Staffordshire Regiment

Infobox Military Unit
unit_name=The Staffordshire Regiment (The Prince of Wales')


caption=Cap badge of the Staffordshire Regiment
dates=1959-2007
country=United Kingdom
branch=Army
type=Line Infantry
command_structure=Prince of Wales' Division
role=Armoured Infantry
size= One Battalion
current_commander=
garrison= 1st Battalion - Tidworth
ceremonial_chief=HRH The Duke of York KG KCVO ADC(P)
ceremonial_chief_label=Colonel in Chief
colonel_of_the_regiment= Colonel James Kenneth Tanner, OBE
nickname=
motto=
colors=
identification_symbol=
identification_symbol_label=Tactical Recognition Flash
identification_symbol_2=Glider
From South Staffordshire Regiment
identification_symbol_2_label=Arm Badge
march=Quick - "The Staffordshire Regiment"
Slow - "God Bless the Prince of Wales"
mascot=
battles=
notable_commanders=
anniversaries=Anzio (22nd January), Ypres (31st July), Arnhem (17th September), Ferozeshah (21st December)

The Staffordshire Regiment (Prince of Wales') (or simply "Staffords" for short) was an infantry regiment of the British Army, part of the Prince of Wales' Division. The regiment was formed in 1959 by the amalgamation of The South Staffordshire Regiment and The North Staffordshire Regiment (Prince of Wales's). The Staffords can trace their history back to 1705 when a regiment known as the 38th Foot was raised at Lichfield by Colonel Luke Lillington.

History

Zulu War

During the Zulu War The South Staffordshire Regiment was located in South Africa and its battalions took part in a number of engagements there. One such engagement was in Hlobane, when the 2nd Battalion along with Boer troops were sent to attack that Zulu stronghold. The forces soon besieged the Zulus but a relief force of some 27,000 warriors arrived. The British and Boer forces, only 675 men in total, withdrew at the sight of this immense opposition. The next day some 25,000 Zulu warriors attacked the camp, located at Khambula, but were forced back after an onslaught from the British forces. The Zulus incurred over 2000 casualties, with the British force suffering just 29 casualties.

First World War

During the First World War, 35 Staffordshire battalions were formed (17 South Staffordshires and 18 North Staffordshires). At the Battle of Festubert, an action designed in support of the large French action at Vimy Ridge in 1915, the 1st Battalion performed with great distinction. The 22nd Brigade, of which the 1st South Staffords were part, were chosen to lead the right-side assault on the German trenches, though heavy machine-gun fire caused many casualties forcing the 22nd Brigade to halt, to allow a 15 minute bombardment to take place. After the bombardment ceased, the 22nd Brigade started moving again, with the South Staffords now part of the assault. They succeeded in reaching the German front, despite incurring a large number of casualties. They soon worked along the trenches with the use of grenades. The South Staffords and 2nd Battalion, Queens successfully secured territory from Stafford Corner to the old positions of the German front, not to mention the La Quinque Rue, achieving all their objectives. The 1st Battalion, South Staffordshires, continued to have a relatively successful day, taking further ground in the German trenches and capturing at least 190 German soldiers. All these results by the South Staffords were achieved on the first day of the assault, the 16th May.

The battalion suffered heavy casualties, with 261 officers and men being killed, though even this did not come near to the casualties that other regiments suffered at Festubert.

Many of the Staffordshire battalions participated in the Battle of Loos were they suffered heavy casualties. The 1st South Staffords were once again part of 22nd Brigade. Gas was used for the first time by the British in this battle, sometimes with tragic effect on their own forces. The 22nd Brigade moved towards its target, shrouded in the gas cloud but suffered heavy loss, with the 1st South Staffords and 2nd Royal Warwicks losing 70% of their men.

The 2nd South Staffords were part of 6th Brigade. Their gas attack faced tremendous problems, owing to the wind. One officer from the Royal Engineers believed it to be too dangerous and risky to release the gas in such poor conditions, but Brigade HQ ordered him to proceed with the gas attack. The gas cloud did not blow toward the German trenches and incapacitated 130 men of the 2nd South Staffords. Fighting continued for the rest of the day and into the next. The South Stafford battalions were in the thick of it for much of the time, even repelling German counter-attacks, against, at times, heavy odds.

The South Staffordshire Regiment battalions as a whole suffered the loss of 1,174 men during the Battle of Loos. The 6th North Staffordshire Regiment itself suffered 315 dead (or a full strength of approximately 800).

econd World War

;SicilyThe 2nd South Staffords took part in the Sicily Landings, the first full-scale invasion to take place in German occupied Europe, in an air-landing role. The 2nd Staffords were to be flown in by gliders, a technique still in its infancy. Approximately 130 gliders were intended to land in Sicily, but due to extremely bad conditions, only 87 managed to do, many crashing into the sea. Unfortunately, many of the crew and troops onboard these aircraft drowned before naval vessels could reach them, though many were saved.

The troops that were now on Sicily were scattered across the Italian island, and many were only in small units, with a seemingly impossible task before them: to capture and hold all their objectives. Ponte Grande Bridge, a key objective for the Allied invasion, was tasked to C Company of the South Staffords to capture before the enemy could blow it up. Two gliders had survived to land near the objective, but one blew up on landing, leaving just 15 Platoon to assault the German positions at the bridge. The Staffords, along with elements from other companies of the regiment, as well as glider pilots and Royal Engineers, succeeded in overwhelming the Germans there, capturing the bridge intact. They succeeded in withholding numerous attempts to retake the bridge, lasting for over 15 hours, until finally their ammunition had been expended and they were forced back by German troops. Luckily though, elements from The Royal Scots Fusiliers managed to arrive in time to relieve the exhausted Staffords, recapturing the bridge before it could be destroyed by the retreating German forces.

;ArnhemThe 2nd South Staffords, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Derek McCardie and part of the 1st Airlanding Brigade, of the vast forces preparing to launch Operation Market Garden, the planned invasion of the Netherlands. They were landed, being ordered to proceed to Arnhem Bridge, held by 2 Para, being gradually besieged by overwhelmingly strong German forces. Their progress was continually hampered by seven German ambushes, before eventually encountering heavy German opposition in the area of St. Elizabeth's Hospital. Attempts were made to group together the Staffords and 11 Para, though this soon failed, and the situation soon degenerated into street battles, in which the "Staffords" suffered severe casualties. The battalion won two VCs during these engagements, an impressive achievement that no other battalion matched in the Second World War. During Operation Market Garden, the "South Staffords" lost 85 men, with 558 missing and 124 being evacuated, out of a total of 767 men that had originally been landed in the Netherlands.

Gulf War

In October 1990 The Staffordshire Regiment was deployed to Saudi Arabia as part of 7th Armoured Brigade, better known as the 'Desert Rats'. The deployment was in response to the dictator Saddam Hussein's invasion of the sovereign territory of Kuwait, claiming it to rightfully belong to Iraq. The Staffords comprised 45 Warrior APCs, with a company of Grenadier Guards being attached to the regiment. A company from the 1st Battalion, The Prince of Wales's Own Regiment of Yorkshire. They were involved in fierce fighting with Iraqi forces from the beginning of land operations to the end. They covered an astonishing 290 km/180 miles in just 100 hours.

Iraq War

Following a first deployment in Iraq in 2005 at the end of October 2006 the Staffordshire Regiment commenced its final overseas deployment with a second deployment in Iraq.

Amalgamation

Under Options for Change it was announced that the Regiment would amalgamate with the Cheshire Regiment to form a single battalion regiment called the Cheshire and Staffordshire Regiment. This amalgamation was suspended in 1994.

As part of the reorganisation of the infantry announced in 2004, it was announced that the Staffordshire Regiment would merge with the Cheshire Regiment and the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment into a new three battalion regiment to be called the Mercian Regiment. On September 1, 2007 the Staffordshire Regiment became the 3rd Battalion, Mercian Regiment (Staffords), and will operate permanently in the armoured infantry role. Initially it will be based at Tidworth, but, as part of the current round of arms plotting, it will move to Fallingbostel in Germany in 2009, where it will be permanently based.

Battle Honours

*"Pre-WWI": Guadeloupe 1759, Martinique 1794, Hafir, South Africa 1878-79, Egypt 1882, Kirbekan, Nile 1884-85, South Africa 1900-02
*"World War I":
** "France and Flanders": Mons, Retreat from Mons, Marne 1914, Aisne 1914-18, Armentières 1914, Ypres 1914-17, Langemarck 1914-17, Gheluvelt Nonne Bosschen, Neuve Chapelle, Aubers, Festubert 1915 Loos, Somme 1916-18, Albert 1916-18, Bazentin, Delville Wood, Pozières, Guillemont, Flers-Courcelette, Morval, Thiepval, Ancre Heights, Ancre 1916, Bapaume 1917-18, Arras 1917, Scarpe 1917, Arleux, Bullecourt, Hill 70, Messines 1917-18, Ypres1917-18, Pilckem, Langemarck 1917, Menin Road, Polygon Wood, Broodseinde, Poelcapelle, Passchendaele, Cambrai 1917-18, St. Quentin, Bapaume 1918, Rosières, Avre, Lys, Bailleul, Kemmel, Scherpenberg, Drocourt-Quéant, Hindenburg Line, Havrincourt, Canal du Nord, St. Quentin Canal, Beaurevoir, Kortrijk, Selle, Valenciennes, Sambre, France and Flanders 1914-18
** "Gallipoli": Suvla, Landing at Suvla, Scimitar Hill, Sari Bair, Gallipoli 1915-16
** "Mesopotamia": Egypt 1916, Tigris 1916, Kut al Amara 1917, Bagdhad, Mesopotamia 1916-18
** "Italy": Piave, Vittorio Veneto 1918
** "North West Frontier India": Baku, Persia 1918, North West Frontier India 1915
*"Inter-War": Afghanistan 1919
*"World War II":
** "North West Europe": Dyle, Defence of the Scheldt, Ypres-Comines Canal, Caen, Orne, Noyers, Mont Picton, Brieux Bridgehead, Falaise, Arnhem 1944, North West Europe 1940-44
** "North Africa": Sidi Barrani, Djebel Kesskiss, Medjez Plain, Gueriat el Atch Ridge, Gab Gab Gap, North Africa 1943
** "Italy": Landing in Sicily, Sicily 1943 Anzio, Carroceto, Rome, Advance to Tiber, Gothic Line, Marradi, Italy 1943 and Italy 1944-45,
** "Burma": Chindits 1944, Burma 1943 and Burma 1944
*"Post-WWII": Gulf 1991, Wadi al Batin

Alliances

*CAN - 4e Bataillon, Royal 22e Régiment (Châteauguay)
*AUS - The Royal Victoria Regiment
*ATG - The Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force
*JAM - The Jamaica Regiment
*PAK - 7th Battalion, The Baloch Regiment

Victoria Cross Winners (External Links)

*Private Thomas Barratt, 7th Battalion, The South Staffordshire Regiment
*Lance-Sergeant John Daniel Baskeyfield, The South Staffordshire Regiment
*Sergeant Anthony Clarke Booth, 80th Regiment (later The South Staffordshire Regiment)
*T/Major Robert Henry Cain, The Royal Northumberland Fusiliers, attached to The South Staffordshire Regiment
*Lieutenant George Albert Cairns, The Somerset Light Infantry (Prince Albert's), attached to The South Staffordshire Regiment
*Sergeant John Carmichael, 9th Battalion, The North Staffordshire Regiment (Prince of Wales')
*Lance-Corporal William Harold Coltman 1st/6th Battalion, The North Staffordshire Regiment (Prince of Wales')
*Drummer Thomas Flinn, 64th Regiment (later The North Staffordshire Regiment (Prince of Wales'))
*T/Lieutenant-Colonel Edward Elers Delaval Henderson, The North Staffordshire Regiment (Prince of Wales')
*Captain Arthur Forbes Gordon Kilby, 2nd Battalion, The South Staffordshire Regiment
*Lance-Corporal John Thomas, 2/5th Battalion, The North Staffordshire Regiment (Prince of Wales')
*Captain John Franks Vallentin, 1st Battalion, The South Staffordshire Regiment
*Private Samuel Wassall, 80th Regiment (later The South Staffordshire Regiment)


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