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Unit History: South Wales Borderers

South Wales Borderers
The Regiment was first formed in 1689 by Sir Edward Dering in Ireland as ‘Sir Edward Dering’s Regiment of Foot’ (named after the colonel as was the tradition of the time).  It saw its first action during the War of Spanish Succession (1701–1714) fighting at the Battles of Blenheim and Ramilles then under the command of John Churchill who went on to become the Duke of Marlborough.  It also served during the War of Jenkins’s Ear (1739-41) at the disastrous British defeat at the Battle of Cartagena de Indias.
 
In 1751 the Regimental naming system was simplified with all British Regiments assign a number of the order of precedence instead of the current colonel, therefore the Regiment became the 24th Regiment of Foot.  The 24th went on to serve during the Seven Years War (1756–1763), garrisoned Minorca when it was forced to surrender to the French after a 3 month siege.  It was later involved in another British defeat at the Battle of Saint Cast.
 
The 24th also served during the American War of Independence ((1775–1783) and fought rebels at Quebec. The Regiment was also part of Major General John Burgoyne’s ill fated force until 1777 when he surrendered his whole army at Saratoga and the Regiment remained prisoners of war until 1783.
 
In 1782 all British regiments without Royal titles were awarded county ones to encourage recruitment from that area and the 24th became the 24th (Warwickshire) Regiment of Foot.
 
The Regiment was captured in 1810 during the Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815), at Action of 3rd July 1810, when French frigates in the Indian Ocean targeted the Honourable East India Company’s ships returning to England with goods.  The Regiment was onboard the Astell, Ceylon and Windham and put up a strong resistance, the flagship Windham was able to hold off the French frigate to allow the Astell to escape but both it and the Ceylon were captured.  The men were released a year later.
 
From 1814 the 24th went on to serve during the Anglo-Nepalese War (1814–1816) after which the British began recruiting Gurkhas for the British Army.  The Regiment then served in Canada for 12 years from 1829 where it helped to suppress the 1837 insurgency of the Richelieu River valley and the Montreal Rebellion of 1838.  In this one year the Regiment lost 111 men as deserters and when it returned to Britain in 1841 it left 200 voluntary men as reinforcements for other Regiments in Canada.
 
After rebuilding the Regiment to full strength it returned to the India and served during the Second Sikh War (1848-49) and suffered over 50 % casualties fighting at the Battle of Chillanwala.  It then remained in India and served during the Rebellion of 1857 mainly in the role of pursing escaped mutineers.  It left India in 1866 to garrison Gibraltar until 1872.
 
The Regiment went on to serve in South Africa in 1878 during the 9th Cape Frontier War (1877–1879), when the native Xhosa tribes rose in armed rebellion against continuing European rule.  In 1879 the Regiment fought during the Zulu War which began when Britain invaded Zululand ruled by Cetshwayo, in the hope that combined military and political campaigns would achieve a federation in the African Kingdoms as it had in Canada.
 
The 1st Battalion with 1 company of the 2nd Battalion was left to guard the Isandhlwana camp on the 22nd January 1879 while the rest of the British force went to search for Zulus.  This small force (approximately 1,500 men including 2,500 African warriors) was completely overrun by a 22,000 Zulu warriors in the unfortified camp.  Lieutenants Coghill and Melvill attempted to save the Queens Colours but were killed crossing the Buffalo River and the Colours fell downstream (later recovered), they were both awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously; the first time this had been done.  The Battle of Isandlwana was dramatized in the 1979 movie Zulu Dawn.  The few survivors made it to Rorke’s Drift the British mission station and hospital garrisoned by a company of the 2nd Battalion of the 24th.
 
Unfortunately 5,000 Zulus were also headed for Rorke’s Drift, luckily the survivors arrived first and rudimentary defensive fortifications were made.  Approximately 150 men defended the post when he Zulus attacked at 4.30pm and throughout the night until the Zulus withdrew at dawn. Only 15 British men were lost and 7 men of the 24th Regiment of Foot were awarded the Victoria Cross for their distinguished service.  The stand at Rorke's Drift was also immortalised in the 1964 movie Zulu.
 
In 1873 the Regimental Headquarters was relocated to Brecon in South Wales. In 1881 as part of the Childers Reforms the Regiment became the county Regiment for Brecknockshire, Cardiganshire, Monmouthshire, Montgomeryshire, and Radnorshire and was renamed as the South Wales Borderers.  The newly named Regiment spent various periods on garrison duties in Egypt and Gibraltar and then went on to served during the Third Burmese War (1885), the Second Boer War (1899-1902) and two World Wars.
 
In 1969 it was amalgamated with the Welch Regiment to form the Royal Regiment of Wales and was then further amalgamated in 2006 with the Royal Welch Fusiliers to form the Royal Welsh.

South Wales Borderers 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 to rival 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, 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 XX Battalions and was awarded 64 Battle Honours, 6 Victoria Crosses losing 5,600 during the course of the 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.
1915
Winter Operations 1914-15, The Battle of Aubers, The Battle of Loos.
1916
The Battle of Albert, The Battle of Bazentin, The Battle of Pozieres, The Battle of Flers-Courcelette, The Battle of Morval.
1917
The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, The Second Battle of Passchendaele.
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 at Fresnoy le Grand north of Le Quesnoy, France.

2nd Battalion
04.08.1914 Stationed at Tientsin, northern China.
23.09.1914 Deployed to the region of Shandong and landed at Lao Shan Bay for operations with the Japanese against German positions at Tsingtao, China.
04.12.1914 Embarked for England from Hong Kong arriving at Plymouth.
12.01.1915 Moved to Rugby joining the 87th Brigade of the 29th Division.
17.03.1915 Embarked of Egypt from Avonmouth via Alexandria arriving at Mudros 11.04.1915.
24.04.1915 Landed in Gallipoli and engaged in various actions against the Turkish army including;
First Battle of Krithia, the Second Battle of Krithia, the Third Battle of Krithia, the Battle of Gully Ravine, the Battle of Krithia Vineyard, the Battle of Scimitar Hill.
11.01.1916 Evacuated from Gallipoli to Egypt due to severe casualties from combat, disease and harsh weather.
15.03.1916 Deployed to France arriving at Marseilles
1916
The Battle of Albert, The Battle of the Transloy Ridges.
1917
The First Battle of the Scarpe, The Second Battle of the Scarpe, The Third Battle of the Scarpe, The Battle of Langemarck, The Battle of Broodseinde, The Battle of Poelcapelle, The Battle of Cambrai.
1918
The Battle of Estaires, The Battle of Messines 1918, The Battle of Hazebrouck, The defence on Nieppe Forest, 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 near Lessines, Belgium.

3rd (Reserve) Battalion
04.08.1914 Stationed at Brecon and then moved to Pembroke Dock.
Mar 1915 Four Companies moved to Edinburgh the rest of the Battalion moved to Hightown near Liverpool where it remained.

1/1st Brecknockshire Battalion Territorial Force
04.08.1914 Stationed at Brecon as part of the South Wales Brigade of the Welsh Division and then moved to Pembroke Dock.
28.09.1914 Moved to Dale.
29.10.1914 Embarked for India from Southampton with the Home Counties Division arriving at Bombay 03.12.1914.
03.12.1914 Transhipped and sailed for Aden arriving 16.12.1914
Aug 1915 Deployed back to India and remained in Bombay.

2/1st Brecknockshire Battalion Territorial Force
Sept 1914 Formed at Brecon and then moved to Dale.
End 1915 Moved to Bedford as part of the 68th Division.
Nov 1916 Moved to Wrentham near Southwold and absorbed by the 2/7th Battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers.

3/1st Brecknockshire Battalion Territorial Force
April 1915 Formed and then moved to Milford Haven.
08.04.1916 Became 1st (Reserve) Battalion.
01.09.1916 Joined the Welsh Reserve Brigade.
Aug 1917 Moved to Gobowen and amalgamated with the 1st (Reserve) Battalion of the Monmouthshire Regiment.

4th (Service) Battalion
Aug 1914 Formed at Brecon as part of the First New Army (K1) and then moved to Park House camp near Tidworth, joining the 40th Brigade of the 13th Division and then moved to Chisledon.
Dec 1914 Moved to Cirencester and then Woking.
29.06.1915 Embarked for Gallipoli from Avonmouth via Mudros.
15.07.1915 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.
08.01.1916 Evacuated from Gallipoli to Egypt due to severe casualties from combat, disease and harsh weather.
30.01.1916 Deployed to Egypt to defend sections of the Suez Canal.
15.02.1916 Embarked for Mesopotamia from Suez arriving at Basra 04.03.1916
1917
The Battle of Kut al Amara, The capture of the Hai Salient, The capture of Dahra Bend, The passage of the Diyala, The pursuit of the enemy towards Baghdad, Capture of Baghdad.
1918
Push north towards Turkey
31.10.1918 Ended the war north of Kirkuk, Mesopotamia.

5th (Service) Battalion (Pioneers)
Sept 1914 Formed at Brecon as part of the Second New Army (K2) and then moved to Park House Camp near Tidworth, joining the 58th Brigade of the 19th Division and then moved to Basingstoke.
10.01.1915 Became a Pioneer Battalion of the 19th Division.
Jan 1915 Moved to Burnham, Somerset and then to Bulford and then Perham Down.
16.07.1915 Mobilised for war and landed ay Havre and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
1915
The Action of Pietre; diversionary action during the Battle of Loos.
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.
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.
1918
The Battle of St Quentin, The Battle of Bapaume, The Battle of Messines, The Battle of Bailleul, The First Battle of Kemmel Ridge, The Battle of the Aisne, The Battle of the Selle, The Battle of the Sambre and the passage of the Grand Honelle.
11.11.1918 Ended the war at Hergies north of Bavai, France.

6th (Service) Battalion (Pioneers)
12.09.1914 Formed at Brecon as part of the Third New Army (K3) and then moved to Codford, joining the 76th Brigade of the 25th Division and then moved to Bournemouth.
Feb 1915 Became a Pioneer Battalion of the 25th Division.
April 1915 Moved to Hursley Park and then Tournay Barracks, Aldershot.
25.09.1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Havre and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
1916
German attack on Vimy Ridge, The Battle of Albert, The Battle of Bazentin, The Battle of Pozieres, The Battle of the Ancre Heights.
1917
The Battle of Messines, The Battle of Pilkem.
1918
The Battle of St Quentin, The First Battle of Bapaume.
02.07.1918 Transferred to the 30th Division;
The Battle of St Quentin, The actions at the Somme Crossings, The Battle of Rosieres, The Battle of Kemmel Ridge, The Second Battle of Kemmel Ridge, The Battle of the Scherpenberg, The capture of Neuve Eglise, The capture of Wulverghem, The Battle of Ypres, The Battle of Courtrai.
11.11.1918 Ended the war at Amougies west of Renaix, Belgium.

7th (Service) Battalion
14.09.1914 Formed at Brecon as part of the Third New Army (K3) and then moved to Seaford, joining the 67th Brigade of the 22nd Division and then moved to St. Leonards, Sussex and then back to Seaford.
May 1915 Moved to Aldershot.
06.09.1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne.
10.10.1915 Embarked for Salonika from Marseilles and engaged in various actions against the Bulgarian army including;
1916
The Battle of Horseshoe Hill, The Battle of Machukovo.
1917
The Battles of Doiran.
1918
The Battle of Doiran.
30.09.1918 Ended the war at Hasanli N.W. of Lake Doiran, Macedonia.

8th (Service) Battalion
19.09.1914 Formed at Brecon as part of the Third New Army (K3) and then moved to Seaford, joining the 67th Brigade of the 22nd Division and then moved to Hastings
April 1915 Moved back to Seaford and then to Aldershot.
06.09.1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne.
10.10.1915 Embarked for Salonika from Marseilles and engaged in various actions against the Bulgarian army including;
1916
The Battle of Horseshoe Hill, The Battle of Machukovo.
1917
The Battles of Doiran.
30.06.1918 Transferred to the 65th Brigade of the same Division
1918
The Battle of Doiran.
30.09.1918 Ended the war at N.W. of Lake Doiran, Macedonia.

9th (Reserve) Battalion
31.10.1914 Formed at Pembroke Dock as a service battalion of the Fourth New Army (K4).
01.01.1915 Transferred to the 104th Brigade of the 35th Division.
10.04.1915 Became a 2nd Reserve Battalion and moved to Kinmel Park as part of the 13th Reserve Brigade.
01.09.1916 Became the 57th Battalion Training Reserve of the 13th Training Brigade.

10th (Service) Battalion (1st Gwent)
Oct 1914 Formed by the Welsh National Executive Committee at Brecon and then moved to Colwyn Bay as part of the 130th Brigade of the 43rd Division.
24.04.1915 Formation became the 115th Brigade of the 38th Division and then moved to Hursley Park, Winchester and then Hazeley Down.
04.12.1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Havre and engaged in various actions on the Western front including;
1916
The Battle of Albert. (The Division suffered severe casualties and did not return to major action for over a year later).
1917
The Battle of Pilkem, The Battle of Langemark.
1918
The Battle of Albert, The Battle of the Bapaume, The Battle of Havrincourt, The Battle of Epehy, The Battle of Beaurevoir, The Battle of Cambrai, The Battle of the Selle, The Battle of the Sambre.
11.11.1918 Ended the war near Aulnoye, France.

11th (Service) Battalion (2nd Gwent)
05.12.1914 Formed by the Welsh National Executive Committee at Brecon and then moved to Colwyn Bay.
24.04.1915 Formation became the 115th Brigade of the 38th Division and then moved to Hazeley Down, Winchester.
04.12.1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Havre and engaged in various actions on the Western front including;
1916
The Battle of Albert. (The Division suffered severe casualties and did not return to major action for over a year later).
1917
The Battle of Pilkem, The Battle of Langemark.
1918
The Battle of Albert, The Battle of the Bapaume, The Battle of Havrincourt, The Battle of Epehy, The Battle of Beaurevoir, The Battle of Cambrai, The Battle of the Selle, The Battle of the Sambre.
27.02.1918 Disbanded in France.

12th (Service) Battalion (3rd Gwent)
Mar 1915 Formed by the Welsh National Executive Committee at Newport as a bantam battalion and then moved to Prees Heath, Shropshire in the Welsh Bantam Brigade.
Sept 1915 Formation became the 119th Brigade of the 40th Division and then moved to Aldershot and then Blackdown.
02.06.1916 Mobilised for war and landed at Havre and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
1916
The Battle of the Ancre.
1917
The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line (March), The capture of Fifteen Ravine, Villers Plouich, Beaucamp and La Vacquerie, The Cambrai Operations.
1918
The Battle of St Quentin, The Battle of Bapaume, The Battle of Estaires, The Battle of Hazebrouck.
10.02.1918 Disbanded in France.

13th (Reserve) Battalion
July 1915 Formed from the depot companies of the 10th & 11th Battalions at St. Asaph, Denbighshire as a local Reserve Battalion.
Sept 1915 Moved to Kinmel Park, Bodelwyddan as part of the 13th Reserve Brigade.
01.09.1916 Became the 59th Training Reserve Battalion.

14th (Reserve) Battalion
Sept 1915 Formed from the depot company of the 12th Battalion at Prees Heath as a local reserve battalion and then moved to Conway, North Wales.
Jan 1916 Moved to Kinmel Park, Bodelwyddan as part of the 14th Reserve Brigade.
01.09.1916 Became the 65th Training Reserve Battalion.

15th (Service) Battalion
June 1918 Formed at Walsham, Norfolk.
July 1918 Absorbed the cadre of the 10th Cheshire Regiment.
Sept 1918 Moved to Aldershot and possibly disbanded.

51st (Graduated) Battalion
27.10.1917 Formed at Aldeburgh from the 230th Graduated Battalion (previously 58th Training Reserve battalion) as part of the 204th Brigade of the 68th Division.
April 1918 Moved to Stowlangtoft, Suffolk where it remained.

52nd (Graduated) Battalion
27.10.1917 Formed at Patrickbourne, Canterbury from the 282nd Graduated Battalion (previously 57th Training Reserve battalion) as part of the 201st Brigade of the 67th Division.
Jan 1918 Moved to Broadstairs, Kent and the Foxhall Heath, Ipswich, Suffolk where it remained.

53rd (Young Soldier) Battalion
27.10.1917 Formed at Kinmel Park, Bodelwyddan from the 59th Young Soldier Battalion as part of the 14th Reserve Brigade.

Memories of South Wales Borderers

(Memories written by members of Forces Reunited)

South Wales Borderers, in 1966

any one about that was in stanley barracks (FORT ) in 1963/66 and do they know the whwere abouts of tiger coombes or richards 43 who was in the m/t

South Wales Borderers, Aden & N Ireland in 1971

I left thr army.
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Active From: 1689 - 1969

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