73: Gloucestershire (1694) & Hampshire (1702) Regiment

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Gloucestershire Regiment

The Gloucestershire Regiment was an infantry regiment of the British Army. Nicknamed “The Glorious Glosters”, the regiment carried more battle honours on their Regimental colours than any other British Army line regiment.

Origins & early history

The origins of the regiment lie in the regiment formed in Portsmouth in 1694 by Colonel John Gibson. This was named the 28th Regiment of Foot in 1751 and renamed the 28th (North Gloucestershire) Regiment of Foot in 1782. After the Childers reforms, the regiment amalgamated with the 61st (South Gloucestershire) Regiment of Foot to form the two-battalion Gloucestershire Regiment on 1 July 1881.

Later history

The regiment saw active service in the Second Boer War from 1899 to 1902. World War I began in August 1914 and during the course of the war, the regiment raised 25 battalions, seeing service on the Western Front, Gallipoli, Macedonia, the Middle East and Italy.

World War II began after Germany’s invasion of Poland on 1 September, Britain, France, and its Allies declaring war on Nazi Germany on 3 September. The 2nd battalion was involved in the Battle of France after Germany’s invasion of the Low Countries on 8 May 1940, taking part in the defensive screen protecting the Dunkirk evacuation and was later involved in the North-West Europe campaign after taking part in the D-Day landings on 6 June 1944. The 1st battalion saw active service in Burma against Japanese forces. The regiment saw heavy fighting in the Korean War. After their actions at Gloster Hill during the Battle of the Imjin River in 1951, following which the regiment was awarded the South Korean Distinguished Unit Citation and United States Distinguished Unit Citation, the regiment gained the nickname “The Glorious Glosters”, for its heroic last stand against overwhelming Chinese forces.

Modern history

The regiment was one of the British Army’s most battle honoured units, and amalgamated with the Duke of Edinburgh’s Royal Regiment in 1994 to form the 1st Battalion, The Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment.

The regimental archives and memorabilia of The Glosters as well as their antecedents, The 28th and 61st Regiments of Foot are held by The Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum, which is located within the Historic Docks in Gloucester and available on-line at The Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum.

In March 2005, it was announced that this regiment would merge with the Light Infantry, The Royal Green Jackets and the Devonshire and Dorset Regiment to form the 1st Battalion, The Rifles. At this time, the RGBW was made a Light Infantry Regiment, becoming the RGBWLI. This served to forge identity within the new Rifles regiment.

Gloucestershire Regiment Victoria Crosses


Back in 1969 the government of the day proposed a number of disbandments & amalgamations amongst the British army infantry regiments – the move that caught the publics attention being the proposed reduction of the 1st Bn Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders from a Regular Army battalion to a unit of company strength – there was a world wide “Save The Argylls Campaign”, the next government had sworn to do so, & ultimately did, the Argylls were brought back up to battalion strength & the A & S H Band which had been disbanded was reformed in January 1972.

But, failing to catch the interest of the British public as the Argylls had, around this time there were still reductions in the army, eg, the 4th Bn Royal Anglian Regiment (the old Leicestershire Regiment pre amalgamation into the R. Anglians) was reduced to company strength “Tiger Company” & eventually disbanded (the surviving battalions of The Royal Anglian Regiment adopted a new design of button – instead of its cap badge being represented on the button, the Leicester’s tiger as borne on their old cap badge was now shown).

Anotherproposal of 1969 was the formation of a new regiment, The Royal Regiment of Gloucestershire and Hampshire by amalgamation of the Gloucestershire Regiment & The Royal Hampshire Regiment a decision again reversed by the new government – The Glosters being retained at battalion strength & The Royal Hants as an independent company.

Although the proposed amalgamation never took place, cap badges were struck for the new Royal Regiment of Gloucestershire & Hampshire, to be worn paired with the Gloucestershire Regiment’s “back badge” of sphinx within laurel wreath.

The one piece anodised cap badge bearing the the Gloster’s sphinx & the Hampshire’s crowned star & rose.
Manufacturer’s mark “J. R. GAUNT LONDON LTD.” & Officers enamelled cap badge.

Royal Hampshire Regiment

The Royal Hampshire Regiment was a British Army line infantry regiment from 1881 to 1992. Its lineage is continued today by the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment.


The Hampshire Regiment was formed on 1 July 1881 under the Childers reforms from the merger of the 37th (North Hampshire) Regiment of Foot (raised in 1702), and the 67th (South Hampshire) Regiment of Foot (raised in 1755). The 37th and 67th became respectively which became the first and second battalions of the new regiment. In 1946 it was awarded the title of Royal Hampshire Regiment in recognition of its service during the Second World War.

In World War I it took part in the Battle of Gallipoli when engaged in the fatal Landing at Cape Helles of the 88th Brigade, 29th (UK) Division.

In the Second World War, the Hampshire Regiment had six battalions that fought abroad, whilst more battalions stayed at home. The six battalions who fought abroad were the 1st, 2nd, 1/4th, 2/4th, 5th and 7th Battalions. The 1st Battalion of the regiment formed part of the 50th (Northumbrian) Infantry Division, and took part in the D-Day landings, landing at Gold Beach on 6 June 1944.

A regimental tradition was that on 1 August, known as Minden Day, each year battalion members would wear a rose in their head dress to commemorate the Battle of Minden.

In 1992, as part of the Options for Change reorganisations, the regiment merged with the Queens Regiment to become The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment.

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