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The South Wales Borderers
The South Wales Borderers was an infantry regiment of the British Army.
In 1776 the Regiment was sent to Quebec and subsequently fought the American rebels during their War of Independence. The 'Regiment was part of the 10,000 British force, under the command of Sir Charles Cornwallis, that surrendered to the American rebels at Saratoga where they would would remain imprisoned until 1783.
In 1810 the vast majority of the 1st Battalion was captured at sea by the French; they were released the following year.
In 1814 the 1st Battalion took part in the Nepal War -- the war would see the Gurkhas that the British fought gain such respect that they were recruited by the British, becoming part, first, of the British Indian Army and then, after Indian independence in 1947, four Gurkha regiments joined the British Army.
In 1860 the 2nd Battalion was sent to the Mauritius where it spent 5 years, after which it left for Burma and then to the Andaman Islands in 1867. Two years later it was based on the Indian mainland. It returned home in 1872 and would remain there until war broke out in Southern Africa in 1878.
Much of the 1st Battalion (5 companies) and the 2nd Battalion (1 company) was decimated at the diastrous Battle of Isandhlwana.
During the battle the Commanding Officer (CO) 1st Battalion, Lieutenant-Colonel Pulleine , ordered Lieutenants Coghill and Melvill to save the Queen's Colour -- their Regimental Colour was located at Helpmakaar with G Company. The two Lieutenants attempted to, crossing the Buffalo River where the Colour fell and was lost downstream, though later recovered; both officers were killed -- at this particular time, the Victoria Cross (VC) was not awarded posthumously, and would not until the early 1900s when, therefore, both Lieutenants were awarded posthumous Victoria Crosses for their bravery. The 2nd Batalion lost both its Colours at Isandhylwanna, however, parts of the Colours -- the crown, the pike and a colour case -- were retrieved and trooped when the Battalion was presented with new Colours in 1880.
The 24th performed with distinction, fighting bravely against the Zulu onslaught. The last survivors made their way to the foot of a mountain where they fought until they expended all their ammunition and were killed. The 24th Foot suffered 540 dead, including the 1st Battalion's commanding officer.
At Rorke's Drift -- which was garrisoned by a company of the 2nd Battalion, native levies and others, commanded by Lieutenant Gonville Bromhead --
In 1880 the 2nd Battalion, after a brief stay in Gibraltar where they were presented with new Colours, arrived in India. The Regiment's regimental depot had moved to Brecon in Wales in 1875; this change, understandably, led to the Regiment having close links with South Wales and in 1881 the Regiment, as a conseuqnece of Childers reforms which was a continuation of Cardwell's reforms of British forces, became the South Wales Borderers, becoming the county regiment of Brecknockshire, Cardiganshire, Monmouthshire, Montgomeryshire, and Radnor.
In 1886 the 2nd Battalion took part in the Third Burma War -- this war was the final war between the British Empire and Burma, and saw Upper Burma annexed, formally ending Burmese independence.
The 2nd Battalion returned home in 1892.
In 1893 the 1st Battalion arrived in Egypt and in 1895arrived in Gibraltar. The Battalion went back to the east when it joined the British forces based in India; the Battalion would remain in India until 1910.
The 2nd Battalion arrived in Cape Colony in 1900 to take part in the Boer War that had begun in 1899. The Regiment, additionally, saw a number of companies from its Volunteer battalions deployed to South Africa -- a company of the 1st and 2nd Volunteers
In 1910 the 2nd Battalion arrived in South Africa, now a more peaceful place. In 1912 it deployed to the British-controlled part of Tientsin) in China where it would remain until the outbreak of war n 1914.
First World War
The Battalion provided the only British contribution, a symbolic one, to the Japanese invasion of Tsingtao -- a German naval base in China that was the base of the East Asiatic Squadron . Shortly after the capture of Tsingtao, the Battalion arrived in Hong Kong and then back home in January 1915.
The 1st Battalion was part of the original British Expeditionary Force (BEF) -- known as the Old Contemptibles after a comment made by the German Kaiser -- that was sent to France shortly after war was declared.
In 1919 the 2nd Battalion arrived in India.
Second World War
Te 2nd Battalion, as part of 24th Guards Brigade (Rupertforce ), took part in the Norwegian campaign, fighting the German invaders.
In 1944 the 2nd Battalion had the distinction of being the only Welsh battalion to take part in the Normandy Landings. It was part of 7th Armoured Division and 49th Infantry Division . It ended its war in Germany, amd remained there, as part of the occupation forces, until 1948 when it returned home.
Africa and the Middle East
The 1st Battalion, as part of the 10th Indian Infantry Division , was sent to Iraq to quell a German-inspired uprising in Iraq. The Battalion saw subsequent service in Iran.
The 1st Battalion sustained enourmous casualities in Libya to such ane extent that the Battalion was disbanded in Cyprus and the remnants of the Battalion were transferred, with the exception of a cadre that returned to the UK, to the 1st Battalion, The King's Own Royal Regiment . A few months later the Battalion was re-formed from the cadre though would remain in the United Kingdom for the duration of the war.
The 2nd Battalion was disbanded in 1948 -- every other second battalion of the Line Infantry was also disbanded as a consequence of defence cuts implemented shortly after the Second World War.
In 1946 the 1st Battalion arrived in Cyrpus where it remained until 1949 when it deployed to the Sudan. The following year the Regiment became part of the occupation force in Eritrea -- a former Italian colony that was ruled by a British military administration after WWII. The regiment left after Eritrea joined its larger aneighbour Ethiopia in 1952 after the United Nations ratifued a resolution creating a federation between the two countries.
In 1948 a State of Emergency was declared in Malaya shortly after Communist insurgentents, mostly from the large ethnic Chinese community, began a campaign against the British presence in Malaya as they did not believe Malaya's eventual independence would lead to the installation of a Communist regime . This situation was what the South Wales Borderers entered in October 1955, in a conflict known as the Malayan Emergency. It was a vicious, brutal campaign, one of claustrophobia when they sent patrols deep into the Malayan jungle to search for the elusive guerrilas -- they were known as Communist Terrorist (CT) in British parlance. The Regiment returned to the UK in 1958.
The regiment's conduct during the war compelled Field Marshal Sir Gerald Templer -- a distinguished British officer during World War II and a man instrumental to the defeat of the CTs during the Emergency -- to state that, "there has been no better regiment in Malaya during the ten years of the emergency and very few as good".
In 1960 the regiment was posted to Minden, Germany and returned home two years later. In 1963 the Regiment arrived in Hong Kong, performing internal security duties until it returned home in 1963. In January 1967 the Regiment arrived in Aden -- a British territory in the Middle East, in what is now the Yemen, that was expericeng turbulent times shortly before it achieved independence from the British -- where it peformed internal security duties until it returned home later that year
The Territorial, Militia, Volunteer, and Hostilities-only battalions
When the Regiment was associated with a number of Welsh counties after it became the South Wales Borders in 1881, it gained those counties militia and volunteer battalions. These were:
- 3rd Battalion (Royal South Wales Borderers Militia (Royal Radnor and Brecknock Rifles)
- 4th Battalion (Royal Montgomery and Merioneth Rifles Militia)
- 1st (Brecknockshire) Volunteer Battalion
- 2nd Volunteer Battalion
- 3rd Volunteer Battalion
- 4th Volunteer Battalion
- The Breckonshire Battalion -- formerly the 1st Volunteers
- 1st (Rifle) Battalion, The Monmouthshire Regiment - formerly the 2nd Volunteers. It transferred to the Royal Regiment of Artillery in 1940
- 2nd Battalion, The Monmouthshire Regiment - formerly the 3rd Volunteers
- 3rd Battalion, The Monmouthshire Regiment - formerly the 4th Voluteers
First World War:
The Regiment, along with its Territorial units, raised nineteen battalion: all these battalions were either disbanded during the war or in the immediate aftermath of it.
- 2/1st Brecknockshire Battalion - formed in September 1914 at Brecon. The Battalion joined the 68th (2nd Welsh) Division in 1915. It was absorbed by the 2/7th Royal Welsh Fusiliers in November 1916.
- 3/1st Brecknockshire Battalion - formed in April 1915 at Brecon. The Battalion became the 1st (Reserve) Battalion in April 1916. The following year, in August, it amalgamted with the 1st (Reserve) Battalion, Monmouthshires.
- 4th (Service) Battalion - formed in August 1914 at Brecon. The Battalion joined the 13th (Western) Division and saw service in Gallipoli and Mesopotamaia.
- 5th (Service, later Pioneer) Battalion - formed in September 1914 at Brecon. Part of the 19th (Western) Division and saw service on the Western Front.
- 6th (Service, later Pioneer) - formed in September 1914 at Brecon. Joined the 25th Division and transferred to the 30th Division. It saw service on the Western Front.
- 7th (Service) Battalion) - formed in September 1914 at Brecon. Joined the 22nd Division and saw service in the Balkans.
- 8th (Service) Battalion - formed in September 1914 at Brecon. The Battalion was part of the 22nd Division and saw service in the Balkans.
- 9th (Service, later Reserve) Battalion - formed in October 1914 at Pembroke Dock. Later became the 57th (Training Reserve) Battalion of the 13th Reserve Brigade.
- 10th (Service) Battalion (1st Gwent) - formed in October 1914 at Brecon. It joined the 43rd Division (later the 38th (Welsh Division ) and saw service on the Western Front.
- 11th (Service) Battalion (2nd Gwent) - formed in December 1915 at Brecon. Joined the 43rd Division (later the 38th) and saw sevrice on the Western Front. It was disbaded in February 1918 in France.
- 12th (Service) Battalion (3rd Gwent) - formed in March 1915 as a Bantam battalion as part of the Welsh Bantam Brigade . The battalion joined the 40th Division in September and saw service on the Western Front, where it was disbanded in February 1918.
- 13th (Reserve) Battalion - formed in July 1915 at St Asaph as a local reserve battalion. It became the 59th (Training Reserve) Battalion, 13th Reserve Brigade in September 1916.
- 14th (Reserve) Battalion - formed in September 1915 at Prees Heath as the local reserve battalion. In September 1916 it became the the 65th (Training Reserve) Battalion, part of the 14th Reserve Brigade.
- 15th (Service) Battalion - formed in June 1918 at North Walsham. In July the Battalion absorbed the cadre of of the 10th Cheshires.
- 2/1st Battalion, The Monmouthshire Regiment - formed in September 1914 at Newport. Joined the 68th Division and remained in the UK for the duration of the war; it was disbanded in March 1918.
- 2/2nd Battalion, The Monmouthshire Regiment - formed in September 1914 at Pontypool. It joined the 68th Division and remained in the UK where it was disbanded in April 1919.
- 2/3rd Battalion, The Monmouthshire Regiment - formed in September 1914 at Abergavenny. Joined the 68th Division and remained in the UK until it was disbanded in August 1917.
- 3/1st Battalion, The Monmouthshire Regiment - formed in February 1915. In April 1916 it became a Reserve Battalion. In July 1917 it absorbed the 3/2nd and 3/3rd, Monmouthshires, all of which had identical historyes to the 3/1st. t remained in the UK for the druation of the war.
- 4th Battalion, The Monmouthshire Regiment - formed in 1916 as the 48th Provisional Battalion; transferred to the regiment in january 1917, becoming its 4th Battalion. It remained in the UK for the duration of the war.
- 3rd Brecknockshire and Monmouthsire Battalion - formed in 1922 when the the Breckonshire Battalion was absorbed by the 3rd Battalion, Monmouthshires. The battalion transferred to the Royal Artillery in 1947.
Second World War:
The Regiment, along with its Territorial units, raised 5 battalions during the war, all of which were either disbanded during the war or in its immediate aftermath.
- 5th (Home Defence) Battalion - formed in 1939.
- 6th Battalion - formed in July 1940 at Brecon. The Battalion transferred to the Royal Armoured Corps as the 158th Regiment in April 1942. It re-roled as an infantry regiment in March 1943. It saw service in the Far East.
- 30th Battalion - formed in 1941.
- The Brecknockshire Battalion - reformed in 1939 and transferred to the Royal Artillery in 1947.
- 4th Battalion, The Monmouthshire Regiment - formed in June 1939. It was placed in "suspended animation" in 1942.
- Welsh Volunteers - formed in 1967 from the Territorial battalions of the Welsh Brigade , with 2nd Battalion, Monmouthshires lineage being maintained by B Company.
- Blenheim, Ramillies, Oudenarde, Malplaquet, Egypt, Cape of Good Hope 1806, Talavera, Busaco, Fuentes d'Onoro, Salamanca, Vittoria, Pyrenees, Nivelle , Orthes , Peninsular, Chillianwallah , Goojerat , Punjaub , South Africa 1877-8-9, Burma 1885-87, South Africa 1900-02
Victoria Cross Winners
- Corporal William Wilson Allen (2nd Battalion, 24th Regiment of Foot)
- Private David Bell (2nd Battalion, 24th Regiment of Foot)
- Lieutenant Edward Stevenson Browne (1st Battalion, 24th Regiment of Foot)
- Temporary Lieutenat-Colonel Daniel Burges (7th (Service) Battalion, South Wales Borderers)
- Lieutenant Nevill Josiah Aylmer Coghill (1st Battalion, 24th Regiment of Foot)
- Lieutenant Gonville Bromhead (2nd Battalion, 24th Regiment of Foot)
- Temporary Captain Angus Buchanan (4th (Service) Battalion, South Wales Borderers)
- Private James Cooper (2nd Battalion, 24th Regiment of Foot)
- Assistant Surgeon Campbell Mellis Douglas (2nd Battalion, 24th Regiment of Foot)
- Lieutenant Edric Frederick, The Lord Gifford (2nd Battalion, 24th Regiment of Foot)
- Private James Henry Fynn (4th (Service) Battalion, South Wales Borderers)
- Private William Griffiths (2nd Battalion, 24th Regiment of Foot)
- Private Frederick Hitch (2nd Battalion, 24th Regiment of Foot)
- Private Alfred Henry Hook (2nd Battalion, 24th Regiment of Foot)
- Acting Lieutenat-Colonel Dudley Graham Johnson (2nd Battalion, South Wales Borderers)
- Private Robert Jones (2nd Battalion, 24th Regiment of Foot)
- Private William Jones (2nd Battalion, 24th Regiment of Foot)
- Lieutenant Teignmouth Melvill (1st Battalion, 24th Regiment of Foot)
- Private Thomas Murphy (2nd Battalion, 24th Regiment of Foot)
- Sergeant Ivor Rees (11th (Service) Battalion (1st Gwent), South Wales Borderers)
- Sergeant Albert White (2nd Battalion, South Wales Borderers)
- Company Sergeant-Major John (Jack) Henry Williams (10th (Service) Battalion (1st Gwent), South Wales Borderers)
- Private John Williams (2nd Battalion, 24th Regiment of Foot)
- Colonel-in-Chief: HM King Edward VIII
- Nicknames: Howard's Greens
- Anniverssaries: Rorke's Drift (22 January)
- Marches: Men of Harlech
- 18th Battalion (The Kurung-Gai Regiment) (1929-1944) - Australia
- 17th/18th Infantry Battalion (The North Shore Regiment) (1948-1960) - Australia
- 24th Battalion (The Kooyong Regiment) (1929-1951) - Australia
- 1st Battalion, The Rhodesian African Rifles (1957-1965)
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