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Unit History: East Lancashire Regiment

East Lancashire Regiment
The regiment was officially formed in 1881 when the 30th and 59th Regiments of Foot were merged as part of the Childers Reforms, however the Regiment can trace its history back nearly 200 years prior to this date.
The 30th was first raised in 1689 by George Saunderson, 5th Viscount of Castleton during the Nine Years' War against France, and named, as was the tradition of the time, after the current Colonel as ‘Castleton’s Regiment’ and fought at the capture of the Fortress-city of Namur (1695).  The Regiment spent a number of its early years as a Marines unit and took part in the War of the Spanish Succession fighting at the capture and defence of Gibraltar (1704–1705) and the taking of Barcelona.  In 1714 the Regiment was converted to conventional infantry and served once again in Gibraltar during the siege of 1727.  It went on to serve during the War of Austrian Succession.
 
In 1751 the Regimental naming system was simplified and all Regiments were assigned a ranked number instead of their Colonels name therefore ‘Colonel the Earl of Loudoun's Regiment’ became the 30th Regiment of Foot.  The 30th went on to serve during the Seven Years' War in raids on the French coast, most notably the taking of the French warship Belleisle (1761) and then the American War of Independence at the battle of Eutaw Springs and in the West Indies.  In 1782 all Regiments without Royal titles were awarded county titles in order to aid recruitment from that area therefore the 30th became the 30th (Cambridgeshire) Regiment of Foot.  During the Napoleonic Wars the Regiment moved to Egypt in 1801 to repel the French invasion and then took part in the Peninsular War fighting at the battles of Badajoz and Salamanca and at the Battle of Waterloo (1815).  The 30th Also served during the Third Anglo-Maratha War and the Crimean War fighting at the battles of Alma, Sevastopol and Inkerman.
 
In 1881 the 30th was merged with 59th (2nd Nottinghamshire) Regiment of Foot as part of the Childers Reforms to become the East Lancashire Regiment.  The 59th was formed in 1755 during the Seven Years War by Lieutenant-General Sir Charles Montagu and raised as the 61st Regiment of Foot but renumber as the 59th in 1758.  The 59th were stationed in Boston at the outbreak of the American War of Independence, it served in the Flanders campaign and in the West Indies during the French Revolutionary Wars (1792–1802).  During the Napoleonic Wars it fought at the Cape of Good Hope (1806), the Battle of Corunna, the invasion of Mauritius (1810) and then the invasion of Java (1811).  During the Peninsular War it fought at the Battle of Vittoria, the Siege of San Sebastián, the Battle of the Bidassoa, the Battle of Nivelle and the Battle of the Nive.  The Regiment also went on to serve during the Third Anglo-Maratha War, the Second Opium War and the Second Anglo-Afghan War.
 
Due to budget defence cuts the East Lancashire Regiment was merged with The South Lancashire Regiment in 1958 to form The Lancashire Regiment (Prince of Wales's Volunteers).  Further amalgamations occurred in 1970 The Lancashire Regiment was merged with The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment to form The Queen's Lancashire Regiment, and then in 2006 it was merged with the King's Own Royal Border Regiment and The King's Regiment to form the Duke of Lancaster's Regiment.

East Lancashire 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 17 battalions; it was awarded 61 battle honours and 4 Victoria Crosses, losing 7,000 men during the course of the war.

1st Battalion
04.08.1914 Stationed at Colchester as part of the 11th Brigade of the 4th Division and then moved to Harrow.
22.08.1914 Mobilised for war and landed at Havre and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
During 1914
The Battle of Le Cateau, The Battle of the Marne, The Battle of the Aisne, The Battle of Messines 1914.
Dec 1914 This Battalion took part in the Christmas Truce of 1914.
During 1915
The Second Battle of Ypres.
During 1916
The Battle of Albert, The Battle of Le Transloy.
During 1917
The First and Third Battles of the Scarpe, The Battle of Polygon Wood, The Battle of Broodseinde, The Battle of Poelcapelle, The First Battle of Passchendaele.
01.02.1918 Transferred to the 103rd Brigade of the 34th Division and continued to fight on the Western Front;
During 1918
The Battle of St Quentin, The Battle of Estaires, The Battle of Bailleul, The First Battle for Kemmel Ridge.
26.05.1918 Transferred to the 183rd Brigade of the 61st Division which engaged in various actions on the Western Front including; The Battle of the Selle, The Battle of Valenciennes.
11.11.1918 Ended the war in France, Bermerain south of Valenciennes.

2nd Battalion
04.08.1914 Stationed at Wynberg, South Africa at the outbreak of war.
01.10.1914 Embarked for England from Cape Town landing at Southampton 30.10.1914 and then moved to Hursley Park and joined the 24th Brigade of the 8th Division.
06.11.1914 Mobilised for war and landed at Havre and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
Dec 1914 This Battalion took part in the Christmas Truce of 1914.
During 1915
The Battle of Neuve Chapelle, The Battle of Aubers, The action of Bois Grenier.
18.10.1915 The 24th Brigade transferred to the 23rd Division which engaged in various actions including;
During 1916
The German Attack on Vimy Ridge, The Battle of Albert
15.07.1916 The 24th brigade returned to the 8th Division
During 1917
The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, The Battle of Pilkem, The Battle of Langemarck.
During 1918
The Battle of St Quentin, 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 in which the Division captured Douai.
03.02.1918 Transferred to the 25th Brigade of the same Division.
11.11.1918 Ended the war in France, Pommeroeual west of Mons.

3rd (Reserve) Battalion
04.08.1914 Stationed at Preston then moved to Plymouth.
01.06.1917 Moved to Saltburn and Marske.

1/4th Battalion Territorial Force
04.08.1914 Stationed at Blackburn as part of the East Lancashire Brigade of the East Lancashire Division and then moved to Chesham Fold Camp, Bury.
10.09.1914 Mobilised for war and embarked for Gallipoli from Southampton via Alexandria to defend the Suez Canal.
26.05.1915 Formation became the 126th Brigade of the 42nd Division.
10.05.1915 Landed at Gallipoli and the Division made three attempts to break through the Helles bridgehead and capture the village of Krithia, fighting at the Battle of Krithia Vineyard.
29.12.1915 Evacuated to Mudros due to heavy casualties from combat, disease and severe weather.
17.01.1916 Moved to Alexandria and engaged in various actions including; The Battle of Romani (4-5 August 1916)
Mar 1917 Moved to France and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including, The Third Battle of Ypres.
14.02.1918 Absorbed the 2/4th Battalion becoming the 4th Battalion and transferred to the 198th Brigade of the 66th Division
07.04.1918 Reduced to training cadre
16.08.1918 Transferred to the 118th Brigade of the 39th Division and defending the Lines of Communication.
11.11.1918 Ended the war in France, Havre.

1/5th Battalion Territorial Force
04.08.1914 Stationed at Burnley as part of the as part of the East Lancashire Brigade of the East Lancashire Division and then moved to Chesham Fold Camp, Bury.
10.09.1914 Mobilised for war and embarked for Gallipoli from Southampton via Alexandria to defend the Suez Canal.
26.05.1915 Formation became the 126th Brigade of the 42nd Division.
10.05.1915 Landed at Gallipoli and the Division made three attempts to break through the Helles bridgehead and capture the village of Krithia, fighting at the Battle of Krithia Vineyard.
29.12.1915 Evacuated to Mudros due to heavy casualties from combat, disease and severe weather.
17.01.1916 Moved to Alexandria and engaged in various actions including; The Battle of Romani (4-5 August 1916)
Mar 1917 Moved to France and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including, The Third Battle of Ypres.
During 1918
The Battle of Bapaume, The First Battle of Arras, The Battle of the Ancre. The Battle of Albert, The Second Battle of Bapaume, The Battle of the Canal du Nord, The pursuit to the Selle, The Battle of the Selle, The Final Advance in Picardy.
11.11.1918 Ended the war in France, Havre.

2/4th Battalion Territorial Force
Sept 1914 Formed at Blackburn and then moved to Southport to join the 198th Brigade of the 66th Division.
May 1915 Moved to Burgess Hill, Sussex and then to Crawley and on to Crowborough.
Mar 1916 Moved to Colchester.
02.03.1917 Mobilised for war and landed at Havre and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
The Operations on the Flanders Coast, The Battle of Poelcapelle, The Third Battles of Ypres.
19.02.1918 Absorbed into the 1/4th Battalion.

2/5th Battalion Territorial Force
Sept 1914 Formed at Blackburn and then moved to Southport to join the 198th Brigade of the 66th Division.
May 1915 Moved to Burgess Hill, Sussex and then to Crawley and on to Crowborough.
Mar 1916 Moved to Colchester.
02.03.1917 Mobilised for war and landed at Havre and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
During 1917
The Operations on the Flanders Coast, The Battle of Poelcapelle, The Third Battles of Ypres.
During 1918
The Battle of St Quentin, The Actions at the Somme Crossings, The Battle of Rosieres.
April 1918 Reduced to training cadre.
31.07.1918 Disbanded in France

3/4th and 3/5th Battalion Territorial Force
Mar 1915 Formed at Blackburn and Burnley.
1916 Moved to Witley, Surrey and became the 4th and 5th (Reserve) Battalions.
01.09.1916 The 4th absorbed the 5th as part of the East Lancashire Reserve Brigade Territorial Force.
Oct 1916 Moved to Southport.
Jan 1917 Moved to Ripon and then back to Witley and then Scarborough by April 1918.

6th (Service) Battalion
Aug 1914 Formed at Preston as part of the First New Army to join the 38th Brigade of the 13th Division and then moved to Tidworth.
Jan 1915 Moved to Winchester and then Blackdown.
16.06.1915 Embarked for Gallipoli from Avonmouth via Alexandria and Mudros.
07.07.1915 Landed at Gallipoli and engaged in various actions against the Turkish Army including; The Battle of Sari Bair, The Battle of Russell's Top, The Battle of Hill 60.
18.12.1915 Evacuated to Mudros due to heavy casualties from combat, disease and severe weather.
Jan 1916 Moved to Egypt landing at Port Said and then defended the Suez Canal.
Feb 1916 Moved to Mesopotamia landing at Basra 06.03.1916, the Division engaged in various actions including; The attempts to relieve Kut.
During 1917
The Battle of Kut al Amara, The capture of the Hai Salient, The capture of Dahra Bend, The passage of the Diyala, and the capture of Baghdad, The Second and Third Actions of Jabal Hamrin.
31.10.1918 Ended the war in Mesopotamia, Abu Saida N.E. of Bagdad.

7th (Service) Battalion
Sept 1914 Formed at Preston as part of the Second New Army to join the 56th Brigade of the 19th Division and then moved to Tidworth, and then on to Andover.
Feb 1915 Moved to Clevedon and then Salisbury Plain.
18.07.1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne and the Division engaged in various actions including;
During 1915
The Action of Pietre.
During 1916
The Battle of Albert, The attacks on High Wood, The Battle of Pozieres Ridge, The Battle of the Ancre Heights, The Battle of the Ancre.
During 1917
The Battle of Messines, The Battle of the Menin Road Ridge, The Battle of Polygon Wood, The Battle of Broodseinde, The Battle of Poelcapelle, First Battle of Passchendaele, The Second Battle of Passchendaele.
22.02.1918 Disbanded in France

8th (Service) Battalion
Sept 1914 Formed at Preston as part of the Third New Army to join the 74th Brigade of the 25th Division and then moved to Codford, and then on to Bournemouth.
Mar 1915 Transferred to the 112th Brigade of the 37th Division and moved to Ludgershall.
July 1915 Mobilised for war and then landed at Boulogne and the Division engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
During 1916
The Battle of the Ancre.
During 1917
The First and Second Battles of the Scarpe, The Battle of Arleux, The Battle of Pilkem Ridge, The Battle of the Menin Road Ridge, The Battle of Polygon Wood, The Battle of Broodseinde, The Battle of Poelcapelle, The First Battle of Passchendaele.
21.02.1918 Disbanded in France and remaining 20 Officers and 400 men transferred to the 11th Battalion.

9th (Service) Battalion
Sept 1914 Formed at Preston as part of the Third New Army to join the 65th Brigade of the 22nd Division and then moved to Lewes, and then on to Seaford, and then on to Eastbourne.
April 1915 Moved back to Seaford and then Aldershot.
05.09.1915 Mobilised for war and then landed at Boulogne.
28.10.1915 Embarked for Salonika from Marseilles arriving 05.11.1915 and engaged in various actions against the Bulgarian Army including;
During 1916
The Battle of Horseshoe Hill, The Battle of Machukovo.
During 1917
The Battles of Doiran.
During 1918
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 of the Fourth New Army in the 99th Brigade of the 33rd Division at Plymouth and then moved to Teignmouth.
10.04.19175 Became a 2nd Reserve Battalion and then moved to Swanage.
Aug 1915 Moved to Wareham as part of the 10th Reserve Brigade.
01.09.1916 Became the 47th Training Reserve Battalion.

11th (Service) Battalion (Accrington)
02.09.1914 Raised by the Town and Mayor of Accrington.
Feb 1915 Moved to Caernarvon and then to Penkridge Bank, Cannock Chase to join the 94th Brigade of the 31st Division.
July 1915 Moved to Ripon and then taken over by the War Office.
Sept 1915 moved to Salisbury Plain.
19.12.1915 Embarked for Egypt from Plymouth arriving Alexandria 01.01.1916 and defended the Suez Canal.
Mar 1916 Moved to France landing at Marseilles 08.03.1916 and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
During 1916
The Battle of Albert, The Battle of the Ancre.
During 1917
Operations on the Ancre, The Third Battle of the Scarpe, The Capture of Oppy Wood.
11.02.1918 Transferred to the 92nd Brigade of the same Division.
During 1918
The Battle of St Quentin, The Battle of Bapaume, The First Battle of Arras, The Battle of Estaires, The Battle of Hazebrouck, The Defence of Nieppe Forest, The attack at La Becque, The capture of Vieux Berquin, The Battle of Ypres, The action of Tieghem.
11.11.1918 Ended the war in Belgium, Boschstraet east of Renaix.

12th (Reserve) Battalion
May 1915 Formed from the depot companies of the 11th Battalion at Chadderton Camp, Oldham, as a local reserve Battalion.
Autumn 1915 Moved to Prees Heath to join the 17th Reserve Battalion.
01.09.1916 Became the 75th Training Reserve Battalion of the 17th Reserve Brigade.

13th (Service) Battalion
11.06.1918 Formed in St. Omer, France from the 8th Garrison Guard as part of the 119th Brigade of the 40th Division.
13.07.1918 Dropped ‘Garrison’ from the title and became a service battalion.
11.11.1918 Ended the war in Belgium, south of Roubaix.

East Lancashire Regiment during WW2

During WW2 The East Lancashire regiment had 7 serving battalions.

1st (Regular) Battalion:
1940, 1944 – 1945: The Battalion during this time served in North West Europe;

2nd (Regular) Battalion:
September 1939: The Battalion was in India at outbreak of war.
1940: Returned to the UK.
1942 –1943: Served in South Africa, Madagascar and East Africa.
1943 – 1945: Served India and Burma.

4th (Territorial) Battalion:
1939: The Battalion was formed.
1940: Served in North West Europe

5th (Territorial) Battalion:
September 1939: The Battalion was formed
1944: During its few months in action it became part of 197th Infantry Brigade, 59th (Staffordshire) Infantry Division.
July 1944: Involved in "Operation Charnwood" following the D-Day landings. On the first day of the operation the Battalion took up a position west of Galmanche near Epron. The objective was to liberate the northern side of the City of Caen which was a success.

6th Battalion:
August 1939: It was formed as a Home Defence Battalion.
1941: Renumbered 30thHome Defence Battalion.
1943: They disbanded.

7th Battalion:
1940: The Battalion was raised.
1941: It Disbanded.

8th Battalion:
1940: The Battalion was raised.
1941: It converted to 141 Regiment Royal Armoured Corps.
1944: It dispersed.


Memories of East Lancashire Regiment

(Memories written by members of Forces Reunited)

1st Battlion East Lancashire Regiment in 1939

Written by Nancy Eastwood

Anyone, veteran remember being stationed at Belsay Hall at Ponteland Northumberland. Near Newcastle-Upon Tyne.
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Active From: 1881 - 1958

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