2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment due to move to Chester site later this year A changing of the regiments is under way at Dale Barracks in Chester. A merger parade has taken place at Lucknow Barracks in Tidworth to formally mark the coming together of The Royal Welsh Regiment s 1st and 2nd Battalions into a single unit. View gallery Corporal Barry Lloyd RLC Royal Welsh Fusiliers View gallery The merger saw the 1st Battalion move from its old base at Dale Barracks in Chester to Tidworth, as part of the Army s 2020 reorganisation.
It was announced last May that they would be replaced by the 2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment which is due to move into the Dale later this year. The Royal Welsh Regiment was formed in 2006 when the Chester based Royal Welch Fusiliers combined with the Tidworth -based Royal Regiment of Wales in 2006. Last year there was speculation the move could spell the end for the Liverpool Road barracks especially when defence secretary Philip Hammond confirmed seven barracks would be closing under the restructure.
But this fear proved unfounded when the announcement was made that the 2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment will be moving on to the Liverpool Road camp.
The Mercian Regiment recruits heavily from Chester and the surrounding areas.
This is a photograph from my personal collection, and one of my favorites, not only because of the impressive history of the Coldstreamers, which goes back to 1650, but also because of the fine team of horses. Nulli Secundus (Second to None) is the motto of Coldstream Guards, and indeed they lived up to this motto over and over again in WWI, proving themselves to be loyal, hardfighting, and fearless, just as they had so many times in the past. On August Bank Holiday 1914, Great Britain declared war on Germany, and the Coldstream were immediately involved.
The 1st Battalion, as part of 1st Guards Brigade, and the 2nd and 3rd Battalions, as part of 4th Guards Brigade, all moved to France immediately. The Regiment suffered heavily throughout the War. On October 29,1914 at Gheluvelt, for example, the 1st Battalion suffered such causalities that it had no officers left and only 80 men.
Four days later, after reinforcement, it had once more been reduced to no officers and only 120 men. The Regiment took part in many of the War’s most significant engagements, including the Retreat from Mons, the battles at Marne, Aisne and Ypres during 1914 – 15 and those at Loos, the Somme, Ginchy and the 3rd Battle of Ypres in the War’s later stages. The men of the Guards Brigade had always been called ”Privates” but on November 22, 1918 the King granted them the title of ”Guardsmen.
as a mark of His Majesty’s appreciation and pride of the splendid services rendered by the Brigade of Guards during the War.” The soldiers in the photograph above are members of the 4th Battalion Coldstreamers, which was a Pioneer unit. Not only were Pioneers fighting men, it was also their role to provide labor. Here in this photograph, I think they might be building a road.
At any rate, for some reason they appear to be moving quantities of earth. The principle of having fighting soldiers whose chief role was to provide an army with labor goes back many thousands of years. Throughout the ancient world armies would require manpower to provide labor other than for fighting.
Fortifications had to constructed, trenches dug, and roads built. The first record of Pioneers in the British army goes back to 1346 where the pay and muster rolls of the British Garrison at Calais show Pioneers being paid between 4d and 6d a day (2 to 21/2 pence in today’s money). The 4th Battalion of the Coldstreamers was formed at Windsor on July 17, 1915 as Guards Pioneer battalion, but soon became 4th Battalion.
It was shipped out to France in August of 1915 and became Pioneer Battalion to Guards Divsion. February 2, 1918 to 4th Guards Brigade, 31st Division. May 29, 1918 4th Guards Brigade was posted to GHQ Reserve.
November 11, 1918 located near Mauberge, France. During the post-war rationalization of the British Army, the 4th (Pioneer) Battalion was disbanded. The soldier holding the team is called a driver.
Instead of driving the team from behind on foot as would be done in plowing, he rides the horse on the left side of the team. This was a common practice in the army, not only for work teams such as this one, but also for artillery teams and wagon teams. A fine example of a WWI British military saddle can be seen on the horse’s back in addition to the the harness.
The driver is wearing the traditional British Army ankle boots, otherwise known as “ammunition boots.” It is believed the boots get their name from the fact that they were once issued through the ordinance corps of the British Army. They were made of stiff leather and had hobnail soles. He is wearing spurs affixed by straps around his boots, and a puttee wound round the top of his left boot and up his leg.
On his right leg he wears a protective leather legging to protect his leg from being banged or torn up by the tongue of vehicle. The insides of his pants legs are lined with leather or some other material to save wear and tear on them from long hours in the saddle. He is wearing the standard British Army WWI Service Dress cap.
Affixed to the front of his cap is Coldstream Guards Cap Star. The Cap Star is an eight-pointed star of the Order of the Garter. In the center is the cross of St.
George surrounded by the words ”Honi soit qui mal y pense,” which translated means ”Evil be to he who evil thinks.” By the way, Coldstreamers call this device a ”Cap Star” and NEVER a ”Cap Badge.” Of further interest is the trench art belt the driver is wearing. These trench art belts are sometimes called “Hate Belts.” Soldiers from all sides (not just the British) would pick up buttons, cap badges, collar dogs, medals, bridle rosettes, etc. from the battlefield and from corpses and affix them to a belt.
Perhaps some of the items were traded to the soldiers from prisoners for cigarettes and the like. These belts and other trench art items are highly collectable today. WWI Coldstream Guards Battle Honors (5 battalions):Mons, Retreat from Mons, Marne 1914, Aisne 1914, Ypres 1914 ’17, Langemarck 1914, Gheluvelt, Nonne Bosschen, Givenchy 1914, Neuve Chapelle, Aubers, Festubert 1915, Loos, Mount Sorrel, Somme 1916 ’18, Flers-Courcelette, Morval, Pilckem, Menin Road, Poelcappelle, Passchendaele, Cambrai 1917 ’18, St.
Quentin, Bapaume 1918, Arras 1918, Lys, Hazebrouck, Albert 1918, Scarpe 1918, Drocourt-Qu ant, Hindenburg Line, Havrincourt, Canal du Nord, Selle, Sambre, France and Flanders 1914-18
A Cavalry Raid in 1886 In April 1886, Lieutenant Colonel R S Liddell was appointed to the command of the 10 th Royal Hussars (Prince of Wales s Own). Robert Spencer Liddell had first joined the army in 1858 as an Ensign in the 15 th Foot (later the East Yorkshire Regiment), joining the 10 th Hussars in 1860. During his service he had a long and varied career, both at home and in India, and had been involved in the fighting in the Sudan in the mid-1880 s, having been Mentioned in despatches for his service.
Liddell was a remarkably innovative commander at a time when the cavalry arm was widely seen as conservative and often hidebound, and in this piece we will see two examples of his rather revolutionary command. At the time Liddell took over the regiment it also acquired a new face in the Officers Mess; His Royal Highness Prince Albert Victor eldest son of The Prince of Wales. Eddie was grandson to Queen Victoria and second Colonel Liddell in line to the throne (his father became Edward VII).
The Prince of Wales was Colonel-in-Chief of the 10 th Hussars, so it was natural his son should join his father s regiment Although his military career involved rapid promotion he saw no active service. Liddell s first innovation was to take place in July. At that time, there was very little formal training for the army: drill and equitation were seen as most important, and manoeuvres and exercises such as are now common were almost unheard of.
Liddell thought differently, and on 14 th July his regiment took part in a Cavalry Raid designed to put the men through their paces. Permission had to be sought from the Commander in Chief, and was given on the understanding that there would be no cost to the public purse! Apart from one waggon, carrying twenty-five tents, and an ambulance cart all transport had to be provided by the regiment, and camping grounds had to be arranged privately with landowners.
The regiment marched out of the South Barracks at Aldershot, each man wearing active service dress (see illustration), and carrying a change of clothing. Additionally a waterproof sheet and cloak were carried, together with two blankets placed between the saddle and the numnah (a sheepskin pad placed under the saddle to protect the horse s back) one blanket for the man and one for the horse. The first night was spent at Pierrepoint (south of Farnham), followed by a reconnaissance to Liphook the following day.
Overnight outposts were deployed and the regiment was very much on an active service footing. On the 16 th the regiment moved north west to Hindhead and on Hankley Common was opposed by the 5 th Lancers, sent out from Aldershot to act against the Tenth. The Aldershot force falling back, the Tenth encamped at Tilford.
On the 17 th it returned to Aldershot. The exercise was a great success, and Liddell received a letter from the Prince of wales expressing His Majesty s delight at the raid which reflects the greatest credit on the regiment. Such, indeed, was its success that it became the pattern for training in the Aldershot Command.
Liddell s next great innovation was later in the same year when he received permission to introduce a Nordenfelt machine gun. This was a contraption mounted on a two wheeled galloping carriage (i.e. it could be pulled by a horse and was sturdy but light enough to accompany a cavalry charge) also introduced into service by Liddell.
10th Hussars on reconnaissance The Swedish-designed and built Nordenfelt had 10 barrels which were operated by pulling a lever and capable (in a test) of firing up to 3,000 rounds a minute. Originally intended as a ship-mounted weapon to counter torpedo boats, it seems Liddell may well have been one of the first to see the gun s application to land service. In fact, it proved so effective that six more guns were purchased for issue to other cavalry regiment.
Eddie , Prince Albert Victor, died of influenza on 14 th January 1892, at the age of 28. He had recently become engaged to Princess Mary of Teck, but passed away before the marriage could take place. In the event, Princess Mary married Eddie s younger brother, George, and when he became George V in 1910 Mary became Queen.
Colonel Liddell retired on 13 th September 1887, and devoted his retirement to his regiment.
In 1891 he published The Memoirs of the Tenth Royal Hussars (Prince of Wales s Own) Historical and Social.
He died in 1903, a much-loved and respected commanding officer and military innovator.
HorsePower April 2014 A Cavalry Raid in 1886