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97th (The Earl of Ulster’s) Regiment of Foot

Last updated: 7 July 2014

Other ranks’ glengarry badge, 97th (The Earl of Ulster’s) Regiment of Foot, c1874Other ranks’ glengarry badge, 97th (The Earl of Ulster’s) Regiment of Foot, c1874
NAM. 1963-09-423

Introduction

The 97th Foot was raised at Winchester in 1824 by Major-General Sir James Lyon and named after Prince Frederick, the Army’s commander-in-chief and King George IV’s younger brother. Better known as the Duke of York and Albany, Frederick held the Earldom of Ulster in the Peerage of Ireland.

A year after its formation the regiment was sent to Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). It spent 11 years there and in 1832 men from the regiment played against a civilian team in the first recorded cricket match on the island.

From 1836 to 1841 the regiment alternated between England and Ireland. It was then in the Mediterranean for most of the 1840s, garrisoning Corfu and then Malta. It moved to Nova Scotia for five years in 1848.

Hospital Sergeant Frederick Newman who died of fever in the Crimea while serving with the 97th Regiment, c1850Hospital Sergeant Frederick Newman who died of fever in the Crimea while serving with the 97th Regiment, c1850
NAM. 2002-03-167-1

By 1854 the regiment was in Greece. The following year it moved to the Crimean War (1854-56), where it was mainly engaged at Sevastopol. It won two Victoria Crosses there and suffered a 59 per cent casualty rate during the assault on the Redan (1855).

It returned to Britain briefly in 1856, but less than a year later was sent out to India following the outbreak of the Indian Mutiny (1857-59), fighting at Lucknow and in several other engagements. It stayed in India for 10 years, followed by five years in Britain and Ireland.

In 1873 the regiment was overseas again, garrisoning Jamaica and then Bermuda. It was posted to Nova Scotia once more in 1877, followed three years later by service in Gibraltar and South Africa.

In 1881 the regiment amalgamated with the 50th (The Queen's Own) Regiment of Foot to form The Queen’s Own (Royal West Kent Regiment).

Key facts

Motto:

  • 'Quo Fas et Gloria Ducunt' (meaning 'Where Right and Glory Lead')

Nickname:

  • The Celestials (after the sky-blue facings on its uniforms, derived from the blue ribbon of the Order of St Patrick, of which the regiment’s first colonel Sir James Lyon was a member)

Titles to date:

  • 97th (The Earl of Ulster’s) Regiment of Foot
  • 2nd Battalion, The Queen’s Own (Royal West Kent Regiment)
  • The Royal West Kent Regiment (Queen’s Own)
  • The Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment
  • The Queen’s Own Buffs, The Royal Kent Regiment
  • 2nd (Queen’s Own Buffs) Battalion, The Queen’s Regiment
  • 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Battalions, The Queen’s Regiment
  • The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment (Queen’s and Royal Hampshires)

Find out more

Regimental Museum

National Army Museum Collection

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