|Photographs and history of the
during the reign of Queen Victoria.
The two battalions forming this regiment wre the 28th (North
Gliucestershire), and 61st (South Gloucestershire), which were
"linked" before they were territorialised. The former,
raised in 1694, was, with the exception of a detachment left at
Newfoundland, disbanded four years later; but it reappears in the
"Army List" in 1702. It took part in the battles of Huy,
Neer-Hespen, and Ramillies, was decimated at Almanza, was with the Vigo
expedition in 1719, was present at Fontenoy, and in the L'Orient
expedition of 1746.
The next names on its colours to that of "Ramillies", which
is the first, are "Louisburg" and "Quebec,
1759". These were granted for its services in the campaign
which cost Wolfe his life, and for its work at Montreal and Sillery.
The 28th also assisted in the capture of Martinique and Havannah, and
seemed fated to see most of its active service in the West; for, after
fighting in the War of American Independence at Brooklyn, White Plains,
Brandywine, and Germanstown, it was employed in 1778 at St Lucia and St
Kitts; and in 1796 it again returned to the West Indies, to serve at St
Lucia and Grenada.
Meanwhile it had fought also in Flanders, at Nimeguen and
Gueldermalsen, in 1794; and after service at Minorca and Cadiz, it
embarked for the Egyptian campaign of 1801. There, at Alexandria,
it won the distinction, peculiar to the 28th, of having the number
formerly, and now the Sphinx, both in front and in rear of the head
dress. For in the battle it was attacked in rear as well as in
front, and met the assualt in line, the men standing back to back.
It took part also in the affairs of Mandora and Aboukir.
After service at Copenhagen and elsewhere the 28th went to
Portugal. It was in the retreat to Corunna; afterwards at
Walcheren, leaving a part of its strength to fight at the Douro and
Talavera, and at Busaco, Torres Vedras, Badajoz, and Albuhera. In
this latter fighting a 2nd battalion, formed in 1803, and disbanded in
1815, took part. The other battalion served at Arroyo dos Molinos,
Almaraz, Burgos, Vittoria, the Pyrenees, Nivelle, Nive, Orthes, and
Toulouse. At Waterloo it suffered heavily, being reduced to four
companies, and the "colour staffs were shot to pieces; one of them
was two yards long, the other only one". The French cavalry
failed to break their square, and the 28th stood firm, with Picton's
cry, "Remember Egypt!" in their ears.
Despached to India in 1842, the 28th was prevented by sickness from
taking part in the Afghan campaign, and saw no further fighting until
1854, when it was filled up to war strength with some difficulty; but it
distinguished itself at Alma, Inkerman and Sevastopol, where the men
showed the greatest bravery in the attack on the cemeteries.
The 61st was formed form the 2nd battalion of the Buffs, and received
its number in 1758. It had two predecessors; the first existed
from 1742 to 1748, and the second afterwards became the 59th. It
first saw service, as the 61st, at Guadaloupe in 1759, and next at the
celebrated defence of Minorca in 1781; at St Lucia in 1795; and in
America from 1776 to 1780, where it fought at Stillwater.
After serving in South Africa in 1799, in joined General Baird's
command for the Egyptian campaign, and, marching across the desert from
Kosseir on the Red Sea, reached Kennah, on the Nile, in ten days.
The march was most distressing, and a drummer died of exhaustion.
Private Connell, when he was reported missing, had the heroism to go
back and find him, notwithstanding his own weariness. He found the
drummer dead; but Connell's conduct in this case led to his being
eventually commissioned in the 61st. The regiment took part in the
siege of Alexandria, after which the officers were given gold medals by
the Sultan, and "Egypt", with the Sphinx, was added to the
colours. At Maida, in 1806, the flank companies crossed bayonets
with the French; and for their gallantry the word "Maida" was
placed on the "appointments of the grenadiers and light infantry of
A 2nd battalion, raised in 1803, did duty in Ireland, and was
disbanded in 1814. Meanwhile the whole of the 1st battalion was
despatched to Portugal in 1809, and remained there till the end of the
war, sharing in the glories of Talavera (where Corporal Rose
distinguished himself, and was eventually rewarded with a commission),
Busaco, Almeida, Ciudad Rodrigo; at the siege of the forts of San
Vincente, St Cajetano, and La Merced, outside Salamanca; at the battle
of Salamanca (where Privates Crawford and Coulson carried the colours to
the front when the officers fell); and at Burgos, the Pyrenees, the
Nivelle, Nive Bayonne, Orthes, Tarbes, and Toulouse.
The 61 was despatched to India in 1845, and did not return home until
1860. Duting this period it took part in the Sikh War, fought at
Sadoolapore, Chillianwallah, and Goojerat, was engaged in the frontier
war near Peshawur in 1851, and finally at the siege of Delhi during the
Mutiny. Here Doctor H. T. Reade gained the Cross for Valour.
The present facings are white; but the 28th had originally yellow,
and the 61st pale buff facings, the latter from its having been once a
battalion of the 3rd Foot. The buttons bear the royal crest and
the initials "G.R." within a laurel wreath of single leaves;
the tunic collar bears the Sphinx over "Egypt". with two
laurel twigs; in the front and on the back of the helmet is also the
Sphinx etc.; and the waistplate has, in addition, the territorial
title. The latter, with the arms of the city of Gloucester, is
worn on the forage cap.
The Royal South Gloucester and the Royal North Gloucester Militia
form the 3rd and 4th battalions. They were raised in 1750 and
1761, and the latter had the royal crest on its buttons. The
Volunteer battalions are the 1st Gloucestershire, Bristol (green with
green facings), and the 2nd Gloucestershire, Gloucester (green and
red). The 28th were called "The Braggs" from the name of
one of their colonels, who is said to have commanded the regiment for
twenty five years, and "The Slashers", either from their
bravery at White Plains and the Brunx, when they wore short swords, and
used them, or from the story that on one occasion in Canada some of the
officers disguised themselves as Indians, and attacked a magistrate who
had given great offence to the regiment, "and with their swords
slashed off his ear". The depot is at Bristol.
Extract from "The British Army and Auxiliary Forces" Colonel
C. Cooper King, R.M.A. , 1894
Officer of the 2nd Battalion Gloucestershire
Our illustration shows a group of the officers of the 2nd
Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment at the Raglan Barracks,
Devonport. The Regiment was at one time styled the "Flowers of
Toulouse", owing to the heavy losses suffered at the Battle of
Toulouse, 10th April, 1814, when the Regiment was brought out of action by
the Adjutant and two Ensigns, three of its officers being awarded the gild
cross. Another old sobriquet, "The silver-tailed Dandies",
probably arose from the officers retaining their laced coatees, while
others had adopted the short jacket for active service in the Peninsula
War - no less than seven gold crosses were awarded to the officers for
gallantry during the Peninsula War - the greatest number awarded to any
one regiment during the campaign.
"Brass Before and Brass Behind" (1896)
Here we have a squad of the Gloucestershire Regiment at
bayonet exercise. On the back of their helmets is noticed the
distinctive badge of a sphinx encircled by a wreath earned by the 1st
Battalion, the old "Slashers", on the memorable 21st March,
1801, at Alexabdria. The 28th Regiment, posted on the extreme right
of the position, bore the brunt of the main French attack, which attempted
to envelop Sir Ralph Abercrombie's flank. The regiment had presented
the extraordinary spectacle of troops fighting at the same time to the
front, flanks and rear. Although thus surrounded, the 28th Regiment
remained in position on the platform of the parapet, and preserving its
order, continued a contest unexampled before this day. At the
present (1896) moment the 1st Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment is
stationed at Alexandria, in the vicinity of the scene of action which won
them their "Brass Before and Brass Behind".
Corporal J. A. Selwood, Of The 1/4th Battalion Gloucestershire
Regiment, Won The D.C.M. Near Le Gheir
the night of April 20th-21st 1915, an officer, a
corporal named Selwood, and fourteen men of the 1/4th
Gloucester’s were occupying an advance post behind some old ruins near
Le Gheir. Towards morning it
became very misty, and the sentries reported that they could not see
beyond the ruins. The officer
observed; “I wonder how things are looking behind there?” upon which
Corporal Selwood volunteered to go and ascertain.
He accordingly made his way through the ruins and peered about him,
listening attentively but all seemed quiet.
Soon after Selwood’s return the officers in charge of the party
left his men for a few minutes, and during his absence one of the sentries
called the corporal’s attention to certain suspicious sounds coming from
the far side of the ruins, and expressed his opinion that some of the
enemy were near our wire. Selwood at once set off again to investigate, ad flattened to
earth, wriggled along for some distance, until he came to a low wall,
about two feet six inches high. Just
as he reached it, a flare was sent up outer lines, and by its light he saw
a party of Germans on the other side of the wall-that is to say, within a
couple of feet of him-in the act of throwing hand grenades.
Quick as thought, he levelled his rifle and emptied the magazine
into them; and the Huns, deceived by his rapid fire into the belief that
they had to deal with perhaps a dozen or more of the British, instead of
one man, forthwith made off, but not before they had fired in reply and
wounded Selwood in the right forearm.
But for his courage in going out so promptly to verify the
sentry’s report, the advance post would almost certainly have been
surprised and captured. Corporal
Selwood, who was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for
“conspicuous gallantry,” is twenty-seven years of age, and his home is
at Staple Hill, near Bristol.
Extracted from 'Deeds That thrill The
How Lance Corporal George Royall, Of The
Gloucestershire Regiment, Won The D.C.M. Near Zillebeke
On November 7th 1914, the Gloucesters, who
had been in the thick of the fighting from Mons onwards, and had, with the
rest of the 1st Division, suffered severely in the fierce
struggle around Gheluvelt on October 31st, were occupying dug
outs in the woods near Hooge, when orders came for them to join the firing
line east of Zillebeke. They arrived there about 9 p.m. and Lance Corporal
Royall, who was in charge of the stretcher-bearers of his battalion, aware
that an attack on the German position was to be made ion the following
morning, found himself, in the absence of a medical officer, charged with
the duty of finding a house which would serve as a first aid post. He saw
at once that the cottage which had been assigned to himself and the
bearers, about four hundred yards from the firing line, would mot be
nearly large enough, as the casualties were certain to be very heavy, and
he at once began to look about for one more suitable. This was no easy
task, but at last he decided upon a described wayside inn, bordering upon
the first line trenches; and with the aid of the bearers, for with set to
work to prepare it as a dressing station; stripping the beds of the
upstairs rooms of their mattresses, which were brought down to the ground
floor, for the accommodation of the most serious cases, and getting
everything in readiness for the difficult work which lay before him.
At 9.30 on the following morning, our troops advanced to
the attack, and Royall soon had the inn full of wounded men of the
Gloucester’s and Welsh, as well as of the French infantry. Presently
shells began to burst unpleasantly near the inn, but the brave lance
corporal went on with his work of attending the sufferers quite
undisturbed by the risk he was running, though the roar of the exploding
shells outside grew every moment louder. At last, however, one shell
struck the house, partially destroying it, and Royall saw that he must get
his patients away to a pace of greater safety at once, if their lives were
to be saved. Their removal was a very hazardous undertaking, for not only
was the ground over which they had to be taken being very heavily shelled,
but as soon as they and their bearers emerged into the open, they became
the mark for a hot rifle fire. Nevertheless, under Royall’s supervision,
it was carried out in a most efficient manner, without any hurry or
confusion, and every man was got safely away. Lance Corporal-now Sergeant
Royall, who was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal, "for
conspicuous gallantry, coolness and ability," is twenty years of age,
and his home is at Charlton. Extracted from 'Deeds That thrill The
HERBERT TAYLOR READE (Surgeon,
afterwards Surgeon-General) 61st Gloucester Regiment
September 14th 1857, during the siege of Delhi, while Surgeon
Reade was attending to the wounded at the end of one of the streets in the
city, the rebels established themselves in the houses overlooking him and
commenced firing from the roofs.
Seeing the precarious position of affairs, he
drew his sword and, calling upon the few available soldiers near at hand
to follow, succeeded under a heavy fire in dislodging the enemy from their
position. His brave little
consisted of only ten men, of whom two were killed and six wounded during
On September 16th, at the assault
of Delhi he was one of the first up at the breach in the magazine, and on
this occasion, with a sergeant of the 61st Regiment, spiked the
Surgeon-General Reade, son of the late
Colonel G. H. Reade, Canadian Militia was born in 1828.
Principal Medical Officer, Southern District 1886, retiring in
1887. Died at Bath in June
1897 aged 68.
2nd Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment on Parade.
In 1756 a second battalion was added to the Old
Buffs. In 1758 it became a separate corps - the 61st Foot, now the
2nd Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment, which our illustration represents,
drawn up in quarter column under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Crawford
Leatham. On the reverse flank are seen the Maxim guns, band, drums
and transport. The distinguished conduct of this regiment at the
battle of Chillianwalla, 1849, under Sir Colin Campbell's leadership, was
pronounced by the Duke of Wellington to have been one of the most
brilliant exploits ever performed by any regiment of the English
Army. In the words of Malleson, the historian, "Never did men
deserve better of their country than during that mortal struggle, and on
that strange day of stern vicissitudes did the gallant 61st".
Both battalions of the Gloucestershire regiment have benn connected since
1782 with the county, which never fails to supply them with recruits in
sufficient numbers, and of a high standard.