Wiltshire Brochure Final(5) - Flipbook - Page 6
WILTSHIRE'S PART IN
Most infantry regiments carry
their battle honours on Colours
(ceremonial flags). RIFLES Battalions
do not have Colours, but all Riflemen
carry 34 representative battle
honours (of 913 awarded) on their
belt badge. Some honours were for
great battles of national significance,
like Waterloo, the Somme, El
Alamein and Normandy. Others
are unique to The Rifles, such as
Marabout and Pegasus Bridge. One
scroll on the belt badge is left blank
for a battle honour yet to be won.
South Africa (1899-1902) - 2nd Battalion of the newly created Duke of Edinburgh's
(Wiltshire Regiment) served during the Second Boer War. 2/WILTS took significant losses
in the defence of the town of Rensburg. Later, they assisted in the capture of 4,000
Boers at the Battle of Slabbert's Nek.
Ypres (1914, ’17) - 1/WILTS fought in the First Battle of Ypres where it sustained
heavy casualties. The Battalion also saw minor action in the Second Battle of
Ypres. 6/WILTS was later engaged in the Third Battle of Ypres.
Somme (1916, ’18) - 1, 2 & 6/WILTS took part in the Somme Offensive with the
same battalions also fighting in the Second Battle of the Somme. At Fremicourt,
Captain Reginald Hayward, 1/WILTS, won the Regiment its first Victoria Cross.
Ferozeshah (1845) - At Ferozeshah, an East India Company army
fought one of the most hard-fought battles in the history of the British
in India, against a Sikh force which outnumbered them 2-1. On the
second day of the battle, what remained of the 62nd attacked again.
This time, Sikh resolve broke and they retreated, leaving their lines to
be occupied by the Regiment.
Peninsula (1808-14) - The grenadier company of 1/62nd (Wiltshire)
Regiment of Foot was dispatched from Sicily to the Iberian
Peninsula in 1812 to campaign in Catalonia. They returned to Sicily
in 1813. The same year, the 2/62nd arrived in Spain. The Battalion
fought at the Battle of the Nive, where they played a key role,
pushing back a French breakthrough. The 62nd received the
battle honours for both Nive and the Peninsula.
Megiddo (1918) - 1/4th WILTS fought from Gaza up through
Palestine, including the capture of Jerusalem, before taking part
in the Battle of Megiddo. The decisive victory here resulted in
the near total destruction of the Ottoman force. A month later,
the Ottoman Empire signed an armistice with the Allies. Shortly
after Megiddo, the Battalion’s Commanding Officer, who often
lead from the front, was killed in action at El Tireh.
Nonne Bosschen (1914) - Nonne Bosschen was one of the
last major engagements of the First Battle of Ypres, taking
place on the 11th November 1914. 1/WILTS took part in the
defence, which saw 4,000 exhausted British troops hold
back and defeat 10,000 fresh German troops, including the
elite Prussian Guard.
Italy (1943-45) - 2/WILTS took part in the invasion of Sicily in
July 1943 and landed in Italy in September. In the drive up the
Italian Peninsula, the Battalion took part in numerous actions,
including the capture of Rome.
Anzio (1944) - 2/WILTS was deployed to the Anzio bridgehead
in March 1944. There, the Battalion endured over two months
of trench warfare, holding the line against every attack. In the
breakout from Anzio, Sergeant Maurice Rogers won the Victoria
Cross. Rogers attacked an enemy strong point, climbing through
a wall of barbed wire, running across a minefield, destroying two
machinegun posts, before wounded in the legs by a grenade.
Undaunted, he charged a third enemy position and was killed
just at the point of reaching it.
Normandy (1944) - 4 & 5/WILTS arrived in Normandy in late
June 1944. Both battalions were engaged in fierce fighting. At
La Varinière, 5/WILTS were pinned down on the approach to the
town by heavy German fire. To inspire his men, Lt Col Pearson
walked down the road towards the town, armed only with his
walking stick, with a red rose in his helmet. A German sniper shot
him through the heart. The Battalion immediately surged forward
to avenge him and captured La Varinière.
Abridged timeline of historical names and amalgamations of Wiltshire regiments from 1756 to the formation in 2007
62nd Wiltshire Regiment
of Foot (62nd)
The Duke of Edinburgh’s
(Wiltshire) Regiment (WILTS)
The Wiltshire Regiment
(Duke of Edinburgh’s)
The Duke of Edinburgh Royal Regiment
(Berkshire and Wiltshire) (DERR)
The Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire,
Wiltshire Regiment (RGBW)