The Gloucestershire Regiment
Although not officially connected with this county until 1782, The Gloucestershire Regiment’s history extends back to 1694 when Col John Gibson raised a new regiment which later became the 28th of Foot. Fifty years later the 61st of Foot was formed, and within a few more years, both Regiments were linked with the county of Gloucestershire becoming the 28th (North Gloucestershire) and 61st (South Gloucestershire) respectively. In 1881 these two proud Regiments, each with its own long history of battles and triumphs, became the 1st and 2nd Battalions of The Gloucestershire Regiment. To this new Regiment was added the Volunteer Battalions of the County which had been first raised in 1797.
The 28th and 61st, and their successors in the County Regiment, saw service on every continent. They fought under Marlborough, saw Wolfe shot before them at Quebec, and greatly distinguished themselves at the Battle of Alexandria in 1801. There, fighting at one point back to back, they enabled the British to achieve a famous victory for which they were awarded the right to wear the Back Badge, worn to this day. They formed Sir John Moore’s rearguard at Corunna, and fought throughout the Peninsular War. The 28th were the only English Regiment mentioned by the Duke of Wellington in his Waterloo dispatches.
The 28th fought in the Crimea, while the 61st took part in both the Sikh wars and the Indian Mutiny, winning high praise from the Duke of Wellington at Chillianwallah and their first VC at the Siege of Delhi. Both Battalions and the 4th Militia Battalion served in the Boer war.
24 battalions fought in the Great War 1914-18, winning 72 Battle Honours and five VCs. The cost, however, was high; 8,100 members of the Regiment giving their lives. In the Second World War, nine battalions took part, the 61st being annihilated defending the Dunkirk evacuation in 1940, and the 28th suffering a similar fate during the withdrawal in Burma in 1942.
Most recently the Glosters fought in Korea, winning the United States Presidential Citation at the battle of the Imjin River in 1951 for their valour. Until amalgamation in 1994 the Glosters could boast that they carried more Battle Honours on their Colours than any other Regiment in the British Army.