Last updated: 24 April 2013
The 69th Regiment was formed by redesignating the 2nd Battalion of the 24th Regiment of Foot in 1758. The early 1760s saw it take part in two amphibious landings at Belleisle off the west French coast and Martinique in the West Indies, though its successor regiment only gained battle honours for these two actions in the 20th century. In 1782 the regiment was assigned South Lincolnshire as its county title.
The unit’s naval connection continued at the Battle of Cape St Vincent in February 1797, when a detachment of 64 men from the regiment were serving as marines on board HMS ‘Agamemnon’, whose captain was then Horatio Nelson. They helped him board and capture two Spanish ships, in recognition of which the unit’s successor regiment was awarded the battle honour Cape St Vincent in 1891 and a naval crown in 1909. The rest of the regiment had deployed to St Domingo in the West Indies the previous year, but lost over 900 officers and men to disease and was pulled out in 1798.
By 1803 the regiment had recovered sufficiently to raise a second battalion and two years later the 1st Battalion was sent to India, where it held out against the Vellore Mutiny and took part in the capture of the French islands of Bourbon and Mauritius and the Dutch possessions in Java. The 2nd Battalion’s first active service was during the Waterloo campaign (1815), in which it showed its lack of combat experience. It was overrun by French cavalry at Quatre Bras while still trying to form square and had its square broken at Waterloo, though it still managed to repulse the Imperial Guard near Hougoumont at the height of the battle.
It was dissolved in 1816 and its men were sent to reinforce the 1st Battalion, which was still in the Far East. There the regiment continued to fight in the Maratha Wars until 1826 before being switched to garrison duty in England, the West Indies and Canada.
At the start of their 1857-64 deployment to Burma, they became the first British regiment to be deployed to the Far East overland via Egypt rather than by sea. 1867 saw them back in Canada, where they opposed an invasion by Irish-American Fenians in 1870. Their final garrison duties as an independent unit were in Bermuda and Gibraltar before they finally shipped back to England in 1878. Three years later, in the 1881 reorganisation of the British Army, the 69th Regiment became the 2nd Battalion of the new Welsh Regiment.
|Royal Welch Fusiliers|
|Royal Regiment of Wales (24th/41st Foot)|
|South Wales Borderers|
|69th (South Lincolnshire) Regiment of Foot|
|41st (Welsh) Regiment of Foot|