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East Lancashire Regiment

Last updated: 30 June 2014

Other ranks’ cap badge, The East Lancashire Regiment, c1914Other ranks’ cap badge, The East Lancashire Regiment, c1914
NAM. 1963-12-63-1

Introduction

The regiment was formed as the county regiment for East Lancashire in 1881, by amalgamating the 30th (Cambridgeshire) Regiment of Foot and the 59th (2nd Nottinghamshire) Regiment of Foot. These became its regular 1st and 2nd Battalions respectively.

1st Battalion was in India when the regiment was formed, remaining there for the next 16 years and joining the Chitral expedition in 1895. 2nd Battalion spent those 16 years in England, Ireland and Gibraltar before replacing 1st Battalion in India in 1897.

1st Battalion fought in the Boer War from 1900 to 1902, before moving to Ireland and then back to Britain. 2nd Battalion moved from India to South Africa in 1911.

1st Battalion was already in Britain on the outbreak of World War One and deployed straight to France in August 1914, where three months later it was joined by 2nd Battalion. The regiment also raised 15 territorial and service battalions during the conflict, including the 11th (Service) Battalion, raised in September 1914 and better known as the Accrington Pals.

Two of the regiment’s territorial battalions deployed to Gallipoli, where Alfred Victor Smith of 1/5th Battalion won the Victoria Cross (VC). The regiment’s other three VCs during the conflict were all won on the Western Front, where both regular battalions remained until the war’s end.

Claude George Headley, band boy with The East Lancashire Regiment, c1920Claude George Headley, band boy with The East Lancashire Regiment, c1920
NAM. 2000-09-144-1

2nd Battalion moved to Ireland for four years in 1919 during its war of independence. The 1920s was more varied for 1st Battalion, which was stationed in the West Indies, Malta, Egypt and Sudan during that decade. In 1923 2nd Battalion began 10 years in Britain, followed by four in Hong Kong. 1st Battalion arrived in India in 1925, moving on to the International Settlement in Shanghai in 1932.

From 1933 to 1939 1st Battalion was stationed in Britain and Northern Ireland, although it was briefly posted to the Saar in December 1934 as part of the International Force overseeing its referendum on whether to rejoin Germany.

1st Battalion deployed straight to France in September 1939 and one of its captains won the regiment’s only World War Two VC as it fought its way back to Dunkirk in June 1940. The battalion then remained in Britain until June 1944, when it landed in Normandy.

2nd Battalion had moved to India in 1937, but returned to Britain in September 1940. From there it joined Force 121, the British and Commonwealth force sent to invade Vichy-held Madagascar in May 1942. After the invasion the battalion moved to India in January the following year, from which it fought in Burma.

1st Battalion spent the post-war decade occupying Germany, overseeing Sudan’s moves to independence and garrisoning Egypt. 2nd Battalion remained in India until partition in 1947, returning to Britain and merging with 1st Battalion the following year. The regiment then moved to Hong Kong in 1957 and the following year amalgamated with The South Lancashire Regiment (The Prince of Wales's Volunteers) to form The Lancashire Regiment (Prince of Wales’s Volunteers).

Key facts

Motto:

  • 'Spectemur Agendo' (meaning 'Let Us Be Judged By Our Deeds' - inherited from the 30th Foot)

Titles to date:

  • The East Lancashire Regiment
  • The Lancashire Regiment (Prince of Wales’s Volunteers)
  • The Queen’s Lancashire Regiment
  • 3rd Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment (King’s, Lancashire and Border)
  • 1st and 2nd Battalions, The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment (King’s, Lancashire and Border)

Find out more

Regimental Museum

Regimental Merchandise

National Army Museum Collection

5 comments

Keith Blackwell
5 February 2013, 8.38am

My maternal grandfather, Sgt.

My maternal grandfather, Sgt. James Riley served with the 1/5th East Lancs. Regt. and was awarded the MM. I am very proud to be related to such a brave man.

Dennis Hull
30 April 2013, 1.04am

my grandfather served in the

my grandfather served in the 2bn east lancashire regt during ww1, returned to england after war and move to australia.

Anthony John Daniels
17 May 2013, 1.38am

My grandfather served on the

My grandfather served on the Western Front and died a POW 1917 he is buried at Cologne Southern War Cemetery. We visited his grave and were amazed how many young men on both sides of the conflict were laid to rest. May they all rest in Peace!!

Peter Coltart
21 September 2013, 6.14pm

My maternal grandfather,

My maternal grandfather, George Sedman from Barrowford was an Accrington Pals volunteer, hit by German counter shelling going up the line on the night before the July 1st Somme offensive at Serre. Invalided home, I guess a Blighty one and I thank God. Luckier than his mates.

Derrick Waring
26 October 2014, 8.56am

My Great Grandfather Pte

My Great Grandfather Pte Joseph Waring served in the 2/4th Battalion, he died on the field 20th November 1917 and is buried at Nine Elms British Cemetery, Belgium.
He was 40 years old at the time of his death and the one thing I can be thankful for is at least he had the chance to raise a family.

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