With the generous assistance of the The ACE/V&A Purchase Grant Fund and the Friends of the Mercian Regiment Museum we have recently acquired the medals of Captain (Quartermaster) A. H. Cooper, Worcestershire Regiment, who during the course of the War was wounded besides earning a brace of ‘mentions in despatches’ and his decoration, the only Regimental appointment to the Order of the British Empire for the Middle East.
Arthur Harry Cooper, a native of Smethwick, Staffordshire, was born on 9 September 1901 and enlisted in the Worcestershire Regiment in 1920. Commissioned Lieutenant (Quartermaster) on 1 September 1938, he served with the 1st Battalion in Palestine and played key role in preparing the unit for the Second World War, as recalled in Birdwood’s The Worcestershire Regiment, 1922-50:
‘Wadi Halfa was reached at 0100hrs on 3 September . Once again a long-suffering Quartermaster [Cooper] was called on to cope with a sudden situation, for information was received that two companies were to be dropped at Atbara and this entailed re-sorting out all the barrack equipment and furniture. Accordingly, on 4th September ‘B’ and ‘C’ Companies remained at Atbara under the command of Major Knight. This officer had stayed on to bring on the heavy baggage, which was three days behind; for in the peculiar conditions at the time the Battalion was still in a hybrid state of war preparation on a peace-time scale.’
Serving with acclaim throughout the campaign, Cooper finished it with a wound suffered on 16 March 1941 to go with a brace of ‘mentions’ (London Gazette 15 September 1939 & 1 April 1941, refers) and his M.B.E. – one of only 19 such awards to the Regiment for the Second World War.
M.B.E. London Gazette 14 April 1942. The original recommendation – for an O.B.E. – states:
‘This Officer has been Quartermaster, 1st Bn. The Worcestershire Regiment almost continuously since his force commission as a Quartermaster in August 1938, after 19 years’ service in the ranks. He accompanied the Battalion to Palestine in September 1938, served in that campaign untill the outbreak of the present war, and was Mentioned in Despatches for his valuable services. After the outbreak of war, in addition to his duties as Battalion Quartermaster, he performed the duties of a Camp Adjutant and Quartermaster for over a year at Gebeit (Sudan) and was again Mentioned in Despatches for exceptional zeal and ability. For a short time, he was Staff Captain to the 9th Indian Infantry Brigade at Gallabat (Sudan), but rejoined the Battalion as Quartermaster at Gedarf before it took the field in January 1941.
He served throughout the campaign in East Africa, being present at the actions at Gogni, Tauda, Barentu and Keren, where he was wounded, but rejoined in time for the final battle at Amba Alagi. He has since accompanied the Battalion to Egypt and is serving as Quartermaster at the present time.
Throughout these three years of active service, 2. Lieut. Cooper’s efficiency and devotion to duty have been of the highest order. His knowledge and capability under difficult conditions of supply and replacement of stores has been outstanding, and it is due to his care and qualities that the administration of this Unit has been maintained at the best possible standard at all times.’
Cooper was posted ‘dangerously ill’ on 24 August 1942 whilst in South Africa, but died on 31 August, being buried in the Johannesburg (West Park) Cemetery, South Africa, aged 40.
The 2nd Battalion of the Worcestershire Regiment left Bermuda on 25 November 1899 under the command of Lt. Col. C. Coningham. They landed at Southampton and spent ten days at Aldershot in freezing winter weather, before leaving for South Africa from Southampton on 17 December 1899 aboard SS Tintagel Castle.
The Battalion arrived at Cape Town on 12 January 1900 where the Boer War had been in progress for three months. They travelled by train to Rensburg and then marched 18 miles to take over the outpost at Slingersfontein from the cavalry. Slingersfontein was a farm on the extreme right flank of the British line.
Patrols were in action every day and captured several Boers from whom they learned that an attack was imminent. The attack came before dawn on 12 February 1900, exactly a month after the Battalion had arrived in South Africa. They were attacked by 300 of the South Africans Republic (Transvaal) Police, known as the “Zarps”, the storm troops of the Boer Forces.
The weight of the attack was at the extreme right held by A, C and E Companies under Battalion Major Stubbs. The forward picquets were overrun, but no ground was lost. The landscape was hilly scrub land and the battle was centred around Pinnacle Hill, Burnt Hill and Signal Hill.
Lt. Col. Coningham went to take command, but was shot in the head by a sniper as he directed operations from the top of Pinnacle Hill. Major Stubbs and Captain Thomas were also killed. Captain Hovell assumed command of the three companies.
Pinnacle Hill was held throughout the day. E Company led by Major Stubbs held onto the lower slopes assisted by C Company and well directed fire from A Company. In spite of heavy attacks during the day, they held fast and did not give ground. They made several counter attacks, but were unable to drive the Boers from the crests of Signal Hill and Burnt Hill.
The defence was helped by fire from four guns of J Battery, RHA and one lowitzer, which kept all lost ground under heavy bombardment and eventually setting fire to the scrub on Burnt Hill, enveloping the position in clouds of smoke.
After the all day fight, with great casualties inflicted on the enemy, the Boers retired. Three officers had been lost, 22 men killed and three officers and 47 men wounded.
The successful defence was largely due to the high standard of musketry in the Battalion. Boers taken prisoner were reputed to have said that they had never met such accurate and well directed fire.
A memorial was erected below Pinnacle Hill over the graves of the fallen. It occupies a prominent spot some 200 feet above the surrounding country. It is a granite cross, and at its foot, a plaque is inset into the mound naming Lt. Col. Coningham, the Officers, N.C.O.s and men who died. The foundation of the memorial contains the empty rifle cartridges from the battle.
“Inter-war sport was marked by competition with foreign teams, but such interaction also illustrated problems with the British focus on amateurism. By the 1930s, Belgian and French teams were far superior to British counterparts because these armies encouraged sporting development along professional lines. Both the Belgian and French armies, which enforced conscription, found their countries’ best sporting players serving time in the military, in which they were carefully groomed for competition. The British army, being a volunteer organization, could not compete against such rivals, and this conflict between professional and amateur sporting ideologies led to the British breaking off sporting relations with the French. But sports were a major draw for the British army, in terms of recruitment, against declining pay standards and limited promotion prospects. To support this attraction, the British forces increased funding for sports through non-public service funds, rather than forcing payment through games subscriptions or gate money.”
Sport and the Military: The British Armed Forces 1880-1960 (2010) by Tony Mason and Eliza Riedi, Cambridge University press.
Key Inter-war Regimental Footballers
Joining the Worcestershire Regiment in August 1919, 3 months before his 18th birthday, Alfred Dalloway would go on to spend the best part of 40 years with the regiment in various capacities. He has been noted to be “one of the most loved and loyal members of the regiment” there ever was.
Being one of the most renowned servicemen in the Regiment, Dalloway possessed many great attributes. Many of which helped him to excel at sports, especially football. Clearly passionate about playing the game, Alfred Dalloway gained a British Army cap against Belgium in 1930. Unfortunately, he could not inspire the team to victory as they suffered a 4-2 loss in London. This is no surprise however; as the inter-war period saw foreign armies surpass the capabilities of the British Army in sport. This was in part due to the British Army’s attempts to keep sport amateur and discourage the “evils” of professionalism. Foreign Armies were doing quite the opposite as teams such as Belgium had the best pickings of their country’s footballers due to conscription.
On Thursday 13th of March 1930, Dalloway put in one of his best performances playing “like a Trojan” to score two goals that would make his team win the Worcester Thursday Medals Competition. During this era “he was always scheming on the field of play to try to bring off a win even when a weak side was fielded.” This sort of mindset shows that he was aware of the other members of his team and their strengths or weaknesses and could adapt to differing scenarios.
The man affectionately known as simply “Curly” was praised highly by his associates for his sporting prowess. One description of him provides some insight into his qualities, stating that he was a “tower of strength” and excelled in “every form of sport”. His athleticism is noted on several occasions but his footballing aptitude shines off the pages of the regimental magazine with accounts of matches, such as the ability to have “tricked 3 opponents,” lay it off and clinch the assist in a match against Bromsgrove E.C. on the 11th of March 1937.
Often the Captain of representative Army sides on Malta and China, he arrived in Shanghai greeted by Colonel Pelly with the remark; “ready for football tomorrow Dalloway?” as he marched down the gangway of the boat. One could argue he had a sort of cult fame when it came to football within the Worcestershire Regiment. After being the 2nd Battalion’s resident captain for a decade, Dalloway found himself posted to The Depot in 1936. He had been with the 2nd Battalion in Dublin, Dover before becoming part of the British Army of the Rhine and then going on to Malta and China. When it was time for the 2nd Battalion to travel to India, Dalloway, now a sergeant was posted to the Depot.
Upon arriving at the Depot he made an instant impact in the 1936/37 season, where the team racked up 110 goals, winning 14 out of 20 games. Whilst only netting 2 goals, “great credit must be given to Sgt. Dalloway for the very capable way he captained the team” during this period. This was the best set of results The Depot had mustered since 1923.
After the Second World War Dalloway rose to prominence as a Billiard and Snooker player, extending his sporting vocabulary even further, adding to his experiences with football, hockey and cricket from his time with the 2nd Battalion. Retiring from service after 18 years in 1938 after some leg trouble, he stayed on at Norton Barracks as Sgts Mess Caterer. Dalloway operated in that capacity until 1959 when the Depot was closed down.
Reginal Horton Couchman
The 10th March 1901 saw Reginal Horton Couchman enter the world. After leaving Sandhurst for Worcester in 1920, he would go on to serve for 9 years in the Regiment. He is one of the most important figures for football in the Worcester Regiment as when the “The Green ’Un” first took shape in 1922, it was Couchman that was responsible for the first set of articles headed “Association Football”. A true pioneer for the documentation of history. He gave his opinions on the various teams across the battalions, performance analysis and gathered the results. Although at times the information on football can appear sparse in the regimental magazine, it must be remembered that the only reason it is there initially is because of Couchman.
In terms of playing the game himself, he was perhaps Worcester regiments highest recognised player. With an impressive British Army cap record of 12 games, playing a total of 5 against both the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force. The other 7 games were against the French and Belgian Armies. Not only is this impressive by British Army standards, as hardly any players got to play on that many occasions, it is remarkable for a solider in the Worcestershire Regiment. It is ironic that for such a prolific shooting regiment, one of Couchman’s earliest complaints in the Regimental magazine is “the weakness forward” and the use of the phrase “we cannot score goals” is rather a blunt and effective description of the team’s form at the time.
In 1929 he transferred to the reserves and then the following year to the 1st London Rifle Brigade (TA) as a Captain. The 27th February 1937 saw Couchman become a Major. Throughout the Second World War he performed a few different roles and was eventually invalided out in 1944.
During his time with the Worcester Regiment, R.H. Couchman proved himself a stellar performer when it came to Athletics, most notably in 1928 when he was awarded a plaque for reaching Olympic standard in the Modern Pentathlon. Championing the importance of fitness throughout his Army sporting life, he certainly had the wherewithal to back it up. A true credit and pioneer to the Regiment.
Arthur Temple Burlton
Born on the 10th March 1900 Arthur Temple Burlton was commissioned into the Worcestershire Regiment from Sandhurst on the 15th December 1919. His first role was in the 4th Battalion in January of 1920 just before they were moved to Cologne in March where the Battalion engaged with BAOR activities. 1922 saw the 4th Battalion disbanded so Burlton was placed in the 2nd Battalion who were stationed in Dublin. Having spent 1927 to 1930 in Allahabad, it would seem that this would be the longest period of A.T. Burlton’s army career spent in one place. A very different scenario to his involvement in the Norwegian Campaign of 1940. A loyal servant to the Worcestershire Regiment, gaining promotion in 1941 to become a Lieutenant Colonel commanding the 10th Battalion. Burlton would eventually spend 24 years with the Worcesters. Upon leaving the 1st Battalion, it is noted that the group penned, “the loss to us can not be overestimated” in the Regimental Magazine in April 1936.
Marrying on the 16th November 1927 to Enid Doreen, Burlton had two Grandsons who would go on to serve in the 4th/7th Royal Dragoons.
Before joining the Military Government of the British Army of the Rhine in 1945 and then retiring from the Army in 1948, Burlton had accomplished much in the way of sporting endeavour. A proficient boxer who often featured in bouts for the Army Officer’s Boxing Team. He is also the one responsible for chronicling the first few regimental boxing activities in the Regimental Magazine. A talented athlete, taking part in a variety of activities during his time with the 1st 2nd and 4th Battalions respectively, alongside proficiency in cross country. He occasionally partook in Hockey duties but in his own words only “when they were hard up” due to injuries and the like.
He was the 12th man in A.E.R Gilligan’s 1926/27 Army-n-India Cricket side. Demonstrating a serious passion for the sport of Cricket, Burlton founded The Mount Cricket Club in 1934 and “after the war killed the club, resurrected it in 1962”. A statement filled with pride. As the Regimental Magazine states, Burlton’s “record as a cricketer needs no emphasis”.
Arthur Temple Burlton was extremely proficient at football and was one of the most valued inter-war stars for the regiment. His “chief asset being the way he feeds his forwards,” a statement most likely thought up by and approved for publication by his good friend at the time, R.H. Couchman. A footballer “who plays with his head and works very hard,” a most perfect combination of work ethic and a footballing brain. These highly prized assets gained Burlton an international army cap against Belgium in 1924. Also in 1924, Arthur Temple Burlton was awarded his Regimental Colours for football, an honour that was no doubt prized as much as his other stellar achievements.
“…….. part of the tradition of service and martial pride which is the heritage of those to whom they belong. We are all brought up to regard them as symbols of great achievements of the glorious past……
These silver tokens are a constant reminder of the loyalty and deep sense of duty of our forebearers and an incentive to all of us to try and do better.
They are part of the great tradition……..”
Field Marshal Sir Gerald Templer.
All of our former regular, militia and territorial regiments/battalions had wonderful displays of silver. Regimental silver is, family silver and records a part of the history of that particular regiment or battalion. Each piece has a story to tell, whether it be a simple goblet or cigarette box to the wonderful and lovely intricate workmanship of the silver centrepieces.
The engraving of the silver also records past events, from a Rifle shooting Championship to the winning of the Army Football Cup, and the engraving of the goblets which were presented by individual officers to their mess, from Halifax Nova Scotia to Tienstin. Silver drums and bugles were presented by battalions, towns and individuals in memory of men who gave their lives serving their Sovereign, Country and Regiment. Many pieces of silver were commemorate an individual act of gallantry or an action in which elements of the regiment took part.
The silver also records the uniqueness of individual regiments, which makes the British Army so different and better than other armies. Each regiment has its own traditions, dress variations, customs, cap-badges and Battle Honours, all jealously guarded. Our Regiment has been involved in many changes from its first muster in 1694 to the Cardwell and Haldane Reforms, through two World Wars, the loss of the Second Battalion and Territorial Units after the Second World War – the amalgamation of 1970 to the formation of the Mercian Regiment in 2007.
Over the years the regiment has had to dispose of a considerable amount of its treasures but a large amount of our old regimental silver, regular and territorial, is now a part of the Worcestershire Museum’s collections and others form part of The Mercian Regiment holdings collection and many of the traditions handed down over the years are now part of their heritage and in use today.
Amongst the largest and most spectacular of the Museum’s pieces is the magnificent Centrepiece of the 36th (Herefordshire) Regiment.
The centrepiece is cast in silver and represents a rocky crag with four of the most prized game trophies to be found in the Himalayas.
The plinth supporting the centrepiece is of oak with silver snakes coiled around two of the four supports and the inscription around the top rim. This inscription reads: Presented to the Officers Mess by the following officers who were either members of the Regimental Hunt or promoted during The Tour of Service of the Regiment in India November 1863 to November 1875.
We know however that the centre piece was not made until the Regiment had returned to England. It was commissioned from Hunt & Roskell, late Storr & Mortimer of London and bears the hallmarks for 1877.
Replacing the Shako in 1878 The Home Service Helmet was introduced into the British army as required headwear for the majority of British line infantry excluding the Fusiliers regiments.
The design of the Home Service helmet originates from the 1840’s when Foreign Service helmets were introduced Into the British army. Known as Pith Helmets, they offered great protection from the sun with a swept-back brim. The overall design of both helmets was inspired by the German Pickelhaube from the Franco Prussian War.
In the “Dress Regulations for the Army 1900” – The official War Office publication for dress regulations, it describes the Service Helmet as “cork covered with blue cloth, peaks front and back stiffened and covered with cloth. Front peak bound with metal 3/16 inch wide, back peak with patent leather 1/8 inch wide. Above the peaks going round helmet a cloth band”. It further describes the “Curb Chain chin straps 5/8 inches wide and strap lined with patent leather backed with black velvet” as well as the incorporation of a Bronze spike measuring 1 3/4 inches.
It is worth noting that the Spike on top of the helmet was replaced with a ball when worn by engineers, artillery and various administrative and other corps. Other adjustments to the helmet include the cloth of the helmet being made green for light infantry regiments.
Other Ranks wore an inferior quality helmet as the officers’ helmets were purchased privately. The main difference’s being the Other Ranks helmets being the quality such as the chin chain having only leather backing with no velvet. Other differences include, the brim being bound in leather all round, the cruciform base being one-piece and often only being attached by two lugs, the helmet plate being of brass rather than gilt and the spike being set into the cruciform base rather than sitting “proud” of it. Located in the centre of the helmet was the Helmet plates, these consisted of three basic designs which were an eight-pointed star surmounted by a crown, for Rifle Regiments a Maltese Cross surmounted by a crown, and the Royal Coat of Arms. Similarly, with the helmet design the plates also differed for officers who had a three-piece construction consisting of a rayed backing star, the garter and wreath with a “universal” scroll for the regimental name, and a centre device.
In regard to The Worcestershire Regiment the helmet plate has seen various changes across the years. The original 29th regiment officers helmet plate which was used from 1878 to 1881 had a Gilt with the ’29’ on a black leather background in the centre of the Garter. Following the formation of the Worcestershire Regiment in 1881 which combined the 29th, 36th, Militia and Volunteers. The plate used the ‘Tower’ motif of the Militia, the star of the 29th and the motto ‘FIRM’ from the 36th. From 1890 to 1901 officers of the regiment used a helmet plate depicting the imperial crown at the top, this was later updated in 1901 to 1923 to depict the St. Edward’s crown instead.
With the general adoption of khaki for field dress in 1903, the helmet became purely a full-dress item, being worn as such until 1914. The museum currently has 14 Home Service helmets within its collection compromising of various dates, two of which can be seen on display at the museum as well as a variety of helmet plates showing the progression of The Worcestershire Regiment.
The battle Ramilles was one of the crucial battles which occurred during the war of the Spanish Succession (1701–14) between the Grand Alliance (Britain, Austria, Prussia, Dutch republic, Portugal and Savoy) and France and Spain.
When the Spanish King Charles II died he bequeathed his throne to Philip of Anjou, grandson of Louis XIV, the king of France. The prospect of a union between the powerful states of France and Spain alarmed many European rulers resulting in many supporting the claim of Archduke Charles, the younger son of the Habsburg Emperor Leopold I.
In May 1702, John Churchill, Earl of Marlborough was sent to Holland as Captain-General of the combined English and Dutch forces. The start of his campaign was a great success having captured several important fortresses in the Low Countries but Marlborough’s plans to face the French to a decisive battle were resisted by his Dutch allies whose government retained a veto on the use of their troops outside of the Low Countries.
Following his crushing defeat at the battle of Blenheim in August 1704, King Louis XIV of France was eager for decisive victory; Marshal Villeroi (commander of the French forces) was therefore pushed into leaving the safety of the lines of Brabant and crossed the River Dyle with 60,000 men. On 23 May 1706, the Duke of Marlborough attacked him at Ramillies with a force of 62,000 men.
Within the Duke of Marlborough’s forces was the Thomas Farrington Regiment of foot (later 29th Worcestershire Regiment). For their service in the battle the regiment received their first battle honours which were awarded in 1882 after its Amalgamation with the 36th Hereford Regiment.
The battle was fought at the village of Ramillies (modern day Belgium) The French reached the plain of Ramillies before the Allies but deployed unwisely along the entire length of a 4-mile ridge with the villages of Ramillies and Offus located in the centre.
A strong Allied attack on the French left flank forced Villeroi to shift reinforcements from his centre. But Marlborough called off this attack due to the marshy ground preventing cavalry support. Farrington’s Rgeiment was posted on the right flank and following the success of the feint on the left flank “Marlboro at once ordered the infantry on the right, to retire a short distance, and the 2nd line marching rapidly to its former left, formed in rear of the centre and joined the attack on Ramilles… The enemy’s right, having, after a stubborn resistance, been turned and their troops driven out of Ramilles“.
The Allied casualties from the battle were estimated at 3,500 compared to the 13,000 French casualties as well as the capture of the whole French and Bavarian artillery which stood at 70 guns and mortars.
Within a fortnight of Ramilles, Marshal Villeroi had lost almost the whole of Flanders and Brabant to Marlborough and fallen back to the French frontier, but the Allied advance was halted when they reached better fortified and well-garrisoned towns further south.
The war over the Spanish succession continued for another 8 years ending with a series of treaties known as The Peace of Utrecht in which it was stipulated that no single person could be ruler of both France and Spain and Philip was confirmed as King of Spain.
In the Spring of 1770, the 29th (Worcestershire) Regiment was sent to Boston, to reinforce the Garrison. Although America was still then a British colony, over the last few years the City had been a hot-bed of anti-British and anti-Government feelings, and in early March, disorder increased, with assaults upon soldiers becoming frequent.
On the 5th of March, severe disturbances broke out in the town, with attacks on merchants and barracks throughout the City. Between 7 and 8 p.m. in the evening, large mobs descended on the Custom House, a symbol of unpopular British taxes.
The Custom House, on King Street, was guarded by the 29th, although only one sentry, Private Hugh White, was on duty outside. The mob closed in, pelting the sentry with snowballs, rocks and pieces of wood. The guard commander, Captain Thomas Preston, saw the attack and called out the rest of the guard comprising – Lieutenant Bassett, a corporal and six men. They lined up to protect both the sentry and the Custom House, which contained a considerable sum of Government revenue.
The mob kept closing in, though, now numbering over a hundred persons. In another attempt to scare the crowd into leaving, Preston ordered his men to load their muskets and fix their bayonets. Still the mob closed in, shouting insults and threats and hurling missiles at the soldiers. A huge mulatto (mixed race) man called Crispin Attucks lunged at Captain Preston, glancing off him to hit Private Montgomery, knocking his musket from his hands. Montgomery grabbed it back, but as Attucks got up, he grasped the other end and tried to pull it from his reach. Montgomery, acting through self-defence and confusion (he was dazed, and possibly mistook taunts of “Why don’t you fire?” from the crowd as an order from an officer) pulled his trigger, killing Attucks. The rest of the of the guard then fired too, killing two more people and wounding five, ropemaker Samuel Gray, mariner James Caldwell, died instantly. Samuel Maverick, an apprentice ivory turner, died a few hours later and Patrick Carr, an Irish immigrant, died two weeks later. The shots temporarily dispersed the crowd.
They soon came back to gather up the killed and wounded, and only Preston’s quick thinking stopped his men, fearing another assault, from firing again. After the incident, dubbed the ‘Boston Massacre’ by anti-British propaganda, the 29th were forced to leave Boston, to prevent revenge attacks, although Captain Preston and his eight men (but not Lieutenant Bassett) were kept behind and arrested on charges of murder.
The trial of Preston and his men was embroiled in politics. The obvious solution, acquittal on the grounds that they had fired in self-defence after great provocation, would outrage the people of Boston, but on the other hand, how could the British Government hang its own men for upholding the law by firing on a riotous and traitorous mob?
The solution came in the form of a lawyer called John Adams. A Bostonian, and an anti-British one at that, Adams was persuaded to put aside his own views and defend Preston, who was acquitted, and then his men. In their defence Adams argued eloquently and intelligently, cutting through the emotions and politics surrounding the trail, that they had acted justifiably in self-defence. Despite his own anti-British feelings, he argued that what the soldiers had done was right and within the law, and even natural in such circumstances. The jury acquitted all but Montgomery and Kilroy, who were found guilty of manslaughter, and branded on the thumb.
As they left, even the branded soldiers thanked Adams for his efforts in saving their lives and seeing justice done. One even voiced concern for Adam’s safety after such a pro-British act in such a hostile City, but Adams replied that he would be safe.
He was right. Only a few years later, John Adams would sign the Declaration of Independence, and eventually be 2nd President of the United States of America.
The guard picket:
Captain Thomas Preston, Lieutenant Bassett
John Carrol Matthew Kilroy Hugh Montgomery William Wenns
James Hartigan William McCauley William Warren Hugh White
The battle of Culloden was the final pitched battle to take place on British soil. It was fought between the Jacobite army of Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) and British Hanoverian government troops led by the Duke of Cumberland, son of King George II.
Charles was the grandson of James II who was exiled following the “Glorious Revolution” of 1688 which replaced the Stuart dynasty with his daughter Mary II and his Dutch nephew and Mary’s husband, William III of Orange.
Believing there was support for a Stuart restoration in both Scotland and England, Charles landed in Scotland on July 1745 raising an army of Scots Jacobite supporters. The Jacobite campaign to restore the Stewart dynasty began with reasonable success, with support from the Scottish Charles Edward’s highland army defeated government troops at Prestonpans in September 1745 and was able to occupy Edinburgh reaching as far south as Derby but failing to gain English support forced them to retreat to Scottish territory in December 1745. The following year despite being on the defensive Charles’s army gained an impressive victory of the government army at Battle of Falkirk won in January 1746.
After the defeat of General Hawley at Falkirk, William Augustus (Duke of Cumberland) was appointed as commander of the government forces in Scotland and based his army in Aberdeen, setting out in April 1746 to engage with Charles’s troops who were located at Inverness.
The two armies eventually met at Culloden with Charles Stuart’s army consisting of 5,000 men – largely formed of Scottish clansmen and 8000 government forces made up of 17 regiments including the 36th Regiment of Foot commanded by Colonel Flemming.
The day prior to the battle the Duke of Cumberland’s celebrated his birthday at Nain during which the Jacobite’s attempted a night attack on Cumberland’s camp, however this ended in complete failure with soldiers falling far behind and losing themselves in the bog and with dawn close to breaking it was clear the Jacobite forces would not reach Nairn before daylight resulting in the exhausted Scottish clansmen returning back, tired and exhausted, to their former positions on Drummossie Moor. Two hours after they had arrived, they heard news that the British army was on the march and only four miles away. The Highlanders dragged themselves to their feet and formed a line.
What followed was a gruesome and bloody one- hour battle with a swift and decisive victory by Cumberland and the government troops. Charles began the battle on the defensive expecting Cumberland to attack, instead the Cumberland’s forces remained stationary using cannons to bombard the Jacobite forces inflicting casualties on the highlanders and wreaking havoc on their morale.
Following the bombardment Charles ordered his troops to charge the enemy lines – a tactic which had proved very effective in their previous engagements.
secretary, Everard Fawkener describes the charge in a letter in which he
“The rebels then charged towards our right wing, waving their swords in the air and shouting: they hoped to tempt our right wing to leave the battle line and attack them. But His Royal Highness, the Duke of Cumberland, commanded these troops himself and they kept to their line. The rebels then made a mass attack on our left wing: they ran forward, sometimes stopping to fire their pistols and muskets and reload. They were met with fierce musket fire from the British and were almost cut to pieces by our cannon. The whole weight of the rebel attack fell on two battalions of the British left – the Scots Fusiliers and Munro’s. It seemed that the rebels would get round the left wing, but Colonel Wolfe moved up his battalion to stop this. Here the bayonets of the British caused great slaughter of the rebels.
The rebel charge failed, and their army fell back. On the left, the British cavalry rode through gaps which had been made in a stone wall and attacked the rebel right wing which was put to flight with its reserve. The cavalry on the British right also rode round the rebel wing and attacked the enemy from behind. At this, the rebel army fled. The British infantry advanced and gained ground where the rebels had stood. There our men gave three cheers”
By the end of the battle the Charles Stuart had lost between 1000- 1500 men out of his original 5000 strong force in comparison to Cumberland’s forces only suffering 50 dead and another 259 wounded. Charles himself was able to escape the battlefield and, after many adventures, reached France but campaign for a Stuart Monarchy would never happen again.
The 36th Regiment of Foot suffered only 6 wounded soldiers having seen very little action during the battle being placed in the second line as the 4th of 7 regiments in formation.
Officer’s of the 36th who took part at the Battle of Culloden
Below are the names of the officers who formed the 36th Regiment and took part at the battle of Culloden.
ACKLAND DUDLEY – Lieutenant
ARNOTT WILLIAM – Captain
BROWN ROBERT – Major
BUCKSTON THOMAS – Captain
CHAMIER ROBERT – Captain
CARLETON HUMPHREY – Ensign
DENNY WILLIAM – Captain
DODD GILBERT- Captain
DUDLEY WILLIAM – Lieutenant
DUNCAN ALEXANDER – Ensign
ELRINGTON THOMAS – Ensign
GORE HENRY- Captain/ Lieutenant
HAMILTON ROBERT – Ensign
JACKSON GEORGE – Lieutenant colonel
MATTHEWS JOHN – Ensign
MOREAU PAUL – Ensign
MONTGOMERIE ARCHIBALD 11th EARL OF
EGLINTON – Captain
As the Second World War came to a close and the Allied Powers took control of the previous Nazi occupied territories, conferences, such as at Yalta and Potsdam, were held to determine how to best divide the region. It was decided that the west of the previously occupied territories would be controlled by the United States, France and Great Britain and the east by the USSR. However, the Western Allies demanded part of Berlin resulting in the City being divided. As Berlin was located within Soviet occupied Germany Great Britain, the US and France were very much isolated within the Soviet occupied sector.
The sectors of Berlin
On 24th June 1948 the Soviets began an all-out blockade of Berlin while demanding the Western Allies withdraw the newly introduced Deutsche mark from West Berlin. In response, the Western Allies organised an airlift to provided supplies to their sector.
The Worcestershire Regiment had arrived in Berlin on the 31st January 1948 and immediately occupied the Montgomery Barracks a mere eight miles from the Soviet occupied zone. Tensions were notably high an account from the July 1948 edition of “Firm” (the Regimental Magazine) states that: “the past few months in Berlin have been as arduous as any spent by the Battalion since the end of the war” clearly showing the tremulous state of affairs within Berlin. The Worcestershire Regiment were primarily tasked to guard the British sector of Berlin and to prevent Soviet involvement in the region. Their role often would not go without incident, barely a month after the Regiment had occupied the Montgomery Barracks the Soviets had moved their check post into the Western Sector claiming it to be the correct border. Two companies of the Worcestershire Regiment swiftly encircled them and after twenty-four hours, the Russians left. This incident exemplifies the military and political chess match of the East and the West within Berlin and what the Worcestershire Regiment had to deal this during their time in garrison.
However largely daily life would also go without incident resulting in the majority of the Regiment assigned to guard roles. This was not an overly popular role and can be seen by another extract of Firm where it states: “we have quickly settled down in Kladow to the standard Berlin routine which consists primarily of the art of manufacturing excuses to avoid guards”. However, tensions were still very much at breaking point, HQ Company are recorded as saying “Berlin has become a beleaguered city and the only means of transport in and out is by air, quite like the war years except there are no bombs”.
Gatow Airport The C.I.G.S., Viscount Montgomery, inspecting the Band prior to his departure to U.K. He is talking TO B/Sjt. Morgan, M.M., accompanied by B/M. Lt.-Col. R.E.L. Tuckey and Major- General E. O. Herbert, Commandant Berlin Garrison
The Regiment remained in Montgomery Barracks until May 16th 1949 having quashed any Soviet attempts on their sector and moved to Gottingen three days after the Berlin Blockade had been lifted. They were relieved by the 1st Battalion Gorgon Highlanders and it mark the end of the Regiment’s direct involvement in Berlin.
This was the first major British offensive of the war on the Western front. The initial assault on 10th March broke through the German line. During that night elements of the 1st Battalion the Worcestershire Regiment went forward to hold the gap. They were reinforced by the remainder of the Battalion the next afternoon.
At dawn on the 12th March the German artillery opened up and shortly afterwards attacking infantry loomed through the mist. “There was a most extra-ordinary hush for a few seconds as we held our fire” said an officer “While they closed in on us.” Then the Battalion opened a rapid fire. As the Germans reeled, the Battalion broke from their trenches and charged with the bayonet, pursuing the enemy back beyond their own trenches which the Battalion then occupied and held against several counter-attacks.
This painting by Matania of the 1st Battalion at Neuve Chapelle graphically portrays the savage nature of the hand-to-hand fighting
By 10 am it was clear that the position of the Battalion, far in advance of any support, encircled on three sides, and shelled by both enemy and friendly artillery, was not tenable. As they withdrew in good order, they were decimated by the enemy’s cross-fire, losing amongst others the Commanding Officer and the Adjutant.
Lt. Colonel Wodehouse
The losses had been severe; 9 officers and 92 men killed, 10 officers and 226 men wounded, and 27 men missing.