Battle of Waterloo and the

Berkshire Regiment

 

By Chris Elliott………

One of our contributors Bob Scott was prompted to write to us having read our article The Battle of Waterloo by Keith Lloyd click here to tell us about the regiment he served with which was the Berkshire Regiment and served with them in Cyprus during the EOKA emergency.

Bob tells us a little of the Berkshire Regiment which was originally the 66th Regiment of Foot which was raised in 1756 and were deployed to Gibraltar, West Indies, Halifax, Jersey, Ceylon India and Nepal where the British were engaged in operations against the British Memorial at the site of the Battle of Talavera (2)Ghurkhas, later to become staunch allies but at that time bitter enemies and finally went to St Helena.

In 1803 the 66th was ordered to raise a second battalion, the men coming from the newly formed Army of Reserve. The original intention had been that the new second battalion should remain as a permanent home based recruiting and drafting unit for the senior battalion. This system soon collapsed under the stress of war and in 1809 the 2nd/66th was ordered to active service in the Peninsular War under Wellington and gained the battle honours ‘Douro’, ‘Talavera’, ‘Albuera’, ‘Vittoria’, ‘Pyrenees’, ‘Nivelle’, ‘Nive’, ‘Orthes’ and ‘Peninsula’. At Albuhera the 2nd/66th lost its Colours and was all but cut to pieces by the Polish cavalry, with only 52 men still standing when the unit was relieved. Bob has also sent us some photos shown here of the British Memorial at the site of the Battle of Talavera – Spain courtesy of courtesy of John Cancilla and a picture of a ceremony in Madrid in 2010 courtesy of the 1st Rilfes.

In the aftermath of the Napolionic war in 1816 the 2nd/66th sailed for St Helena to guard Napoleon, who had been despatched there following his defeat at Waterloo. It was joined the following year by the 1st/49th and on 24 July 1817 the two Battalions were amalgamated. The Royal Berkshire 49th of foot and the Berkshire Regiment 66th of foot both served as Independent Regiments, until both were amalgamated in March 1949. as the 1st battalion thereby all becoming the Royal Berkshire Regiment.

The battle of Waterloo was the pinnacle of eight years of conflict, ending in 1815 with the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo.

For those readers who would like to read more of the Berkshire Regiment and its history please click here

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