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Title: A Brief History of the King's Royal Rifle Corps
Author: Edward Hutton, - To be updated
Language: English
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[Illustration: _From a photograph by W. & D. Downey, London._]

                            A BRIEF HISTORY
                     THE KING’S ROYAL RIFLE CORPS.

                           “_Celer et Audax._”

    “Louisberg,” “Quebec, 1759,” “Martinique, 1762, 1809,” “Havannah,”
 “Roleia,” “Vimiera,” “Talavera,” “Busaco,” “Fuentes D’Onor,” “Albuhera,”
    “Ciudad Rodrigo,” “Badajoz,” “Salamanca,” “Vittoria,” “Pyrenees,”
     “Nivelle,” “Nive,” “Orthes,” “Toulouse,” “Peninsula,” “Punjaub,”
  “Mooltan,” “Goojerat,” “Delhi,” “Taku Forts,” “Pekin,” “South Africa,
 1851–2–3, 1879,” “Ahmad Khel,” “Kandahar, 1880,” “Afghanistan, 1878–80,”
      “Egypt, 1882, 1884,” “Tel-el-Kebir,” “Chitral,” “South Africa,
        1899–1902,” “Defence of Ladysmith,” “Relief of Ladysmith.”


                          HIS MAJESTY THE KING.

                          Colonels Commandant:

 1st Battalion - Field Marshal Rt. Hon. F. W. Lord Grenfell, P.C,
                   G.C.B., G.C.M.G.

 2nd Battalion - Lieut.-Gen. Sir Edward T. H. Hutton, K.C.M.G., C.B.

 3rd Battalion - Major-Gen. Sir Cromer Ashburnham, K.C.B.

 4th Battalion - Major-Gen. Sir Wykeham Leigh-Pemberton, K.C.B.

 Reprinted by permission from “THE KING’S ROYAL RIFLE CORPS CHRONICLE” OF
                        1911, AND PUBLISHED 1912.





                           PART I.—1755–1824.


  1.—1755–1763.— Origin of the Regiment and its Services in
                   North America                            _page_   2–8

  2.—1764–1807.— West Indies and the American War           _page_  8–11

  3.—1808–1824.— Peninsular War—60th The Royal American
                   Regiment become 60th The Duke of York’s
                   Own Rifle Corps                          _page_ 11–15

                           PART II.—1825–1870.

  4.—1825–1856.— Sikh War—South Africa                      _page_ 16–18

  5.—1857–1860.— Delhi—Rohilkund—Pekin                      _page_ 18–23

  6.—1861–1870.— North America—Red River                    _page_ 23–25

                          PART III.—1871–1902.

  7.—1871–1881.— India—Afghan War—South Africa—Zulu
                   War—First Boer War                       _page_ 26–34

  8.—1882–1885.— Egypt, 1882, Tel-el-Kebir—Egypt, 1884, El
                   Teb, and Tamai—and 1884–85, Nile
                   Expedition—Mounted Infantry              _page_ 34–38

  9.—1886–1898.— India, Wreck of _Warren Hastings_          _page_ 38–40

 10.—1899–1902.— South African War—Talana Hill—Defence of
                   Ladysmith—Relief of Ladysmith—Transvaal  _page_ 40–50

                                PART IV.

                              A Retrospect.


                                                               _To face_

 MAP— NO. I.—_North America._ Illustrating the area of
        Military Operations referred to in Part I, sections 1
        and 2; also Part II, section 6                           _p._ 10

 MAP— NO. II.—_Spain, Portugal, and South-Western France._
        Illustrating the area of Operations referred to in
        Part I, section 3                                        _p._ 16

 MAP— NO. III.—_India._ Illustrating the area of Operations
        referred to in Part II, sections 4 and 5; also Part
        III, sections 7 and 9                                    _p._ 22

 MAP— NO. IV.—_South Africa._ Illustrating the area of
        Operations referred to in Part III, sections 7, 8, and
        10                                                       _p._ 52

                            A BRIEF HISTORY


                     THE KING’S ROYAL RIFLE CORPS.


This abridged history of the Regiment has been prepared by certain
members of the History Committee, and edited by the Chairman.

The Chairman (Lieut.-General Sir Edward Hutton) is indebted to the
following members of the Regimental History Committee:—Major-General
Astley Terry, Major the Hon. C. Sackville-West, Captain Hereward Wake,
and also to Colonel Horatio Mends for the contribution, wholly or in
part, of Part I, Sec. 3; Part II, Secs. 4 and 5; Part III, Secs. 9 and
10; and Part III, Secs. 7 and 8 respectively.

The existing short history, written by Major-General Astley Terry and
Colonel Mends and published with the Standing Orders of the Regiment,
has been taken as a basis.

It has been the object of the compilers, while amplifying the short
history, to form a Prelude to the large and comprehensive History of the
Regiment by Captain Lewis Butler, the publication of which—from the
difficulties to be overcome, the researches to be made, and the immense
mass of detail to be dissected—must necessarily be further delayed.

Every effort has been made to narrate in a concise and popular form the
origin, history, and world-wide services of the several battalions, so
that every Rifleman may be able to learn at least the outlines of the
history of his Regiment—a Corps whose battle honours are unequalled in
number, and whose reputation for discipline and courage is unsurpassed
in the annals of the British Army.

The gallant exploits of the Regiment are here given in no spirit of
pride or self-adulation, but with the earnest hope that, profiting by
the example of their predecessors, the present and future generations of
Riflemen may not only successfully maintain as a sacred trust the credit
and renown of The King’s Royal Rifle Corps, but may also still further
add to the honours and reputation already won.

 _December 1st, 1911._

  NOTE.—The names of Officers of the British Army who do not belong to
          the Regiment are printed in italics. Campaigns and battles,
          which have been awarded as “Battle Honours” to the Regiment,
          are printed in capitals.

                           PART I.—1755–1824.



[Sidenote: ORIGIN.]

The Regiment was raised during 1755–56 in North America under special
conditions, for the express purpose of assisting our Army to retrieve
the terrible disaster which had befallen the British troops under
_General Braddock_ at the hands of a smaller force of French and Red
Indians in the forest fastnesses upon the banks of the Ohio River. It
had been found that the slow and ponderous movements of troops trained
upon the European model, with their heavy accoutrements, tight uniforms,
and unsuitable tactics, were helpless against savages, and almost
equally helpless against soldiers habituated to wars in the dense
forests and trackless wastes of America. It was therefore decided by the
British Government to raise in America, from amongst the Colonists
themselves, a force which should be able to meet these conditions.

[Sidenote: 60th ROYAL AMERICANS.]

Designated as the 62nd, and the following year as the 60th Royal
Americans, the Regiment was accordingly formed of 4,000 men in four
battalions, and General the Earl of Loudoun, Commander-in-Chief of the
British Army in America, was appointed Colonel-in-Chief. It was
recruited from settlers, mainly of German and Swiss origin, in the
States of Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and North
Carolina, to which were added volunteers from British regiments and
others. Many of the senior officers and a considerable number of the
Company officers were drawn from the armies of Europe, some of them
being highly trained and experienced soldiers.

Through the bold initiative of Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Bouquet,[1] a
Swiss officer of distinction, commanding the 1st Battalion, the 60th
Royal Americans adopted Colonial methods of equipment, simpler drill,
open formations, and the Indian system of forest warfare, thus early
acquiring those attributes of individual action, swift initiative, and
of elastic though firm discipline, which have been the conspicuous
characteristics of the Regiment throughout its long and brilliant
career, characteristics which have made its reputation. Thus equipped,
The Royal American Regiment from its very beginning played a
distinguished and memorable part in establishing British power in North

The great struggle between France and England for supremacy in America
was at its height, when early in 1758, Abercromby,[2] who had succeeded
Loudoun as Commander-in-Chief, decided upon a general advance.

[Sidenote: July 8th, 1758, TICONDEROGA.]

The 1st and 4th Battalions, under Bouquet and Haldimand,[3] formed part
of the main Army in the Western Field of operations, and on the banks of
Lake Champlain, at the memorable defeat of Ticonderoga, “at once a glory
and a shame,” the 4th Battalion and a portion of the 1st showed a
stubborn courage worthy of the highest praise, and lost very heavily in
killed and wounded. On July the 27th, three weeks later, regardless of
their losses, the Regiment furnished a part of the column under
Bradstreet,[4] of the 60th, which, after a forced march, captured by a
_coup de main_ Fort Frontenac on Lake Ontario.

[Sidenote: Nov. 25th, 1758, Capture of FORT DUQUESNE.]

The 1st Battalion, employed on the Western frontiers under _General
Forbes_, played the leading part in the advance against Fort Duquesne on
the Ohio, in November, 1758, and led by the gallant Bouquet effected its
capture from the French and Red Indians. This brilliant triumph over
great physical difficulties was achieved by sheer determination,
endurance, and pluck; and the solid value of the victory is thus summed
up by the American historian, Parkman:—“It opened the great West to
English enterprise, took from France half her savage allies, and
relieved her Western borders from the scourge of Indian Wars.” Fort
Duquesne, re-christened Fort Pitt, was thereupon garrisoned by a
detachment of the 60th, and was destined later to play a prominent part
in the subsequent operations.

[Sidenote: July 26th, 1758, LOUISBURG.]

The 2nd and 3rd Battalions, under Lieut.-Colonel Young and Major
Augustine Prevost[5] respectively, early in 1758 were ordered to join
Generals Amherst[6] and _Wolfe_ in the Eastern Field of operations, and
they took a prominent part in the capture of LOUISBURG.

[Sidenote: Sept. 13th, 1759, QUEBEC.]

These two Battalions were subsequently in 1759 moved up the St. Lawrence
to Quebec, where they still further distinguished themselves at
Montmorency Falls, below Quebec, on July the 31st, and by their rapid
movements and their intrepid courage won from _General Wolfe_ the motto
of “Celer et Audax” (Swift and Bold). A still greater opportunity
occurred on the 13th of September at the decisive battle of QUEBEC,
where upon the Plains of Abraham the 2nd Battalion, whose Grenadier
Company had been the first to scale the heights, covered the left during
the battle against a very superior force of Red Indians and French, who
made the most determined efforts to assail the flank and rear of
_Wolfe’s_ army under cover of the dense bush and rocky ground.[7] The
60th thus lost heavily in killed and wounded. The 3rd Battalion played a
no less important part by holding in check the enemy, who threatened the
rear through the thick woods on the river banks.

[Sidenote: 1760, MONTREAL.]

Amherst, who in 1759 had succeeded Abercromby in chief command of the
Army, led the main force in its advance to Montreal, where, on the 8th
of September, 1760, the 4th Battalion, a portion of the 1st, and the
Grenadiers of the 2nd and 3rd, shared in the glories of the surrender of
the French Army under the Marquis de Vaudreuil—a surrender through which
the supremacy in America finally passed to the British Crown.

Following up their successes in 1758, under _Forbes_, Bouquet and the
1st Battalion had by degrees captured or occupied the whole of the
French posts west of the Alleghany Mountains, and they were accordingly
chosen for the arduous task of defending the various forts established
in the unexplored country south of the great lakes. A region embracing
thousands of miles of surface was thus consigned to the keeping of five
or six hundred men—a vast responsibility for a single weak Battalion
garrisoning a few insignificant forts.

In 1763 took place the general and sudden rising of the Indians under
Pontiac—a formidable conspiracy, bringing ruin and desolation to the
settlers in those wild regions, and even threatening the safety of the
Colonies. By surprise or stratagem the Indians, in overwhelming numbers,
secured many of the widely scattered posts held by the 60th, murdering
some of the slender garrisons and beleaguering others. But the important
posts of Fort Detroit upon the Straits joining Lake Erie and Lake Huron,
and of Fort Pitt commanding the Ohio River valley, both garrisoned by
the 60th under Gladwyn and Ecuyer respectively, were gallantly and
successfully held against tremendous odds. The relief of these two
important posts were operations of the greatest urgency, and every
effort was made to get sufficient troops for this purpose.

[Sidenote: Aug. 5th and 6th, 1763. BUSHEY RUN.]

[Sidenote: Nov. 15th, 1764, RED INDIAN CAMPAIGN.]

It was at once decided that Fort Pitt on the Ohio, guarding as it did
the Western frontier of the Colonies, must be saved at any cost, but
owing to the reduction of the Army in America after the great war, it
was with the utmost difficulty that, at Carlisle, 150 miles west of
Philadelphia, a small column was formed under Bouquet, consisting of
barely 500 men of the 1st Battalion 60th Royal Americans and the 42nd
Highlanders. This courageous band, led by the stout-hearted and
experienced Henry Bouquet, marched almost as a forlorn hope to the
relief of the garrison. Reaching, after a long and weary march, the
dangerous defiles of Bushey Run, ten miles only from their objective and
within view of the scene of Braddock’s crushing defeat, a site of battle
deliberately chosen by their cunning foe, the little force was suddenly
attacked by a vastly superior number of Indian braves. During two long
trying days the combatants fought a desperate battle, until at last
Bouquet’s genius as a leader achieved a brilliant victory. This victory,
pronounced by an American historian “the best contested action ever
fought between white men and Indians,” was followed up in the coming
year by a vigorous advance by Bradstreet upon Detroit by way of Lake
Erie; and by Bouquet marching from Fort Pitt with a column consisting of
his own Battalion of the 60th, the 42nd, and Provincial troops, which he
led into the very heart of the enemy’s country. Bouquet’s column was
triumphant, and upon reaching the Indian settlements on the River
Muskingum, deep in the wild fastnesses of the primeval forest, their
leader’s diplomatic skill and defiant attitude completed the successful
issue of the campaign. Bouquet thus rightly earned for himself and his
men the credit of having finally broken the French influence and Red
Indian power in the West, giving to the British Crown all the vast
territories west of the Alleghany Mountains and south of the Great
Lakes, comprising now the States of Pennsylvania, Virginia, Western
Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, and Illinois.

The conspicuous part played at this period by the 60th Royal Americans,
and the exceptional merit of many of its officers have hitherto been
better understood in the United States and in Canada than by our own
countrymen. But it is now at last acknowledged that the Regiment, owing
to its especial attributes, was in the forefront of all those operations
which (more than any others) added a peculiar lustre to the British
Crown at this early stage of the evolution of the British Empire in
North America. There is no period in the Regimental history of which The
King’s Royal Rifle Corps may more justly be proud than the epoch from
its birth in 1755 to the final overthrow of the French and Red-Indian
power in 1764.

[Sidenote: 1762, MARTINIQUE.]

[Sidenote: Aug. 13th, 1762, HAVANNAH.]

Meanwhile, in February, 1762, the 3rd Battalion, moving to the West
Indies, had taken part in the capture of MARTINIQUE. It subsequently
joined the expedition to Cuba under the _Earl of Albemarle_, where, led
by Brigadier-General Haviland,[8] it played a leading part in the
capture of HAVANNAH from the Spaniards on the 13th of August.


Footnote 1:

  Afterwards Brigadier-General Bouquet. Born 1719, died 1765. The victor
  of Bushey Run. A brilliant officer, of the highest capacity as a
  leader and administrator. It has been said that by his untimely death
  Great Britain lost a general whose presence might well have caused the
  American War of Independence to assume a different aspect. For
  biographical sketch _vide_ Regimental Chronicle, 1910.

Footnote 2:

  General James Abercromby, Colonel-in-Chief, 1757–1758.

Footnote 3:

  Afterwards Lieut.-General Sir Frederick Haldimand. Born 1718, died
  1791. Commander-in-Chief in North America, and Governor of Quebec—a
  distinguished soldier-statesman.

Footnote 4:

  Afterwards Major-General John Bradstreet. Born 1710, died 1774; a
  successful leader of irregular troops.

Footnote 5:

  Afterwards Major-General. Born 1723, died 1786; dangerously wounded in
  July, 1759, above Quebec; the victor of Savannah, 1779, and a
  distinguished soldier.

Footnote 6:

  Afterwards Field Marshal Sir Jeffery Amherst, Baron Amherst,
  Colonel-in-Chief, 1758–1797.

Footnote 7:

  The Grenadier Companies also of the 2nd and 3rd Battalions were
  included in the six companies composing the Louisberg Grenadiers,
  which occupied the place of honor in the front line.

Footnote 8:

  General William Haviland was Colonel Commandant in 1761–1762.


              1764–1807.—WEST INDIES AND THE AMERICAN WAR.

[Sidenote: WEST INDIES.]

On the termination of the French War in America the British Army was
reduced, and in 1764 and 1763 respectively the 3rd and 4th Battalions
were disbanded.

The discontented and hostile feeling of the American Colonies at this
period rendered it advisable to transfer The Royal Americans to the West
Indies, recruited as they were from the Colonists themselves. Thus it
fell to the lot of the Regiment to take a prominent share in the
conquest and annexation of the West Indian Islands and the adjacent
coast, which took place at this period. The officers in many instances
filled important posts as Governors and Administrators of the various

On the outbreak of the War of Independence in 1775 the 3rd and 4th
Battalions were again raised in England and despatched to the West
Indies, and thence to Florida, where they figured prominently in the
operations in that region.

[Sidenote: 1779, SAVANNAH.]

[Sidenote: AMERICAN WAR.]

In 1779 the 3rd and some companies of the 4th Battalion formed portion
of an army under General Augustine Prevost in Georgia and South
Carolina. The Regiment played a leading part at the brilliant action of
Briars Creek (March 3rd, 1779), and also in the subsequent siege of
Savannah, where a superior force of French and Americans under Comte
d’Estaigne and General Lincoln was successfully held at bay by a very
much smaller army under Prevost, and at the final assault was signally
defeated with great loss (October the 9th, 1779). An improvised body of
Light Dragoons (or Mounted Infantry), organised by Lieut.-Colonel Marc
Prevost,[9] of the 60th, did remarkable service during these operations,
and at the victory on the 9th of October lost heavily, but greatly
distinguished itself by repulsing the main column of the enemy and
capturing the colour of the Carolina Regiment, now in the possession of
the Prevost family.

Upon the termination of the American War of Independence in 1783 the 3rd
and 4th Battalions were disbanded for the second time, but were again
raised in 1788 and despatched to the West Indies.

[Sidenote: WEST INDIES.]

The Regiment, for the most part quartered in the West Indies, took part
in the following military operations:—

 Capture of the Island of Tobago, a brilliant feat of
   arms                                                 April 17th, 1783

 Capture (2nd) of Martinique                            March       1794

 Capture Saint Lucia                                                1794

 Capture Grande Terre Guadaloupe                                    1794

 Capture Saint Vincent                                              1796

 Capture Trinidad                                       Feb.        1797

 Capture Porto Rico                                     April       1797

On the 23rd of August, 1797, Field-Marshal H.R.H. Frederick Duke of
York[10] was appointed Colonel-in-Chief of the Regiment, _vice_ Lord
Amherst deceased.

[Sidenote: 1797, 5th BATTALION (RIFLES) RAISED.]

In December of the same year the famous 5th Battalion was raised at
Cowes, Isle of Wight, under Lieutenant-Colonel Baron de Rottenburg,[11]
upon the German model as a Special Corps of Riflemen. Four hundred of
Hompesch’s Mounted Riflemen—a German Corps raised for service under the
British Crown—were drafted into the Battalion, which was armed with
rifles and dressed in green with red facings. The second
Lieutenant-Colonel was that celebrated Robert Crauford, who afterwards
made his name so famous in the Peninsular War as the honoured leader of
the Light Division. Thus, by the addition of the 5th Battalion to the
Regiment as Riflemen in 1797, the gradual evolution of the 60th Royal
Americans into The King’s Royal Rifle Corps was auspiciously begun.




  Illustrating the area of Operations referred to in Part I, Sections 1
    and 2, also Part II, Section 6.

  Stanford’s Geog^l. Estab^t., London.

The system of organisation, drill, and tactics for Light Troops
introduced into the Regiment by Baron de Rottenburg, was embodied in a
Manual for Riflemen and Light Infantry. This volume[12] was published in
August, 1798, with a preface signed by the Adjutant General, and
especially commended to the Army by the Commander-in-Chief as a text
book on the subject.

In 1799 a 6th Battalion was added to the Regiment, so that the close of
the eighteenth century saw the Regiment composed of six battalions.


Footnote 9:

  Lieut.-Colonel Marc Prevost, born 1736, died 1785, youngest brother of
  General Augustine Prevost—a brilliant and most promising officer, who
  succumbed to the effect of his wounds.

Footnote 10:

  Frederick, Duke of York, was the second son of George III, and brother
  of George IV and William IV.

Footnote 11:

  Afterwards Lieutenant-General. Born 1760, died 1832. He commanded the
  5th Battalion, 1797–1808. He afterwards served as Major-General
  commanding in Lower Canada, 1810–1815, during the American War,

Footnote 12:

  _Regulations for the Exercise of Riflemen and Light Infantry and
  Instructions for their conduct in the Field_, with diagrams, published
  with a Memo, dated Horse Guards, August 1st, 1798. Copies of the
  editions 1808 and 1812 will be found in the Library, Royal United
  Service Institution, Whitehall.



In 1808 Great Britain determined to take the offensive against France,
and, by occupying Portugal, endeavour to drive Napoleon and the French
from the Peninsula of Spain and Portugal.

[Sidenote: Aug. 17th, 1808, ROLEIA]

[Sidenote: Aug. 21st, 1808, VIMIERA.]

Thus began the Peninsular War, so full of glorious memories for the
British Army. The 5th Battalion, under the command of Major Davy,[13]
formed part of the force despatched under _Sir Arthur Wellesley_ to
Portugal, and in conjunction with the 2nd Battalion of the 95th[14]
opened the campaign at Obidos on the 15th of August; and two days later
took part in the fight of ROLEIA. The services of the Battalion as Light
Troops or Riflemen were valued so highly by the Commander of the forces,
and so important was their example, that in a very complimentary order
he directed its distribution by companies among the several brigades of
the army. Thus it came to be engaged in nearly all the great battles
throughout the war, starting brilliantly with the battle of VIMIERA,[15]
where a signal victory was gained over the French under General Junot.

_Wellesley_ was shortly afterwards superseded by Sir Harry Burrard[16]
and _Sir Hew Dalrymple_, who ended the campaign by the Convention of
Cintra, under the terms of which the French evacuated Portugal.

[Sidenote: Jan. 16th, 1809, CORUNNA.]

The three commanders were then ordered home, and Sir John Moore[17]
assumed charge of the troops. _Sir David Baird_ landed at Corunna with
reinforcements, including the 2nd Battalion, and on the 20th of December
he joined Moore near Mayorga. By the masterly dispositions of Napoleon
himself, an overwhelming force of French was concentrated under Soult,
and this forced the British to retire on Corunna. Soult, following in
pursuit, attacked them in the act of embarking, but met with a crushing
defeat. The British, however, paid a high price for their victory:
_Baird_ was severely wounded, and the gallant Sir John Moore was
killed—his death being a heavy loss to the British Army. At this
juncture General Hope[18] took over the command and completed the
embarkation of the troops. The Regiment, having been allotted to the
defence of the town of Corunna, was not actually engaged in the battle.

[Sidenote: July 27th and 28th, 1809, TALAVERA.]

In 1809 _Wellesley_, for the second time, landed in Portugal and assumed
command. After some delay, on May the 12th he forced the passage of the
Douro in the face of a large army under Soult, a most brilliant feat of
arms. On the 27th and 28th of July he attacked the French and Marshals
Jourdan and Victor, under King Joseph, and thereupon ensued the great
British victory of TALAVERA. “Upon this occasion,” wrote _Sir Arthur
Wellesley_ in his despatch, “the steadiness and discipline of the 5th
Battalion, 60th Regiment, were conspicuous.”

[Sidenote: Sept. 27th, 1810, BUSACO.]

On September the 27th, 1810, the British Commander, _Sir Arthur
Wellesley_, recently created _Lord Wellington_, signally defeated the
French under Massena at the battle of BUSACO; the conduct of the 60th
(at this time commanded by Colonel Williams[19]), being specially noted
by _General Picton_.

Yielding to superior numbers and to stress of circumstances,
_Wellington_ retreated, and, falling back upon the famous lines of
Torres Vedras, was closely followed by the French, who, on being stopped
by the fortifications and unable to procure supplies, were soon forced
in turn to retreat.

[Sidenote: May 3rd and 5th 1811, FUENTES D’ONOR.]

[Sidenote: May 16th, 1811, ALBUHERA.]

In March, 1811, the British again advanced, driving Ney from Pombal and
Redinha, and Massena from Casal Nova and Sabugal. While following up his
successes, _Wellington_ was attacked by Massena at FUENTES D’ONOR, on
the 3rd of May, and again on the 5th, but he held his ground in spite of
severe fighting. In the meanwhile Marshal Beresford,[20] who had four
companies of the 60th with his division, had in April taken Olivenza,
and on the 16th of May had defeated Soult at ALBUHERA; and the campaign
of 1811 was brought to a close by the brilliant action of Arroyo dos
Molinos by _General Hill_ on October the 28th, 1811, when the Regiment
specially distinguished itself.

[Sidenote: 1812, CIUDAD RODRIGO. BADAJOZ.]

[Sidenote: July 22nd, 1812, SALAMANCA.]

The next year, 1812, opened with the siege, assault, and capture of
CIUDAD RODRIGO, and immediately afterwards ensued the successful siege
of BADAJOZ. Sending _Hill_ to destroy the bridge of Almarez,
_Wellington_ proceeded northwards, and on the 22nd of July defeated
Marmont at the battle of SALAMANCA, the crowning feat of a long series
of brilliant manœuvres. The English General thereupon marched towards
Madrid, and, driving King Joseph before him, entered the capital in
triumph on the 12th of August. But the French were so strongly
reinforced that the British troops were obliged to retire for the winter
to Portugal.

[Sidenote: June 21st, 1813, VITTORIA.]

[Sidenote: July 24th to Aug. 2nd, 1813, PYRENEES.]

[Sidenote: Nov. 10th, 1813, NIVELLE.]

[Sidenote: Dec. 9th to 13th, NIVE.]

In May, 1813, the Army finally quitted Portugal, and again advancing
drove the French northwards by brilliant strategy. On the 21st of June
_Wellington_ gained a splendid victory over King Joseph at VITTORIA,
capturing 150 guns and his whole transport. The companies of the
Regiment with _Picton_ and the 3rd Division played an especially
brilliant part. Ignominiously driven from Spain the French Army rallied
on the Bidassoa, where Soult assumed command, having been despatched by
Napoleon to supersede his brother King Joseph and Marshal Jourdan. He
immediately attacked the English, but was defeated with great slaughter
at the battle of the PYRENEES, which lasted eight days, July the 24th to
August the 2nd. The 5th Battalion was at this time commanded by Major
Fitzgerald.[21] _Wellington_, then advancing into France, forced the
passage of the Bidassoa on October the 7th, and defeated the French at
the battle of NIVELLE, terminating the campaign by a victory on the NIVE
after a battle lasting five days.

[Sidenote: Feb. 27th, 1814, ORTHES.]

In February, 1814, occurred one of the most brilliant manœuvres of the
war—the famous passage of the Adour, which was forced in the teeth of a
Division of the French Army, the company of the 60th leading the advance
of the Guards’ Brigade, to which it was attached. On the 27th of the
same month Soult was again totally defeated at ORTHES.

[Sidenote: April 10th, 1814, TOULOUSE.]

_Wellington_, following up this victory, advanced on Toulouse, where, on
the 10th of April, the British troops won the last of the fourteen great
battles fought in the Peninsular War, in twelve of which the Regiment
had taken a glorious part. The repulse of a sortie from Bayonne was the
final episode of this memorable war.

Thus closes a momentous record of gallant achievements of the Regiment.
Among the officers of the 5th Battalion who distinguished themselves
during the Peninsular War, besides those already mentioned, were Major
Woodgate,[22] Lieutenant-Colonel Galiffe,[23] Captain Schoedde,[24] and
Captain de Blacquière.

To continue the history of the other Battalions of the Regiment at this
period, the 2nd Battalion, in January, 1809, after Corunna, had returned
to the Channel Islands, and thence to the West Indies. The 1st
Battalion, which had previously always been quartered in America, was in
1810, together with the 4th Battalion, brought to England, whence it
shortly afterwards proceeded to the Cape of Good Hope, and the 4th
Battalion was sent to Dominica.

A 7th and 8th Battalion were added in 1813, the former raised at
Gibraltar and the latter at Lisbon. Both battalions were dressed in
green, which colour at the end of 1815 was adopted for the whole

[Sidenote: 1824, 60th ROYAL AMERICANS become 60th THE DUKE OF YORK’S OWN
           RIFLE CORPS.]

At the conclusion of the war with France the Regiment was reduced to two
battalions, of which the 1st was called “The Rifles,” and the 2nd “The
Light Infantry” Battalion. In 1824 the 2nd Battalion became also a Rifle
Battalion, and the Regiment dropping its old title of “Royal Americans”
was granted by George IV the name of “The Duke of York’s Own Rifle
Corps,” dated June 4th.


Footnote 13:

  Afterwards General Sir William Gabriel Davy, C.B., K.C.H., Colonel
  Commandant, 60th Rifles, 1842–1856. He succeeded Baron de Rottenburg
  in command of the 5th Battalion in 1808.

Footnote 14:

  Formed in 1800, and now The Rifle Brigade.

Footnote 15:

  The Battalion was especially mentioned in Wellesley’s despatch.

Footnote 16:

  Formerly a Captain in the 60th.

Footnote 17:

  Formerly Major in the 4th Battalion 60th.

Footnote 18:

  Afterwards General the Earl of Hopetoun, G.C.B., Colonel-Commandant
  6th Battalion 60th.

Footnote 19:

  Afterwards Major-General Sir William Williams, K.C.B., K.T.S., died

Footnote 20:

  Afterwards General Viscount Beresford, G.C.B., G.C.H.,
  Colonel-in-Chief of the 60th Rifles, 1852–54.

Footnote 21:

  Afterwards Field-Marshal Sir John Foster Fitzgerald, G.C.B. Born 1786,
  died 1877, aged 91.

Footnote 22:

  Afterwards Colonel and C.B., died 1861.

Footnote 23:

  Afterwards Colonel and C.B., died 1848.

Footnote 24:

  Afterwards Lieut.-General Sir James Holmes Schoedde, K.C.B., who
  received thirteen clasps with his war medal. Born 1786, died 1861.

  Major-Generals Sir Henry Clinton, Sir George Murray, and Sir James
  Kampt, Colonels Commandant of the Regiment, also served with

                          PART II.—1825–1870.


                   1825–1856.—SIKH WAR—SOUTH AFRICA.

[Sidenote: 1830, 60th THE DUKE OF YORK’S OWN RIFLE CORPS becomes 60th

In 1827 took place the death of Field-Marshal H.R.H. the Duke of
York,[25] who had been Colonel-in-Chief for thirty years, and had given
his name to the Regiment. He was succeeded by his brother, Field-Marshal
H.R.H. Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge.[26] In 1830 the title of the
Regiment, by order of William IV, was again changed to The King’s Royal
Rifle Corps.

A long peace followed the great wars of the Napoleonic period, and from
Toulouse in 1814 until the Sikh War in 1848 the Regiment was not engaged
on active service. But from 1848 onwards the British Army entered upon a
famous series of campaigns, in nearly all of which the Regiment has
taken a memorable share. Its success may be said to be largely due to
the excellence and the example of the 1st Battalion, which—directly
inheriting the Peninsular honours and traditions of the 5th Battalion as
Riflemen—had maintained, in spite of the long peace, its reputation for
smartness, discipline, and warlike efficiency.




  Illustrating the area of Operations referred to in Part I, Section 3.

  _Stanford’s Geog^l. Estab^t., London._

Fortunate at this period in many officers of great experience, the
Regiment owed much to Lieutenant-Colonel the Hon. Henry Richard
Molyneux,[27] who commanded the 1st Battalion (then quartered in the
Mediterranean) from 1836 until his untimely death in 1841. The high
efficiency of the Battalion and its strong _esprit de corps_ when it
sailed for India in 1845, under his successor Lieutenant-Colonel the
Hon. Henry Dundas,[28] were largely due to his strong personality and to
his powers of organisation. Dundas commanded the Battalion from 1845 to
1854 with conspicuous success. In the Sikh War, both as Colonel and as
Brigadier-General, he showed the highest qualities of leadership and
courage, and throughout the nine years of his command the Battalion held
a foremost place in the British Army in India.

[Sidenote: 1848–49, PUNJAUB.]

[Sidenote: Jan. 22nd, 1849, MOOLTAN.]

It was thus under these favourable circumstances that the Regiment began
its career in the East, and under Dundas played a prominent part in the
Sikh War. Employed in covering the advance, it rendered conspicuous
service at the storming of the city of MOOLTAN. “Nothing could exceed
the gallantry and discipline of the 60th Royal Rifles” are the words of
the _Gazette_, 7th of March, 1849.

[Sidenote: Feb. 21st, 1849, GOOJERAT.]

Subsequently, by forced marches, the Battalion joined the army under
Lord Gough[29] in time to share in the final battle of GOOJERAT, a
victory over a combined force of 60,000 Sikhs and Afghans. The result of
this triumph of British arms was the annexation of the Punjaub, and the
retreat of the Ameer Dost Mahomed Khan with the Afghan army beyond the
Khyber Pass.

Upon the 8th of July, 1850, H.R.H. Adolphus Duke of Cambridge died, and
was succeeded as Colonel-in-Chief by Field-Marshal H.R.H. Prince Albert,
Consort of Her late Majesty Queen Victoria.

[Sidenote: 1851–2–3, SOUTH AFRICA.]

In 1851 the 2nd Battalion, which had been on home service since 1847,
embarked for South Africa, and was employed in the Kaffir War during
that and the two following years. It took part under Lieut.-Colonel
Nesbitt in many actions with the enemy, including the passage of the
Great Kei, the operations for clearing the Water Kloof, and the attack
on the Iron Mountain.

[Sidenote: Feb. 26th, 1852, WRECK OF THE ‘BIRKENHEAD.’]

A detachment of the 2nd Battalion (forty-one all ranks, with seven women
and thirteen children) formed a portion of the troops on board the
ill-fated troopship _Birkenhead_, which, on the night of February the
26th, 1852, was wrecked on the South African coast under conditions
which evoked from the troops on board a memorable display of steady
discipline and serene courage in the face of danger. The men fell in and
stood calmly on parade awaiting death while the ship was sinking
“without a cry or murmur among them.” The whole ship’s company with few
exceptions perished.

On September the 23rd, 1852, General Viscount Beresford became
Colonel-in-Chief, _vice_ H.R.H. Prince Albert, and was upon his death on
the 28th of January, 1854, succeeded by Field-Marshal Viscount Gough.

In 1855 and 1857 the 3rd and 4th Battalions were raised at Dublin and at
Winchester respectively. Thus in 1857 the Regiment again consisted of
four Battalions.


Footnote 25:

  His Royal Highness’s sword and belts were presented to the officers of
  the 1st Battalion by H.M. King George IV, and are now in the Officers’

Footnote 26:

  The seventh son of George III and the Father of the late Field-Marshal
  H.R.H. George Duke of Cambridge, Colonel-in-Chief, 1869–1904.

Footnote 27:

  3rd son of 2nd Earl of Sefton. Born 27th August, 1800; died 1841.

Footnote 28:

  Afterwards General Viscount Melville, G.C.B., Colonel Commandant

Footnote 29:

  Afterwards Field-Marshal Viscount Gough, K.P., G.C.B.,
  Colonel-in-Chief 1854–1869.


                  1857–1860.—DELHI. ROHILKUND. PEKIN.

The outbreak of the Great Mutiny of the Native Army in India began on
the 10th of May, 1857, at Meerut, where the 1st Battalion was at that
time quartered under the command of Lieut.-Colonel John Jones.[30] The
Battalion at the moment was mustering for evening church parade. On
hearing the news it immediately fell in, and Captain Muter,[31] the
senior officer present, with great promptitude instantly despatched a
company to secure the Treasury. The Battalion thereupon marched towards
the city, when being joined by the 6th Carabiniers and a Battery of
Horse Artillery (all the European troops available), it proceeded to
occupy the lines of the Native troops, thus effectually preventing the
mutineers from establishing themselves in the city, so that they were
forced forthwith to retreat towards Delhi. The story is told that while
hurrying to the native lines the Battalion came upon the body of a lady
lying dead and mutilated by the roadside. This lady was well known both
to the officers and men for her devotion and care for the women and
children of the Battalion, and the men as they passed—exasperated at the
sight—raised their rifles in the air and swore to avenge her death. It
is not too much to say that the Battalion, and their leader known later
as “Jones the Avenger,” made good their oath.

[Sidenote: May 30th and 31st, 1857, HINDUN.]

Marching in pursuit, under _Brigadier Archdale Wilson_, the Meerut
troops fought two successful actions upon the Hindun River, in which the
1st Battalion took a prominent part, and on the 7th of June it joined
the army under _Major-General Sir Henry Barnard_ at Alighur.

[Sidenote: June 8th to Sept. 20th, 1857, DELHI.]

At one o’clock on the following morning the whole of _Barnard’s_ force
moved against Delhi. On reaching Badlee-ke-Serai it was found that the
mutineers were strongly posted in an entrenched position along the ridge
from the flagstaff to Hindoo Rao’s house, overlooking the cantonments
and city, but after a sharp engagement of about three quarters of an
hour the ridge was cleared of the enemy and occupied by our troops. Thus
began the famous siege of DELHI—a period full of glorious memories to
all Sixtieth Riflemen. From then on to the final assault on the city
(June the 8th to September the 20th) the Battalion was constantly
employed either as outposts near Hindoo Rao’s house, or with the various
columns which were sent forward to drive the mutineers back into the
city, when, emboldened by the strength of overwhelming numbers, they
made repeated assaults upon our position on the ridge. It is recorded
that the Regiment was during this period engaged in twenty-four separate

On the morning of September the 14th, after six days of bombardment, two
breaches were considered practicable in the walls of the city, one in
the curtain to the right of the Cashmere Gate, the other to the left of
the water bastion. The assault was delivered at three points, namely
upon the two breaches and the Cashmere Gate, while a fourth column
followed as reserve. The whole of the Battalion was split up in
skirmishing order to cover the advance of the assaulting columns, and in
this appropriate and congenial duty they greatly distinguished

The assaults were successful, and after an heroic struggle the city was
partially occupied by night-fall. But it was not until September the
20th that the place and its defences were completely in the hands of our
troops, and then only after continuous and desperate hand to hand
fighting in the streets. Nothing could exceed the determined valour of
the Regiment, and every Rifleman will remember with justifiable pride
and pleasure that, having joined the army before Delhi, its services
were officially pronounced to be “preeminent in the memorable siege and

“All behaved nobly,” writes Lord Canning, the Governor-General of India
in his final despatch upon the siege and capture of Delhi (dated
November the 9th, 1857), “but I may be permitted to allude somewhat to
those Corps most constantly engaged from the beginning, the 60th Rifles,
the Sirmoor Battalion,[33] and the Guides. Probably not one day
throughout the siege passed without a casualty in one of these Corps;
placed in the very front of our position, they were ever under fire.
Their courage, their high qualifications as skirmishers, their
cheerfulness, their steadiness were beyond commendation. Their losses in
action show the nature of the service. The Rifles commenced with 440 of
all ranks; a few days before the storm they received a reinforcement of
nearly 200 men; their total casualties were 389.”

We may conclude this page of the Regiment’s history by citing the
judgment of the General under whom they served, who described the
Battalion as “a glorious example both in its daring gallantry and its
perfect discipline.”[34]

[Sidenote: 1858, ROHILKUND OUDH.]

In the following year the 1st Battalion formed part of the Roorkee Field
Force under Jones, now promoted Brigadier-General, which operated
against the rebels from the 11th of April until the 24th of May, 1858.

During this short campaign Jones’ force swept through the whole Province
of Rohilkund from north to south; fought one battle (Nugeenah, 21st of
April); defeated the enemy in three actions (Bagawalla, 17th of April,
Dojura, and Bareilly, 3rd of May); assaulted and captured one city
(Bareilly, 6th of May); and relieved two others (Moradabad, 18th of
April, and Shahjehanpore, 11th of May); destroyed two forts (Bunnai,
24th of May, and Mahomdee, 25th of May); and took thirty-seven guns. It
was said of the gallant Jones that “he never assaulted a position that
he did not take, nor attacked a gun that he did not capture.”

The 1st Battalion again took part in operations in Oudh, under Brigadier
_Sir Thomas Seaton_ and _Brigadier Colin Troup_, from the 8th of October
until the 31st of December, 1858. Four successful actions were fought
with the rebels (Bunkagaon, 8th of October; Pusgaon, 19th of October;
Rissoolpur, 25th of October; and Baragoan, 23rd of November); and the
Fort of Mittowlis captured (10th of November); thence the Battalion
formed part of a flying column, which cleared the rebels out of the
Khyreeghur jungles.

A wing of the 2nd Battalion, which had been ordered from the Cape, also
took part in the final stages of the operations against the mutineers.

In March, 1860, the 1st Battalion embarked for England, and in a General
Order Lord Canning, Governor-General of India, bore further testimony to
the services of the Battalion in eloquent and unprecedented terms,
concluding with the following memorable tribute:

  “It is not more by the valour of its officers and men, conspicuous
  as that has been on every occasion, than by the discipline and
  excellent conduct of all ranks during the whole of their service in
  India, that this Regiment has distinguished itself. The
  Governor-General tenders to the Battalion his warmest
  acknowledgments for the high example it has set in every respect to
  the troops with which it has been associated in quarters as well as
  in the field; and he assures its officers and men that the
  estimation in which their services are held by the Government of
  India confirms to the full the respect and admiration with which
  they are universally regarded.”[35]




  Illustrating the area of Operations referred to in Part II, Sections 4
    and 5, also Part III, Sections 7 and 9.

  _Stanford’s Geog^l. Estab^t. London._

The splendid services rendered by the Regiment in the period in its
history above briefly recorded may perhaps be equalled, but can hardly
be surpassed by future generations of Riflemen. The good conduct, sound
discipline, and unflinching courage of the 1st Battalion during its
service in India (1845–1860) will always be regarded by the Regiment as
marking a Golden Age in its history and a landmark in its traditions.

[Sidenote: Aug. 21st, 1860, TAKU FORTS.]

[Sidenote: PEKIN.]

On the 28th of February, 1860, the 2nd Battalion, under
Lieutenant-Colonel Palmer,[36] embarked at Calcutta to join the
Franco-British Expedition to China under _General Sir Hope Grant_. Six
months later the Battalion took a vigorous part in the assault and
capture of the TAKU FORTS on the Peiho River (August the 21st), and
thence marched to and occupied PEKIN on the 13th of September.

In September, 1861, the Battalion returned to England.


Footnote 30:

  Afterwards Major-General Sir John Jones, K.C.B.

Footnote 31:

  Colonel Dunbar Douglas Muter, who greatly distinguished himself,
  obtaining two brevets during the siege and subsequent operations. He
  was afterwards a Military Knight of Windsor; and died in 1909.

Footnote 32:

  Governor-General’s despatch, _London Gazette_, May 18th, 1860, upon
  the departure of the Regiment from India.

Footnote 33:

  Now the 2nd King Edward’s Own Gurkha Rifles (the Sirmoor Rifles). It
  is stated of this gallant Regiment that, when asked what reward they
  would like, they begged for and were granted the red facings of the
  60th to be added to their Rifle uniform.

Footnote 34:

  Despatch, General Sir Archdale Wilson, 22nd September, 1857.

Footnote 35:

  _London Gazette_, May 18th, 1860.

Footnote 36:

  Afterwards Colonel and C.B.


                  1861–1870.—NORTH AMERICA. RED RIVER.

[Sidenote: 1861, TRENT AFFAIR.]

In 1861 the 4th Battalion was hurriedly despatched to Canada at the time
of the Trent affair, when war with the Northern States of America seemed
imminent, and Fenian raids were threatened. This Battalion—commanded for
fourteen years (1860–1873) by Lieutenant-Colonel Hawley,[37] an officer
of commanding personality and ability—achieved at this period and later
the highest reputation for its system of light drill and of organisation
then far in advance of the age, a system which has gradually been
adopted by the whole Army. The Regiment, both individually and
collectively, is deeply indebted to Hawley. Sir Redvers Buller[38] and
Lord Grenfell[39] owed their early training to his tuition; and there
are few Riflemen of our generation who have achieved distinction who do
not directly or indirectly owe their success to his inspiration and
teaching, and his influence is still generally acknowledged in the
Regiment to-day.

In 1869 the 4th Battalion returned to England, and was quartered at
Aldershot, where its high state of efficiency was universally

Upon the death of Lord Gough, on the 3rd of March, 1869, Field-Marshal
H.R.H. George Duke of Cambridge,[40] the Commander-in-Chief of the
British Army, was appointed Colonel-in-Chief.

[Sidenote: 1870, RED RIVER EXPEDITION.]

In 1867 the 1st Battalion, under Lieutenant-Colonel Feilden,[41] was
moved from the Mediterranean to Canada, and on the outbreak of Riel’s
Rebellion in 1870 was selected by _Colonel Wolseley_[42] to take part in
the Red River Expedition. The force, numbering 1200, consisted of two
guns, R.A., the 1st Battalion 60th Rifles, and two specially raised
battalions of Canadian Militia. After a journey of 600 miles by land and
lake, it reached Thunder Bay, on Lake Superior. Leaving Lake
Shebandowah, fifty miles from Lake Superior, on the 16th of July, the
Expedition then traversed in boats 600 miles of a region of rivers,
lakes, and forest, practically unexplored and trackless, and after six
weeks of incessant toil, on the 24th of August reached Fort Garry (now
the city of Winnipeg), the headquarters of the rebel forces under Louis
Riel. _Wolseley_, by a brilliant _coup de main_, pushed on with the 1st
Battalion in fifty boats, and took Riel and his followers completely by
surprise. Hurriedly the insurgent leader abandoned Fort Garry, and the
rebellion collapsed.

The direct effect of this achievement, in which the Regiment was
fortunate enough to take so prominent and decisive a share, has been the
unification of the Dominion of Canada and the opening up to a great and
prosperous future of the whole wide region of the great North-west,
destined to become one of the most populous and most important portions
of the Empire.

Thus for a second time has the 1st Battalion of the Regiment been
privileged to play a direct and almost single-handed part in the
addition of vast regions to the British Crown in North America: first,
in 1758–1764, under Bouquet, in conquering those territories west of the
Alleghany Mountains, now some of the most prosperous States of the
American Union; and, second, in 1870, under _Wolseley_, in crushing a
rebellion, the overthrow of which has enabled the prairies of the
North-west Territories of Canada to be welded into what are now among
the most flourishing Provinces of the Dominion.


Footnote 37:

  Afterwards Lieut.-General Hawley, C.B., Colonel Commandant, 1890–98,
  _vide_ Biographical Sketch, _Regimental Chronicle_, 1909.

Footnote 38:

  Afterwards General Right Hon. Sir Redvers Buller, P.C., V.C., G.C.B.,
  G.C.M.G., Colonel Commandant, 1895–1908. Born December 7th 1839, died
  June 2nd, 1908. His qualities as a distinguished soldier are well
  summed up by the inscription upon his Memorial Tomb recently erected
  in Winchester Cathedral, “A Great Leader—Beloved by his Men.” _Vide_
  Biographical Sketch, _Regimental Chronicle_, 1908, p. 157.

Footnote 39:

  Now Field-Marshal Right Hon. F. W. Lord Grenfell, P.C., G.C.B.,
  G.C.M.G., Colonel Commandant, 1898. Born April 29th, 1841.

Footnote 40:

  H.R.H. George Duke of Cambridge died upon the 17th March, 1904, and
  was succeeded as Colonel-in-Chief by General H.R.H. the Prince of
  Wales, now His Majesty George V.

Footnote 41:

  Afterwards Lieut.-General Feilden, C.M.G., died 1895.

Footnote 42:

  Now Field-Marshal Viscount Wolseley, K.P., etc.

                          PART III.—1871–1902.



The overwhelming defeat of the French Armies by the German troops in the
momentous war of 1870–71 brought about vast changes in military Europe.
A system of compulsory service on the German model was introduced by all
the great nations of Europe—Great Britain excepted—and German drill,
German style of uniform, and German methods were generally adopted.

In England a strong wave of pro-German feeling swept over the British
Army, and military critics advocated the methodical system of the German
Army with its stern unbending discipline and exacting method of
machine-like _collectivism_, to the destruction of the elasticity and
rapidity of movement, with the self-reliance and initiative which makes
for _individualism_.

The spirit of the 60th stood out, and did much to counteract this
tendency, and to bring about the re-action.

[Sidenote: 1878–1880, AFGHAN WAR.]

In the autumn of 1878 the 2nd Battalion, commanded in the absence of
Lieutenant-Colonel J. J. Collins by Major Cromer Ashburnham, was
quartered at Meerut, and formed part of the 1st Brigade, 1st Division,
under _Lieutenant-General Sir Donald Stewart_, which, upon the outbreak
of the Afghan War, was directed upon Kandahar.

After a trying march of 440 miles (one day thirty miles across the
desert without a man falling out) Kandahar was occupied without
resistance on the 8th of January, 1879.

In the following September there was a rising of the Afghans at Kabul,
and the British envoy and his escort were massacred. An advance upon
Kabul, the necessary retort to such an outrage, was accordingly made by
two columns, and after severe fighting Kabul was occupied by
_Lieut.-General Sir Frederick Roberts_.[43]

[Sidenote: April 19th, 1880, AHMAD KHEL.]

On the 27th of March, 1880, _Sir Donald Stewart’s_ Division of 7250 men
was directed to leave Kandahar and march upon Kabul. On the 19th of
April the Afghan Army attacked the column on the march at AHMAD KHEL,
when, concealed in the khors and gorges of the hills, a large body of
Ghazies charged boldly upon the flank of the first line. Carrying all
before them, the issue for a time seemed doubtful, but the stubborn
courage of the British column won the day, and the formidable Ghazies
after suffering great loss, were totally defeated. The 2nd Battalion
then commanded by Collins, had the ill-fortune to be taking its turn of
rear and flank guard on this particular day, but, on hearing the firing,
at once hurried to the scene in time to bear a leading part in
retrieving the critical situation and aid in turning what at the onset
threatened to be a serious reverse into a decisive victory. G Company,
however, under Lieut. Davidson,[44] allotted to the permanent duty of
escort to _Sir Donald Stewart_, played a prominent part in meeting the
first sudden onslaught of the Ghazies, and did much to stem the rush
which at the moment seemed likely to be overwhelming. Continuing the
march, the Battalion was present at the surrender of Ghuznee, and at the
fight of Urzoo on the 23rd of April when the Afghans were again
defeated. The column finally reached Kabul on the 28th of the same
month, thus accomplishing a notable march. It had covered 320 miles in
thirty-five days over a hostile, difficult, and almost unknown country,
fought two general actions, and captured a fortress.

In July Ayub Khan defeated a British force at Maiwand, and besieged
_General Primrose_ in Kandahar. The Battalion, already distinguished for
its marching powers and steady discipline, was selected to form part of
the Relief Force of 10,000 men, which left Kabul under _Sir Frederick
Roberts_ on the 9th of August, and reached Kandahar on the 31st. This
march—by the same route as that of _Sir Donald Stewart_, but at the
hottest time of the year—was effected in twenty-four days, inclusive of
halts, giving an average of 13·3 miles per diem, or of 14·5 for the days
of actual marching.

[Sidenote: Aug. 21st, 1880, KANDAHAR.]

On the 21st of August _Sir Frederick Roberts_ had notified in the orders
of the day that the city of Kandahar was completely invested,
characteristically adding that he “hoped Ayub Khan would remain there.”
This wish was duly realised, for the Afghan leader was found in position
for battle, and on the following day, September the 1st, he was attacked
in front and flank, and completely routed; the whole of his guns and
camp (which had been left standing) were captured by the victorious

On the 8th of September the 2nd Battalion left Kandahar to take part in
the Mari Expedition, which lasted for two months and entailed much hard
marching; there was not, however, any fighting.

On the termination of the campaign the Commander-in-Chief in India
published the following General Order:

  “The 2nd Battalion 60th Rifles has throughout the war maintained its
  high reputation for efficiency. In the march from Kandahar to Kabul,
  at Ahmad Khel, in the memorable march from Kabul to Kandahar, and
  the subsequent expedition to the Mari country, the 60th Rifles were
  remarkable for their discipline and marching powers. In the
  operations above described the Regiment marched 1000 miles in 100
  days. No light feat anywhere, but in such a country as Afghanistan
  it is one well worthy of record in the annals of the British Army.”

On the 8th of September Lieutenant-Colonel J. J. Collins, who had
commanded the Battalion throughout the campaign, succumbed to fever
while on his way to India on sick leave.

In addition to the war medal, a special bronze star was given for the
march from Kabul to Kandahar. It is worthy of note that khaki was worn,
and that this was the first campaign in which the Regiment, since it had
become Rifles, had fought in any colour but green.

                  *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: 1879–1884, 3rd BATTALION.]

Special reference must here be made to the 3rd Battalion, whose good
fortune led it to take part in no less than four campaigns in six years,
and thus to justify a claim to being called “the fighting Battalion.”
Raised in 1855 in Ireland, this Battalion had been moved to Madras at
the close of the Mutiny in 1857, to Burma in 1862, back to Madras in
1865, and to Aden in 1871, and thence to England in 1872. It had not
unnaturally suffered much disadvantage from its long exile of fifteen
years in the East, unrelieved by the experience of active service. It
was, therefore, in a condition particularly to profit by the example of
Hawley and the 4th Battalion, which had begun to be generally felt, and
there can be no doubt that it derived at this period an immense benefit
in efficiency and interior economy, not only from the influence of
Hawley and his system, but also from the traditions and example of the
1st Battalion. Its new commanding officer, Pemberton,[45] and its second
in command, Northey,[46] had both been trained under Hawley, and many of
its captains and junior officers, as well as N.C.O.’s, had been promoted
or transferred from the 1st and 4th Battalions to the 3rd on its return
from India. These officers and men brought with them into the Battalion
the vigorous spirit of the Regiment, its flexible drill and tactics, its
ideals of rapidity and elasticity of movement, rendered possible by the
most careful attention to detail; its extreme steadiness in close
formations; and, above all, that assiduous care for the comfort and
well-being of the rank and file, which is its great feature. In
consequence, the rapidity and smartness of manœuvre, the strong
self-reliance and individuality of the Riflemen, and the excellent
feeling existing between officers and men were conspicuously the
attributes of the rejuvenated 3rd Battalion. The Battalion, therefore,
not only won for itself a great reputation as a fighting unit, but
conveyed later the same spirit to the Mounted Infantry, for the
inception and success of which its officers and Riflemen were largely

[Sidenote: 1879, SOUTH AFRICA ZULU WAR.]

[Sidenote: April 2nd, 1879, GINGIHLOVO.]

Having been quartered for several years at Aldershot, where it gained
much credit, the Battalion was at Colchester in January, 1879, when it
received sudden orders to embark for South Africa in consequence of
the defeat of _Lord Chelmsford’s_ troops by Cetewayo, the Zulu King,
at the battle of Insandlwana. It landed at Durban, commanded by
Lieutenant-Colonel Leigh-Pemberton, and marched direct to the Tugela,
where, under _Lord Chelmsford_ himself, it formed part of the column
to relieve Fort Pierson. Leaving the Tugela on the 25th of March, it
took a distinguished part in the battle of Gingihlovo on the 2nd of
April, when the Zulu impis with a splendid gallantry charged up to the
muzzles of the men’s rifles, and severely tried the young soldiers of
whom the ranks were largely composed. After a short half hour’s hard
fighting the Zulu army reluctantly withdrew, leaving an immense number
of killed and wounded behind them. The casualties were light, but the
Battalion sustained a great loss in the death of Major and
Brevet-Lieutenant-Colonel Frank Northey, who was mortally wounded
early in the action.

In June the Battalion was engaged in the second advance to Ulundi under
_Sir Garnet Wolseley_; and in the subsequent pursuit and capture of
Cetewayo, which brought the Zulu War to a close, two companies of the
Battalion, under Captain Astley Terry,[47] had a prominent share.

[Sidenote: 1881, BOER WAR.]

[Sidenote: Jan. 28th, 1881, LAING’S NEK.]

The 3rd Battalion, under Lieutenant-Colonel Cromer Ashburnham,[48]
remained in South Africa, and was quartered at Pietermaritzburg, when in
January, 1881, the Boers, under Joubert, invaded Natal. _Major-General
Sir George Colley_, the High Commissioner and Commander-in-Chief, having
assembled at Newcastle a small force, which included the 3rd Battalion,
advanced and attacked the Boers on the 28th in position at Laing’s Nek.
The Battalion in part covered the left flank, and in part formed a
reserve to the assaulting column. The attack was repulsed with heavy
loss, and the Battalion covered the retreat, but did not lose many men.

On the 25th of January the 2nd Battalion arrived from India in a state
of the highest efficiency after its successful experience in the Afghan
War. Landing at Durban, it marched forthwith to join headquarters at
Newcastle, where it remained until the armistice in March.

[Sidenote: Feb. 8th, 1881, INGOGO FIGHT.]

The Boers, as a result of their victory at Laing’s Nek, made a desperate
effort to sever the communications between _Colley’s_ force at Mount
Prospect, and the advanced base at Newcastle. The General accordingly
took prompt steps to avert this catastrophe, and thus it came about that
on the 8th of February was fought on the Ingogo Heights an action as
glorious as any in the history of the 60th. _Colley_, with two 9–pounder
R.A. guns, thirty-eight men of the Mounted Infantry, and five companies
of the 3rd Battalion, under Ashburnham, marched early on the 8th from
Prospect upon Newcastle, crossed the Ingogo River, and, on ascending the
heights beyond, was attacked from all sides shortly before noon. The
British position was a plateau covered with short grass, rocks, and
boulders; whereas the kloofs and slopes occupied by the Boers were also
not only strewn with rocks, but overgrown with long grass, which being
three and four feet high afforded excellent cover. The troops, though
completely surrounded, maintained the fight for nearly seven hours,
until at last, in the gloom of approaching night and a heavy
thunderstorm, the fire ceased and the enemy sullenly withdrew.

The Battalion had lost five out of thirteen officers, and 119 out of 295
other ranks; of I Company only one officer and thirteen men were left,
but nowhere had the enemy gained ground. The survivors, without food or
water, and with ammunition running short, but with courage and
discipline still unshaken, then faced the last ordeal of that long day.
Little could be done for the wounded, except to collect and leave them
with the chaplain, the doctor, and a few other noncombatants; and then,
in drenching rain and darkness only broken by flashes of lightning, the
few remaining horses were hooked into the guns, and the little force
moved silently across the veldt to the river, which was in flood, and
had to be forded breast high. So slippery was the ground from the rain
that the horses could not draw the guns; this for the last few miles was
done by the Riflemen. At 8.30 a.m. the following morning Prospect Camp
was reached after a peculiarly strenuous test of the courage and
endurance of the troops.

  “The conduct of all ranks throughout this trying day was admirable,”
  wrote _Sir George Colley_ in his despatch.[49] “The comparatively
  young soldiers of the 60th Rifles behaved with the steadiness and
  coolness of veterans. At all times perfectly in hand, they held or
  changed their ground as directed without hurry or confusion; though
  under heavy fire, themselves fired steadily, husbanding their
  ammunition, and at the end of the day, with sadly reduced numbers,
  formed and moved off the ground with the most perfect steadiness and
  order; and, finally, after eighteen hours of continuous fatigue,
  readily and cheerfully attached themselves to the guns, and dragged
  them up the long hill from the Ingogo, when the horses were unable
  to do so.”

[Sidenote: Feb. 27th, 1881, MAJUBA.]

On the night of the 26th of February _Sir George Colley_ decided to
seize Majuba Hill by a night march—a hazardous undertaking which was
ably executed. The following day the Boers in three assaulting columns,
covered by the rifle fire of their largely superior force, carried the
mountain with splendid gallantry, and completely defeated the small
British force of 414 soldiers and sailors.

Two companies of the 3rd Battalion were posted upon the lower spurs of
the mountain, and with a third company sent out later with ammunition
they covered the retreat, but were only slightly engaged.

The brave and accomplished _Colley_—dauntless to the end—died a
soldier’s death upon the summit of the mountain, and deplorable indeed
was the loss in officers and men of the force engaged. A peace—insisted
upon by the British Government—brought this unhappy campaign to a close
little to the satisfaction of the troops concerned.


Footnote 43:

  Now Field-Marshal Earl Roberts, K.G., V.C., etc., whose only son,
  Lieut. the Hon. Frederick Roberts, V.C., was killed at the battle of
  Colenso, December 15th, 1899, when an officer of the Regiment, and
  serving as A.D.C. to Sir Redvers Buller.

Footnote 44:

  Now Colonel Sir Arthur Davidson, K.C.B., K.C.V.O., Equerry to H.M.
  Queen Alexandra.

Footnote 45:

  Now Major-General Sir Wykeham Leigh-Pemberton, K.C.B., Colonel
  Commandant, 1906. Born 4th December, 1833.

Footnote 46:

  Afterwards Lieut.-Colonel Northey, mortally wounded at the Battle of
  Gingihlovo, Zulu War, April 2nd, 1879.

Footnote 47:

  Now Major-General.

Footnote 48:

  Now Major-General Sir Cromer Ashburnham, K.C.B., Colonel Commandant,
  1907. Born 13th September, 1831. He succeeded Colonel Leigh-Pemberton,
  and commanded the 3rd Battalion throughout three campaigns, namely,
  Boer War, 1881; Egypt, 1882; Suakim, 1884, with conspicuous success,
  and was popularly known among his men as the “Lion of the Ingogo.”

Footnote 49:

  Despatch, Mount Prospect, February 12th, 1881, para. 20.


    1882–1885. EGYPT. TEL EL KEBIR, 1882. EL TEB, TAMAI, 1884.—NILE
                 EXPEDITION, 1884–85.—MOUNTED INFANTRY.

The 3rd Battalion, under Colonel Ashburnham, had been moved from South
Africa to Malta, when the outbreak of hostilities in Egypt caused it to
be despatched with the 38th Regiment to Cyprus and Alexandria in July,

[Sidenote: 1882, EGYPT.]

On the 18th of July, shortly after the bombardment of Alexandria, it
landed while the city was still in flames, and formed part of the
advanced force under _Major-General Sir Archibald Alison_. A portion of
the Battalion took part with the Mounted Infantry, on the 22nd of July,
in the first engagement of the campaign at Mallaha Junction, eight miles
from Alexandria, and again in the reconnaissance in force on the 5th
August near Ramleh.

On August the 18th, upon the arrival of _Sir Garnet Wolseley_, it
embarked for Ismailia, and took part in the actions of Tel-el-Mahuta on
the 25th, and Kassassin on the 9th of September, when the enemy, about
13,000 strong, was completely defeated.

[Sidenote: Sept. 13th, 1882, TEL-EL-KEBIR.]

The Battalion, temporarily commanded by Major Ogilvy,[50] formed part of
the 4th Brigade under Colonel Ashburnham, which had been organised for
the night march of the 12th–13th September and the assault of the lines
of Tel-el-Kebir at daylight. The Brigade forming the support of the
Highland Brigade closed up at the beginning of the battle as day began
to dawn, and gave a timely assistance in the assault of the enemy’s
lines. The Battalion in two lines pressed eagerly forward with its
accustomed dash, and entered the Egyptian works at about the centre of
the position, where Major Cramer, second in Command, was wounded, and
had his horse shot under him. After an ebb and flow of strenuous bayonet
fighting the enemy gave way on all sides, and, suffering great losses,
were broken and dispersed in headlong flight. Two days later Cairo was
captured, and the war ended, upon which the Battalion formed part of the
army of occupation.

[Sidenote: 1884, EL TEB, TAMAI.]

In February, 1884, the Battalion, under Ashburnham, was ordered to
Suakim, where it served in a Brigade under that distinguished Rifleman,
Major-General Sir Redvers Buller,[51] as part of _General Sir Gerald
Graham’s_ force. On the 29th of February it took part in the defeat of
the Dervishes at El Teb, and on the 13th of March it was present at the
critical battle of Tamai. The troops were in two squares, one under _Sir
Gerald Graham_, commanding the force, the other under Buller. _Graham’s_
square was broken, and in the confusion some of its men poured a volley
into Buller’s, causing one face to run in. Sir Redvers at once rode
outside the square, and, with great coolness, rallied his men. By
restoring the formation he undoubtedly staved off a terrible disaster,
for, had the square been really broken, nothing could have saved the
army. This action ended the Campaign.


The history of the 3rd Battalion at this period would not be complete
without reference to the introduction of Mounted Infantry into the
British Army. It may be fairly said that the creation of Mounted
Infantry, the establishment of a recognised system for its training, and
the development of its tactics, is largely the work of Officers and
Riflemen of the 60th, and in a very special degree of the 3rd Battalion.

The value of Mounted Infantry under modern conditions of war was
established by the phenomenal success of the relatively small force of
Mounted Infantry in Egypt in 1882. This corps, raised and organised by
an officer of the 60th,[52] owed much of its success to the officers and
men drawn from the 3rd Battalion who had similarly served in the Boer
war; its high reputation for individual gallantry and initiative was
universally acknowledged, and there was no engagement in the war, from
the preliminary skirmishes before Alexandria in July, until the capture,
by a _coup de main_, of the citadel of Cairo at mid-night of the
14th–15th September, in which the Mounted Infantry did not take a
distinguished share.[53]

[Sidenote: 1884–85, NILE EXPEDITION.]

At Cairo, early in 1884, the inception and scheme of organisation for
the Mounted Camel Regiments was also the work of an officer of the 60th
Rifles. The Mounted Infantry Camel Regiment in particular which rendered
such distinguished service with the Desert Column, under the late
_General Sir Herbert Stewart_, was raised and equipped by the same
officer, and was largely composed of officers and men of the 60th. Two
out of the four companies were commanded by officers of the 60th
(Fetherstonhaugh[54] and Berkeley Pigott,[55] both of whom had served
with the 3rd Battalion in South Africa), and six out of the sixteen
subaltern company officers were also Riflemen.[56]

In June, 1886, a comprehensive scheme for raising and training Mounted
Infantry in England was first proposed, before a public audience, by an
officer of the 60th, under the powerful wing of _Lord Wolseley_, and in
November of the same year Mounted Infantry were raised and trained under
Captain Lewis Butler at Shorncliffe from detachments of the 2nd
Battalion and other regiments, under the effective supervision of
_Colonel Sir Baker Russell_.[57]

When, in 1887, it was subsequently decided to form a regiment of Mounted
Infantry for service with the Cavalry Division, composed of detachments
from nearly all infantry battalions on home service, the command and
organisation was again given to an officer of the 60th, and, out of the
eight companies composing the original regiment, the 60th and Rifle
Brigade found two, or one-fourth of the whole corps. The Mounted
Infantry movement therefore may be said to owe its inception, and in a
large measure its success, to the officers of the 60th, and to their

The Mounted Infantry system thus begun was largely developed, so that
upon the outbreak of the South African war in 1899 there were many
thousands of officers and men throughout the infantry of the Army who
had been trained as Mounted Infantry. It has been rightly said[58] that
the ultimately successful issue of the late campaign was in a great
measure due to “the large number of Mounted Infantry officers previously
trained, and to the long work of preparation carried on before the war
by the Mounted Infantry enthusiasts.” If this is so, The King’s Royal
Rifle Corps may lay a fair claim to a goodly share of such an important


Footnote 50:

  Afterwards Colonel and C.B.

Footnote 51:

  Afterwards General Right Hon. Sir Redvers Buller, _vide_ p. 40 note.

Footnote 52:

  Captain Hutton, now Lieut.-General Sir Edward Hutton, K.C.M.G., C.B.
  Colonel Commandant, 1908. Born December 6th, 1848.

Footnote 53:

  _Vide_ “Cool Courage,” an episode of the Egyptian War,
  1882—_Regimental Chronicle_, 1908.

Footnote 54:

  Now Major-General R. S. R. Fetherstonhaugh, C.B.

Footnote 55:

  Afterwards Lieutenant-Colonel Berkeley Pigott, C.B., D.S.O., 21st

Footnote 56:

  W. Pitcairn Campbell, P. S. Marling, A. Miles, R. L. Bower, and two
  officers of The Rifle Brigade, namely, W. M. Sherston and Hon. H.

Footnote 57:

  Afterwards General Sir Baker Russell, G.C.B., K.C.M.G., etc., a
  well-known Cavalry General and leader of men. Died November, 1911.

Footnote 58:

  “_Times_” _History of the War_, Vol. II, p. 31.



[Sidenote: 1891, INDIAN FRONTIER.]

In March, 1891, the 1st Battalion, then recently arrived in India,
formed part of the 3rd Brigade, Hazara Field Force, and took part in the
operations on the Samana Range, where Colonel Cramer,[59] commanding the
Battalion, was severely wounded; and the command throughout the
remainder of the campaign devolved upon Major the Hon. Keith
Turnour.[60] The Battalion also took part in the expedition sent into
the Sheikhan country and Khanki Valley, and in the action at Mastaon.

[Sidenote: 1891, MANIPUR.]

During the same period the 4th Battalion, under command of
Lieutenant-Colonel R. Chalmer,[61] formed part of the successful Manipur
Expedition in April, and from December in the same year until May, 1892,
was continually employed with various columns in Burma and the Chin
Lushai country.

[Sidenote: 1895, CHITRAL.]

In September, 1892, the 1st Battalion took part in the Isazai
Expedition. In March, 1895, it again took the field under
Lieutenant-Colonel H. B. MacCall,[62] and formed part of the Chitral
Relief Force, serving with the leading brigade under Brigadier-General
A. A. Kinloch.[63] The Battalion highly distinguished itself in the
battle of the Malakand on the 3rd of April, and again in the action at
Khar on the following day, thereby adding CHITRAL to the honours of the

[Sidenote: Jan. 14th, 1897, WRECK OF THE “WARREN HASTINGS.”]

At the end of 1896 the 1st Battalion, under command of Lieut.-Colonel M.
C. B. Forestier-Walker, left India, and embarked on the Royal Indian
Marine Troopship, _Warren Hastings_. Leaving four companies at Cape
Town, the headquarters of the battalion and the remaining four companies
proceeded to the Mauritius, when the ship steaming at full speed on a
very dark night, struck upon the rocks off the Island of Reunion at 2.20
a.m. on the 14th January, 1897, and became a total wreck.[64]

The troops on board, in addition to the Headquarters and four companies
of the Rifles, consisted of four companies of the York and Lancaster
Regiment, and a small detachment of the Middlesex Regiment, which, with
women and children, numbered in all 995. They “at once fell in on the
main deck in perfect order until 4 a.m., when the (Naval) Commander
ordered their disembarkation to commence by rope ladders from the
bows.... At 4.20 a.m. the position of the vessel appeared so critical
that he at once ordered the disembarkation of the men to cease, and the
women, children, and sick to be passed out. This order was promptly
carried out; the men clung to the side as they stood (the ship lurching
and bumping heavily), and passed out the women and children through; no
man murmuring or moving from his post.”[65]

At 4.35 a.m., as the ship was in imminent danger of heeling over and
sinking, it became necessary to expedite the landing. Owing to the
“remarkable courage and exemplary discipline” displayed, the whole
ship’s company, except two natives, were safely passed on to the rocks
and saved. “Lieutenant-Colonel Forestier-Walker,[66] who was in command,
was the last soldier to leave the ship.”

“The Commander-in-Chief,”[67] ends the Special Army Order of March the
13th, 1897, by declaring that he “is proud of the behaviour of the
troops during this trying time. He regards it as a good example of the
advantages of subordination and strict discipline, for it was by that
alone, under God’s Providence, that heavy loss of life was prevented.”

The Regiment will always cherish the honoured memory of Colonel
Forestier-Walker and of their comrades, who were thus given the
opportunity of supplying one of the finest examples of high discipline,
which the annals of the British Army can show.


Footnote 59:

  Afterwards C.B.

Footnote 60:

  Now Lieut.-Colonel the Hon. Keith Turnour-Fetherstonhaugh, of Up Park,

Footnote 61:

  Afterwards Colonel and C.B.

Footnote 62:

  Now Brigadier-General and C.B.

Footnote 63:

  Now Major-General and C.B.

Footnote 64:

  _Vide Regimental Chronicle_, 1909, p. 60.

Footnote 65:

  Special Army Order, March 13th, 1897.

Footnote 66:

  Promoted Colonel for his conduct, and was selected for Staff
  employment as Chief Staff Officer in Egypt, where he was accidentally
  killed upon the 31st July, 1902.

Footnote 67:

  Field-Marshal Viscount Wolseley.


                         LADYSMITH. TRANSVAAL.

  Note.—As the following section deals with contemporaneous events and
  with members of the Regiment still serving, it has been considered
  advisable to adopt a simple form of record of events by Battalions
  and units, leaving to a future historian the compilation of a
  complete narrative.

                            FIRST BATTALION.

[Sidenote: 1st BATTALION.]

When, on October the 7th, 1899, war was declared by President Kruger and
the Boer Government, the 1st Battalion, under the command of
Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Henry Gunning, was at Dundee, Natal, with the
exception of G Company, which was at Eshowe in Zululand, and there
remained until after the following March.

At Talana Hill (20th of October), the first battle of the war, the
Battalion greatly distinguished itself in the attack of the Boer
position, and took a leading part in the complete defeat of the
enemy.[68] Lieutenant-Colonel Gunning was killed leading the assault,
and out of seventeen officers present, five were killed and eight
wounded, together with many N.C.O.’s and Riflemen. Major W. Pitcairn
Campbell[69] thereupon assumed command.

Then came the retreat to Ladysmith by a forced march under peculiarly
trying circumstances, and on the 30th October took place the battle of
Lombard’s Kop, which, indecisive in its effect, led to the investment by
the Boer Army. The four months DEFENCE OF LADYSMITH was the result, the
chief battle being that of Waggon Hill on January the 6th, 1900.

Up to March, 1900, the Battalion lost eight officers and forty-three men
killed, eight officers and 180 men wounded, and eighty-one men who died
in hospital.

After the Relief of Ladysmith, on the 3rd of March, the Battalion joined
the 8th Brigade, 5th Division, and was with Buller’s advance into the
Transvaal, taking part in the passage of the Biggarsberg in May, the
attacks on Botha’s Pass and Alleman’s Nek (8th and 11th of June).

In August the Battalion assisted in the capture of Amersfoort and
Ermelo, and was present at the battle of Belfast (August the 27th), when
the armies under _Roberts_ and Buller first joined forces, taking part
in the attack on Bergendal.

It subsequently assisted in the occupation of Lydenburg (6th of
September), and at the fighting in the Mauchberg (9th of September), and
at Pilgrim’s Rest (27th of September). On October the 16th, 1900, the
Battalion returned to Middelburg, where it was continually engaged in
minor operations until July, 1901, when it proceeded to Cape Colony.
Here it built the seventy miles of blockhouses between De Aar and Orange
River, which it occupied till the end of the war in June, 1902.

                           SECOND BATTALION.

[Sidenote: 2nd BATTALION.]

The 2nd Battalion left India, and landed in Natal in October, 1899,
under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel G. Grimwood, and proceeded at
once to Ladysmith, taking part in the battles of Rietfontein (October
the 24th) and Lombard’s Kop, in which it fought alongside the 1st
Battalion. It served through the DEFENCE OF LADYSMITH, and greatly
distinguished itself in the famous fight on Waggon Hill of January the

Up to the 31st of March the Battalion lost five officers (including two
attached) and twenty-six men killed in action, seventy-five men wounded,
and 107 who died in hospital.

After the relief it was under the command of Major the Hon. E. J.
Montagu-Stuart-Wortley,[70] and, with the 1st Battalion, formed part of
the 8th Brigade, 5th Division until the 1st of August, 1900, when it
proceeded to Ceylon in charge of prisoners of war.

                            THIRD BATTALION.

[Sidenote: 3rd BATTALION.]

The 3rd Battalion, under the command of Lieut.-Colonel Robert George
Buchanan-Riddell, left England in November, 1899, with the 4th Light
Infantry Brigade, under Major-General the _Hon. N. G. Lyttelton_, and
landed at Durban on the 30th. It took part in all the battles for the
RELIEF OF LADYSMITH, namely, Colenso (December the 15th), Spion Kop
(January the 24th), Vaal Krantz (5th–7th of February), and the fourteen
days continuous fighting from the 13th to the 27th of February,
including the actions at Cingolo, Monte Christo, Hlangwane, Hart’s Hill,
and the final battle of Pieter’s Hill, on February the 27th, Majuba Day.
The Battalion rightly cherishes with pride the names of Spion Kop, Vaal
Krantz, and Hart’s Hill. At Spion Kop[71] it captured by a bold and
vigorous stroke the famous Twin Peaks single-handed, rightly considered
one of the most notable feats of the war. Lieutenant-Colonel
Buchanan-Riddell was killed on the summit at the moment of victory while
leading his men, and Major R. Bewicke-Copley[72] thereupon assumed
command. At Vaal Krantz, after being engaged for twenty-four hours, the
Battalion highly distinguished itself in repulsing the Boer
counter-attack.[73] At Hart’s Hill four companies were prominent in the
desperate struggle during the night of the 22nd–23rd of February,
delivering two bayonet charges and losing over a third of their number
in killed and wounded.[74] Part of the Rifle Reserve Battalion was also
engaged in this fight. The Battalion lost during this portion of the
campaign three officers and forty-six men killed in action, eleven
officers and 195 men wounded, while fifty-nine men died in hospital, and
eight men were reported missing.

It is worthy of remark that the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Battalions met in the
streets of Ladysmith on 3rd of March, 1900, when Sir Redvers Buller
entered the town at the head of his army.

After the relief of Ladysmith, the 3rd Battalion with the Light Infantry
Brigade of the 2nd Division took part in the advance through Northern
Natal, in the passage of the Biggarsberg, and in the attacks on Botha
Pass and Alleman’s Nek, 8th–11th June. It entered Heidelberg at the end
of June, 1900, and from that date until the end of October it was
engaged in the neighbourhood of Standerton and Greylingstad protecting
the railway. In November, 1900, Lieutenant-Colonel Bewicke-Copley was
selected for command of a mobile column, which, till November the 19th,
included his own 3rd Battalion. The Battalion subsequently occupied a
line of blockhouses between Machadodorp and Dalmanutha, Eastern
Transvaal, till the end of the war.

                           FOURTH BATTALION.

[Sidenote: 4th BATTALION.]

The 4th Battalion was quartered at Cork during the earlier phases of the
war, and was engaged in training and sending out reinforcements to a
large extent of Mounted Infantry. It was not until December, 1901, that
the Battalion, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel E. W.
Herbert,[75] sailed to Africa. Landing at Durban, it proceeded to
Harrismith, O.R.C., where it constructed and occupied a line of
blockhouses running west, and remained there until the conclusion of
peace in June, 1902.

                        RIFLE RESERVE BATTALION.


The Reserve Battalion, under the command of Major the Hon. E. J.
Montagu-Stuart-Wortley, was organised at Pieter-Maritzberg, and composed
of officers and reservists of The King’s Royal Rifle Corps and of The
Rifle Brigade, who were intended to re-inforce the battalions shut up in
Ladysmith. It joined the 11th Brigade at Chieveley, Natal, in January,
1900, and took part in the operations of the 13th to the 27th of
February, namely, Cingolo, Monte Christo, Hlangwane, Hart’s Hill, and
the final battle of Pieter’s Hill. After the Relief of Ladysmith this
improvised Battalion was broken up, and the officers and men of the
Regiment were distributed between 1st and 2nd Battalions.

                            NINTH BATTALION.


This Militia Battalion of the Regiment, under the command of
Lieutenant-Colonel William Cooke-Collis,[76] volunteered for active
service, and, their services having been accepted, embarked for the seat
of war in January, 1900. Landing at Cape Town on February 1st,[77] it
proceeded at once to Naauwpoort, and took part in the operations round
Colesburg. Leaving Naauwpoort in March, the Battalion was employed
protecting the main line of communication and the reconstruction of the
railway through the Free State in rear of _Lord Roberts_’ army. It
eventually took charge of the line between Vereeniging and Honing
Spruit, where it remained for a year, during which its section of the
line was never once cut by the enemy; this successful result was in a
large measure due to the good work done by the company of Mounted
Infantry raised from the Battalion.

The Battalion returned home in August, 1901, and was disembodied.


Footnote 68:

  _Vide Official History of the War_, Vol. I, pp. 131–136.

Footnote 69:

  Now Major-General, C.B., and lately A.D.C. to the King.

Footnote 70:

  Now Brigadier-General, C.B., C.M.G., M.V.O., D.S.O.

Footnote 71:

  _Vide Official History of the South African War_, Vol. I, pp. 398–9.

Footnote 72:

  Now Brigadier-General and C.B.

Footnote 73:

  _Vide_ “_Times_” _History of the South African War_, Vol. III, p. 324.

Footnote 74:

  _Vide Official History of the South African War_, Vol. I, pp. 476–484.

Footnote 75:

  Now Colonel, C.B.

Footnote 76:

  Now Colonel, C.M.G., and A.D.C. to the King.

Footnote 77:

  Two officers died on the voyage out.


  Note.—The Mounted Infantry raised in the Regiment having played so
  distinguished a part in the campaign, it has been considered
  advisable for purposes of historical reference to record their
  services by battalions. The establishment of a Mounted Infantry
  Company was 5 officers and 142 other ranks, organised into four

[Sidenote: 1st BATT. M.I.]

A company was raised from the 1st Battalion in South Africa before the
war; it fought at Talana Hill (October the 20th, 1899), was in the
DEFENCE OF LADYSMITH, and later with Buller’s army until it arrived at
Lydenburg in October, 1900. After this it was continually engaged in the
Eastern Transvaal, until it joined the 25th Mounted Infantry in October,
1901 (_see below_). This Company lost twenty-five killed and
thirty-three wounded during the war.

[Sidenote: 2nd BATT. M.I.]

A Company was raised from the 2nd Battalion upon its arrival in Natal,
which was left outside Ladysmith, and, joining Buller’s army on the
Tugela, took part in the campaign for the RELIEF OF LADYSMITH with
_Dundonald’s_ Mounted Troops. After the relief this Company joined
_Gough’s_ Mounted Infantry, and accompanied Buller’s army up to
Lydenburg, being subsequently engaged in the Eastern Transvaal,
Zululand, and the Orange River Colony until the end of the war. The
wastage in personnel was such that only two officers and twenty-nine
others of the original company then remained, but the fact that twenty
per cent. of the original horses, received in October, 1899, were still
doing duty, constituted a notable record in horse management.

[Sidenote: 3rd BATT. M.I.]

The 3rd Battalion contributed one section to “The Rifles’ Company” of
the 1st M.I. (_Vide 4th Battalion M.I._).

A second section, formed in December, 1899, fought with _Dundonald’s_
mounted troops in the RELIEF OF LADYSMITH, subsequently joining
_Gough’s_ M.I. at Blood River Poort, where it was severely handled and
its commander, Mildmay, was killed. This section, in October, 1901, was
united with a third section raised in 1900, and joined the 25th M.I. in
October, 1901 (_see below_), when the strength was raised to a full

[Sidenote: 4th BATT. M.I.]

The 4th Battalion contributed a section to “The Rifles’ Company,” under
Captain Dewar, which, together with the section of the 3rd Battalion,
and the two sections from the 3rd and 4th Battalions Rifle Brigade,
formed one of the four companies composing the celebrated 1st M.I.,
organised and trained at Aldershot under _Lieutenant-Colonel E. A. H.
Alderson_ before the war. The “Rifles Company” was temporarily detached,
and, landing at Port Elizabeth in November, 1899, joined the force under
_Major-General Sir William Gatacre_, which was defeated at Stormberg on
December the 12th, where it was mentioned for its gallant conduct in
covering the retreat. The Company was then attached to _French’s_
Cavalry Division, and was at the battle of Paardeburg, where Captain
Dewar was killed, and was also present at the surrender of Cronje on the
27th of February, Majuba Day. It then rejoined the 1st M.I.; and took
part in the battles of Poplar Grove and Driefontein, and the entry into
Bloemfontein (10th of March). It was at the surprise of Broadwood’s
Calvary Brigade at Sannah’s Post (31st of March), where it behaved with
conspicuous gallantry, and it was at the relief of Wepener, and in the
fighting near Thabanchu.

The 1st M.I. were then allotted to _Alderson’s_ Brigade with
Hutton’s[78] Mounted Troops, and took part in _Lord Roberts’_ advance
upon Pretoria on the 2nd May.

The Company, therefore, was present in the actions of Brandfort, Vet
River, Sand River, Kroonstadt, the Vaal River (27th of May), the battle
of Doornkop, near Johannesburg (28th–29th of May), the actions at
Kalkhoevel Defile, Six Mile Spruit (4th of June), and the entry into
Pretoria (5th of June). It was similarly engaged at the battle of
Diamond Hill (11th of June); in the fighting south-east of Pretoria and
at the action of Rietvlei (July the 16th); in the advance to and
operations round Middelburg; in the battle of Belfast (24th of August,
1900); and in the march east from Dalmanutha, including the assault of
the almost impregnable position of Kaapsche Hoop during the night of the
12th–13th of September.

From this time till the end of the war this Company was continually
marching and fighting in the Orange River Colony and Cape Colony,
pursuing De Wet, back again in the Transvaal, in countless forays and
skirmishes, in the saddle night and day. When peace was declared it was
at Vereeniging, whence it marched to Harrismith, and was absorbed into
the Rifle Battalion of M.I. formed at that place.

The 4th Battalion also sent out two complete companies from Cork early
in 1901, which were employed in the Transvaal, and subsequently joined
the 25th M.I. in October of that year (_see below_).


On October the 18th, 1901, a complete Battalion of Mounted Infantry[79]
was formed from the Regiment—an unique distinction—and consisted of:—

                      No. 1 Company 1st Battalion.
                      No. 2 Company 4th Battalion.
                      No. 3 Company 3rd Battalion.
                      No. 4 Company 4th Battalion.

The Battalion was concentrated at Middelburg in the Transvaal, and was
placed under the command of Major C. L. E. Robertson-Eustace[80] until
January, 1902, when he was succeeded by Major W. S. Kays.[81]

The Battalion thus organised was composed of officers and riflemen who
had been in the field from the beginning of the war, and were therefore
tried and experienced soldiers. It joined _Benson’s_[82] column at
Middelburg, a column of which it was said that no Dutchman dared sleep
within thirty miles of its bivouac. The ceaseless activity and success
of _Benson_ eventually decided Louis Botha, the Boer Commander-in-Chief,
to make a determined attempt to destroy his force. To achieve this
purpose he collected nearly 2000 men, and by a skilful combination of
his troops attacked the column while on the march near Bakenlaagte upon
the 30th of October. By a rapid charge he overwhelmed the rear guard,
captured two guns, killed _Benson_, and surrounded the column, but was
eventually beaten off. The 25th M.I. fought with a stubborn courage, and
by their sturdy gallantry kept the Boers at bay and gloriously upheld
the traditions of the Regiment, losing in the action eleven men killed,
five officers and forty-five men wounded.

Thus—stoutly fought out on both sides by mounted troops of this especial
type—ended a fight which has been described as unique in the annals of
war.[83] The spirit of the Riflemen will best be understood from the
lips of one of the wounded in this gallant fight, who remarked that
“they were content if they had done their duty, and felt rewarded if
their Regiment thought well of them.”

The Mounted Infantry Battalion of the Regiment ended its short but
brilliant career by taking part in all the great “drives” in the E.
Transvaal and N.E. of the Orange Free State, and was finally at
Greylingstad when peace was declared on the 1st June, 1902.

                              RIFLE DEPOT.

[Sidenote: RIFLE DEPOT.]

The Depot, under the command of Colonel Horatio Mends, was at Gosport
throughout the war. A narrative of the work of the Regiment at this
strenuous period would not be complete without grateful reference to the
splendid service of administration, training, and equipment, so
devotedly performed by the Colonel Commandant, his Staff, and the
Company officers generally of the Rifle Depot.

The Adjutant was five times changed, but the Quarter-Master, Major
Riley,[84] remained constant to his difficult duties throughout the
whole of this trying ordeal.

It is stated that 4470 recruits joined the Depot, were trained, and
passed to the various Battalions, while many thousands of Reservists
were mobilized, equipped, clothed, and drafted for duty.

The work of discharge at the end of the war was not less severe, but
there is no record of failure or of breakdown, and the success of the
admirable system of administration was universally acknowledged.[85]

The Rifle Depot was moved back to Winchester on the 29th of March, 1903,
after nine years of exile at Gosport caused by the re-building of the
Barracks which had been destroyed by fire.


Footnote 78:

  _Vide_ note p. 52.

Footnote 79:

  For a more complete account, _vide Regimental Chronicle_, 1902, p. 94.

Footnote 80:

  Afterwards D.S.O. This promising officer died suddenly at Cairo,
  October 4th, 1908.

Footnote 81:

  Now Colonel.

Footnote 82:

  Colonel G. E. Benson, R.A., a leader of much distinction and

Footnote 83:

  _Vide_ “_Times_” _History of the War_, Vol. V.

Footnote 84:

  Major T. M. Riley. Died 28th February, 1908. _Vide Regimental
  Chronicle_, 1907, p. 115.

Footnote 85:

  _Vide Regimental Chronicle_, 1903, pp. 202–207.

                                PART IV.

                             A RETROSPECT.

The preceding pages will have shown that the Regiment from its inception
has possessed certain distinctive characteristics which are
pre-eminently those required for making Light Infantry and Riflemen of
the best type.

Raised in 1755, the Regiment, inspired by the genius of Henry Bouquet,
early displayed that strong individuality, that self-reliant courage,
and that ready initiative coupled with steady discipline, which won from
the intrepid Wolfe himself the proud motto of _Celer et Audax_. In 1797,
under the experienced command of Baron de Rottenburg, the famous 5th
Battalion (Rifles) was raised as a special type of Light Troops. Thus
the 5th Battalion of the Regiment, the first Rifle Corps of the British
Army, revived those special qualities of the Royal Americans which had
rendered the Regiment so renowned in its earlier years, and were
destined to win imperishable fame throughout the Peninsular War.

After a long interval of peace the Regiment from 1836 to 1854 received a
similar impetus at the hands of Molyneux and Dundas, and reaped a rich
harvest of lasting honour and glory upon the Delhi Ridge by displaying
the same supremely valuable characteristics which had distinguished it
in America and in Spain. Again, from 1861–1873, under Hawley’s
commanding influence and inspiring skill, the Regiment, through the 4th
Battalion, opened up a more rapid and elastic system of drill and
tactics, a more intelligent treatment of the soldier, and the betterment
of his life in barracks, of which the good effects are felt to-day not
only in the Regiment but in the Army at large. The qualities thus
maintained for a century and a half, have borne in later years abundant
fruit, of which the stubborn courage at the Ingogo fight, the calm
discipline of the _Warren Hastings_, the eager valour of Talana Hill,
and the impetuous assault up the slopes of the Twin Peaks are glorious

To the same special qualities was due the inspiration which created the
Mounted Infantry as a portion of the British Army, and it is to the
officers and men of the 60th that the inception and success of that
powerful arm is largely due.

Let the Riflemen of to-day, who read the deeds of their gallant comrades
of the past, remember that if they are to maintain the traditions and
increase still more the reputation of the famous Corps to which they
belong, it can only be by cultivating the same spirit of ready
self-sacrifice and unsparing devotion to duty, and by developing the
same prompt initiative, steady discipline, and unflinching courage,
which have ever been the secret of the Regiment’s success.

Let each Rifleman also recollect that a distinguished Past is rather a
reproach than a glory unless maintained by an equally distinguished
Present, and developed, if possible, by an even more distinguished




  Illustrating the area of Operations referred to in Part III, Sections
    7 and 10, also upon Inset map, Part III, Section 8.

  _Stanford’s Geog^l. Estab^t., London._


                          TRANSCRIBER’S NOTES

 1. Silently corrected typographical errors.
 2. Retained anachronistic and non-standard spellings as printed.
 3. Enclosed italics font in _underscores_.
 4. Superscripts are denoted by a caret before a single superscript
      character, e.g. M^r.

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