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Unit History: South Lancashire Regiment

South Lancashire Regiment
The Regiment was officially formed in 1881 through the amalgamation of the 40th and the 82nd Regiments of Foot however its history can be traced back 164 years prior to this date.
 
The 40th was first formed in 1717 in Nova Scotia by General Richard Phillip’s from the independent companies stationed in North America and the West Indies.  As was the tradition at the time the Regiment was named after its colonel as ‘Phillip’s Regiment’.  The Regiment was at the forefront of the Canadian frontier protecting Annapolis Royal, Placentia, and Canso during the 4th Anglo-Abenaki War (1722–1725). At the outbreak of King George's War (1744–1748) the French captured four poorly supplied companies of Phillip’s Regiment at Canso and took them to Fort Louisburg.  The officers and men were later paroled and returned to Boston, where they provided valuable intelligence on Louisburg’s defences to the British command.  The next major conflict the Regiment engaged in was the Anglo-Micmac War (1749–1755) which started when Edward Cornwallis the new Governor of Nova Scotia established the settlement of Halifax, breaking the treaty signed with the Mi’Kmag following the 4th Anglo-Abenaki War.  Cornwallis also took over as colonel of the Regiment and set about improving disciplinal and the condition of the Regiment.
 
In 1751 the traditional system of naming Regiments after the current colonel was simplified with a number assigned according to the Regiments precedence; therefore ‘Cornwallis’ Regiment of Foot’ became the 40th Regiment of Foot.  The 40th went on to serve during the French and Indian War (1754–1763), again fought between the British and French.  In 1755 the Regiment took part in the Expulsion of the Acadian Indians from Annapolis Royal, even though many of the officers had married local Acadian women and had to exile their relatives.  In 1767 the Regiment was finally transferred to Britain for the first time in its 48 year history.  In 1782 all British Regiments without Royal titles were awarded county titles in order to aid recruitment from that region it therefore became the 40th (Somersetshire) Regiment of Foot.  The 40th then served during the Peninsular War (1808-1814) fighting at the Battles of Rolica, Vimiera, Talavera, Badajoz, Salamanca, Vittoria, Pyrenees, Nivelle, Orthes, Toulouse, Peninsular as well as at the Battle of Waterloo.
 
The 40th remained in Britain for a number of years before deployment to Australia in 1823 to garrison New South Wales, Sydney and Van Diemens Land until 1829 when it was transferred to India until 1841.  The Regiment also served during the First Anglo-Afghan War (1839–1842) fighting at the Battles of Candahar, Ghuznee and Cabool.  The 40th then returned to India in 1842 to serve during the Gwalior Campaign (1843) fighting at the Battle of Maharaipore.
 
The 82nd was first raised in 1793 by Major General Charles Leigh who was serving in the Prince of Wales’s Household and was given Royal consent to name to new Regiment as ‘The Prince of Wales’s Volunteers’.  in 1795 the Regiment was deployed to the West Indies to reinforce the British effort to oust the French from Santo Domingo (now Haiti). Unfortunately the Regiment was devastated, like some many other units by yellow fever, only 1 officer and 22 men returned to England in 1799 from the 22 officers and 1,000 men who had left 4 years earlier.  In 1807 prior to the Peninsular War (1808-1814)  Napoleon sought to force neutral Denmark and Portugal to hand over their naval fleets in order for him to defeat Britain.  Instead the 82nd was part of a British force which bombarded Copenhagen in order to capture 33 Danish warships and store them in British ports out of Napoleons’ grasp. The Regiment went on to serve during the Peninsular War fighting at the Battles of Rolica, Vimiera, Vittoria, Pyrenees, Nivelle, Orthes, Peninsular.  It was also part of the unsuccessful Walcheren Expedition (1809), were the Regiment suffered greatly from Walcheren fever (thought to be a combination of malaria and typhus).  The British lost 106 soldiers in the Battle for Flushing but lost a further 4,000 men to disease in 4 months.
 
Following the defeat of Napoleon in 1814 the Regiment was dispatched to North America to curb the expansionist ambitions of the United States, which tried to annex Canada during the War of 1812 (1812-1815).  The Regiment was recalled to Europe following the escape of Napoleon from Elba but arrived too late to participate in the Battle of Waterloo.  In 1816 280 soldiers, wives and children were lost at sea when the Regiment sailed from Ramsgate for Ireland and the transport Boadicea sank in a storm off Kinshead.  From 1816 until 1855 the Regiment served routine tours in the Cape of Good Hope, Mauritius, Scotland, Ireland, Gibraltar, Jamaica and Canada until 1855 when the 82nd went to serve during the Crimea War (1854 - 1856).  In 1857 the Regiment served during the Indian Mutiny (1857-59) fighting at the Second Relief of Lucknow.
 
In 1881 both Regiments were amalgamated as part of the Childers Reforms which restructured the British army into a network of multi-battalion Regiments and became The Prince of Wales's Volunteers (South Lancashire Regiment) and went on to serve during the Second Boer War (1899-1902) fighting at the Battle of Spion Kop, Tugela Heights and the Relief of Ladysmith as well as  two World Wars.
 
The Regiment was amalgamated in 1958 with the East Lancashire Regiment to form The Lancashire Regiment (Prince of Wales’s Volunteers).  In 1970 it was further amalgamated with the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment to form The Queen’s Lancashire Regiment.  The final merger came in 2006 when The Queen’s Lancashire Regiment was amalgamated with the two remaining North West England infantry regiments, the Kings Own Royal Border and Kings Regiments, to form The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment.

South 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 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 22 Battalions and was awarded 59 Battle Honours, 4 Victoria Crosses losing 5,450 men during the course of the war.

1st Battalion
04.08.1914 Stationed at Quetta, India and remained here throughout the war.

2nd Battalion
04.08.1914 Stationed at Tidworth, Wiltshire as part of the 7th Brigade of the 3rd Division.
14.08.1914 Mobilised for war landing at Havre and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
1914
The Battle of Mons and the subsequent retreat, The Battle of Le Cateau, The Battle of the Marne, The Battle of the Aisne, The Battles of La Bassee and Messines 1914, First Battle of Ypres.
1915
Winter Operations 1914-15, The First Attack on Bellewaarde, The Actions of Hooge, The Second Attack on Bellewaarde.
18.10.1915 Transferred to the 7th Brigade of the 25th Division.
26.10.1915 Transferred to the 75th Brigade of the 25th Division;
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.
21.06.1918 Transferred to the 64th Brigade of the 21st Division.
30.06.1918 Transferred to the 89th Brigade of the 30th Division;
1918
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 Ellezelles east of Renaix, Belgium.

3rd (Reserve) Battalion
04.08.1914 Stationed at Warrington and then moved to Crosby, Liverpool.
Mar 1917 Moved to Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria.

1/4th Battalion Territorial Force
04.08.1914 Stationed at Warrington, Cheshire as part of the South Lancs. Brigade of the West Lancs. Division.
13.08.1914 Moved to Dunfermline and then Tunbridge Wells.
Feb 1915 Mobilised for war leaving the Division and landing at Havre.
13.02.1915 Transferred to the 7th Brigade of the 3rd Division and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
1914
The Battle of Mons and the subsequent retreat, The Battle of Le Cateau, The Battle of the Marne, The Battle of the Aisne, The Battles of La Bassee and Messines 1914, First Battle of Ypres.
1915
Winter Operations 1914-15, The First Attack on Bellewaarde, The Actions of Hooge, The Second Attack on Bellewaarde.
12.10.1915 Became a Pioneer Battalion of the 3rd Division.
09.01.1916 Transferred to the 55th Division which engaged in various actions including;
1916
The Battle of Guillemont, The Battle of Ginchy, The Battle of Flers-Courcelette, The Battle of Morval.
1917
The Battle of Pilkem Ridge, The Battle of Menin Road Ridge, The German counter attacks.
1918
The Battle of Estaires, The Defence of Givenchy, The Battle of Hazebrouck, The capture of Givenchy craters, The capture of Canteleux trench, The pursuit to Mons, The Final Advance in Artois.
11.11.1918 Ended the war at Erchonwelz west of Ath, Belgium.

1/5th Battalion Territorial Force
04.08.1914 Stationed at St. Helens as part of the South Lancs. Brigade of the West Lancs. Division.
Aug 1914 Moved to Edinburgh and then Tunbridge Wells.
Feb 1915 Mobilised for war leaving the Division.
13.02.1915 Transferred to the 12th Brigade of the 4th Division and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
1914
The Battle of Le Cateau, The Battle of the Marne, The Battle of the Aisne, The Battle of Messines 1914.
1915
The Second Battle of Ypres.
04.11.1915 The 12th Brigade attached to the 36th Division.
06.01.1916 Transferred to the 166th Brigade of the 55th Division;
1916
The Battle of Guillemont, The Battle of Ginchy, The Battle of Flers-Courcelette, The Battle of Morval.
1917
The Battle of Pilkem Ridge, The Battle of Menin Road Ridge, The German counter attacks (The Divisional history notes ‘not a man returned’ from this Battalion after the German counter attacks).
1918
The Battle of Estaires, The Defence of Givenchy, The Battle of Hazebrouck, The capture of Givenchy craters, The capture of Canteleux trench, The pursuit to Mons, The Final Advance in Artois.
11.11.1918 Ended the war at Moulbaix S.W. of Ath, Belgium.

2/4th Battalion Territorial Force
Sept 1914 Formed at Warrington, Cheshire.
Feb 1915 moved to Ashford and joined the 172nd Brigade of the 57th Division.
June 1916 Moved to Mytchett, Aldershot and then to Blackdown.
16.02.1917 Mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
1917
The Second Battle of Passchendaele
1918
The Battle of the Scarpe, The Battle of the Drocourt-Queant Line, The Battle of the Canal du Nord, The Battle of the Cambrai, The occupation of Lille, The general final advance in Artois.
11.11.1918 Ended the war at Lille, France.

2/5th Battalion Territorial Force
Sept 1914 Formed at St. Helens, Lancashire.
Feb 1915 Moved to Ashford, Kent and joined the 172nd Brigade of the 57th Division.
June 1916 Moved to Mytchett, Aldershot and then to Blackdown.
20.02.1917 Mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
1917
The Second Battle of Passchendaele
25.02.1918 Disbanded in Steenwerck, France.

3/4th & 3/5th Battalion Territorial Force
April 1915 Formed and then moved to Blackpool.
Early 1916 Moved to Oswestry, Shropshire.
08.04.1916 Became the 4th & 5th Reserve Battalion.
01.09.1916 The 4th absorbed the 5th as part of the West Lancs. Reserve Brigade.
April 1918 Deployed to Ireland and stationed at Dublin.

6th (Service) Battalion
Aug 1914 Formed at Warrington, Cheshire as part of the First New Army (K1) and then moved to Tidworth, Wiltshire to join the 38th Brigade of the 13th Division.
Jan 1915 Moved to Winchester and then Blackdown.
June 1915 Embarked for the Mediterranean from Avonmouth.
07-31.07.1915 At Helles with the 38th Brigade then moved to Mudros and engaged in various actions against the Turkish including;
The Battle of Sari Bair, The Battle of Russell's Top, The Battle of Hill 60.
Jan 1916 Deployed to Egypt.
Feb 1916 Deployed to Mesopotamia and engaged in various actions as part of the Palestine Campaign including;
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.
31.10.1918 Ended the war near Delli Abbas N.E. of Baghdad, Mesopotamia.

7th (Service) Battalion
Aug 1914 Formed at Warrington as part of the Second New Army (K2) and then moved to Tidworth to join the 58th Brigade of the 19th Division and then moved to Andover.
Feb 1915 Moved to Clevedon, Somerset and then back to Tidworth, Wiltshire.
18.07.1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne 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.
22.02.1918 Disbanded in France.

8th (Service) Battalion
Aug 1914 Formed at Warrington 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 Bournemouth.
May 1915 Moved to Wokingham and then Aldershot.
Sept 1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne 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 (the Division had lost more than half its fighting strength: 318 men dead 1,496 men wounded and 1,588 men missing).
16.02.1918 Disbanded in France.

9th (Service) Battalion
Aug 1914 Formed at Warrington as part of the Third New Army (K3) and then moved to Seaford to join the 66th Brigade of the 22nd Division and then moved to Eastbourne.
Mar 1915 Moved to Seaford and then Bourley, Aldershot.
07.09.1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne.
29.10.1915 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 north of Lake Doiran, Macedonia.

10th (Reserve) Battalion
Oct 1914 Formed at Crosby as a service battalion of the Fourth New Army (K4) as part of the 105th brigade of the 35th Division and then moved to Heswell, Merseyside.
10.04.1915 became a 2ns Reserve battalion and then moved to Kinmel, Conwy.
Aug 1915 Moved to Prees Heath and joined the 11th Reserve Brigade.
01.09.1916 Became the 51st Training reserve Battalion.

11th (service) Battalion (St. Helens Pioneers)
01.09.1914 Formed by Lord Derby at St. Helens and then moved to Bangor.
15.05.1915 Moved to Grantham and joined the 30th Division as a Pioneer Battalion.
15.08.1915 Taken over by the War Office and moved to Larkhill.
07.11.1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Havre and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
1916
The Battle of Albert, The Battle of the Transloy Ridges.
1917
The pursuit of the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, The First Battle of the Scarpe, The Second Battle of the Scarpe, The Battle of Pilkem Ridge.
15.05.1918 Reduced to Training cadre.
19.06.1918 Transferred to the 66th Division.
30.06.1918 Returned to England attached to the 25th Division.
03.07.1918 Reconstituted by absorbing the 18th Battalion and moved to Aldershot.
08.10.1918 Returned to France with the 25th Division as a Pioneer Battalion;
The Battle of Cambrai, The Pursuit to and Battle of the Selle, The Battle of the Sambre.
11.11.1918 Ended the war at Maroilles east of Landrecies, France.

12th (Service) Battalion
June 1915 Formed At Warrington as a Bantam Battalion.
Jan 1916 Moved to Blackdown and joined the 120th Brigade of the 40th Division.
02.03.1916 Absorbed by the 11th Battalion of the King’s Own Regiment.

13th (Reserve) Battalion
Sept 1915 Formed from the depot companies of the 11th Battalion at Oswestry as a Local Reserve Battalion.
Nov 1915 Moved to Prescott as part of the 16th Reserve Brigade.
April 1916 Moved to Altcar.
01.09.1916 Absorbed into the Training Reserve Battalions of the 16th Reserve Brigade.

14th Battalion Territorial Force
01.01.1917 formed at Hemsby, Norfolk from the 49th Provisional Battalion as part of the 224th Brigade.
1917 Moved to Palling, Norfolk and remained there.

15th (Transport Workers) Battalion
Dec 1916 Formed at Bebington for work on the Birkenhead Docks.

16th (Transport Workers) Battalion
April 1917 Formed at Prescott for work on the Mersey Docks.

17th (Transport Workers) Battalion
April 1918 Formed at Bidston, Cheshire to supply workers for building canal links from ports to industrial areas.

18th Battalion
01.06.1918 Formed at North Walsham, Norfolk.
03.07.1918 Absorbed by the 11th Battalion.
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Battles / Campaigns

Marne (1914) WW1

2nd South Lancashire were attached to 7th Infantry Brigade 3rd Division and was part of the British Expeditionary Force (John French, serving as the first Commander-in-Chief of the BEF)

The First Battle of the Marne fought between 5 and 12 September 1914 marked the end of the German sweep into France and the beginning of the trench warfare that was to characterise World War One.
It was also one of the first major battles in which reconnaissance planes played a decisive role, by discovering weak points in the German lines and allowing the allies to take advantage of them.

Germany's grand Schlieffen Plan to conquer France entailed a wheeling movement of the northern wing of its armies through central Belgium to enter France near Lille. It would turn west near the English Channel and then south to cut off the French retreat. If the plan succeeded, Germany's armies would simultaneously encircle the French Army from the north and capture Paris.

A French offensive in Lorraine prompted German counter-attacks that threw the French back onto a fortified barrier. Their defence strengthened, they could send troops to reinforce their left flank - a redistribution of strength that would prove vital in the Battle of the Marne. The German northern wing was weakened further by the removal of 11 divisions to fight in Belgium and East Prussia. The German 1st Army, under Kluck, then swung north of Paris, rather than south west, as intended. This required them to pass into the valley of the River Marne across the Paris defences, exposing them to a flank attack and a possible counter-envelopment.

On 3 September, Joffre ordered a halt to the French retreat and three days later his reinforced left flank began a general offensive. Kluck was forced to halt his advance prematurely in order to support his flank: he was still no further up the Marne Valley than Meaux.

On 9 September Bülow learned that the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) was advancing into the gap between his 2nd Army and Kluck. He ordered a retreat, obliging Kluck to do the same. The counterattack of the French 5th and 6th Armies and the BEF developed into the First Battle of the Marne, a general counter-attack by the French Army. By 11 September the Germans were in full retreat.

This remarkable change in fortunes was caused partially by the exhaustion of many of the German forces: some had marched more than 240km (150 miles), fighting frequently. The German advance was also hampered by demolished bridges and railways, constricting their supply lines, and they had underestimated the resilience of the French.

The Germans withdrew northward from the Marne and made a firm defensive stand along the Lower Aisne River. Here the benefits of defence over attack became clear as the Germans repelled successive Allied attacks from the shelter of trenches: the First Battle of the Aisne marked the real beginning of trench warfare on the Western Front.

In saving Paris from capture by pushing the Germans back some 72km (45 miles), the First Battle of the Marne was a great strategic victory, as it enabled the French to continue the war. However, the Germans succeeded in capturing a large part of the industrial north east of France, a serious blow. Furthermore, the rest of 1914 bred the geographic and tactical deadlock that would take another three years and countless lives to break.

The Battle of Marne was also one of the first major battles in which reconnaissance planes played a decisive role, by discovering weak points in the German lines and allowing the allies to take advantage of them. The mobility and destructive power of the numerous French 75 batteries engaged in the Battle of the Marne played a key role in slowing down and then halting German progress everywhere.

Over two million men fought in the First Battle of the Marne, of whom more than 500,000 were killed or wounded. French casualties totalled 250,000, 80,000 of them dead, while British casualties were 13,000, 1,700 of them dead. The Germans suffered 220,000 casualties.
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Active From: 1717 - 1958

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