King's Own Royal Regiment Museum

Lancaster

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REGIMENTAL HISTORY
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Regimental History - 19th Century

We recommend The King's Own The Story of a Royal Regiment Volume 1 1680-1814  and The King's Own The Story of a Royal Regiment Volume 2 1814-1914 by Colonel Lionel I Cowper - the best history of the King's Own.  On a CD-rom, viewable through a computer.  Each volume is priced at £12.75 including UK postage.

Early 19th Century Recruiting Poster

Peninsula - The Napoleonic Campaigns chart Britain's progress in breaking the control which Napoleon established over Europe.  Britain dispatched troops to fight the French right across Europe.  The main actions were fought in Spain and Portugal - known as the Peninsula.  Portugal, with its long and profitable history of trade with Britain, was the first European power to defy Napoleon's Continental System.  It was quickly brought into line by force.  Its neighbour, Spain, was also overrun.  The Spanish royal family was forced to resign in favour of Napoleon's brother Joseph.  Anti-French feeling was strong.  With guerrilla warfare against the French under way, the British saw the Peninsula as a possible point of entry into Europe.

The King's Own was involved throughout these campaigns.  They fought in North Africa, Northern Europe, the Peninsula and at the final victory at Waterloo in 1815.

Find out more:

bulletAn Incident in the Peninsula War - Lieutenant Colonel Charles Bevan, of the 4th or King’s Own Regiment and the Bridge at Barba del Puerco 1811, also The Letters of Colonel Bevan.
bulletBattle of Vittoria, 1813
bulletLieutenant Colonel John Piper -Regimental Officer 1795-1821
bulletEnsign James Gardiner
bulletWaterloo Medal
bulletThe Battle of Waterloo
bulletSan Sebastian Memorial, Spain
bulletSee Mrs Cowper's drawings of uniform of the period: 1804-1813
bulletSee drawings of uniform and badges of the period: 1800-1815

North America - The King's Own was one of the few regiments to fight in both the Peninsula and the North American campaign of 1814-15.

Find out more:

bulletNorth America 1814-15
bulletBattle of Bladensburg
bulletBattle of Godley Wood

See uniform of the period: 1819-1829

Australia - Within eighteen years of the 'discovery' of Australia in 1770 the colony was used as a convict settlement.  Newly independent America refused to take any more prisoners, British jails were seriously overcrowded and Australia seemed to provide an ideal solution.  Transportation of convicts began once more in 1787.  After 1810, when local guards rebelled, the British Army was given responsibility for guarding the prisoners.  In 1831 the King's Own were sent out to undertake this duty.  The King's Own were responsible for providing garrisons for the settlements in New South Wales and Tasmania, as well as smaller presence on the remote Norfolk Island.

For more on the King's Own in Australia we recommend The King's Own The Story of a Royal Regiment Volume 2 1814-1914 by Colonel Lionel I Cowper - the best history of the King's Own.  On a CD-rom, viewable through a computer.  Price including UK postage £12.75

Find out more:

bulletPrivate Henry Watts, before he sailed to Australia.
bulletThe King's Own travelling to Australia.
bulletOther regiments in Australia.
bulletLieutenant Colonel Henry William Breton's views from Australia.
bulletSee uniform of the period: 1831-1837
bulletThe Journal of Captain Mason of the 4th (or King's Own) Regiment of Foot, Recording his voyage to Australia, his service there and his return journey 1831 - 1835

India 1840s:

bulletLetters from Sergeant Samuel Jackson, number 1245, 4th, or King's Own Regiment, from Kamptee Barracks, India, 1847.
bulletUniform of the period: 1842-1848

Crimea - The King's Own fought throughout the Crimean War and suffered heavy losses through disease and battle injury.  The war was the direct result of Russia's efforts to expand her territory around the Black Sea.  Britain and France both became involved.  As world forces they had interest in maintaining the balance of power.  Both sent in their troops to support Turkey against Russian advances.  The Crimean War is famous for the medical work of Florence Nightingale.  She had reacted to press reports that came from eye-witness accounts.  This was the first time newspaper correspondents were able to report from a war zone.  Nurses were not the only women with the troops.  A number of wives of King's Own soldiers also witnessed the appalling conditions at first hand, one of whom was Mrs Elizabeth Evans.

For much more information on the King's Own in the Crimean War we recommend The King's Own The Story of a Royal Regiment Volume 2 1814-1914 by Colonel Lionel I Cowper - the best history of the King's Own.  On a CD-rom, viewable through a computer.  Price including UK postage £12.75

Find out more:

bulletCrimea Medals
bulletLancaster's Crimean War Memorial
bulletCrimea War Photographs
bulletCrimea War Lithographs by William Simpson
bulletLetters of Captain Jasper Hall, Crimean War
bulletLetters and recollections of the Crimean War by Major James Paton
bulletUniform of the period: 1855-1860

Indian Mutiny

The Right Wing of the 1st Battalion was sent from Mauritius to India in September 1857 and did not serve in Central India where the Mutineers were most active.  Companies were engaged with the Mutineers in the attack on the fort on the island of Beyt off the Gujerat coast on 2nd April 1858 when 23 casualties were suffered, and in the attack and capture of the village of Maudhata in the Mahi Kauta district in August 1858 where they suffered no casualties.  The 208 officers and men of the Battalion who were present at either or both of these actions were awarded the Mutiny Medal without bar.

Find out more

bulletIndian Mutiny Medal
bulletLetter about the death of Private John Horton, Fort Beyt, 1858

Fine out more:

bullet2nd Battalion in Halifax, Nova Scotia, British North America, 1866-1868
bulletUniform of the period: 1862-1870

Abyssinia - The British government often employed its military strength to settle its disputes with foreign powers.  In this case the Army was called upon to free a number of Europeans held captive in Abyssinia (Ethiopia) by Emperor Theodore.  The King's Own was one of three regiments to serve in this campaign.  On arrival from India the King's Own marched many hundreds of miles inland to the fortress of Magdala.  After the Battle of Arogie the Abyssinians were defeated and the fortress was stormed days later.  Emperor Theodore committed suicide.

For more information on the Abyssinian Expedition we recommend We recommend The King's Own The Story of a Royal Regiment Volume 2 1814-1914 by Colonel Lionel I Cowper - the best history of the King's Own.  On a CD-rom, viewable through a computer.  Price including UK postage £12.75

Find out more:

bulletMarch to Magdala
bulletMaps of the Abyssinian Campaign, 1868
bulletAbyssinia Medal
bulletAbyssinia Campaign Photographs
bulletPresentation from the Mayor and Corporation of Dover, June 1868
bulletAbyssinia Glass Jug
bulletAbyssinia Silver Piece
bulletThe Mysterious Story of King Theodore's Drum of Gold
bulletUniform of the period: 1862-1870 and 1872-1880

South Africa 1879
The 2nd Battalion served in the Zulu War of 1879.

bulletSouth African War illustrations by Henry Buckton Laurence.

For more information on the South Africa (Zulu) War of 1879 we recommend The King's Own The Story of a Royal Regiment Volume 2 1814-1914 by Colonel Lionel I Cowper - the best history of the King's Own.  On a CD-rom, viewable through a computer.  Price including UK postage £12.75

Lancaster became the permanent home of the King's Own as a result of the army reforms of Edward Cardwell, the Secretary of State for War from 1868.  Fundamental changes were made.  Cardwell reorganised the War Office, revised soldiers' terms of service and formed a permanent army reserve.  He also reformed the promotion system for officers and redistributed foreign garrisons.  In Britain Cardwell divided brigades on a regional basis.  Each brigade was broken up into a number of districts, with an allotted regiment consisting of two battalions.  The Militia and Volunteer Battalions were now brought into this district system.

Find out more:

bulletCamp of the 10th Lancashire Rifle Volunteers, 1875
bulletList of infantry regiments following the 1881 reorganisation of the army.
bulletUniforms of the period: 1883-1896
bulletUniforms of the period: 1896-1902

South Africa - The Boer War 1899-1902 was fought between the countries of the British Empire and the Boer (or Afrikaner) population of South Africa.  The Boers, mainly of Dutch origin, wanted full independence from Britain.  However, South Africa was economically important - especially for gold and diamonds - and was not to be easily surrendered.  Men from the King's Own regular, volunteer and militia battalions fought during the three years of war.  The Boer forces were skilful in guerrilla tactics and used them widely, preventing a speedy victory for the British.

The Regimental Chapel in Lancaster was built as a memorial to those who fell during the South African Campaign.  The Chapel was dedicated on 29th July 1904.  A memorial records the names of 18 officers and 264 other ranks.

For a full account of the regular, militia and volunteer battalions in the South African War we recommend The King's Own The Story of a Royal Regiment Volume 2 1814-1914 by Colonel Lionel I Cowper - the best history of the King's Own.  On a CD-rom, viewable through a computer.  Price including UK postage £12.75

Find out more:

bullet2nd Battalion Departs Lichfield for South Africa, Dec 1899
bulletCorporal Walter Herbert's account of the Action at Spion Kop, January 1900
bulletPrivate John Cosgrove's account of the Action at Spion Kop, January 1900
bulletPrivate Croston's time at Spion Kop
bulletActive Service Companies in South Africa
bulletCaptain Alfred Dykes in South Africa
bulletSouth Africa Medals
bulletQueen Victoria Chocolate Box 1900
bulletBoer War Biscuit
bulletSt. Helena and Boer Prisoners of War 1900-1902
bulletCurrency used in the Boer War
bulletUniforms of the period: 1896-1902
bulletTypes of Soldier, circa 1900

One of the Regiment's most notable officers was General Sir Archibald Hunter.

We recommend The King's Own The Story of a Royal Regiment Volume 2 1814-1914 by Colonel Lionel I Cowper - the best history of the King's Own.  On a CD-rom, viewable through a computer.  Price including UK postage £12.75

Only a proportion of our collections are on display at anyone time.  Certain items are on loan for display in other institutions.  An appointment is required to consult any of our collections which are held in store.

© 2012 Trustees of the King's Own Royal Regiment Museum