The Prince of Wales's Own Regiment of Yorkshire was formed 25th April 1958 by the amalgamation of The West Yorkshire Regiment (The Prince of Wales's Own), being the 14th of Foot, and The East Yorkshire Regiment (The Duke of York's Own), the 15th of Foot. The stories of these two famous Regiments are, therefore, part of the history of The Prince of Wales's Own Regiment of Yorkshire.
The West Yorkshire Regiment (The Prince of Wales's Own)
Raised in 1685, the Regiment first saw active service in Flanders in 1693. It then served in Ireland and Scotland before going to Gibraltar in1727 for a 15 year stay. The Regiment returned to Scotland in 1745 until Culloden and returned to Gibraltar in 1751 for another 8 years. In 1759, when stationed at Windsor, it was granted royal permission to wear the White Horse of Hanover.
1776 saw the Regiment in America. This was followed by duty as Marines and then in Jamaica.
In 1793, at the Battle of Famars, the Regiment "stole" the march "Ca Ira" from its French adversaries. After this war against the French, the regiment returned home in 1803 and raised a 2nd Battalion, which went to the Peninsular, while the 1st Battalion went to India, and later, the short-lived 3rd Battalion which formed part of Wellington's Army. After several successful actions in India, the 1st Battalion was, on returning home in 1831, granted the badge of the Royal Tiger, superscribed "India".
After service in the West Indies, Canada and Malta, the Regiment went to the Crimea in 1855 and took part in the capture of Sevastopol.In 1858 the 2nd Battalion was re-formed and sent to New Zealand.
In 1876, the Prince of Wales, later Edward VII, presented new Colours to the 1st Battalion at Lucknow and conferred on the Regiment the title "The Prince of Wales's Own" and in 1881 the 14th was given the title "The West Yorkshire Regiment".
In 1899 the 2nd Battalion went to the South African War where two V.C.'s were awarded.
The 1st Battalion was part of the original Expeditionary Force at the outbreak of the First World War, rapidly followed by the 2nd. The Regiment grew to 37 battalions, including Territorials, of which 24 saw action overseas and received many decorations. Among these was the French Croix de Guerre, awarded to the 8th (Leeds Rifles) Battalion for gallantry in the capture of Bligny Ridge. The Roll of Honour, including over 13,000 names, may be seen in the Regimental Chapel in York Minster.
With a return to peace in 1918, the Regiment was reduced to two Regular and four Territorial Battalions.
The 1st Battalion spent much of the Second World War in Burma, while the 2nd Battalion served in Egypt, Cyprus and Tobruk before going to India and Burma, finally returning to UK in 1948 when it amalgamated with the 1st. This Battalion took part in the Suez operation in 1956 and was then stationed in Dover until amalgamation in 1958.
The East Yorkshire Regiment (The Duke of York's Own)
The Regiment was raised 22nd June 1685 and soon saw service in Scotland and Flanders. In 1702 the 15th Foot formed part of Marlborough's Army and took part in the battles of Blenheim, Ramillies, Malpaquet and Oudenarde. The Regiment served in the West Indies and, after a brief return to England, played a major part in the defeat of the French for the conquest of Canada. The mourning worn for the loss of General Wolfe at the Heights of Abraham was perpetuated in the black background to the silver rose of the collar dogs worn by The Prince of Wales's Own Regiment of Yorkshire for many years.
The 15th Foot fought in the war of American Independence from 1776 to 1778. At the Battle of Brandywine in 1777 the 15th ran short of ball ammunition so all but the best shots fired small powder charges only. the bluff succeeded and the battle was won and the Regiment gained the nickname "The Snappers".
In 1790 the Regiment returned to the West Indies for another six years; of 102 accompanying wives, only seven returned to England. In 1809 the Regiment returned to repulse the French from Martinique and Guadeloupe. More than sixty years passed before seeing action again in the Afghan War. Service in the Boer War of South Africa produced many casualties, commemorated in the south aisle of Beverley Minster.
At the outbreak of the First World War, the 1st Battalion went to France, followed by the 2nd in 1915. The Regiment grew rapidly to 21 battalions and won four VC's among a large number of decorations.
Following the Armistice of 1918, battalions of the Regiment served in Iraq, India and North China, and in 1935 the Regiment was granted the title "The Duke of York's Own".
In 1939 the 2nd, 4th and 5th Battalions, the latter two being Territorial Units, were sent to France. Following this, battalions of the Regiment served in the Middle East and Sicily. The 2nd and 5th were in the initial assault on the Normandy beaches in 1944, while the 1st were in the final advance in Burma prior to the Japanese surrender in August 1945.
In 1958 the surviving 1st Battalion left Germany for Dover, and amalgamation with The West Yorkshire Regiment.
The Prince of Wales's Own Regiment of Yorkshire
Formed in Dover, 25th April 1958, the 1st Battalion went to Aden in September. The following year to Gibraltar until 1961, and then to Germany until another tour in Aden in1965 and again in 1967. A short tour in Northern Ireland was followed by two years in Cyprus and then two more in Northern Ireland.
New Colours were presented in1984, while the Battalion was in Berlin and in 1985 they moved back to Northern Ireland for an other two years. Also in 1985, HRH The Duchess of Kent was appointed Colonel-in-Chief of the Regiment.
The 1st Battalion took part in "Desert Storm" in The Gulf and, more recently, with members of the 3rd (Volunteer) Battalion, formed an important part of the international force in Bosnia.
Prince of Wales's Own Regiment of Yorkshire
Regimental Headquarters and Museum,
3A Tower Street
phone: 01904 662790
Colour Presentation, 3rd Battalion
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