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    Posted: 27 Oct 2010 at 19:55

The Lancashire Fusiliers was a British infantry regiment that was amalgamated with other Fusilier regiments in 1968 to form the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.

The Lancashire Fusiliers
The 20th Foot at the Battle of Inkerman, by David Rowlands
Active 1881–1968
Country Great Britain
Branch British Army
Type Line Infantry
Role Fusiliers
Nickname The Two Tens, The Minden Boys, Kingsley's Stand
Motto Omnia audax
Anniversaries Gallipoli (25 April)
Minden (1 August)
Inkerman (5 November)


Formation and early history

Soldier of 20th Regiment (1742)

The Regiment was formed in 1688 in Devon under Sir Richard Peyton as Peyton's Regiment of Foot. The regiment's name changed according to the name of the colonel commanding until 1751, when it became the 20th Regiment of Foot.

The regiment served in the Glorious Revolution under King William III and at the Battle of the Boyne in July 1690 and Aughrim in 1691. During the War of Spanish Succession (1701–1714), it aided in the capture of Spanish galleons at Battle of Vigo Bay in 1702. The regiment distinguished itself at the Battle of Dettingen in June 1743, and at Fontenoy in May 1745, and served in the Battle of Culloden in April 1746.

During the Seven Years' War the regiment earned honour at the Battle of Minden on 1 August 1759, when, as an infantry formation, they stood up to and broke a French cavalry charge. The regiment was sent to Quebec in April 1776 and assisted in the relief of Quebec in May 1776. Serving under General John Burgoyne for the remainder of the Canadian campaign, they later surrendered along with General Burgoyne at Saratoga.

During the Napoleonic Wars the Lancashire Fusiliers fought with distinction at the Battle of Vittoria where they formed part of the "backbone" of the Duke of Wellington's forces. During the Crimean War, in 1854, they took part in the two major battles of Alma and Inkerman and in 1885 the regiment fought in the siege of Khartoum in the first Anglo-Sudanese campaign.

Lancashire Fusiliers

The 20th Regiment of Foot was designated the East Devonshire Regiment in 1782, and the Lancashire Fusiliers in 1881.

Second Boer War

During the Second Boer War, in 1899, the 2nd Battalion saw action at the Battle of Spion Kop and also the Fusiliers took part in the Relief of Ladysmith.

World War I

The Lancashire Fusiliers raised thirty battalions for World War I and was represented in every campaign of the war.


A boat carrying Lancashire Fusiliers, bound for Gallipoli. Photo by Ernest Brooks.

At the main landings at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915, six Victoria Crosses were awarded to 1st Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers. This is sometimes referred to as 'the six VCs before breakfast'.

The landing in Gallipoli (at the infamous Helles landing) involved a brigade from the 42nd (East Lancashire) Division that had four territorial battalions from the regiment. The landings also involved the 1st Battalion.

A service of commemoration has been held in the regimental town, Bury in Lancashire every Gallipoli Sunday, the nearest Sunday to 25 April, since 1916. It has recently been decided that this commemoration will continue despite the death of the last survivor of the Lancashire Fusiliers who was present at Gallipoli.

Western Front

1st Lancashire Fusiliers in a communication trench near Beaumont Hamel, 1916. Photo by Ernest Brooks
Tolkien in 1916, wearing his British Army uniform in a photograph from Carpenter's Biography. Photo by Ernest Brooks.

The regiment, like most British regiments in the war, sent the majority of its battalions to the Western Front. During the Battle of the Somme there were eleven battalions of the regiment that saw action in the campaign including three Pals battalions (The Salford Pals) and three Bantam battalions.
The famous fantasy author J. R. R. Tolkien served in this regiment from 1915 until contracting "trench fever" during the Battle of the Somme in October 1916.

World War II

The Lancashire Fusiliers raised seventeen battalions for service in the Second World War. During Battle of France, the 1/8 Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers, along with battalions of the Royal Norfolks and the Royal Scots, were overrun on 26–27 May 1940 around the village of Locon, 2 kilometres north of Bethune by advancing German troops. Several massacres of Allied prisoners took place shortly thereafter, primarily by the German SS Totenkopf Division.

1st Battalion

After recovering its numbers from the First World War the battalion spent the interwar years based in various garrisons around the British Empire. In 1939 the battalion was based in India. During the Burma Campaign the 1st Battalion fought with various units until 1943 when it became a Chindit formation with the 77th Brigade under Brig. Orde Wingate. The battalion was involved in both major Chindit operations suffering many casualties before the war ended.

2nd Battalion

The last surving member of the 2nd Battalion, Wallace Jackson, died on Thursday 12 November 2009 aged 89 years.[1]

13th Battalion

J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Hobbit was a part of this before being transferred to the eleventh

Battle honours

Dettingen, Minden, Egmont-op-Zee, Egypt, Maida, Vimiera, Corunna, Vittoria, Pyrenees, Orthes, Toulouse, Peninsula, Alma, Inkerman, Sevastopol, Lucknow, Khartoum, Relief of Ladysmith, South Africa 1899-1902

World War I (30 battalions): Le Cateau, Retreat from Mons, Marne 1914, Aisne 1914 '18, Armentières 1914, Ypres 1915 '17 '18, St. Julien, Bellewaarde, Somme 1916 '18, Albert 1916 '18, Bazentin, Delville Wood, Pozières, Ginchy, Flers-Courcelette, Morval, Thiepval, Le Transloy, Ancre Heights, Ancre 1916 '18, Arras 1917 '18, Scarpe 1917 '18, Arleux, Messines 1917, Pilckem, Langemarck 1917, Menin Road, Polygon Wood, Broodseinde, Poelcappelle, Passchendaele, Cambrai 1917 '18, St. Quentin, Bapaume 1918, Rosières, Lys, Estaires, Hazebrouck, Bailleul, Kemmel, Béthune, Scherpenberg, Amiens, Drocourt-Quéant, Hindenburg Line, Épéhy, Canal du Nord, St. Quentin Canal, Courtrai, Selle, Sambre, France and Flanders 1914-18, Doiran 1917, Macedonia 1915-18, Helles, Landing at Helles, Krithia, Suvla, Landing at Suvla, Scimitar Hill, Gallipoli 1915, Rumani, Egypt 1915-17

Second World War: Defence of Escaut, St. Omer-La Bassée, Caen, North-West Europe 1940 '44, Medjez el Bab, Oued Zarga, North Africa 1942-43, Adrano, Sicily 1943, Termoli, Trigno, Sangro, Cassino II, Trasimene Line, Monte Ceco, Monte Spaduro, Senio, Argenta Gap, Italy 1943-45, Malta 1941-42, Rathedaung, Htizwe, Kohima, Naga Village, Chindits 1944, Burma 1943-45

Further reading

Moorhouse, G. (1992). Hell's Foundations: A Town, its Myths and Gallipoli, London: Hodder and Stoughton. ISBN 0-340-43044-3


External links

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