Last updated: 20 November 2013
In 1756 Britain had just entered the Seven Years War (1756-73) and its army needed expanding. That year the 12th Regiment of Foot raised a second battalion, but two years later this battalion was made a regiment in its own right, with the numeral 65. It was then sent straight to the West Indies for five years, taking part in the capture of Guadaloupe and Martinique and the city of Havana on Cuba.
An interval in England and Ireland followed before the regiment became part of the garrison of Boston in North America in 1769. This meant it was already present on the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War in 1775. Its grenadier and light companies took part in the attack at Bunker Hill. However, after only a year’s campaigning, the regiment was so depleted that the survivors had to be drafted to other regiments and the officers sent back to England to recruit.
The regiment’s next overseas posting was a year in Gibraltar from 1782 to 1783. It then spent one year in Ireland before seven years in Canada from 1784 onwards. A brief spell in the West Indies in 1793 and Britain in 1794 was followed by a longer period in the Cape of Good Hope from 1800 to 1803.
From there it sent two companies to fight in the Kandian Wars (1796-1818) in what is now Sri Lanka. These companies and the regiment itself both arrived in India in 1803, remaining there for 19 years. There it fought in the Mahratta and Pindari Wars, the capture of Mauritius in 1810 and anti-pirate operations in the Persian Gulf, making it the only British regiment with ‘Arabia’ as a battle honour.
The regiment only arrived back in Britain in 1823, in which year it was granted the Royal Tiger in honour of its long stay in India. The 1820s, 1830s and early 1840s saw it back in Britain, Ireland, the West Indies and Canada. From 1846 to 1865 the regiment was in New Zealand, fighting in the Maori Wars (1846-72) and winning two Victoria Crosses. It then spent six years in England and Ireland before shifting to India once again in 1871. Whilst there, in 1881, it was merged with the 84th Regiment of Foot to form The York and Lancaster Regiment.
|The York and Lancaster Regiment|
|65th (2nd Yorkshire, North Riding) Regiment of Foot|
|84th (York and Lancaster) Regiment of Foot|