News Archive

From Our Records October

From Our Records October

14th Oct 2015

13th October, 1812 – two hundred and three years ago, The Battle of Queenstown Heights took place during the American War of Independence. The American General Van Renselaar had assembled a force of 6,000men and on 13 October 1812 the invasion of Canada began. Crossing in boats at early dawn the Americans succeeded in gaining a foothold on Queenstown Heights, which was defended by 300 men of the 49th (Hertfordshire) Regiment (later 1st Royal Berkshire Regiment) and York Militia with a few heavy guns.  General Sir Isaac Brock was at Fort George when he heard the sound of firing and galloped to Queenstown. He ordered reinforcements from Fort George but, without waiting for their arrival, placed himself at the head of the Light Company of the 49th and advanced to the attack. After one attack had been beaten off he led the second advance and again the Americans opened fire, and Brock conspicuous by his height and uniform, was struck in the right breast by a bullet and fell mortally wounded. He survived but a few minutes. Almost his last words were 'Push on the York Volunteers' alluding to a force of corps now arriving on the scene.

On 26th October 1854 Lieutenant John Con(n)olly VC (30 May 1829 – 23 December 1888) won his Victoria Cross. Born in Celbridge, County Dublin in 1829, John Augustus Conolly served as Lieutenant with the 49th Regiment during the Crimean War. He was awarded the Victoria Cross as a result of his gallant behaviour on 26 October 1854 at Sebastopol. An attack by the Russians was repulsed and the enemy fell back pursued by men of the 49th Regiment, led by Lieutenant Conolly, whose gallant behaviour was most conspicuous in this action. He was 25 years old. He ultimately fell, dangerously wounded, while in personal encounter with several Russians, in defence of his post. He felled one Russian with his telescope. For his great gallantry John Conolly was promoted into the Coldstream Guards and achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He died in the Magistrates house Curragh Camp, Co Kildare, 23 December 1888 and is buried in Mount Jerome Cemetery. By his wife Ida Charlotte, daughter of Edwyn Burnaby, he had several children. His medal is at The Coldstream Guards Museum.

On 30th October 1854, James Owens VC (1827 – 20 August 1901) won his Victoria Cross. He was born in Killaine Baillieboro, County Cavan, and was an Irish recipient of the Victoria Cross. He enlisted into the 49th Regiment in Glasgow in 25 December 1848. He was 27 years old, and a corporal in the 49th Regiment of Foot, later The Royal Berkshire Regiment (Princess Charlotte of Wales's), British Army during the Crimean War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC on 30 October 1854 at Sebastopol, in the Crimean Peninsula. At the time he was part of an outpost which was attacked by a larger Russian force. The outpost defended gallantly and helped to give the main defence time to organise. He was later promoted to Sergeant. After 21 years’ service he obtained his discharge in 1870, to become a Tower Warden at the Tower of London until 1878. He later achieved the rank of Sergeant. He died in Romford, Essex, on 20th August 1901 and is buried at Brentwood, Middlesex.

On 1st October 1915 Second Lieutenant Turner VC died (22 May 1893 – 1 October 1915) on 1st October 1915. He was 22 years old, and a second lieutenant in the 3rd Battalion, The Royal Berkshire Regiment (Princess Charlotte of Wales's), British Army, attached to 1st Battalion during the First World War when the deed for which he was awarded the VC. On 28 September 1915 at Fosse 8, near Vermelles, France, when the regimental bombers could make no headway, Second Lieutenant Turner volunteered to lead a new bombing attack. He made his way down the communication trench practically alone, throwing bombs incessantly with such dash and determination that he drove off the Germans about 150 yards without a check. His action enabled the reserves to advance with very little loss and subsequently covered the flank of his regiment in its retirement, thus probably averting the loss of some hundreds of men. He was shot in the abdomen at close range during the action Second Lieutenant Turner died three days later of the wounds received in this action. He was reported to have died at No. 1 Casualty Clearing Station, Chocques on 1 October and he was buried at the Military Cemetery Chocques. His brother was Lieutenant Colonel Victor Buller Turner VC was also awarded the Victoria Cross during World War II. He also had a family connection with General Sir Redvers Buller VC.

Our image shows a pastel drawing of General Sir Isaac Brock

 

From Our Records August

From Our Records August

8th Sep 2015

On the 2nd August 1900,  William House (pictured) of the Royal Berkshire Regiment (Princess Charlotte of Wales's Own)won his VC.

The 15th August 1945 was the 70th Anniversary of VJ (Victory in Japan)Day.

173 years ago in August 1842 the 99th Regiment were shipwrecked.

From Our Records September

From Our Records September

8th Sep 2015

In September 1777 – 238 years ago, the 49th Regiment attack American Forces at Paoli.

September 2015 is also the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Loos. Lt Turner (pictured) won his Victoria Cross on 28th September 1915 at Fosse 8 during the Battle of Loos.

From Our records July

30th Jun 2015

In 1999 - 16 years ago The Royal Rifle Volunteers were formed.

During the Opium Wars the 49th of Foot departed from India in April and arrived on 4 July 1840 in Chusan, China. The ships arrived at Tinghai Harbour for a few days, and then sometime later the 49th were sent to Harbour Point. 1845 (July) is the 175th Anniversary of the 49th earning the right to the China Dragon as their badge for their part in the wars

1815 saw the 2nd Battalion of 62nd Regiment of Foot move from Ireland to join the Duke of Wellington in July (after the Battle of Waterloo) and ended up in Paris.

 

From Our Records June 2015

From Our Records June 2015

4th Jun 2015

56 years ago in June 1959, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Royal Regiment were formed.

 

This year  also sees the 75th (1940) anniversary of Dunkirk in World War 2 and both the Royal Berkshire (1st Bn) and Wiltshire Regiments (2nd Bn) were involved in this. We have accounts from a Mr Cainey who was interviewed by volunteer Martyn MacIntyre and are between 26 May–4 June 1940.

 

The photograph, from our collection is of the Amalgamation Parade of the Royal Berkshire Regiment and the Wiltshire Regiment which resulted in the formation of the Duke of Edinburgh's Royal Regiment at Albany Barracks, Isle of Wight.

 

From Our Records - May 2015

11th May 2015

During World War 2, in 1945, 76 years ago this month, the 1st Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment were relieved after heavy fighting during the Battle of Kohima, Burma. Also during this month in 1945, the 4th Battalion Wiltshire Regiment set fire and burnt Belsen Concentration Camp. This was done to prevent the spread of diseases and infections. In 1940, the Dunkirk evacuation took place mainly during May.  This year is also the 70th Anniversary since the end of WW2, 8th May. 1945. 

This year is also the 150th anniversary of the 62nd receiving new Colours on 18 May 1865 in Aldershot and on 19th May the old Colours were laid up in All Saints Church, Aldershot.

From Our Records - April 2015

1st Apr 2015

On 29th April 1917, James Welch won his VC. He was born in Stratfield Saye, Berkshire, in 1889, and enlisted into the Royal Berkshire Regiment in 1908. During the Battle of Arras in 1917 he was awarded the Victoria Cross. His gallantry is described in the citation:

‘For the most conspicuous bravery. On entering the enemy trench he killed one man after a severe hand-to-hand struggle. Armed only with an empty revolver, Lance-Corporal Welch then chased four of the enemy across the open, and captured them single-handed. He handled his machine gun with the utmost fearlessness, and more than once went into the open fully exposed to heavy fire at short range to search for and collected ammunition and spare parts, in order to keep his guns in action, which he succeeded in doing for over five hours, till wounded by a shell. He showed throughout the utmost valour and initiative.’

Subsequently, he was promoted to Sergeant. However, he was later discharged as unfit in 1919. James Welch died in Bournemouth in 1978, aged 88.

 

Second Battle of Ypres. The Second Battle of Ypres was fought from 22th  April until 25th May 1915 for control of the strategic Flemish town of Ypres in western Belgium, following the First Battle of Ypres the previous autumn. It marked the first mass use by Germany of poison gas on the Western Front.

 

100 years ago between 25th April 1915 and 9th January 1916 the Dardanelles (Gallipoli) Campaign took place. The Royal Navy's attempts to pass through the Dardanelles in order to disrupt Ottoman shipping were thwarted. The Allies decided to launch a land assault instead, but this also failed leading to the Ottoman victory. The 5th Battalion The Wiltshire Regiment took part in this campaign.

Records Update to our Website

2nd Mar 2015

You can now view over an extra 2,800 new records that have been added to this website, the main of which are photographs.

You can view these and thousands of other records by going to 'The Collection' which can be found on the 'Homepage',  then create your own search. The simplest way of doing this, is to insert a simple word search.

From Our Records - March 2015

From Our Records - March 2015

2nd Mar 2015

During March 1944 - 77 years ago, the 1st Battalion, Royal Berkshire Regiment made an assault on the village of Shwegondaing during the Burma Campaign in World War Two. They had prior to thi been receiving training in jungle warfare in Belgaum, when, on 26th March they received the order to ‘move to an operational area’. Both of the regular Battalions fought in Burma as part of the 14th Army, which later became known as the "Forgotten Army". The 1st Battalion was the first unit of the 2nd Division to relieve the besieged Royal West Kents at Kohima. Once in position the Battalion continued the battle with the Japanese for a further 5 weeks in appalling conditions, losing over 300 men. At the same time their comrades in the 2nd Battalion were fighting their way to Mandalay as part of the 19th Indian (Dagger) Division.

Between 21st and 29th March 1918, Captain Hayward won his Victoria Cross near Fremicourt France, whilst commanding a company of the 1st Battalion. As an acting Captain, he displayed almost superhuman powers of endurance. He was buried, wounded in the head and rendered deaf on the first day of operations and had his arm shattered two days later. He refused to leave his men, even though he received a third wound to his head, until he collapsed from sheer exhaustion. Throughout this period the enemy were attacking the company’s front without cessation, but Captain Hayward continued to move across the open from one trench to another with absolute disregard for his own safety.

Between the 10th and 13th of March 1915, the Battle of Neuve Chapelle took place and involved The 1st Battalion, Wiltshire Regiment. An attack on a part of the enemy's position to the south-west of the village of Wytschaete had been timed to commence at 10 a.m. on the 12th March. Owing to dense fog, the assault could not be made until 4 o'clock in the afternoon. It was then commenced by the Wiltshire and Worcestershire Regiments, but was so hampered by the mist and the approach, of darkness that nothing more was effective other than holding the enemy to his ground. They had spent the first few months of the war on the Messines Ridge engaged in Trench Warfare. Following the battle, were several more months in Trenches in the Dickebusch area.

The photograph for you to view is an image of a water colour painting of the Battle of Neuve Chapelle which is held in the museum's collection.

From Our Records - February 2015

13th Feb 2015

It was eight years ago on 1st February that a new regiment was formed – The Rifles’ and the museum changed its name, some of its displays and its flag accordingly.

 

In February 1760 - 255 years ago - The 62nd Regiment defended Carrickfergus Castle, Ireland while they were garrisoned there.  On 23 February 1760, a French force of approximately 600 men conducted an amphibious assault and laid siege to the castle. The castle's defences were in a state of disrepair, including a 50 foot breach in the wall. Under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel John Jennings, the four under-strength companies, approximately 200 men in all, withstood three assaults on the castle. In addition to being outnumbered, the garrison was short of ammunition, having to melt down their buttons to make bullets. By the time the French made their third attack, the defenders had expended all their ammunition and were left with rocks and bayonets. After the third attempt was beaten back, Colonel Jennings was forced to seek terms. After meeting with the French commander, Jennings and his men were allowed to surrender the castle, give their parole, and retain their arms and colours. The French, in return, promised not to plunder the town of Carrickfergus.

 

Thirty years ago on 28 Feb 1985, while The Duke of Edinburgh’s Royal Regiment were serving there, the IRA carried out a mortar bomb attack on a police station in Newry, Northern Ireland. 9 Royal Ulster Constabulary officers were killed - the RUC's highest loss of life on a single day during the Troubles.