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Welch Regiment

Last updated: 1 July 2014

Other ranks’ cap badge, worn by Sergeant R Williams, The Welsh Regiment, c1900Other ranks’ cap badge, worn by Sergeant R Williams, The Welsh Regiment, c1900
NAM. 1994-07-2

Introduction

The Welsh Regiment was formed in 1881 as a two-battalion regiment by amalgamating two line infantry regiments. The 41st (Welch) Regiment of Foot became the new unit’s 1st Battalion and the 69th (South Lincolnshire) Regiment of Foot its 2nd Battalion.

The new Welsh Regiment mainly recruited in Camarthenshire, Glamorganshire and Pembrokeshire and was assigned as these counties’ local regiment. It also contained five militia and volunteer battalions.

The 1st Battalion immediately deployed to South Africa, moving to Egypt in 1886, then back to Britain in 1893. It then fought at Paardeberg and the relief of Kimberley during the Boer War (1899-1902). Both battalions also spent time on garrison duties in Britain, Egypt, the Sudan, Ireland and India during their first 33 years.

During the First World War the regiment as a whole raised a total of 34 regular, territorial, reserve and service battalions. These fought at Gallipoli, Salonika, Egypt, Palestine and Mesopotamia as well as on the Western Front, winning the regiment’s first three Victoria Crosses (VC). In 1921 the ‘Welsh’ in the unit’s title was changed to the archaic spelling of ‘Welch’.

Boer War tribute medal awarded to Private Samuel Quantick, The Welsh Regiment, by the inhabitants of Ogmore Valley, c1902Boer War tribute medal awarded to Private Samuel Quantick, The Welsh Regiment, by the inhabitants of Ogmore Valley, c1902
NAM. 1997-11-53-2

The Second World War also saw the regiment fighting on multiple fronts, including North Africa, Greece, Italy, North-West Europe and Burma. Tasker Watkins was commissioned into the regiment in 1941 and three years later won the VC for leading a bayonet charge then taking a machine gun post single-handed in Normandy in August 1944. He was the first Welshman in World War Two to be awarded the VC.

In 1948, like all other line infantry regiments, the unit was reduced back to a single battalion. This was deployed to fight in the Korean War (1950-53), then to Cyprus (1957-58), Libya (1958-60) and West Berlin (1961-63).

The regiment’s final posting as an independent unit came in 1965, to Hong Kong, before amalgamating with The South Wales Borderers four years later to form The Royal Regiment of Wales (24th/41st Foot).

Key facts

Motto:

  • 'Gwell Angau Na Chywilydd' (meaning 'Death Rather Than Dishonour')

Titles to date:

  • The Welsh Regiment
  • The Welch Regiment
  • The Royal Regiment of Wales (24th/41st Foot)
  • 2nd Battalion, The Royal Welsh (Royal Regiment of Wales)
 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

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Regimental Merchandise

National Army Museum Collection

12 comments

gerry o mahony
25 July 2013, 6.26pm

my grandfather served in the

my grandfather served in the Welch Regiment for many years , he served in the Boer War and the first World war. I would love to find out more about him. How can go about this.
Thank you

Matt Terry
25 January 2014, 10.38am

My dad joined the Welch &

My dad joined the Welch & reached the rank of captain with 1RRW. He was browsing in a shop one day & came across what I would describe as a senior NCOs baton. It has the regimental crest on it & 2 initials have been carved into the wood LR. Did anyone with these initials serve with the regiment?

Peter Derek Emes
19 February 2014, 10.25am

My Grandfather Pte. Alfred

My Grandfather Pte. Alfred Rich 31352 19th Btn was killed on the Somme on 11th July 1916. A shell landed next to him and his body lies somewhere in pieces in Mametz Wood. I hope to get a family visit arranged in 2016.

Paula Saunders
6 June 2014, 6.22pm

During the Second World War

During the Second World War my mother was engaged to Charles (Chas) Kay who lost hs life on 12th August 1944 near Caen after the D-Day landings. He is buried at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery at Bonneville-la-Campagne. He was 3972108 Serjeant C H Kay. I have a cap badge and letters and photos and would love to know if he has any family still alive. After the war my mother met and married my father but Chas' memory was always kept alive in our family. It would be lovely if on this 70th anniversary of D-Day I could find living relatives of his.

Mark Larter
22 June 2014, 6.59am

I am an ex-pat living and

I am an ex-pat living and working in Australia (Ex-RAF, now I'm in the RAAF). In 2010, I purchased a clock from an auction house. It was presented to the Welch Regiment by two officers in Christmas 1885 by two officers, LIEUTs Reade and Tristram. It is unique in nature as the clock sits inside a Horseshoe, which hangs from an actual Spur that is suspended by a Stirrup (engraved BAKER, which I assume might be the maker/designer?). I would imagine all of these horse components stem from the Welch Regiment too.

Does anyone know who these two officers were and how the clock came to Australia. Thanks

karen green
6 August 2014, 1.35pm

My great grandfather was in

My great grandfather was in the 2nd Battalion in WW1, after returning home at some point in July/Aug 2016 would not return and finally returned under guard.
My Grandfather was convinced that he was shot as a traitor, we have since found that he died in battle on the Somme on the 23rd August 2016 I wish my grandfather had known this.His name is on the war memorial in France at Picardy.

Margaret Thomas
13 November 2014, 5.10pm

My grandfather Thomas Ryan

My grandfather Thomas Ryan was shot in the back on 20th September 1915 somewhere in France which resulted in him becoming paraplegic.
He was in a home in Broughton, Manchester for the rest of his life in spite of him marrying my grandmother and having 2 children, my father and aunt. He died in 1945.

Martin Owen
16 November 2014, 1.12am

My Great Uncle Private Ralph

My Great Uncle Private Ralph Thomas of the 14th Battalion Welsh Regiment (Swansea boys Battalion) he was killed in action on July 27 1917. I think it was ar thrr It is believed he has no name grave & my family are very keen to find out more of him. If anyone has any info or old pictures? We would welcome them & be eternally grateful.

Peter Morris
12 February 2015, 10.14pm

My father served in the 17th

My father served in the 17th (service) Battalion of the welsh regiment, he served in the signal section. He was wounded at MAMETZ WOOD and lost half of one foot, and finally half of his leg was removed, his name was ROBERT MORRIS born1896 at FERNDALE.

Phil williams
3 April 2015, 12.24am

Anyone looking to research

Anyone looking to research their connections with the welsh regiment might want to contact the Firing Line museum in cardiff (1st QDG/Royal Welsh Regimental museum) and ask for Mark Evans who does their research.

Jeannette Thomas
18 September 2015, 2.03pm

My father served in the Welch

My father served in the Welch in India from February 1940 to November 1944. He was finally discharged in October 1945. His total years of service was 6 years and 80 days (taken from his army pay book). He was born in Nantyfflon near Maesteg and was a miner before joining up. I know very little else as he died as the result of an industrial accident in 1957.

Malcolm Hughes
12 November 2015, 3.28pm

My father served in the

My father served in the Mortar Platoon of the 2nd Battalion of The Welch Regiment. He fought in the Burma Campaign 1944/45. I have two photos of the Platoon and their Commanding Officer was a L/t Evans. The photos are complete with every platoon soldiers names.

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