In Collaboration With Charles Griffin

Raising of the Regiment 1680
A second regiment of foot was raised for the defence of Tangier on 13th July 1680, under the Colonelship of the Earl of Plymouth. The first regiment later became the 2nd Queen's Royal Regiment of Foot and the second regiment later became the 4th King's Own. These two line regiments reinforced the Guards and Royal Dragoons but the 2nd Tangier Regiment arrived too late for the fight against the Moors. The fortified Moroccan town of Tangiers lies across the Straits of Gibraltar and was a wedding gift to Britain on the betrothal of Charles II to Katherine of Braganza in 1662. It proved more trouble than it was worth and was given to the Moors in 1684.
Sedgemoor 1685
Charles's brother James was still Duke of York when the regiment came under the patronage of his wife the Duchess of York and Albany, but that title only lasted until the following year when he became James II and the regiment was titled the Queen's. As such they fought at the battle of Sedgemoor on 16th July against the rebel forces of the Duke of Monmouth, illegitimate son of Charles II.
Change of Allegiance
Under King William III the regiment went to Ireland and fought against James at the Battle of the Boyne, July 1690, and helped Marlborough take Cork and Kinsale. They then went to Flanders in 1795 where they fought well against the French at Steenkirk, losing their commanding officer, and again at Landen. The siege of Namur in July and August caused the regiment to lose well over 100 officers and men but gave the regiment it's first battle honour. William showed his recognition of their service to him by giving the regiment the lion badge as their emblem.
Marines 1702-10
At the time when Queen Anne came to the throne the War of the Spanish Succession broke out and Marines were required. The regiment were converted to that role under the title The Queen's Marines. They were split into small detachments to serve on ships but fought at Malaga in August 1704 and the capture of Gibraltar in 1704/5, gaining a second battle honour. They went on to capture Barcelona and fight at Lerida in 1705, Alicante 1706, Majorca 1706. Sardinia and Majorca 1708 and many other actions.
Canada 1711
In 1710 the regiment reverted to a normal infantry role and were sent to Canada the following year for the failed attempt on Quebec. As they entered the St Lawrence River they were shipwrecked in a gale and 200 of the men and their families lost their lives.
Whilst on duty at Windsor in 1715 the regiment must have impressed George I because he conferred on them the title King's Own. In 1734 their Colonel was General William Barrell and for the next 15 years they were known as 'Barrell's'. He was 'rough-mannered' man who had been adjutant in 1st Guards at Blenheim. The regiment went again to Flanders in 1743 with men recruited from Kent, Surrey and Middlesex. They missed the battle of Dettingen and were garrisoned at Ghent during the battle of Fontenoy.
Jacobite Rebellion 1745
After the unseasoned British troops had suffered a defeat at Prestonpans in September 1745, a battle hardened British force of 7,000 was recalled from Flanders and sent north under the command of General Hawley, 300 of them were Barrell's Regiment. The first engagement was at Falkirk, west of Edinburgh, where the British met the Jacobite force of more than 6,000 on 17th Jan 1746. Most of the battle took place in pitch darkness and a wild storm. A charge by the Scotsmen sent most of the redcoats fleeing but Barrell's and the 59th Regiment fired on the Scot's flank and halted them. Both sides claimed victory with fairly light casualty figures, but the Jacobites withdrew to continue besieging Stirling Castle a few miles northwest.
Culloden 1746
Barrell's at Culloden
The command of the British force was taken over by the Duke of Cumberland. When the Jacobites moved north he followed and the two armies met on Culloden Moor, 5 miles east of Inverness, on 16th April. The infantry formed two lines with cavalry on either flank. Barrell's was on the left of the front line. The fighting opened with an exchange of artillery fire which prompted the highlanders to start running towards the British lines so that they were not standing targets. They fell upon the British left so that Barrell's (and Munro's 37th) took the brunt of the charge. The Scots ranks were severely thinned out as they ran forward, by grapeshot and at least two volleys from Barrell's and Munro's. The Scots had discarded their muskets and were now armed with pistols, swords and shields.

There is no doubt that Barrell's regiment did most of the fighting that day. The men fixed bayonets and were ordered to lunge at the Highlander on their right rather than the man approaching their front. In this way they were able to strike a blow behind their shields rather than having a bayonet stuck in the shield. The casualty figures show how bravely they fought before being forced back. 17 killed and 108 wounded, by far the greatest number out of all the regiments. Lord Robert Kerr, commanding the Grenadier Company was killed. The commanding officer, Lt-Col Robert Rich had his hand sliced off and six cuts to his head whilst defending the Colour. Ensign Brown was trampled under foot defending the same Colour, but survived. Other officers wounded were Capt John Romer, Lieut James Edmunds and Ensign Campbell. Some of the other ranks casualties are recorded:

Isaac Midgely 37, from Halifax, had a hand disabled and 14 other wounds
Ralph Jackson 24, from Oldham, hand disabled
Samuel Hunt, a farm labourer from Leicestershire, head and hand wounds
David Lofty, shot in the right arm
Corporal John Griffith, disabled left leg
George Webb shot in the left arm
John Telford from Dumfries
John Low, a baker from Alford, shot in the leg

Minorca 1756/7
During the Seven Years War the King's Own were sent to take part in the unsuccessful defence of Minorca which was invaded by the French. The island had been in British hands since it's capture in 1708 and the garrison of Port St Philip was manned by 2,800 men under General Blakeney. A relief force was sent but the naval commander thought it unsafe to land them and sailed away. This commander was Admiral Byng, who was executed for cowardice.
Guadaloupe 1759
On their return from Minorca a second battalion was raised in the West country but after two years it became a separate regiment, 62nd Foot. The regiment then sailed to the West Indies where it helped to capture the French island of Guadaloupe. For this action they gained a battle honour because the whole regiment was involved. They also captured Dominica, Martinique and Havannah but the regimental HQ was not in the action therefore no battle honours were granted. Guadaloupe was returned to France in the Treaty of Paris 1763 in exchange for France's relinquishing territorial claims in Canada.
The War of American Independence 1775-78
The 4th King's Own were ordered out to North America in Feb 1774 and arrived in late summer. They were in the 1st Brigade in Boston with the 23rd and 47th regiments, under Brigadier Lord Percy. The Grenadier companies from the Boston based regiments were formed into separate battalions, as were the light companies. These battalions fought at Bunker Hill.

By 1776 the Grenadiers of the 4th were part of the 1st Grenadier Battalion under the command of Col Meadows, and the Light Company was part of the 1st Light Battalion under Brigadier-General Leslie. The battalion companies were in the 1st Brigade commanded by Major-Gen Robinson. These units went to Charleston in June and then New York. In the battle of Brooklyn on 27th August 1776 the Grenadiers and Light Battalions took the brunt of the onslaught suffering 167 casualties. At another action at Haarlem on 16th Sept, the Light Battalion took many casualties along with the 42nd regiment.

In 1777, the Light Company took part in the battles at Brandywine on 11th Sept, and Germantown. The 4th, with a strength of 354, was in Vaughan's Brigade in Clinton's First Division for the expedition to Philadelphia. In 1778 the strength of the 4th was down to 295.

West Indies 1778
The British troops were taken away from the United States in November 1778 much to General Clinton's dismay as he was left with foreign troops which he regarded as 'less zealous and less inured to service'. The 4th had been re-united with their Grenadier and Light Companies and their strength was quoted as 444 rank and file present and fit for duty. They sailed to St Lucia which they captured and held, earning them another battle honour. They returned home in 1780.
French Revolutionary War
The regiment was back in North America for service in Canada and Newfoundland from 1787 to 1793. They also took part in the capture of St Pierre and Miquelon, then the expedition to North Holland in 1799. There they were involved in an action on 6th October in which they suffered heavy casualties.

Corunna 1809

The regiment served under Sir John Moore at Shorncliffe in 1804 and a second battalion was raised. The 1st battalion then went to Hanover in 1805 and was at Copenhagen in 1807. They were with Sir John Moore in Sweden in 1808 when he took them to Portugal for the ill-fated campaign that resulted in the retreat to Corunna. They were in Baird's Division. Because of Moore's influence on their training the regiment suffered less than most.

Peninsular War 1810-14

The regiment was sent on the disastrous Walcheren Expedition which was intended to capture Antwerp. But sickness plagued the whole army and the attempt had to be abandoned. The 4th suffered deaths from the illness but were one of the first Walcheren regiments to be sent to the Peninsula where the 1st battalion joined the 5th Division under Leith at Torres Vedras in Nov 1810. The second battalion went to Gibraltar, spending some time at Ceuta, then at the siege of Cadiz. The battalions were subsequently re-united in Spain.

Badajoz 1812

The British had already stormed Ciudad Rodrigo but Badajoz proved to be a terrible fight that involved incredible bravery in all the regiments involved. The town was defended by French and German troops. On the night of April 6th, four separate attacks were made on the breaches that had been made by artillery fire. Leith's 5th Division, of which the 4th was part, launched it's attack on the north-west corner of the town, the San Vincente bastion, and were successful after bloody hand to hand fighting. They were able to come to the aid of the other British attacks by falling on the defenders from the rear. The British troops avenged their dead comrades by looting and raping the townspeople over a two day period.

As they cleared the enemy from the ramparts, Private George Hatton of the 4th captured the Colour of the Regiment Hess D'Armstadt. He later presented the flag to the Duke of Wellington who rewarded him with money and promotion. The Colour was kept at the Royal Hospital Chelsea for 135 years but restored to the regiment in 1947.

Salamanca 1812

This action was preceded by a month of marching and manoeuvres in the hot sun before Wellington was prepared to give battle to the French commander Marmont on 22nd July. It was a hard fought battle that resulted in heavy casualties, 14,000 French and 5,200 Allies. The 4th had both battalions present, brigaded with 30th, 44th and some Brunswickers. They broke up some French Infantry squares and later faced the advance of French columns under Sarrut which they defeated.

Vittoria 1813

After the victory at Salamanca, Wellington had to withdraw with a hungry army demoralised after an abortive attempt on Burgos. But the following year saw an upturn in Allied fortunes and the French were being forced back to the Pyrenees. In June the French, commanded by Joseph and Jourdan halted in the valley of Vittoria. Wellington split his force to approach them from different directions.. The 4th King's Own were in the 5th Division, which, with the 1st Division numbered 25,000 men. On 21st June they approached from the north-east under the command of Thomas Graham. They found themselves opposite Sarrut's division, as hey had at Salamanca. Their brisk volleys caused the French to break and they began to retreat eastwards. It was like the breaking of a dam and spelled the beginning of the end of the French hold on the Peninsula. A huge hoard of treasure was recovered from the fleeing enemy which enriched every soldier in the Allied army.

San Sebastian 1813

Lieutenant Maguire
The last strongholds of the French in Spain were Pamplona and San Sebastian, and it was decided to deal with these before moving into France. An assault on 25th July had failed so another attempt was made on 22nd August on the arrival of an efficient battering train and a unit of sappers and miners. On the 31st August, after a bombardment, the 5th Division were sent into the breach on the eastern defences of the town. This was led by Robinson's brigade which consisted of the 4th, 47th, 59th regiments and Brunswickers. During this assault, a Forlorn Hope section of the regiment was sent in, led by Lieutenant Francis Maguire. He died in the attempt. It was his 21st birthday.

The fighting was very fierce and looked as if it would not succeed until Graham ordered an artillery bombardment while the men were pinned down at the base of the breach. The artillery aim was so good that there were few British casualties. They broke through into the town as a terrific thunderstorm opened up. Total Allied losses were 3,700 men.

Bidassoa and Nivelle 1813

The retreating French prepared defences on the River Bidassoa but these were overrun in a surprise attack by the Allies on 7th October. It was no mean feat, resulting in the Allied loss of 1,600 men. A further battle was fought at the River Nivelle on 10th November which resulted in the withdrawl of the French to defensive lines along the Adour and Nive rivers which run into the sea at Bayonne. The 4th were there but were not awarded a battle honour although the 'honour' NIVELLE was mistakenly added to their badge in 1833 but later changed to NIVE.

Nive 1813

The Battle of Nive lasted 4 days from 9th to 12th December. The regiment were in the 5th Division under Sir John Hope which launched a diversionary attack towards Bayonne on the first day. On the 10th, Soult counter-attacked but the Division held their ground. On the final day the Portuguese were under attack in Barroilhet but were reinforced by the 5th Division. Unfortunately they were badly supplied with ammunition. Lieut John Fraser died of wounds he received at this battle. The regiment went on to blockade Bayonne for the last action of this war.

Bladensburg 1814

In May 1814 the 4th were sent to North America to contribute to the War of 1812. The British, urged by the governor of Canada were to attack New York and Washington. The regiments involved in the attack on Washington were the 4th, 21st, 44th, 85th and the Marines. The Americans were badly led by Brig-Gen William Winder and Gen Tobias Stansbury. They decided to make a stand at Bladensburg but they were routed and the Americans ran through the streets of Washington so fast that they inspired a poem, 'The Bladensburg Races'. Washington was badly damaged by fire caused by British troops.

New Orleans 1815

The British commander, Ross was killed by a sniper and replaced by General Packenham, brother-in-law of Wellington. He led the attack, in January, on New Orleans which was defended by Andrew Jackson, future president of America. The British were roundly defeated with the 4th suffering the loss of half their number. Soon after this they sailed home.

Waterloo 1815

The depleted battalion was reinforced from the second battalion and sent straight out to Flanders for the final battle against Napoleon. Lt-Col Francis Brooke commanded the 4th, the regiment being brigaded with the 27th and 40th under Maj-General Sir John Lambert. They did not see action at Quatre Bras and began the battle of Waterloo, on 18th June, as a reserve brigade. But by 6pm they were brought up to the front line, just to the north-east of La Haie Sainte. This farm had finally fallen to Marshal Ney and he placed artillery to cause havoc in Wellington's thin red line. Lambert's 10th Brigade took heavy casualties from the salvos of French artillery. Worst hit were the 27th Inniskillings with 105 killed, 373 wounded, then the 40th Somersets with 52 killed, 169 wounded. The 4th suffered 12 killed and 122 wounded. The regiment stayed in France until 1818 as part of the army of occupation.

Postings 1819-1848
The King's Own served in the West Indies from 1819 to 1826. Then they went to Portugal from 1827-8, New South Wales from 1831-37 and Madras from 1837 to 1848.
The Crimean War 1854-5
The 4th was a single battalion regiment when it was posted to the Crimea in 1854. They were at the Alma, Inkerman, and the siege of Sevastopol where they suffered the cold and hunger in the trenches during the first winter of the war. In October 1854, a member of the regiment, Private Thomas Grady won its first VC. Two officers who died were Capt W Arnold who died of wounds while a prisoner of war, and Colonel H C Cobbe CB, commanding the regiment, who was wounded on the Redan on 18th June 1855 and died on 6th August.
India 1856-58
The regiment went to Ceylon at first, then on to Bombay. Here they were in action against the Sepoy army of the Indian Mutiny.
Abyssinia 1867-8
In 1857 a second battalion was again raised and stationed in Chichester. They saw service in the Zulu War of 1879. But before that the 1st battalion were sent to Abyssinia as part of Lord Napier's expedition to rescue 50 terrified European prisoners from King Theodore III, the crazed 'King of Kings'. The 4th took part in the capture of Magdala and set fire to Theodore's fort. It was an arduous campaign. Theodore's drum was taken from his palace, cut into three parts and the lower third allocated to the King's Own. This is still in the officer's Mess of the 1st battalion Royal Lancasters.
Postings up to 1881
The regiment returned to the UK and were sent to Gibraltar in 1874 then on to the West Indies. They returned home in 1881 in which year most infantry regiments were amalgamated, but the 4th retained it's independence and gained the additional title Royal Lancaster Regiment, which title it has regained in July 2006 since amalgamating with the Queen's Lancashire regiment.
Corps of Drums and Musicians
The 2nd Tangerines
Barrell's Blues
The Lions
1680 - 1881
1680 - 1881
Commanding Officers
1680 - 1881
1680 - 1881
Battle Honours
War of the League of Augsburg 1689-97
NAMUR 1695
Gibraltar 1704-5

Seven Years War 1756-63

War of American Independence 1775-8

Peninsular War 1808-14

War of 1812

Hundred Days 1815

Crimean War 1854-5

Abyssinian War 1867-8

Zulu and Basuto War 1877-9

1680 The 2nd Tangier Regiment
1684 The Duchess of York and Albany's Regiment of Foot
1685 The Queen's Regiment
1702 The Queen's Regiment of Marines
1710 The Queen's Regiment of Foot
1715 The King's Own Regiment of Foot
1751 4th or the King's Own Regiment of Foot
1867 4th (The King's Own Royal) Regiment of Foot
1881 The King's Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment)
Further Reading
The British Army of 1914
by Maj M Barnes (Seeley Service 1968)
Records and Badges of the British Army
by H M Chichester and G Burges-Short (Gale & Polden 1900)
The King's Own: The Story of a Royal Regiment
Edited by Col L I Cowper from material supplied by the members of the Regimental Historical Sub-Committee. Vol I 1680-1814, Vol II 1814-1914 (Oxford University Press 1939)
Shoulder-Belt Plates and Buttons
by Maj H G Parkyn OBE (Gale & Polden 1956) Regiment (Magazine) June/July 1995 (Nexus)
Like Hungry Wolves - Culloden Moor 16 April 1746
by Stuart Reid (Windrow and Greene 1994)

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by Stephen Luscombe