Last updated: 12 February 2014
The 1881 Army Reforms formed several county regiments by merging existing line infantry units. One of these was The Duke of Wellington’s Regiment, formed by amalgamating the 33rd Regiment of Foot and the 76th Regiment of Foot, each of which became one of the new unit’s two regular battalions. The new unit also took the 33rd’s title, nickname and existing affiliation to the West Riding of Yorkshire.
1st Battalion was in India at the time of the merger and remained there until arriving back in Britain in 1889. The battalion was redeployed to Malta for three years in 1895 and also fought in the Boer War (1899-1902) at Paardeberg and Kimberley.
2nd Battalion was in Ireland in 1881, returning to England four years later. It then spent the rest of the 19th century in Bermuda, Nova Scotia, the West Indies, South Africa and Burma.
1st Battalion returned to Britain from the Boer War in 1902, a year that saw 2nd Battalion sent to India. 1st Battalion went to India to replace the 2nd in 1905.
1st Battalion was still in India on the outbreak of World War One and remained there throughout the conflict. 2nd Battalion deployed from Ireland to the Western Front in August 1914 and stayed there until the Armistice. The regiment also raised 19 territorial and service battalions between 1914 and 1918, which served in Britain, France and Gallipoli and counted among their privates the playwright JB Priestley.
1st Battalion fought in the Third Afghan War (1919) before moving to Palestine in 1920, Ireland in 1921 and Germany in 1922. In 1923 it returned to England and, except for two years in Malta, remained there until 1939.
2nd Battalion also spent a few post-war years in Ireland, before moving to Egypt in 1922, Singapore in 1926 and India in 1931. It stayed in India and the Far East throughout World War Two, fighting in Burma from 1942 onwards.
1st Battalion was sent to France on the outbreak of war and was evacuated from Dunkirk in 1940. It stayed in England until March 1943, when it landed in Tunisia, moving on to Italy later that year. In 1944 the regiment’s two remaining territorial battalions were landed in Normandy three days after D-Day. 1st Battalion moved to Palestine again in February 1945 and remained there for two years.
The regiment’s two regular battalions were merged into one in 1948 and then deployed to Germany in 1951, followed by Korea the following year. There it won a battle honour at the Hook for holding off 6,500 Chinese while only losing 126 men killed, wounded or missing.
The regiment kept the peace in Cyprus from 1956 to 1957, then moved to Northern Ireland. It was in Kenya and British Honduras in the early 1960s before returning to occupation duties in Germany for three years in 1963 and garrison duties in Hong Kong in 1968.
It alternated between England, Northern Ireland and Germany throughout the 1970s and 1980s and was also in Belize in 1985 and Bosnia in 1994. In 1998 it went on its 11th and final posting to Northern Ireland. It sent one company to Kosovo in 2003, a year that saw the rest of the regiment join the invasion of Iraq. It was back in Britain by 2006, when the regiment was merged with two other units to form The Yorkshire Regiment.
|The Yorkshire Regiment|
|The Prince of Wales's Own Regiment of Yorkshire|
|The Green Howards (Alexandra Princess of Wales’s Own Yorkshire Regiment)|
|The Duke of Wellington's Regiment (West Riding)|
|The West Yorkshire Regiment (The Prince of Wales's Own)|
|The East Yorkshire Regiment (The Duke of York's Own)|
|76th Regiment of Foot|
|33rd (The Duke of Wellington's) Regiment of Foot|