The Regiment, 1719 to Now.
Chapter 1: The Basic Facts
The original name of the Regiment was "Colonel Edmund Fielding's Regiment of Invalids", raised in 1719 from out-pensioners of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, for garrison duty "at home".
On July 1, 1751, the Regiment was numbered 41st and redesignated as The 41st Regiment of Foot (or Invalids), with service confined mainly to the Portsmouth garrison, with detachments at Plymouth and Jersey.
On December 11 1787, the invalids character of the Regiment was abandoned, the outpensioners discharged, and , recatagorised as a marching regiment of the line, younger men were recruited in preparation for active service "at home or abroad". Name: The 41st Regiment of Foot.
By request of the Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Sir Edmund Keynton Williams KCB KTS, the King by letter dated 25 February 1831 approved the regiment be styled The 41st or The Welch Regiment of Infantry.
At Sheffield in 1862 the Regiment received from Queen Victoria a white billygoat from the Royal herd as replacement for its mascot, a Russian goat picked up in the Crimea. 41st adopts NCO rank of "Goat Major", whose duty is to ensure the mascot is presentable. Goat accompanies 41st virtually everywhere, Royal Regiment of Wales takes on 41st goat as mascot, RRW goat gets service medal for recent duty in Northern Ireland, is petted by Emperor of Japan on recent visit to U.K.
In 1881, 69th Foot is amalgamated in to regiment as 2nd Battalion, 41st: which brings that regiment's proud history in to the fold.
By Army Order No. 56 of February 1920, Regiment wins long-standing war with War Office and gets official permission to spell "Welsh" as "Welch" - (not that NOT having official permission ever stopped the Regiment from so doing...).
On 11 June 1969, Amalgamation Parade in Cardiff Castle sees 24th and 41st joined to form The Royal Regiment of Wales (24th/41st) Foot. Last goat of Welch Regiment is retitled "Taffy 1" of the Royal Regiment of Wales, and enlisted on the Battalion Ration Register as "Gwilym Jenkins".
Chapter 2: The Regimental Insignia
THE REGIMENTAL MASCOT: yeah, yeah, it's the goat...
COLOURS: the regiment had a Stand of Colours in 1747. The Regimental Colour (at that time, blue as per "facings" below) incorporated a crest which throughout the history of the 41st was unique to a non-Royal regiment of infantry. Known as the "Union Badge", it consisted of a crowned garter enclosing on a red ground the rose and thistle.
The King's Colour of the Stand issued to the 41st in May 1773 survives and is displayed in the Regimental museum in Cardiff, Wales. The 1773 colours did not include the Union Badge in their heraldry - it was restored by Royal permission given in September 1824. By the War of 1812, the Regimental Colour resembled a White Ensign - illustrations of a 33rd Colour, which are seen in numerous books, are of the correct pattern. The Battle Honours "Detroit", "Queenstown", "Miami" and "Niagara", gained in defence of Upper Canada, were added to the colours in 1816. These Honours currently appear on the Regimental Colour of the Royal Regiment of Wales (and there was only enough room on the Regimental and Queen's Colours for a fraction of the combined battle honours of the 41st, 24th and 69th...). The Union Badge also appears in the upper right corner of the Regimental Colour.
41st: to 1787: blue; 1787-1822: red; 1822-1969: white.
24th: green, except 1881-1905: white
69th: green (69th was originally raised as a 2nd battalion of the 24th)
Royal Regiment of Wales (24th/41st): green (same shade as on Welsh flag). Evidently, the scheme whereby "royal" regiments had blue facings has been abandoned.
REGIMENTAL MOTTO: "GWELL ANGAU NA CHYWILYDD" (Death Rather Than Dishonour)- adopted for the 41st by Lieut.-Col. Sir Edmund Keynton Williams in 1831. This is now also the motto of the Royal Regiment of Wales.
CAP BADGE: The cap badge of the RRW is the Prince of Wales's feathers inscribed ICH DIEN (I serve) - this design was used by the 41st since granted in 1831, at first for use on the Colours, then incorporated in to the design of a variety of regimental badges and insignia - an illustration shows it on an 1835 pattern shako plate.
COLLAR BADGE: RRW: a silver Wreath of Immortelles (commemorates 24th in Zulu War) surrounds a red Welsh dragon (from 41st). The 41st used the red dragon starting in 1881 as the centrepiece of the waist belt clasps worn by officers, and a collar badge for all ranks.
REGIMENTAL MARCHES: Regimental Marches were formally approved for all regiments in 1882. All marches of the constituent regiments (24th, 41st, 69th) have been adopted by the Royal Regiment of Wales, although the primary quick march is "Men of Harlech" (quick march of the 24th, slow march (different tempo, obviously...) of the 41st) and the slow march is "Scipio"( adopted in 1969 - no association with prior units). 41st's former quick march was "Ap Shenkin". RRW Vesper Hymns are associated from the 41st during its First Afghan War (1842) period... "Sun of My Soul", "Spanish Chant", and "Vesper Hymn".
In 1812, the 41st was short of most of the regalia & traditions outlined above, most of which celebrate the Welsh connection established after our time period. Nevertheless, it is also interesting to note that the 41st came out rather well in terms of its regalia being adopted by the new RRW: from goat to motto to cap badge.