th Division and then moved to Boscombe.
May 1915 Moved to Romsey and then Aldershot.
27.09.1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
German attack on Vimy Ridge, The Battle of Albert, The Battle of Bazentin, The Battle of Pozieres, The Battle of the Ancre Heights.
The Battle of Messines, The Battle of Pilkem.
The Battle of St Quentin, The First Battle of Bapaume, The Battle of Estaires, The Battle of Messines, The Battle of Bailleul, The First and Second Battles of Kemmel.
22.06.1918 Transferred to the Composite Brigade of the 50th Division.
07.07.1918 Disbanded in France.
9th (Service) Battalion (Pioneer)
Sept 1914 Formed at Carlisle as part of the Third New Army (K3) and then moved to Lewes and Seaford to join the 66th Brigade of the 22nd Division and then moved to Eastbourne.
Feb 1915 Became a Pioneer Battalion of the 22nd Division, then moved to Seaford, on to Aldershot.
04.09.1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Havre.
29.10.1915 Embarked for Salonika from Marseilles and engaged in various actions against the Bulgarian Army including;
The Battle of Horseshoe Hill, The Battle of Machukovo.
The Battles of Doiran.
The Battle of Doiran.
30.09.1918 Ended the war in Macedonia, N.W. of Lake Doiran.
10th (Reserve) Battalion
Oct 1914 Formed as a service battalion at Southend as part of the Fourth New Army (K4).
10.04.1915 Became a 2nd Reserve Battalion and then moved to Billericay.
Sept 1915 Moved to Seaford as part of the 4th Reserve Brigade.
01.09.1916 Absorbed into the Training Reserve Battalion.
11th (Service) Battalion (Lonsdale)
17.09.1914 Formed at Carlisle by the Earl of Lonsdale and an Executive Committee, then moved to Kendal and Workington.
Oct 1914 Moved to Blackhall Racecourse, Carlisle and then on to Prees Heath to join the 97th Brigade of the 32nd Division.
June 1915 Moved to Wensley and then Fovant, Salisbury Plain.
27.08.1915 Taken over by the War Office.
23.11.1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
The Battle of Albert, The Battle of Bazentin, The Battle of the Ancre.
Operations on the Ancre, The pursuit of the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line.
The First Battle of Arras, The Battle of Amiens, The Battle of Albert, The Battle of Bapaume.
10.05.1918 Reduced to training cadre with surplus personnel transferred to the 1/5th Battalion.
13.05.1918 Transferred to the 66th Division.
31.07.1918 Cadre absorbed by the 1/5th Battalion.
12th (Reserve) Battalion
Formed from the depot companies of the 11th Battalion at Prees Heath as a local reserve battalion in the 17th Reserve Brigade.
01.09.1916 Absorbed into the 75th Training Reserve Battalion.
Border Regiment during WW2
WW2 Battalions of the Border Regiment1st Battalion:
1939: On the outbreak of war the Battalion was stationed in Aldershot, became part of the 2nd Infantry Division.
20 September 1939: It went to France as part of the British Expeditionary Force.
April 1940: The Battalion still part of the BEF was transferred to the 42nd Infantry Division.
May 1940: It was involved in action during the retreat to Dunkirk where it was evacuated and returned to the UK.
October 1940: The Battalion was back to full strength.
01 December 1940: It left the Division and joined the 31st Independent Infantry Brigade and continued training.
October 1941: The Brigade was re-designated as the 1st Airlanding Brigade of the 1st Airborne Division and began further training.
May 1943: Began to set sail from the UK to North Africa.
09 July 1943: They landed in Sicily, Italy. The majority of the Battalion ended up in the sea and unable to complete their objective to capture Syracuse, a town on the East coast.
July (later) 1943: Evacuated from Sicily and shipped back to North Africa, leaving the Battalion's equipment behind.
September - November 1943: Back to strength they took part in the fighting in Southern Italy. After the action, returned to the UK for further training.
17 September 1944: In the same Division the Battalion took part in The Battle of Arnham “Operation Market Garden”.
May 1945: The Battalion along with other units of 1st Airborne went to Norway to oversee the surrender of the German forces.2nd Battalion:
1942: The Battalion was training for jungle warfare in Horana, Ceylon.
January 1943: It was posted to Kandy.
June 1943: Became part of the 100th Brigade, 20th Indian Division.
October 1943: Still in the same Division the Battalion moved to a camp in Burma near Imphal.
Early 1944: The Japanese had laid a heavy siege upon Imphal
June 1944: The successful counter-attack to relieve this siege began and the Japanese withdrew to burma.4th Battalion:
May – June 1940: After the main force of the B.E.F. had been evacuated from the beaches. The Battalion part of the new 23rd Brigade attached to the 1st Armoured Division along with a further Division and communications and troops, stayed on overseas.
June 1940: The Battalion moved north towards Fécampe where it met the 7th German Panzers and then withdrew to Le Havre where the Battalion went by ship to Cherbourg.
18 June 1940: It moved to Rennes and then on to Brest. It boarded a ship for Southampton
March 1941: The Battalion left for Suez and went on to Sidi Barrani, supporting Wavell's offensive in Syria. The Battalion, now based in Kiam patrolled the central sector generally under continuous shelling.
Now as part of the 6th British Division, the 4th returned to the Western Desert.
October 1941: It went to Tobruk and relieved the Australians. During the siege, the Battalion became part of the 70th British Division, the only British Division of infantry in the Middle East at the time and eventual taking Tobruk.
1942: Along with the same Division, the Battalion, was sent to India and Burma,
1944: Now attached to the 23rd Indian Infantry Brigade, Special Force, 3rd Indian Infantry Division and was involved in Gen. Wingate's 2nd Chindit Expedition code named Operation Thursday 5th Battalion:
The Battalion was a local Territorial Army for West Cumbria.The 6th (East Cumberland) Battalion:
The Battalion was reformed for the war and was stationed at Carlisle Castle, Cumbria.
August 1943: It moved to Gailes Camp in Ayrshire, training as a Beach Group. These groups were used to land with the first assault troops, organise the landing beaches and establish supply dumps for the other troops.
February 1944: Part the 10 Beach Group were involved of a major eight-day exercise at Gullane on the east coast of Scotland near Edinburgh.
May 1944: A few days before D-Day were inspected by General Eisenhower at a Divisional Parade.
August 1944: The British infantry troops had begun to run short of trained reinforcements. Field Marshal Montgomery made the decision to disband the Beach Groups and draft officers and men to the combatant infantry battalions.
September 1944: Virtually the whole of the Battalion were drafted to one of nine battalions making up the 15th (Scottish) Division.8th Battalion:
August 1939: The Territorial Army Association began to enrol old soldiers over 45 years of age to form a National Defence Corps.
Winter 1939: The ‘Group 100 National Defence’ became 8th (Home Defence) Battalion. Most of the men serving in the 8th Battalion had previously been old soldiers of the Border Regiment.
1940: The Battalion was reinforced with younger volunteers, so part of the role of the older soldiers was to guide the younger recruits through their early training to build up the army.
1941: The Battalion was renumbered and its role changed.
September 1942: It was ultimately disbanded and younger servicemen were transferred to other units.9th Battalion:
June 1940: The Battalion was formed in West Cumberland as a "holding Battalion" to provide reinforcements for the existing Regular Territorial Battalions.
February 1941: By now the Battalion was trained to man beach defences on the Northumberland coast.
April 1942: It was officially recognised as Service Battalion and was one of the newly-formed wartime units to be selected for Service Overseas.
August 1942: It went to Calcutta and became a garrison battalion on internal security duties.
July 1943: It became attached to the 17th Indian Light Division (the Black Cats) which was mainly composed from Gurkha Regiments. The Division was trained to fight in difficult mountainous terrain.
Soon after it became part of Slim’s 14th Army and was stationed in the Chin Hills - Several successful fighting patrols were carried out on the mountainous Burma jungle tracks.
Early 1944: The Japanese began their offensive to capture the main railway line in northeast India crossing the Imphal Plain.
July 1944: After several months of heavy fighting the Japanese withdrew to Burma. The Battalion played a major part in the battles and suffered heavy losses. It rested in Ranchi and trained reinforcements that they desperately required.
January 1945: The Battalion was full strength and now working as Motorised Infantry with Probyn's Horse of 255 Tank Brigade.
February 1945: It crossed the Irrawaddy River, the objective was Meiktila named “Operation Multivite”, heavy fighting ensued, cutting off Japan's communications with Mandalay. (The Battalion took part in actions at Wetlet, Yindaw, Kinde and Pywabwe.)
August 1945: It was stationed at Waw, west of Sittang River when Japan surrendered. The Battalion began the task of disarming some 2,000 Japanese and controlling the activity of dacoits on the Mokpalin and Bilin areas.
01 December 1945: the Battalion amalgamated with the 4th Battalion.
Related Historic Documents
Memories of Border Regiment
(Memories written by members of Forces Reunited)
SOUTH WALES BORDER REGIMENT 1940 in 1940
Written by R. PITCHER
ANYONE OUT THERE REMEMBER ME OF THE SOUTH WALES BORDER REGIMENT & THE REME THAT SERVED IN THE 1940's ONWARDS & LANDED ON THE NORMANDY BEACHES IN THE 2nd LANDINGS ON JUNE 6th 1944.
ALSO SERVED IN ROSENDAAL, HOLLAND.
Would love to hear from someone who remembers the name RONALD PITCHER OF THE ABOVE.
Kings Own Royal Border Regiment, in 1964
Written by arthur davis-bater
Kings Own Royal Border Regiment Can someone help me find him? in 1974
Written by McMcYo
Looking for a Captain or Sargent. Not too sure about the name now as I’m 75, maybe Stephen Little. in Ebrington Barracks in Londonderry, Northern Ireland. If this rings a bell to anyone, let me know thanks.
Border Regiment in 1965
Written by Jim McKeefery
We may only be T.A. but I had a lot of good friends, and a lot of great memories, especially Sherwood Forrest.