Unit History: King's Own Royal Border Regiment
The King’s Own Royal Border Regiment was an infantry regiment of the British Army, part of the King’s Division. It was formed in 1959 through the amalgamation of two other regiments:
* The King’s Own Royal Regiment (Lancaster)
* The Border Regiment
In 2004, as part of the restructuring of the infantry, it was announced that the King’s Own Royal Border Regiment would amalgamate with the King’s Regiment and the Queen’s Lancashire Regiment to form the new Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment (King’s Lancashire and Border). The new regiment was formed on 1st July 2006, with the KORBR forming the 3rd Battalion.
The regiment’s earliest forebears were the 4th, or Kings Own Regiment of Foot, formed in 1680 as the 2nd Tangier Regiment, the fourth Foot regiment in seniority in the British Army.
The 34th (Cumberland) and 55th (Westmoreland) Regiments of Foot were formed later in 1705 and 1755, respectively. In 1881 they amalgamated to form the Border Regiment, a fearsome force of Cumbrians who fought in the Battle of Arnhem in 1944 and were well-represented in the bitter war across Burma, as featured in the book Quartered Safe Out Here by George MacDonald Fraser.
The 1959 amalgamated regiment preserved traditions of the previous three regiments (4th, 34th and 55th). Every October 28th, the regiment would celebrate "Arroyo Day" by parading the French drums captured during the Peninsular War in 1811. They had been taken intact in the Battle of Arroyo dos Molinos from the French 34e Regiment de Ligne (the numerical nemesis of the British 34th of Foot!)
The regiment saw a great deal of service in Ulster during the troubles in Northern Ireland, fitting in four residential (2-year) tours in the province before the first ceasefire in 1994 (not counting numerous 4 and 6 month tours in between). The regiment was twice awarded the Wilkinson’s Sword of Peace for work in both Derry and Bosnia (where it served twice)
The Regiment’s final act was to serve in Iraq in 2005-6. It re-badged as The Duke Of Lancaster’s Regiment in June 2006, merging with the other regiments of the North West of England. The new name reflects the fact that the new Regiment embodies the old regiments recruiting areas of Cumbria, Lancashire, Manchester and Liverpool, all of which make up the ancient Duchy of Lancaster. The Duke of Lancaster, incidentally, is Her Majesty The Queen.
The fountains of all knowledge about the Regiment are the curators of the King’s Own Museum (Peter Donnelly, Lancaster) and the Border Regiment Museum (Stuart Eastwood, Carlisle).
NB: The KORBR was the only infantry regiment from the Cumbria area of England. However, the television series Soldier Soldier featured a fictional regiment from the region, The Cumbrians (Duke of Rutland’s Own), which, under Options for Change, amalgamated with the King’s Fusiliers.