Last updated: 1 July 2014
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’.
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).
|The Royal Welsh|
|The Royal Welch Fusiliers|
|The Royal Regiment of Wales (24th/41st Foot)|
|The South Wales Borderers|
|The Welch Regiment|
|69th (South Lincolnshire) Regiment of Foot|
|41st (Welsh) Regiment of Foot|