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Year-by-year record of the regiment from formation to 1875 with service records of officers. The Regiment was raised on 11 June 1685 by Lord Dartmouth under the authority of King James II (commissioning letter is reproduced in the book). Equipped with an improved kind of musket, called a Fusil, it was regarded superior to the other line regiments with special duties at the Tower as reflected in its title the ‘Ordnance Regiment.’ It was also referred to by the king as ‘Our Royal Regiment of Fuziliers’ and that name has stuck ever since. This record covers the period from the raising of the Regiment to 1875 and it is highly unusual in its arrangement in that it consists of a year-by-year account; there is no contents list, there are no chapters, it simply starts in 1685 and forges ahead with an account of the regiment’s fortunes each year thereafter. Some entries are models of brevity, 1716-1717 for example simply notes “The regiment continued at Minorca” - that’s two years service accounted for in five words. Other years, however, such as those covering the Peninsular War, are pages long and some descriptions reveal the ferocity of the fighting. An eyewitness of the 2nd Battalion in action at Talavera records:- “Some of the little enclosures in front of the right of the British [2 RF] were choked with French dead; and in one little field more than four hundred bodies were counted.” But it is not just the battles. Here is a window onto the history of the British army. Here are recorded all the changes of two centuries - changes in dress, in equipment, in weapons, in organisation, in establishments, in pay, in cost of commission by purchase. And of course we read what befell the Royal Fusiliers, the moves abroad and at home (52 different stations at home), battalion dispositions, strengths, names of officers serving, casualties, awards, inspections, parades. One memorial speaks volumes of hazards of overseas service: “Sacred to the memory of one hundred and thirty-four officers and privates, eight women and twenty-one children, who died whilst the Regiment was stationed at Saugor [India] from January 1866, to December 1869.” The sergeants erected their own memorial. Then the bonus at the end: the names of every officer who served in the Regiment during these two hundred or so years with his record of service, listed in alphabetical order. A truly impressive piece of work.
Reprint of the 1875 original edition.
  • AUTHOR: Wheater, W
  • FORMAT: 232pp Pb
  • Code: 26364

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