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The Queens (Royal West Surrey Regiment)

This regiment was raised by Lord Peterborough in1661 as part of the garrison of Tangier when that fortress was a British possession, forming the dowry of Queen Catherine.  It served there from 1662 to 1684, and throughout all that period saw much hard fighting, with little intermission, against the Moors under Gaylan, Sultan of Fez, and the Emperor of Morocco, during which time it ?behaved to admiration,? and educated in the art of war both Ensign Churchill of the Guards-afterwards the Duke of Marlborough-and Mordaunt, Earl of Peterborough.  Owing to want of pecuniary support, the king ordered the fortifications to be abolished, and the place abandoned.  Among its noteworthy commanding officers up to this time had been Colonel Kirke, ?a loose and bold soldier of fortune,? who in the Monmouth rebellior gained an unenviable notoriety.    After the death of Charles 2nd the Tangier Regiment became the ?Queen Dowager?s Regiment of Foot,? and under its old colonel, Kirke, as brigadier, formed part of the forces sent to relieve Londonderry in 1689, and also fought at the Boyne, Limerick Birr, Lanesborough, Athlone, Aughrim, ect.    During 1692-97 the Queen?s served at intervals in Flanders, and saw active service at Landen and Namur; in 1702, with Ormonde?s army of 14,000 men, it took part in the operations against Cadiz; and was at Vigo Bay, where the colonel of the regiment Sir H. Bellasis, was dismissed the service by sentence of court-martial for ?looting.?  Under Marlborough it served in 1700, and did such brilliant service in the defence of Tongres, where with another battalion it bravely defended the town against 40,000 French under Villwroy, that it hence received the title of ?Royal,? and the motto ?Pristine virtutis memor.?  But none the less it was compelled to surrender, and remained prisoner of war until after the capture of Huy.    In 1705 it served at the siege of Valencia de Alcantara, Albuquerque, and Badajoz; in 1706 at Alcantara, Convent of St. Francis, and Ciudad Rodrogo; in 1707 at Almanza, where it again capitulated after severe loss; in 1793 it served as marines under Howe and was present on the ?glorious 1st of June, 1794,? at the Helder in 1799, and at Egmont-op-Zee; in Egypt in 1801, at the landing at Aboukir and the siege of the fort at Alexandria, at Rosetta and Fort St. Julien, at Rahmanie, Cairo, and the siege of Alexandria, receiving medals from the ?Grand Signior? for its services.  It also received the badge of the Sphinx and ?Egypt? from the king.  Returning home, one of the transports, containing three companies, was captured by the French.    In the Peninsula it saw much service after 1808.  It was at Roleia and Vimiera, under Wellesley; and at Corunna, where Private Evans, though shot through the heart, lingered for sixteen days.  A detachment was at Talavera-the regiment at Salamanca, Vittoria, and the Pyrenees, at the Nivelle, and at Toulouse, earning the distinction to bear ?Peninsula? and seven battles on its colours for the campaign.   It was engaged in the first Afghan War at Cabool, Ghuznee, and Khelat; in the Kaffir War, 1851-53; in the China War of 1860, at the Taku Forts and Pekin.   A 2nd battalion, raised in 1794, was incorporated with the 1st on 1797.  This was reformed in 1858, and added ?Burma, 1885-87? to the colours for service in that country.   The scarlet uniform has blue facings; but at one time these were green.  The ?Paschal Lamb? is borne on the button (with the crown and ?The Queen?s? within a circle giving the territorial title), on the tunic collar, helmet-plate, forage-cap, and waist-plate (with the motto, ?Pristine virtutis memor?).  The ?Lamb? badge is supposed by Mr. Cannon to have been given in memory of Catherine of Braganza, after whom the regiment was first named; but this is doubtful.  The other badges are the royal cipher within the Garter (borne on the colours), and the Sphinx and ?Egypt?; and the other motto, ?Vel exiviae triumphant.?   Like many of the old regiments, the Queen?s had in 1685 ?company colours,? reduced bayonets were introduced to three, one for each division of the pikemen, and one for the musketeers.  The Queen?s retained the third colour until 1752, longer apparently than other regiments of the Line.  The Militia battalion is the 2nd Royal Surrey (1759), which formerly wore a star similar to that of the Coldstream Guards, and which was conferred for efficiency in 1803.  The Volunteer battalions are the 1st (Croydon), 2nd (Reigate), and 4th (Kennington  Park), in green and scarlet; the 3rd (Rotherhithe) wears scarlet with blue facings.   The old nickname was ?Kirke?s Lambs,? either from the name of one of its colonels and the nature of its badge, or for the regiment?s share in the severities after Sedgemoor.  The ?Sleepy Queen?s? was also given, after the regiment allowed Brennier to escape at Almedia in 1811.           The depot was in Guildford.

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