National Army Museum logo

Royal Welch Fusiliers

Last updated: 1 July 2014

Other ranks’ glengarry badge, The Royal Welch Fusiliers, 1874-81Other ranks’ glengarry badge, The Royal Welch Fusiliers, 1874-81
NAM. 1970-12-176-4

Introduction

The Royal Welch Fusiliers was raised by Lord Henry Herbert at Ludlow in the Welsh Marches in March 1689 to fight in Ireland against James II. First seeing action at the Battle of the Boyne (1690), the regiment was initially named Herbert’s Regiment of Foot after its founder.

13 years after its inception it became one of the earliest regiments to be honoured with a fusilier title, as The Welch Regiment of Fuziliers. It was one of the oldest regiments in the Army, hence the archaic spelling of the word 'Welch' instead of 'Welsh'. The regiment was granted the prefix 'Royal' in 1713 for its actions in the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-14).

The Royal Welch fought at Blenheim, Malplaquet and Minden before serving during the American Revolutionary War (1775-83), notably at Lexington, Bunker Hill and Yorktown. It fought in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, being the last British regiment to leave Corunna in 1809 and serving at Albuhera (1811) and Waterloo (1815).

For their actions in the Crimean War (1854-56), four members of the regiment were among the first recipients of the Victoria Cross. The regiment also fought in the relief of Lucknow during the Indian Mutiny (1857), during the Boxer Rebellion (1900) and in South Africa (1899-1902).

The 1881 army reforms left the unit intact, meaning it continued to recruit from the six northern counties of Wales.

Members of 2nd Battalion, The Royal Welch Fusiliers, at the capture of Pintha in Burma, October 1944Members of 2nd Battalion, The Royal Welch Fusiliers, at the capture of Pintha in Burma, October 1944
NAM. 1984-03-96-9

During the First World War the regiment received eight Victoria Crosses and also included several notable authors, including David Jones, Siegfried Sassoon, Robert Graves, James C Dunn and the Welsh-language poet Hedd Wyn, who was killed at Ypres in 1917.

The Second World War saw the regiment engaged in India and Burma, including the defence of Kohima (1944). After 1945, the unit served in Cyprus, Malaya, Northern Ireland and Bosnia, prior to its amalgamation with The Royal Regiment of Wales on St David’s Day 2006 to form The Royal Welsh.

The uniform of the Royal Welch was marked by two distinctive items. One was a white feather hackle mounted behind the cap badge on the head-dress. The other was a black flash made up of five overlapping silk ribbons at the back of the neck. This was a legacy from the days when soldiers wore pigtails. In 1808 this was abolished, but the regiment, then serving overseas, later adopted the practice of wearing pigtail ribbons on their collars. After returning to Britain in 1834, the regiment was allowed to retain these non-regulation ribbons by special royal concession.

Key facts

Motto:

  • 'Ich Dien' (meaning 'I Serve')

Nicknames:

  • The Nanny Goats (after their mascot)
  • The Royal Goats
  • The Flash

Titles to date:

  • Lord Herbert’s Regiment
  • Ingoldsby’s Regiment
  • 23rd, The Prince of Wales’s Own Royal Welch Fusiliers
  • 23rd Royal Welch Fusiliers
  • The Royal Welsh Fusiliers
  • The Royal Welch Fusiliers
  • The Royal Welsh
 The Royal Welsh
2006-present
 
                
     
The Royal Welch Fusiliers
1689-2006
 The Royal Regiment of Wales (24th/41st Foot)
1969-2006
 
              
     
 The South Wales Borderers
1689-1969
 The Welch Regiment
1881-1969
 
          
     
 69th (South Lincolnshire) Regiment of Foot
1758-1881
 41st (Welsh) Regiment of Foot
1719-1881

Find out more

Regimental Museum

Regimental Merchandise

National Army Museum Collection

Be the first to leave a comment

Add your comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.

(By ticking this box you agree for your name and email address to be added to the National Army Museum's mailing list. You also accept the terms of the National Army Museum's Privacy Policy)

Please note: By submitting a comment you are agreeing to the terms laid out in the National Army Museum's Rules for User Comments. Any views expressed in user comments do not necessarily reflect or represent the views of the National Army Museum or its staff.

Information & Enquiries

Contact the General Enquiries desk: