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                                      Titanic departing from Southampton April 1912          John Melody Town Crier          
   Home      The Royal Hampshires
Queen Mary entering KG DOCKOur outdoor visit to Minstead Church in 2011 image Will TempleWarrior who after service on the front in WWI became a Southampton Police Horse. Image by kind permission Bitterne Local History SocietySouthampton CenotaphJohn Melody Town Crier at Tudor Revels 2012 image Arthur Jeffery

 The Royal Hampshire Regiment 1702-1992
(now the Princess of Wales Royal Regiment) by Alec Samuels

The Regiment was originally formed by Colonel Meredith, a Protestant officer in the army of William III, in 1702 in Ireland.

They fought with conspicuous success under Marlborough in the great battles of the War of the Spanish Succession, 1702-1714, Blenheim (1704), Ramilles (1706), Oudenarde (1708) and Malplaquet (1709).  Following one of these battles, in which the soldiers performed marvellously, the Commanding Officer said at the end of the day, "You have not displeased me today, but get yourselves cleaned up".

They fought with George II at Dettingen, 1743.  Following the victory of Minden 1 August 1759, they were awarded the right to wear the rose, in memory of the men who picked roses as they returned from the battle. 

They were at Culloden, 1746, not a happy occasion, but subsequently did much to restore good relations with the Scots. 

The first Colonel of the Regiment was General Wolfe, of Quebec fame.

Long service in India at the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century earned them the tiger emblem superscripted INDIA, to be borne on their colours.  They served in the Peninsula War against Napoleon 1806-1813.

In 1860 in China the capture of an important fort earned four V.C.'s, "four V.C.'s before breakfast", a remarkable feat, which led to the capture of Peking.  Then there was service in Afghanistan in 1879.

In 1881 the 37th (North Hampshire) Regiment and the 67th (South Hampshire) Regiment were united to form the Hampshire Regiment.  1900 they were in South Africa for the Boer War.  The Cardwell and Haldane reforms prepared them for 20th century warfare. 

They saw service in the First World War at Gallipoli and on the Western Front, suffering heavy losses at Ypres, Loos, Somme and Passchendaele and similar battles.  Three V.C.'s were won.

In 1939 they were off to France, and in 1940 they were successfully evacuated from Dunkirk.  In November 1942 in North Africa at Tebourba they beat off German counter-attacks, thus enabling the Allies to capture Tunis, and drive the Germans from Africa.  Tebourba Way in Southampton is named after this magnificent achievement - see the plaque near the Millbrook roundabout.  Then on to Sicily and Italy. 

The First Battalion set sail from Southampton in June 1944, and were among the very first troops to land in Normandy on D-Day, early on 6 June 1944.  Three V.C.'s were won in WWII. 

In 1945 they were granted the Freedom of Southampton, and also of Winchester and Aldershot.  In 1946 His Majesty King George VI was  graciously pleased to confer the title Royal upon them, in recognition of their magnificent achievements, an honour given to only a few regiments.

The Regiment has always been infantry, an indispensable part of any army, and proved their worth in two world wars.  Today they are equipped with the latest weapons.

Since 1945 they have served in Malaya, West Indies, Germany, Borneo, Cyprus, Gibraltar, Hong Kong, the Falklands, Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Traditionally the majority of the soldiers have been drawn from Hampshire, many of them farmers and farm workers - which is said to explain their dogged determination in awkward situations.  The traditional tune "To be a Farmer's Boy" is one of the marches of the Regiment, along with "The Hampshires".

Now the Regiment has been merged with the Queen's Regiment to form The Princess of Wales' Royal Regiment (Queen's and Royal Hampshires), the senior regiment of the line.  The tiger flash is retained.  The name remains.  The tradition goes on.  The change took effect on Salerno Day, 9 September 1992.

Over the centuries the men of Hampshire have fought the dictators and the tyrants, and made the supreme sacrifice, that we might live in peace under the law.  Today they are still protecting the peace.                                   

(A full history is to be found in the Regimental History of the Hampshire Regiment by C.T. Atkinson and D. Scott Daniel, 1952, and a shorter history in The Royal Hampshire Regiment, Alan Aykes, 1968.  Hamish Hamilton.  (All in the Local History section of the Central Library).  See also A Short History by Lieutenant-Colonel (retd) C.D. Darroch, Honorary Archivist.  The Regimental Museum and Memorial Garden are at Serle's House in Winchester.)

Outdoor visit to Minstead Church image courtesy Will Temple Outdoor visit on a Guy Arab open top busTug tender Calshot in preservation