Both battalions were in India at the time of the merger. 1st Battalion returned to England the following year, spending the rest of the 1880s on Malta, aside from a brief spell in Egypt in 1885-86. 2nd Battalion only returned home in 1886.
In 1889, 1st Battalion again embarked for Egypt, before moving on to India in 1893. It remained there for the next 13 years and fought in the Tirah campaign (1897) on the North-West Frontier.
2nd Battalion was also on the move in the 1890s. It was in Ireland from 1893 to 1898, and then deployed to the Boer War (1899-1902), where it took part in the Relief of Ladysmith in 1900.
On the outbreak of the First World War (1914-18), 1st Battalion was in Britain and so deployed straight to the Western Front. It stayed there throughout the conflict and was the first-ever British unit to face a gas attack, on 5 May 1915 at Hill 60.
2nd Battalion had moved back to India in 1906 and deployed from there to Mesopotamia in November 1914. It suffered such heavy casualties there that in February 1916 it had to amalgamate with the 2nd Battalion of the Norfolk Regiment to form the English Battalion, nicknamed ‘the Norsets’.
It was able to re-form as an independent battalion five months later, remaining in Mesopotamia until April 1918. It then moved to Egypt, Palestine and finally Syria.
The regiment also raised three Territorial and three New Army battalions during the conflict. One of these, 5th Battalion, fought at Gallipoli in 1915.
In 1919, 1st Battalion moved to Ireland for five years. That same year, 2nd Battalion was sent to India for three years, facing the Malabar or Moplah Rebellion in 1921. Both battalions also spent time in Egypt and the Sudan during the early 1920s.
In 1927, 1st Battalion began another eleven years in India. 2nd Battalion moved to Palestine in 1936, but was back in Britain the following year.
On the outbreak of the Second World War (1939-45), 2nd Battalion deployed straight to France. It was evacuated in June 1940 and then stayed in Britain until June 1942, when it shipped to Burma, the theatre in which it would see out the rest of the conflict. This service included the Battle of Kohima (1944).
In November 1943, 1st Battalion moved back to Britain in preparation for its landing in Normandy on D-Day (6 June 1944). It then fought its way through North West Europe until late 1944 when heavy losses led to its withdrawal from the frontline.
The 4th and 5th Battalions were both part of 130th Infantry Brigade in the 43rd (Wessex) Infantry Division, participating in the Normandy Campaign, Operation Market Garden and the Rhine Crossings.
At the end of the war, both regular battalions joined occupation forces, 1st Battalion in Austria and 2nd Battalion in Germany. The two battalions then merged in 1948.
In 1951, the unit’s title changed from The Dorsetshire Regiment to The Dorset Regiment. A year later, it moved to Hong Kong, before joining the Commonwealth Contingent in Korea in December 1954.
In 1958, the regiment merged with The Devonshire Regiment to form The Devonshire and Dorset Regiment.
The National Army Museum works together with Regimental and Corps Museums across the country to help provide a network of military museums for everyone to visit and enjoy.
Explore the history and collections of The Dorsetshire Regiment by visiting The Keep Military Museum in Dorchester.The Keep Military Museum