The Regiment, 1719 to the present.

 


Episode 12: 1881 to the Present

The Welch Regiment served in Natal after the Zulu War, and 1 Welch participated in actions in Egypt against the Dervishes in 1888-89. 1 Welch was in garrison in Pembroke Dock (south Wales) from 1893 to the Boer War. In 1895, there was a disastrous fire, which resulted in the loss of much of the officer’s mess silver, and many early manuscript records. Our knowledge of the 41st in the War of 1812 undoubtedly suffered as a result.

The 2nd Battalion of the 24th served in the later stages of the Boer War, as did 1 and 3 Welch. Both units had men present at the crucial victory at Paardeburg (18 February 1899), which saw the capitulation of a major field force of the Boers. 1 Welch suffered one officer and 18 men killed, 5 officers and 65 men wounded. The 2/24th lost 6 killed and 8 wounded, but as the entire battalion had not been present, only the Welch gained the Battle Honour "Paardeburg".

On 10 March, at Driefontein on the Modder River, 1 Welch were again in the thick of the fighting, losing 2 officers and 28 men killed, and 114 wounded. One of the officers killed was Captain and Adjutant D.A.N. Lomax, author of the earliest history of The Welch Regiment.

WW1

In World War 1, the Welch Regiment raised 34 battalions, 19 of which served overseas, in France, Belgium, Gallipoli, Egypt, Syria, Mesopotamia, and Macedonia. Three Victoria Crosses were won, along with 70 Battle Honours, only a small proportion of which can be displayed on the Colours of the Royal Regiment of Wales. The Regiment suffered 7,779 fatalities.

The 24th raised 18 battalions, gained 6 Victoria Crosses, was awarded 74 Battle Honours, and suffered 5,777 fatalities.

The Royal Regiment of Wales lists 91 Battle Honours in total inherited from its constituent regiments, which indicates the extent of the overlap between those Honours gained by both the 41st and the 24th.

To even sketch out the extensive services of the many battalions of the 24th and 41st in WW1 would obviously require a small book. Suffice it to note that in that most horrible of the modern wars for the common soldier, the Regiments did their duty to the full.

 

Between the Wars

Between the Wars, the Welch Regiment’s two battalions saw active service in Ireland, and on the North West Frontier of India.

The 24th saw much active duty in such hot spots as Egypt, Palestine, Hong Kong, India (North West Frontier) and Northern Ireland.

WW2

In World War 2, the Welch Regiment fielded 11 battalions, of which 4 saw active service overseas — in Palestine, the Western Desert, Crete, Sicily, Italy, Burma, and France and Northwest Europe 1944/45. 22 Battle Honours were gained, and over 1,100 fatalities were suffered.

The SWB saw active service in Norway in 1940, the Western Desert, Burma, on D-Day and Northwest Europe 1944-45, and in Burma.

The Royal Regiment of Wales has 53 Battle Honours arising from World War 2 that it has inherited from its constituent regiments. Although I have not found a list of the Honours gained specifically by the SWB, presumably that Regiment gained at least 31, if not a few more that "overlap" Welch Regiment Honours. Each regiment had one member win the Victoria Cross.

Again, battalions of the Regiments participated in most major operations carried out by British and Commonwealth forces during the War, and to attempt to sketch out their actions would be beyond the scope of this short history. Again, there is no doubt that the Regiments carried out their duty with utmost gallantry and distinguished themselves yet again.

WW2 - Today

In 1948, the 2nd Welch was disbanded. The remaining battalion (1 Welch — arguably, the direct successors of the 41st) served in Korea (Battle Honour granted); celebrated its 250th anniversary with a ceremony at Chelsea Hospital in 1969, and shortly after, 11 June 1969, amalgamated with the South Wales Borderers to form The Royal Regiment of Wales (24th/41st Foot).

The SWB saw service in Palestine, Cyprus, Eritrea, Malaya, and Aden, before the amalgamation in to the RRW.

The Royal Regiment of Wales

The Royal Regiment of Wales has not seen any campaigning since its formation, but has served in postings from Northern Ireland to Germany to Belize.

The Regiment (and on other occasions, elements of the Regiment) has also visited Canada, utilizing the large training base Shiloh in Alberta, numerous times. Given its status as the direct successor of the 41st Regiment of Foot, the Royal Regiment of Wales is guaranteed a warm reception whenever its duty carries it to the country that the efforts of the 41st played so large a part in preserving in 1812-14.

 

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