Short History of the Border Regiment
A History from 1702 to 1881
For two hundred and twenty years the Border Regiment, composed of the old 34th and 55th Regiments of Foot, has rendered devoted service to King and country, as its long roll of battle honours and distinctions won in many parts of the world testify. Recruited from the sturdy men of the northern Border, the Regiment has exhibited the highest degree of courage and endurance on many a fiercely contested battlefield. In its long and honourable career it has gathered several distinctions unique in the British Army, in situations needing exceptional valour, and its conduct has shed lustre on the good name of the counties of Cumberland and Westmorland, with which it has been so long associated. The Regiment can trace its history back to 1702, when the 34th Foot, now the 1st Battalion, was raised by Lord Lucas, then Lieutenant of the Tower of London, soon after Queen Anne ascended the throne.
The men were mostly recruited from the Eastern counties, and the first duty that fell to it was to garrison the Tower of London, followed by a spell of similar duty at Dover Castle. The strength of the Regiment was fixed at twelve companies, each of three officers and sixty-six rank and file. For two years the Regiment remained in the South of England, and was then moved to Carlisle, the beginning of an association that was destined to become happily permanent. After a year spent in the capital town of Cumberland, the 34th was in 1705 dispatched to Spain tor its first spell of active service, and it early exhibited that fine degree of courage which has ever since characterized the Regiment. Few regiments in the British Army experienced more arduous or varied service during the succeeding fifty years. It was seldom for long out of action, and it fought and suffered with heroism and fortitude in many a fierce battle. One of its earliest exploits is indicative of the fine military spirit which even in those days permeated all ranks. Lord Peterborough, who commanded the British troops in Spain, whose eccentric genius led to a series of brilliant exploits, determined to attack the important seaport of Barcelona, which was defended by a chain of forts. The strongest of these was Montjuich, which was stormed with such irresistible determination by a portion of the British force that it was captured with small loss. This led to the surrender of Barcelona to the British. The Grenadiers of the 34th took a prominent part in the storming of Montjuich.
After the occupation of Barcelona, the 34th was sent to Tortosa, a town 120 miles away, for garrison duty, where it was when a large French force suddenly marched on Barcelona. To help defend the town against this attack, the 34th was mounted on mules, and made the journey of 120 miles in two days arriving just in time to take a prominent part in repulsing a strong attack by the enemy, two hours after reaching their allotted place on the walls. After a month's fighting, the French retreated, leaving over two hundred guns and a vast quantity of warlike stores behind. The Regiment suffered many casualties in the defence. A good many of the 34th were afterwards selected for transfer to a mounted corps, the remainder of the Regiment being sent home in 1707 to be recruited up to strength again.
The following year the Regiment was in France and Belgium, being engaged in the operations covering the siege of Lille, and under the Duke of Marlborough took part in the siege of Douai, where 130 of the Regiment were killed or wounded. In the following years the 34th fought with signal courage in the sieges of Bethune, Aire, St. Venant, and Bouchain. After the Peace of Utrecht, the 34th was sent home in 1713, and was for two years in a moribund state.
The rebellion in Scotland in 1715 brought the Regiment to life again, and three years later it was again on active service on the coast of Spain, sharing in the brief but brilliant Vigo Expedition and the capture of St. Sebastian. When France and Spain combined to besiege the fortress of Gibraltar, the 34th was among the first reinforcements to be sent to the Rock in 1727, and shared in its gallant and successful defence against the combined French and Spanish naval and military forces. The Regiment suffered severe losses, for on the voyage out two whole companies were lost by shipwreck in a storm. When the enemy forces finally retired from the siege, baffled by the courage and determination of the undaunted garrison, the 34th Regiment returned home.
A period of service in Jamaica and as Marines on board the Channel Fleet preceded its next spell of active service. It went to Flanders in 1742, and won one of its most cherished distinctions - namely, the laurel wreath which still figures on the regimental colours and in the regimental badge. This honour was awarded to the Regiment for its splendid bearing at the Battle of Fontenoy, May 11th, 1745. In that historical battle, so near to a brilliant victory for the British Army, and yet so near to becoming an overwhelming disaster, the 34th took a conspicuous part. The British infantry attacked with such determination that they broke the French line, but the Dutch troops, operating with the British, utterly failed through hesitation in the part assigned to them. The result was, the French, who were on the point of beating a precipitous retreat, were able to concentrate their whole forces against the British, who were consequently greatly outnumbered and compelled to retire. The French were able to turn all their guns on the British column as it retired, and terrible losses were inflicted. The 34th was one of the two infantry regiments detailed to cover the retirement, and so resolutely did it face the enemy that the British force was able to extricate itself from a situation of the greatest peril when disaster seemed certain.
Trouble in Scotland called the Regiment home, and it took part in the Battles of Falkirk and Culloden, which finally quelled the Scottish rebellion. It is of peculiar interest that both the Cumberland and Westmorland regiments of militia were engaged in suppressing the Scottish rebellion, and rendered particularly valuable service, having many personal wrongs to avenge from Border raids. A period of service at home and in Minorca followed.
It was at this period, 1755, that the 55th Regiment of Foot was raised in Scotland. It was first numbered the 57th Foot, and was formed at Stirling. In the following year it was sent to the West of Ireland, where it was put through a very thorough preparation for the conquest of Canada, then in the hands of the French. The next few years were very strenuous for the 34th and 55th Regiments, both being almost continuously on active service. The 34th was one of the four regiments which, under General Blakeney, won undying fame in the defence of Fort St. Philip on the island of Minorca in 1756. The enemy mustered over 20,000, whilst the British defending the crumbling ruins of the old fort did not number many more than 3,000. Disease broke out among the defenders, and before a month was gone more than half the garrison were unable to do duty. Yet the courage of the garrison never diminished, even the sick crawling to the walls to help repulse the enemy attacks. It was not until the gallant garrison had been reduced by death, wounds, and disease to less than a quarter of its original strength, and nearly all the ammunition had been expended, that General Blakeney capitulated. The French General was so much impressed by the gallantry of the defenders that he allowed them to march out with all the honours of war, with fixed bayonets and colours flying. The Regiment went to Gibraltar and thence to England, being given a great public welcome in honour of the share it had taken in the gallant defence of St. Philip. It was not long at home, for in 1758 it was in Brittany as part of the British force landed to attack St. Malo and Cherbourg, the capture of the latter port, harbour, and arsenal being a specially brilliant affair, in which a very large quantity of stores was destroyed and guns captured.
In the meantime the 55th Regiment had been winning equal fame in Canada. It shared in the first desperate attack on the fort of Ticonderoga, launched without waiting for the arrival of the necessary artillery. More than half the attacking force was killed or wounded in four hours. The attack had to be abandoned for the time, but the following year the British force returned, and, aided by their guns, attacked with such success that the fort was captured with the loss only of 17 killed and 50 wounded. The 55th took a full share in the whole campaign in Canada in 1759-60, which ended in the French being everywhere defeated and Canada being placed permanently under British rule. In the course of the campaign, a small detachment of the Regiment successfully defended Fort Detroit for eighteen months against a horde of Redskins who completely besieged them - another instance of the fine determination characteristic of the Regiment.
The 34th was, in 1762, sent to the West Indies, and won distinction at the siege of Fort Moro and the capture of Havannah. In Florida, in 1765, the 34th Regiment received a large draft of men from the 55th Regiment when the latter left Canada to return home. This was the first link in the chain of association, and was destined to bring the two regiments into the permanent bonds of comradeship which have existed since 1881, when they were amalgamated as the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the Border Regiment.
The 55th was in America during the War of Independence and shared in much of the hard fighting, winning high credit for its unvarying steadfastness and splendid discipline. In 1778 it was sent from New York to the West Indies, and rendered valuable service in the campaign that resulted in the capture of the island of St. Lucia. It remained in the West Indies for some years, and while there was given the county title of "The Westmoreland Regiment." In 1785 the Regiment returned home, and did garrison duty till 1793.
The 34th also served in the American War of Independence, principally in the backwoods, where the fighting was of a particularly arduous character. The flank companies were engaged in the Battle of Saratoga, and the Regiment was called upon to oppose the American and French forces operating in Canada. There it remained till 1786, when it returned home, having in the meantime received the county title of "The Cumberland Regiment."
On the outbreak of the French Revolutionary War, the 34th was again sent to the West Indies, and was in 1791-98 actively engaged at St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Guadetoupe, and Grenada, winning great credit. Returning home, it was ordered to be recruited with orphan boys of between the ages of twelve and sixteen years from the poorhouses and workhouses of the county, the authorities considering this a clever method of relieving the country of the expense of maintaining these boys and of bringing the army up to strength. It says much for the excellent treatment and system of training existing in the army that the great majority of these boys developed into splendid soldiers. In 1799 the 34th was sent to South Africa in order to acclimatize their young soldiers. After rendering most creditable service in the Kaffir War of 1800, the Regiment embarked, in 1802, for its first tour of service in India, where it remained for twenty-three years.
The 55th Regiment, on the outbreak of the French Revolutionary War, was, in 1794, hastily dispatched to the Continent, and under the Duke of York was for two years almost constantly engaged with the French troops with varying success.
In 1796 it formed part of Sir Ralph Abercromby's force that captured the island of St. Lucia, which had been restored to France. The actual capture of the island was effected with little loss, but the subsequent sufferings of the troops were terrible, the ranks being decimated by fever and pestilence due to the unhealthy climate. These losses were endured with commendable fortitude, and when the Regiment was brought home in 1797, it had lost more than three-quarters of its numbers through disease. The Regiment was hastily recruited, and in 1799 was again under the command of Sir Ralph Abercromby, this time in Holland. Having landed at Helder, the Regiment was soon heavily engaged in the battle of the sand dunes, where, although greatly outnumbered, it succeeded in driving the enemy off. Subsequently it was heavily engaged in a stubborn fight on the road to Alkmar, afterwards took a prominent part in the battle at Egmont-op-Zee, and returned to England the same year. The 55th had always felt it should have been awarded the battle honours of St. Lucia, Helder, and Egmont-op-Zee, which for some mysterious reason were not conferred, and these have always been referred to as "The Lost Honours." Colonel McDonald, who had commanded the 55th in the West Indies and on the Continent, in presenting new colours to the Regiment in 1801, referred to the fact that up to that time the 55th had since its formation taken part in nearly thirty actions against the enemy, and in innumerable skirmishes and minor operations.
While the 34th Regiment was giving a good account of itself in India, a second battalion was raised at home, which was destined to win lasting glory by its splendid achievements in the Peninsular War. This second battalion landed at Lisbon in 1809, and joined the Duke of Wellington's Army. It fought with signal bravery in the Battle of Albuhera, where it lost nearly half its regiment to scale the city walls. These actions and, the many other gallant services rendered in this campaign won for the Regiment the prized badge of The Dragon superscribed "China," which is conspicuous on the regimental colours, on the regimental badge, and on the regimental buttons.
The 55th returned home in 1844, and in 1851 proceeded to Gibraltar.
The 34th, reduced once more to a single-battalion regiment, spent some years at home before going to North America in 1830. During the ten years it spent in Canada it was called upon to undertake much strenuous duty in the disturbances in Lower Canada, on one occasion travelling in the depths of a bitter winter from New Brunswick to Quebec in sleighs in order to quell an insurrection. The Regiment returned home in 1841, but in 1845 was sent abroad again for service in the Mediterranean, to be followed by another tour of duty in the West Indies until 1853.
On the outbreak of the war with Russia in 1854, the 55th was one of the earliest regiments to be dispatched to the Crimea, to be followed later in the same year by the 34th. Both regiments fought with splendid bravery in that campaign, the 55th being present at the Battles of the Alma and Inkerman. Both shared in the hardships and privations of the siege of Sevastopol. At Inkerman, Lieut.-Colonel Daubeney (afterwards Colonel of the Regiment) led a most desperate charge into a dense column of Russians. He had only about forty men with him, but, undaunted by the overwhelming numbers against them, the gallant little band forced their way by sheer pluck through the enemy masses. The enemy was so startled and dismayed that the column was checked, and the Russians were finally repulsed with great loss. The same fine spirit was displayed by both regiments during the attacks made by the British on the fortress of Sevastopol before it was finally captured. In these assaults the Regiment added greatly to its reputation, but lost many brave members. In the attack on the Redan, the 34th lost 322 killed or wounded out of 437 taking part in the assault. That both regiments fought with conspicuous bravery in that campaign is shown by the fact that four Victoria Crosses were won - by Major F. Elton and Pte. T. Beach, of the 55th Foot; arid Ptes. W, Coffey and J. J. Sims, of the 34th Foot - while thirty-five N.C.O.s. and men of the two regiments were awarded medals for distinguished conduct in the field.
The Crimean War was hardly over before the Indian Mutiny broke out in 1857, and the 34th was hurriedly dispatched to India. It fought with credit and distinction at Cawnpore, at the storming of Meeangunge. It was with Sir Colin Campbell at the siege and capture of Lucknow, the relief of Azimgarh, and the operations in Oudh and Transgogra. Lieutenant-Colonel Kelly (afterwards General Sir R. D. Kelly), of the 34th, was selected to conduct the women and children rescued at Lucknow to Allahabad. His force was but 500 of all ranks, yet, in spite of the appalling state of the country swarming with thousands of mutineers, he safely accomplished his mission. His most important service, however, was in Nepaul, where in March,1859, he completely crushed the rebels who had sought refuge in that difficult country. The 34th formed the main portion of his little army. In these operations Pte. George Richardson was awarded the Victoria Cross for acts of exceptional bravery.
The 55th Regiment was sent to India in 1863, and the 34th returned home in 1868, proceeding to India again in 1875 for a further period of service there and in Burmah, which lasted till 1890. The 55th Regiment was specially selected in 1865 by the then Commander-in-Chief, Sir Hugh Rose, to help in bringing the refractory Bhutias to reason - an expedition that taxed the courage and fortitude of all engaged. The complete destruction of Dewangiri, the enemy's stronghold, and the swiftness and resolution with which the British troops moved and fought, completely overcame all opposition, and the enemy was glad to submit. The 55th remained in India till 1877, when it returned home. In 1881 the two regiments were amalgamated as the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the Border Regiment, an association that has brought satisfaction and happiness to both. Since the amalgamation the fine qualities of both battalions have been exhibited in many a stern engagement, which has reflected every credit to the Border Regiment and added greatly to its fine reputation. In 1889 the 1st Battalion was engaged in the Burmah Expedition, that ended in the final dispersing of the hordes of dacoits, and brought peace and prosperity to that distracted country.
In 1894-5 the 2nd Battalion was included in the British Force which Sir William Lockhart led over the North-Western Frontier into Waziristan to inflict well-merited punishment on that turbulent tribe. The expedition was a most arduous one, as difficult mountain ranges had to be negotiated in winter time, but the troops exhibited splendid courage and fortitude, and the battalion received the warmest thanks of the General on the successful conclusion of the trying operations.
The 1st Battalion, while at Malta in 1897, sent two companies to Crete to assist in quelling the disturbances prevailing in the island. The Battalion was still at Malta in 1899 when the South African War broke out, and was one of the earliest battalions to reach the Cape to reinforce the British troops there. It arrived at Capetown in October, and was at once dispatched to join Sir Redvers Buller's force in Natal for the relief of Ladysmith. The Battalion came into action against the Boers at Chievley, and had a brisk engagement at Frere. It was in Major-General Hart's 5th Brigade, and was heavily engaged in all the grim fighting along the Tugela, on Spion Kop, and at Venter's Spruit that marked the many attempts, finally crowned with success, to relieve the beleaguered British garrison. The Battalion bore a gallant part in all the subsequent marching and fighting, being joined by the Active Service Companies of the Volunteer battalions. For over two years all ranks of the Border Regiment displayed courage and endurance in the long and trying marches, often on short rations, and in the fighting that punctuated the marches. Losses were heavy and hardships and privations many, but the spirit of the Border Regiment was equal to every test, and brought it through with an enhanced reputation. Many a noble exploit was placed to the credit of men of the Border Regiment in that long campaign.
The Great War
Brilliant as the history of the Border Regiment had been, its crowning glory was to come when the Great War broke out in August, 1914. The splendid spirit which had ever characterized all ranks from its earliest days was never in better evidence. The hard-fighting Border men, whose marching air of "John Peel" has been heard in nearly every part of the Empire, were called upon to face dangers and endure losses such as would try them to the very limit of human endurance. How well all answered to the test is shown in striking fashion by the long roll of the honoured dead who fell in the cause of liberty while serving in the Regiment, and by the splendid array of honours, distinctions, and decorations bestowed on all ranks in recognition of wonderful feats of individual and collective heroism. These decorations included seven Victoria Crosses. The memory of the losses and these great achievements will be cherished with pride by successive generations of the Regiment so long as it shall endure, and by the Border counties that gave birth to such heroes.
At the outbreak of war the 1st Battalion was in Burmah and the 2nd Battalion at Pembroke Dock. Both were immediately drawn into the war, and saw some of the hardest fighting that fell to the lot of any troops. The 2nd Battalion, as part of the 7th Division, landed in Belgium to attempt the relief of Antwerp. Of all the divisions that landed on the Continent during 1914, the 7th stood out by itself for its remarkable physique, being composed mainly of foreign-service troops. It was as well that it was of exceptional physique, for it was called upon to make one of the most rapid forced marches of the war. Arrested on its way to Antwerp by news of the quite unexpected appearance of strong German forces on its right flank, Sir Henry Rawlinson, who was in command, realized that his division was in danger of being cut off. He at once turned towards the French frontier, and a rapid march was kept up during the next week in order to link up with the rest of the British Army, then moving up from the Marne. The 7th Division had reached the area just west of Ypres when it made contact with the British cavalry. The enemy was there found in ominous strength, and the division turned to face them. Strung out in a woefully thin line, the division, crouching in shallow, hastily dug trenches, put up a splendid fight against overwhelming odds. The Germans, deceived by the bold front and well-sustained rapid fire of the gallant force, recoiled in dismay from the British line under the impression that there were thousands instead of hundreds defending the trenches. From October 16th onwards the small but gallant British force faced the Germans with undaunted courage, the instructions being that the division was to hold on to the last man, until the rest of the British Army could be got up to their help. So the gallant division held on day after day against an ever-increasing storm of shell and shot of all descriptions. Their losses grew heavier and heavier as the enemy began to realise how few were the numbers opposing them. At length Sir Douglas Haig's 2nd Division arrived, followed quickly by other troops, and the long-suffering and sorely battered 7th Division was withdrawn from the line. For many days the 7th Division and the cavalry had held a line of eight miles against four times their own number of the enemy and six times their own weight of artillery. It was touch and go, but the splendid courage of the British soldier won through, and the position was saved. In that gallant affair the 2nd Battalion fully shared, and it came out of the long struggle a mere skeleton of its original splendid self. It was speedily reinforced from the 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion, which throughout the war trained and dispatched a constant stream of recruits to the battalions overseas.
At home, the 4th and 5th Territorial Battalions were mobilized and sent overseas in 1914 to join their Regular comrades. Imbued with the same fine spirit, they acquitted themselves throughout the Great War in the same resolute way, winning honour for themselves, and adding to the good name of the Regiment. New Service Battalions were brought into existence, and when trained were moved overseas to take their share in the world-wide struggle. By the end of the war there were twelve Battalions of the Regiment doing good service - nine of them at the front, and three acting as draft-finding units.
The 1st Battalion was, at the outbreak of the war, brought home and embodied in the 87th Brigade, 29th Division, whose experiences in the war were unique. This division, composed almost entirely of British battalions withdrawn from Indian service, won immortal fame by the heroism it exhibited in the landing on the shores of Gallipoli, and the months of fierce fighting among the rocks and gullies of that desolate peninsula. Landing in the face of heavy fire on April 25th, 1915, the 1st Battalion successfully carried the adjacent heights at the point of the bayonet, and held the position in spite of the numerous counter-attacks launched against it. Without respite of any kind from the continuous hostile bombardment, the Battalion withstood the Turks throughout the long months which followed, till the evacuation of the peninsula was ordered. The attack and subsequent capture of Boomerang Fort in July by one company of the Battalion will for ever stand out as one of the finest examples of courage and discipline under heavy fire ever shown by the British soldier. Thus the 1st Battalion may justly claim to have had a lion's share in the historical landing and campaign of 1915; and while many a good comrade, including Lieut.-Colonel R. O. C. Hume, commanding the Battalion, made the supreme sacrifice, the splendid valour shown by all ranks throughout that fearful campaign added a luster to the name of the Regiment that has been a source of justifiable pride to the counties of Cumberland and Westmorland.
In August, 1915, the 6th (Service) Battalion took part in the landing at Suvla Bay, and worthily upheld the traditions of the Regiment.
In March, 1915, the 2nd Battalion, restored to a semblance of its original strength by strong drafts from home, shared in the memorable Battle of Neuve Chapelle. One of its most gallant feats in this battle was the storming of the Moulin du Pietre, which had been converted into a veritable fortress by the Germans. The position was carried with a rush by the Border men at the point of the bayonet, and 300 of the 55th German Regiment, with a number of machine guns, were captured. Nearly one-third of the Battalion fell in the Neuve Chapelle operations, but the losses were compensated for by the splendid name the Regiment was earning. With the losses again replaced, the Battalion was engaged in the attack on Festubert in May, where the 7th Prussian Corps was badly mauled by the 7th British Division. Again the losses were heavy, including Lieut.-Colonel L. I. Wood, commanding the Battalion, but the Border men still splendidly upheld their fine fighting reputation.
In September of the same year the 2nd Battalion, again brought up to strength by drafts from home, took part in the Battle of Loos; and later the 7th and 8th (Service) Battalions, having completed their training, were moved overseas to serve on the Western Front. Early in 1916 the 1st and 6th Battalions, having been withdrawn from Gallipoli, were sent to France, and were soon engaged in the active preparations for a general advance, in co-operation with the French, on the Somme.
On July 1st began the great Battle of the Somme, and the several battalions of the Border Regiment engaged added further honours to their already glorious record. The 1st Battalion, with its moral in no way shaken by the heavy bombardment which wiped out the battalion preceding it, advanced on its objective, the Beaucourt Redoubt (near Beaumont Hamel), with all its old dash and vigour. Although the Battalion suffered over 75 per cent. of casualties and failed to take its objective, its heroism and self-sacrifice was largely responsible for the successes achieved farther to the south. The 2nd Battalion shared in the successful attack made by the 7th Division on Fricourt, and pressed on to the capture of Mametz. Subsequently this Bat¬talion was selected as the storming troops for the attack on Bazentin le Petit, where one of the most brilliant successes of the battle was won, two powerful lines of trenches being captured in ten minutes. The 6th and 11th Battalions were conspicuous in the grim struggle for the capture of the Thiepval Ridge, in the final phases of which the 8th Battalion joined, carrying their assault with great determination nearly a mile beyond their objective.
During this year the 9th Battalion was sent to Salonika, and fought with distinction on the Vardar and Lake Doiran fronts.
The deeds of the battalions of the Regiment in 1917 added still further glory to their already illustrious history in the Great War, and they continued to hold a fighting reputation which was second to none. In the Battles of Arras, Messines, Ypres (third), and Cambrai, the good name of the Border Regiment was upheld in many a hard-fought action, notably at Serre, Bullecourt, the Noordhemhoek Ridge, and Gheluvelt, and, in spite of hardships and losses, maintained that cheerful spirit that has at all times been characteristic of the Regiment. In consequence of the retreat of our Allies on the Italian front, the 2nd Battalion was in November moved with the 7th Division to Italy, where at first it occupied the line of the Piave, subsequently a position on the Asiago Plateau, and finally took part in the overthrow of the Austrian Army on the Venetian plains.
The last year of the war (1918) brought even greater trials and still greater triumphs to the Border Regiment. All of its battalions overseas—on the Western Front, in Italy, and at Salonika—were heavily involved in the desperate defensive operations in the spring of the year. Then, on the Western Front, the Germans, staking everything upon one last despairing effort, put the whole of their man and gun-power into one great smashing attack on the right of the British Army, in the hope of crushing their way through to the coast and separating the Allies. For a month the enemy pushed on, sacri¬ficing regiments, brigades, and divisions to accomplish their object. Battered and mauled by the devastating storm of shell, gas, and flame that beat continuously on them, the British battalions held on to their positions till either decimated or overwhelmed. The Border Regiment shared in all the fighting of this critical period, the shattered remnants of its battalions falling back from position to position, ever presenting an undaunted face to the enemy, and hitting back with deadly effect at every opportunity, till at last the enemy attack was checked and brought to a halt. Innumerable deeds of splendid self-sacrifice were performed by the British troops in that conflict, and in these deeds the Border men freely shared. The spirit of the Regiment was equal to the terrible ordeal, and when at length, in the summer of 1918, the British troops launched their final great attack on all fronts, the Border battalions, though weakened by great losses, were in the forefront of the fighting. The enemy was everywhere thrust back by the valour of the British troops, who, giving the Germans and their Allies no rest, drove them at the point of the bayonet out of the boasted "impregnable " defences of the Hindenburg line, and rushed them back in growing disorder to the banks of the Rhine. In all this desperate fighting the Border Regiment was deeply involved, but rose equal to every demand made on it, in defence and attack. It was a period that severely tested the en¬durance as well as the fighting spirit of the Border men, for they had to go on without pause or rest till the enemy was compelled to sue for peace.
After the signing of the Armistice the 1st Battalion had the satisfaction of taking part in the march to the Rhine. There it remained in occupation of the peri¬meter of the Cologne bridgehead until 1919, when it returned to England, and, after a few months at home, proceeded to India, where it was at first stationed at Karachi. From here it was moved two years later to Kohat, and in the hot weather of 1922 it was quartered at Parachinar, 117 miles west of Kohat and 16 miles from the Peiwar Kotal. From November of this year until the following March the 1st Battalion was on active service with a punitive force carrying out operations against the Mahsud Waziris.
These operations, which took place under very severe weather conditions, consisted in occupying the Razmak Plateau and in devastating the Makin area. On the conclusion of this expedition the 1st Battalion spent a year at Peshawar, then a year at Aden, and finally returned to England in 1925.
The 2nd Battalion remained in Italy until the beginning of 1919, and was then sent to Ireland, where it played an active part during the disturbed period leading up to the establishment of the Irish Free State.
At the final evacuation of the South of Ireland by British Troops in 1922, it was moved to Aldershot, where in 1924 new Colours were presented to the Battalion by H.M. The King, and the old Colours, which had been carried since 1888, were laid up in Carlisle Cathedral.
In December, 1924, the 2nd Battalion embarked for Malta to begin a fresh tour of foreign service.
Such, briefly, is the history of this famous Regiment, and all who have served in it are justly proud of the great deeds it has accomplished. To those who have the honour to serve in it at the present time the great traditions handed down to them are a precious heritage inspiring them to a high sense of duty, to be worthy of that long line of heroes who have shed so much luster on the name of the Border Regiment.
The Regimental Badge
The Badge of the Border Regiment as worn at the present day dates from 1887. It is composed of the following eight distinct emblems, all of which have been adopted from the breastplates and chaco-plates worn by the 34th and 55th Regiments prior to the above-mentioned date.
- The Crown, surmounting the badge, representing allegiance and loyalty of the Regiment to its Sovereign.
- The Laurel Wreath - the honour given to the 34th Regiment in commemoration of the Battle of Fontenoy, 1745 (see page 7).
- The Eight-Pointed Star, commonly known as the "Cumberland Star," is the Star of the Order of the Garter. It was originally adopted in the badge of the old Royal Cumberland Militia when the Duke of Cumberland was invested with the Order of the Garter in 1746, and later was inaugurated in the badge of the Cumberland Regiment (34th).
- The Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath. - This cross has at times been erroneously referred to as a "Maltese Cross." It is to be observed that this cross carries a ball at the extremity of each of the eight points, and has a lion between each arm. It is distinctly the Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath, and was inaugurated into the badge of the 34th Regiment at the beginning of the nineteenth century, at the instigation of one of three successive Colonels of the Regiment, each of whom held the distinction of G.C.B. - viz.:
- Lieut.-Gen. Sir Eyre Coote, G.C.B., Colonel of the Regiment, 1810;
- Lieut.-Gen Sir Lowry Cole, G.C.B., Colonel of the Regiment, 1816;
- Lieut.-Gen. Sir T. M. Brisbane, G.C.B., Colonel of the Regiment, 1826.
- The Red and White Centre.—This represents the two-thirds red and one-third white Chaco pom-pom of the 34th French Regiment, the wearing of which was sanctioned as a distinction for the 34th Regiment in commemoration of the Battle of Arroyo dos Molinos in 1811 (see page 10). The name and date of this battle are inscribed in a circle around the red and white centre.
- The Dragon, superscribed by the word "China." — This commemorates the part taken by the 55th Regiment in the Chinese War of 1842 (see page 11).
- The Battle Honours.—Those gained prior to the Great War and carried on the Regimental Colours are shown on the arms of the Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath.
- The Scroll, with the name of the Regiment inscribed upon it.
It is interesting to note that the general arrangement of the present Regimental Badge is almost identical with the design on the breastplate, which was worn by the 34th (Cumberland) Regiment as long ago as 1820.