Regiments and Corps

The Worcestershire Regiment

Soldiers of 4th Battalion The Worcestershire Regiment at Cambrai, 1917

Origins

This unit was formed in 1881 by amalgamating the 29th (Worcestershire) Regiment of Foot and the 36th (Herefordshire) Regiment of Foot, which had both been recruiting from a single depot at Worcester since 1873.

The 29th became the new regiment's 1st Battalion and was immediately deployed to India for 14 years. The 36th became its 2nd Battalion and spent the same period in Ireland, the Channel Islands, Malta, Bermuda and Canada.

Both battalions deployed to the Boer War (1899-1902) in 1900, with the 2nd Battalion heavily engaged at Modder River (1899). That year also saw the regiment raise two additional regular battalions. One of these, the 4th Battalion, was first posted to the West Indies to guard Boer prisoners of war. The new battalions also contributed men to several mounted infantry units during the conflict.

Troops from the 1st Battalion shot dead two men during the Llanelli railway strike in August 1911.

Cap badge, The Worcestershire Regiment, c1904

Officer of the Worcestershire Company, 5th Mounted Infantry, 1901

First World War

1st, 2nd and 3rd Battalions fought on the Western Front in the First World War (1914-18), while 4th Battalion served in India (1914), Gallipoli (1915) and France (1916-18).

The regiment contributed a further 16 reserve, territorial and service battalions, whose members won nine Victoria Crosses during the conflict and served in all the main theatres of war.

In December 1918, the regiment also helped suppress the mutiny of West Indian soldiers at Taranto in Italy.

Inter-war

1st Battalion spent the post-war years in India, China and Palestine. 2nd Battalion served during the Irish War of Independence (1919-21) and then spent the rest of the inter-war period on garrison duties in England, Germany, Malta, China, India and Palestine. 

Its two other regular battalions, the 3rd and 4th, were disbanded in 1922-23.

The 4th Worcestershire Regiment on the River Lys, 1918

The 4th Worcesters crossing the German frontier, December 1918

Second World War

Two of the regiment's territorial battalions, the 7th and 8th, were part of the British Expeditionary Force rescued from Dunkirk in 1940. Its two regular battalions served in several different theatres.

1st Battalion was initially deployed to Palestine, and then Abyssinia, Egypt and Libya. After its capture at Tobruk in June 1942, it was replaced by 11th Battalion. Redesignated as 1st Battalion, this unit went on to fight in North West Europe from D-Day onwards as part of 214th Brigade, becoming some of the first British troops to fight on German soil during the war.

2nd Battalion was in Rawalpindi at the outbreak of war, before being deployed to Burma from 1942 to 1945. It was joined there in 1942 by 7th Battalion, which went on to fight at Imphal and Kohima in 1944.

A band of The Worcestershire Regiment, c1940

A band of The Worcestershire Regiment, c1940

Post-war

The two regular battalions merged in 1948. This came during a period of garrison duty in Germany, which lasted until 1956 and was only interrupted by three years' service during the Malayan Emergency (1948-60). 

It then formed part of the United Nations force in Cyprus in 1969, before returning to England.

The Worcestershire Soldier

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 Worcestershire Regiment by visiting The Worcestershire Soldier displays at Worcester City Art Gallery and Museum.

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