British Regiment


The Duke of Wellington’s Regiment (West Riding) was an infantry regiment of the British Army, forming part of the King’s Division.

In 1702 Colonel George Hastings, 8th Earl of Huntingdon, was authorised to raise a new regiment, which he did in and around the city of Gloucester. As was the custom in those days the regiment was named Huntingdon’s Regiment after its Colonel. As Colonel succeeded Colonel the name changed, but in 1751 regiments were given numbers, and the regiment was from that time officially known as the 33rd Regiment of Foot. In 1782 the regiment’s title was changed to the 33rd (or First Yorkshire West Riding) Regiment, thus formalising an association with the West Riding of Yorkshire which, even then, had been long established. The first Duke of Wellington died in 1852 and in the following year Queen Victoria, in recognition of the regiment’s long ties to him, ordered that the regiment’s title be changed to the 33rd (or The Duke of Wellington’s) Regiment. In 1881, following the Cardwell Reforms, the 33rd was linked with the 76th Regiment of Foot, who shared their depot in Halifax. The 76th had first been raised in 1745, by Simon Harcourt and disbanded in 1746, re-raised in 1756 disbanded again in 1763, before being raised again in 1777, disbanded in 1784 and finally re-raised, in 1787, for service in India, by the Honorable East India Company. The two regiments became, respectively, the 1st and 2nd Battalions of The Duke of Wellington’s Regiment. In 1948 the 1st and 2nd Battalions were amalgamated into a single battalion, the 1st Battalion. On 6 June 2006 The ‘Dukes’ were amalgamated with the Prince of Wales’s Own Regiment of Yorkshire and The Green Howards to form the Yorkshire Regiment.

Battalions from the regiment had served in most land conflicts involving British forces since its formation, from the Wars of the Austrian and Spanish succession’s, through the American war of Independence and various campaigns in India and Africa, the Napoleonic Wars, the Second Boer War and many of the greatest battles of World War I (the Battle of Mons, the Battle of the Somme (1916), the Battle of Passchendaele, the Battle of Cambrai) and the Third Anglo-Afghan War in 1919. In World War II the regiment fought as part of the British Expeditionary Force in France, forming part of the rearguard at Dunkirk; in North Africa; Italy and in France, following the D-Day landings, and as Chindits in Burma. In Korea, the ‘Dukes’ desperate defence of the Hook position halted the last major Chinese attempt to break the United Nations Line before the truce, in July 1953, brought the war to an end. In Cyprus the battalion was successful in Operation Golden Rain, destroying a major EOKA terrorist group operating in the Troodos Mountains in 1956. In 1964 the battalion joined the NATO deterrence in Germany on the front line in the Cold War and from 1971 was regularly engaged in ‘the Troubles’ in Ulster until 1997. They were amongst the first units to cross the border from Kuwait in the 2003 Iraq War.

Nine soldiers from the regiment have been awarded the Victoria Cross, and Corporal Wayne Mills of the 1st Battalion became the first recipient of the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross in 1994, whilst serving with the United Nations forces in Bosnia.

==Formation and name==

The Duke of Wellington’s Regiment was originally formed in 1702 as Huntingdon’s Regiment. As regiments at that time took the name of the Colonel taking it over it became:- Henry Leigh’s Regiment; then Robert Duncansons Regiment and George Wade’s Regiment. It was disbanded on 25 March 1714, but was officially registered as the 33rd Regiment of Foot in January 1715 and re-raised on 25 March 1715, as George Wade’s Regiment; then Henry Hawley’s Regiment; Robert Dalzell’s Regiment and John Johnson Regiment. The regiment served in Austria, France, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, America, Canada, Germany and India and the Indian Ocean islands as part of a Royal Navy Raiding Squadron and the Crimean War.

In 1782 Lord Cornwallis, the then Colonel of the Regiment, wrote that “The 33rd Regiment of Infantry has always recruited in the West Riding of Yorkshire and has a very good interest and the general goodwill of the people in that part of the country:- I should therefore wish not only to be permitted to recruit in that county, but that my Regiment may bear the name of the 33rd or West Yorkshire Regiment”. On 31 August 1782 Lord Cornwallis heard that the King had approved of the new title:- 33rd (or the 1st West Yorkshire West Riding) Regiment of Foot.

Owing to its links with the Duke of Wellington, the title ‘The Duke of Wellington’s Regiment’ was granted to the 33rd Regiment on 18 June 1853, on the anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo in the year following Wellington’s death. Subsequently, the regiment was presented with a new stand of Regulation Colours, on 28 February 1854, emblazoned with its new distinctions of the name of the Duke of Wellington, his crest and motto, by the then Colonel of the Regiment, Lieutenant General Sir Henry D’Oyley. The regiment departed for the Crimea the following day.

The 76th Regiment was originally raised, by Simon Harcourt as Lord Harcourts Regiment on 17 November 1745 and disbanded in June 1746. Following the loss of Minorca, to the French, it was reraised in November 1756 as the 61st Regiment, but renumbered to 76th, by General Order in 1758, and again disbanded in 1763. A second battalion raised by that regiment in October 1758, for service in Africa, was renumbered as the 86th Regiment and also disbanded in 1763. On 25 December 1777, the 76th was again re-raised, as the 76th Regiment of Foot (Macdonald’s Highlanders), by Colonel John MacDonell of Lochgarry, in the West of Scotland and Western Isles, as a Scottish Light Infantry regiment. It was disbanded at Stirling Castle in March 1784. The regiment was again raised for service in India by the Honorable East India Company in 1787.

In 1881 the 76th Regiment, which shared the same Depot in Halifax as the 33rd, was linked to the 33rd, under the Cardwell Reforms, to become the 2nd Battalion. Although retitled as the Halifax Regiment (Duke of Wellington’s) this title only lasted six months until it was changed on 30 June 1881, in a revised appendix to General order 41, to:- The Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding Regiment), or ‘W Rid R’ for short. In January 1921 it was again retitled to The Duke of Wellington’s Regiment (West Riding), or ‘DWR’ for short. On 6 June 2006 The ‘Dukes’ were amalgamated with the Prince of Wales’s Own Regiment of Yorkshire and The Green Howards, all Yorkshire-based regiments in the King’s Division, to form the Yorkshire Regiment. {-}


Within months of its original raising the regiment was despatched to join Malborough’s army in Holland. After five months and only two battles it was sent to Portugal, along with five other of Malborough’s best regiments, where it remained for the next six years. The 33rd fought in many battles including Valencia de Alcantara (1705), Zaragossa (1710), and less favourably at Almansa and Brihuega. It was only one of the two foot regiments not to be disbanded and in 1743 the regiment was sent to Germany, where it distinguished itself in the Battle of Dettingen, gaining its first battle honour, then again at the Battle of Fontenoy in 1745 and again in Rocoux and Lauffeld in 1747.

===American Revolution===

The 33rd itself had a good reputation for its professionalism and capability, which was seemingly unequalled by any other regiment of the British Army for some time. It was because of their professionalism in the field during the American War of Independence, that the regiment was given the nickname ‘The Pattern’; the regiment then became the standard of soldiering which all other regiments should attain.

The 33rd saw much action during the American War of Independence, with its first engagement at the Battle of Sullivan’s Island (First Siege of Charleston) in early 1776, when British forces attempted an assault on that city’s defences. In August of that year, the 33rd were involved in the Battle of Long Island. After heavy fighting which lasted several days, the Americans evacuated their remaining forces to Manhattan. The British were victorious. The British forces suffered about 400 casualties, and the Americans over 2,000. The New York area remained in British control until late 1783.

The regiment’s next action came a month later, in September at the Battle of Harlem Heights. It was a small skirmish: besides some Hessian troops, the only other British regiment was the 42nd (Royal Highland) Regiment of Foot. The British force, initially without the 33rd, encountered Knowlton’s Rangers, a scouting force sent by George Washington. A small skirmish ensued with the Americans subsequently retreating. Washington then sent another force to lure the British further up the northern plateau, which he held, along with a second force to move around the flank of the British. The British took the bait and advanced further up the plateau. The American flanking force was encountered by the British, which showed them the imminent danger they faced. After some further fighting, the British retreated to a field, where they were joined by the 33rd and a number of Hessian battalions. After further fighting, the Americans retreated.

The regiment was also involved in the Battle of Fort Washington. After that, the 33rd were not involved in a major battle until September 1777, when they took part in the Battle of Brandywine, where the British suffered 550 casualties and the Americans about 1,000. The regiment took part in further action that year, at the Battle of Germantown and the Battle of White Marsh, where they fought the Americans who had retreated from the fighting at Germantown.

The following year was just as active, with the 33rd seeing action at the Battle of Monmouth, an engagement that became the largest one-day battle of the war. The 33rd was also part of the defence of Newport and Quaker Hill.

Two years later, in 1780, the 33rd took part in the Siege of Charleston. By 11 May, the American General Benjamin Lincoln began to negotiate terms of surrender. The following day Lincoln, along with over 7,000 American soldiers, surrendered to the British forces under the command of Lieutenant-General Henry Clinton. In August that year, the 33rd were involved at the Battle of Camden, a victory for the British. Approximately 324 British were killed or wounded and about 1,000 Americans were killed or wounded, with another 1,000 being taken prisoner.

====Guilford Court House====

The year 1781 proved to be the deadliest but most successful year for the 33rd. The regiment took part in the Battle of Wetzell’s Mill, but the more famous action took place that same month during a battle at Guilford Court House.

On 14 March 1781, Lord Cornwallis, the British commander, was informed that General Richard Butler was marching to attack his army. With Butler was a body of North Carolina Militia, plus reinforcements from Virginia, consisting of 3,000 Virginia Militia, a Virginia State regiment, a Corp of Virginian “eighteen-month men” and recruits for the Maryland Line. They had joined the command of Major General Nathanael Greene, creating a force of some nine to ten thousand men in total. During the night, further reports confirmed the American force was at Guilford Court House, some 12 miles (20 km) away. Cornwallis decided to give battle, though he had only 1,900 men at his disposal.

At dawn on 15 March 1781, before the men had a chance to have breakfast, Cornwallis started for Guilford, arriving there at mid-day. Banastre Tarleton’s Light Dragoons had been in the vanguard of the approach up the road and were briefly engaged by Henry “Light Horse Harry” Lee’s dragoons (Lee’s Legion) some {convert|4|miles|km|abbr=on} short of the Guilford Court House. The British 23rd Regiment of Foot sent reinforcements forward, and Lee withdrew, having suffered badly at the hands of Tarleton’s Light Dragoons in previous actions at Tarrant’s House and Weitzell’s Mill.

Unknown to Cornwallis, the Americans were actually deployed in three lines across the Salisbury road. The first, mostly manned by North Carolina Militia units, was behind the fence. To the west of this line were Colonel William Washington’s 3rd Continental Light Dragoons and Virginian light infantry. To the east were Lieutenant Colonel Lee’s Dragoons. His second, manned by Virginian Militia was about 300 yards to the rear of the first. To the rear of this final line was the court house and General Greene’s command post.

After a twenty-minute cannonade, Cornwallis began his attack around 1:30 pm. His left flank, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel James Webster, was made up of the 33rd and the 23rd Regiments, supported by the Grenadier company and 2nd Battalion of the Brigade of Guards (drawn from each company of the 1st, Coldstream and 3rd Foot Guards). At Guilford Court House, they were then under the command of Brigadier General Charles O’Hara. The light infantry of the Guards and the German Yäegers (Jägers) remained in the woods to the west. To the right, under the command of Maj-Gen Leslie were the 71st Frasers Highlanders and the Prussian General, Julius von Bose’s, Hessians, with the 1st Battalion of Guards in support. Following were Tarleton’s Light Dragoons, plus one troop of the 17th Light Dragoons, ready to go where circumstances required.

The British moved forward in line. However, the wooded terrain, the width of the battlefield, and uneven resistance hindered a coordinated advance, and British forces arrived piecemeal at the third line. At the climax of the battle, British Guards and American Continentals engaged in hand-to-hand combat.

The 71st Regiment then came through the woods. The 2nd Battalion of Guards turned and charged back on the Americans, supported by the Grenadiers who had also advanced, pushing Washington’s men back into the woods. Over to the left, elements of the 23rd Regiment started to appear, and part of Tarleton’s Light Dragoons charged up the road. The Americans turned and retreated, leaving behind their field guns and ammunition wagons. The 33rd Regiment then appeared, having overcome many difficulties on their advance. They had been heavily engaged by the American right flank, first crossing then re-crossing a ravine to consolidate and regroup. They were soon followed by the light infantry of the Guards. Cornwallis ordered the 23rd and 71st Regiments with part of the cavalry to pursue the Americans, though not for any great distance.

The battle had lasted only ninety minutes, and although the British technically defeated the American force, they lost over a quarter of their own men. The 33rd suffered 11 killed and 63 wounded out of a force of 300 all ranks, having already lost 28 men in preceding actions.

====Green Spring====

The 33rd also fought at the Battle of Green Spring in July of that year. Their last engagement of the war was at the Siege of Yorktown, when they were part of the outnumbered British forces. The British surrendered on 19 October, having little ammunition, food and supplies left. There was also no sign of Henry Clinton’s relieving force, which arrived in the Chesapeake Bay on 24 October, far too late to affect the outcome.

===England, West Indies, and Flanders===

After 10 years in America the 33rd finally returned to England in 1786. The following year they were posted to Windsor and took up duty as ‘The Kings Guard’, until 1789. It was then posted to various barracks around Devon and Cornwall, being at that time the only regiment in the south of England.

In 1793 the ‘Honourable Arthur Wesley’, third son of the Earl of Mornington, the future Duke of Wellington, purchased a ‘Majority’ in the 33rd.

By 1794 the 33rd was under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel (promoted to full Colonel in 1797) Arthur Wellesley. They had taken part in the disastrous Flanders Campaign and the retreat from Germany, and embarked, from Bremen, for England on 13 April 1795. Though having suffered only six men killed in combat, over 200 more died from disease and other causes during the 10 months of campaigning. A further 192 remained behind, sick in hospital. The regiment returned to Warley in Yorkshire to rest, recruit and retrain.

On 16 November 1795 the 33rd was again deployed to the West Indies. However the ships ran into a storm, almost immediately and had to take shelter in ports around the south coast, before resuming sail on 3 December. The ship the 33rd was in had been sent to Lymington and the 33rd debarked to recuperate. It remained there until April 1796 when it was despatched to Calcutta, arriving on 17 February 1797, under the command of ‘Colonel Arthur Wesley’.


In 1799 the regiment took part in the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War in a Division commanded by Colonel Arthur Wellesley, as part of a British East India Company army, commanded by Major General Harris, with Major General Sir David Baird as second in command. Arthur’s eldest brother Richard Wellesley, 2nd Earl of Mornington, later 1st Marquess Wellesley, had just become Governor General of India. So in addition to the 33rd, Arthur, who had now become Colonel Arthur Wellesley, was given command of the 10,000 men of the Nizam of Hyderabad. They had a decisive part to play in the Battle of Seringapatam. The regiment, involved in bitter fighting with the Tippu Sultan’s warriors, were repulsed with heavy losses when they attacked a wood, which was strongly defended by the Sultan’s forces. The 33rd rallied and fought further actions throughout the battle, with the British emerging decisively victorious and the Tippoo Sultan being killed. The regiment won a battle honour for its involvement in the action.

The siege of Seringapatam is featured in the Richard Sharpe novel Sharpe’s Tiger by Bernard Cornwell. It is also the setting for the first British detective novel, Wilkie Collins’s The Moonstone (1868).

In 1857 the 33rd took part in operations against the Indian Mutiny being involved in a number of actions there, notably at Dwarka, which ultimately led to the restoration of stability.

===Napoleon’s Return and Waterloo===

The 33rd landed at Willemstad on 17 December 1814, and worked in conjunction with the Russian contingent under Benckendorff and the Prussians under Bülow the regiment, under the command of Lt-Col Elphinstone. There was a considerable amount of inconclusive manoeuvring before finally action against the French near Antwerp on 13 January, around the village of Merxem. The French were routed at bayonet point with no casualties suffered by the 33rd.

By early March 1815, the regiment was again under the command of the Duke of Wellington, this time during the Hundred Days campaign of Napoleon. Having taken part in the action of the previous day, at the Battle of Quatre Bras, they took up positions at Waterloo, the 33rd was part of the 5th Brigade under the command of Major General Sir Colin Halkett, which comprised, in addition the 2nd Bn 30th Foot, and 2nd Bn 69th Foot. The brigade was part of the 3rd Division under the command of General Count Sir Charles Alten, which was in turn part of I Corps, under the command of William, Prince of Orange.

The 33rd was involved in heavy fighting during the Battle of Waterloo and at the end of the battle the regiment’s casualties numbered 11 officers and 128 men killed or wounded. The British and their Allies were victorious, but at a price of suffering about 15,000 casualties. The Prussians suffered 7,000 casualties. The French suffered 32,000 dead or wounded, as well as around 8,000 taken prisoner.

===West Indies===

Having departed from Paris on 23 December 1815, the regiment spent the post Waterloo period, from January 1816 to 1821, in uneventful garrison duties in Glasgow, Guernsey and Dublin. The regiment was able to recruit, re-equip and retrain, gaining the approval of many visiting Generals.

In 1822, the regiment was posted to Jamaica. The West Indies were notorious as the death bed of the British Army because of the high mortality rate from malaria, dysentery, yellow fever and other such endemic diseases. Many thousands of soldiers never made it back to Britain. The 33rd was not to escape its harsh environment. Within two months, three officers and 49 other ranks had died. By the end of the tour in 1832, 11 officers and 560 NCOs and men had died from diseases. They arrived in Portsmouth in March 1832 with a command of 12 officers and 240 other ranks. 142 had opted to remain behind, having married and taken up residence with their families, and transferred to the 22nd (Cheshire) and the 84th (York and Lancaster) Regiments.


Owing to its links with Wellington, the title 33rd (The Duke of Wellington’s) Regiment was granted to the 33rd, on 18 June 1853 (the 38th Anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo) by Queen Victoria, in honour of the 1st Duke of Wellington, who had died on 14 September the previous year.

At the Battle of Alma, bitter fighting took place, with the 33rd being part of the Light Division under the command of Sir George Brown. The British advanced up the slope towards the Russian positions. The British formations became intermingled, turning into a mass of soldiers, rather than the professional, neat formations used on parade. As they charged, numerous Russian troops came down the slope to meet them. The British halted and fired, causing so many casualties the Russians were forced to retreat. The British line reorganised and moved up the slope towards the Great Redoubt, with the 33rd being the first to attack the defence works. The 33rd suffered heavy casualties in the hand-to-hand combat that ensued.

The British forces prevailed in taking the objective. However, Russian forces advance on the Great Redoubt to counter-attack. An officer shouted to the British soldiers not to fire, claiming them to be French. Other British officers soon contradicted him, ordering the men to fire at the massed ranks of soldiers advancing on their position. They poured a large amount of fire into the Russian troops, causing many casualties. The British then began to advance, and again the Russians retreated. The Great Redoubt was once again in British control. On the right flank, the Highland Brigade—just two lines deep—advanced whilst firing, which was an unusual manoeuvre in those days. The Russians soon fled, and victory was assured. The British forces suffered 2,000 casualties, the French 1,000, and the Russians 6,000. The 33rd received a battle honour for their actions.

At the Battle of Inkerman, the 33rd were again involved in some bitter fighting, in which the British infantry advanced despite heavy losses and a strong defence by the Russians. The fighting was fierce, at times some soldiers resorting to attacking their enemy with the butts of their guns. The British suffered some 2,357 killed or wounded, and the French lost about 939 soldiers. Russian casualties were immense with some 11,800 killed or wounded.

The 33rd was involved in the Siege of Sevastopol, which lasted for 11 months. By 1856, the war was over but at a high price. The British had lost approximately 22,182 dead and 18,280 wounded, out of a total force of over 97,000. The majority were lost not because of fighting with the Russians, but to disease. In total, the Allies lost over 160,000 dead and the Russians lost over 450,000.


The 33rd were part of an expedition sent to the East African nation of Abyssinia, now known as Ethiopia after several European citizens had been taken hostage by the self-appointed ‘King’ Emperor Tewodros II in 1864. In March 1866 a British envoy had been despatched to secure the release of a group of missionaries who had first been seized when a letter Tewdros II had sent to Queen Victoria, delivered by an envoy (Captain Cameron), requesting munitions and military experts from the British, had gone unanswered. They were released; however Tewdros II changed his mind and sent a force after them and they were returned to the fortress and imprisoned again, along with Captain Cameron.

The 33rd was committed to Abyssinia in October 1867 and embarked on 21 November, arriving at Annesley Bay on 4 December; but did not disembark for three days due to the chaos on shore. Thousands of mules had been sent from Egypt and other countries before adequate arrangements had been made to feed and water them. Initially two companies of the 33rd went ashore to capture and contain the mules and condensed sea water was pumped ashore from a warship and then carried by hand to makeshift wooden troughs. A base camp was set up at Zula where officers celebrated Christmas Day with local chicken and a plum pudding made from pounded ships biscuits.

Having left Karachi during the Indian winter the 33rd were still dressed in ‘Waterloo-red’ full Dress Tunic and khaki Drill Trousers. The Serge was quickly changed for the more appropriate Khaki Drill jacket and also a white cloth covered Cork Helmet called a ‘Topi’. The troops had been issued the new breech loading Snider-Enfield rifles the previous year, which increased the soldiers’ firepower from one round per minute to ten rounds per minute. Besides the 33rd of Foot, the expeditionary force included 12,000 British and Indian troops, as well as Royal Artillery and Royal Engineers.

Lord Napier arrived in early January 1868 and the expedition started from the advance camp at Senafe at the beginning of February. It took two months to reach their objective, advancing through rough terrain. From Senafe the force passed through Adigrat, Antalo, to the west of Lake Ashangi, and on to Dildi before finally arriving via the road King Theodore built through the Chetta Ravine to get his heavy artillery to Magdala. Yet before they could actually storm the fortress, they had to cross the plateau at Arogye, which lay across the only route to Magdala and was held by Tewodros’ forces. It certainly looked formidable to attack, with the way barred by many thousands of warriors camped around the hillsides, and as many as 30 artillery pieces visible on a nearby hilltop.

The British did not expect that the Abyssinian warriors would leave their defences to attack them and paid little regard to their defensive positions as they formed up to deploy. But the Emperor did order an attack, with many thousands of foot warriors armed with little more than spears. The 4th Foot quickly redeployed to meet the charging mass of warriors and poured a devastating fire into their ranks. When two Indian infantry regiments also fired on them the onslaught became even more devastating. Despite this the Ethiopian warriors continued their attack, losing over 500 with thousands more wounded during the ninety minutes of fighting, most of them at little over 30 yards from the British lines. During the chaotic battle an advance guard unit of the 33rd Regiment overpowered some of the Ethiopian artillerymen and captured their artillery pieces. The survivors of the assault then retreated back to Magdala.

In his despatch to London Lord Napier reported: “Yesterday morning (we) descended three thousand nine hundred feet to Bashilo River and approached Magdala with ‘First Brigade’ to reconnoiter it. Theodore opened fire with seven guns from outwork, one thousand feet above us, and three thousand five hundred men of the garrison made a gallant sortie which was repulsed with very heavy loss and the enemy driven into Magdala. British loss, twenty wounded”

The following day as the British force moved on to Magdala, Tewodros II sent two of the hostages on parole to offer terms. Napier insisted on the release of all the hostages and an unconditional surrender. Tewodros refused to cede to the unconditional surrender, but did release the European hostages. The British continued the advance and assaulted the fortress. (The native hostages were later found to have had their hands and feet cut off before being sent over the edge of the precipice surrounding the plateau.)

The bombardment began with mortars, rockets and artillery. Infantry units then opened fire, covering the Royal Engineers sent to blow up the gates of the fortress. The path lay up a steep boulder strewn track one side of which was a sheer drop and the other by a perpendicular cliff face, leading to the main gateway, known as the Koket-Bir, which consisted of a thick timber doors set in a {convert|15|ft|m|adj=mid|-long} stone archway. Each side of the gate was protected by a thorn and stake hedge. After this gate was a further uphill path to a second fortified gateway, which lead onto the final plateau, or ‘amba’.

On reaching the gate there was a pause in the advance, as it was discovered the engineer unit had forgot their powder kegs and scaling ladders and were ordered to return for them. General Staveley was not happy at any further delay and ordered the 33rd to continue the attack. Several officers and the men of the 33rd Regiment, along with an officer from the Royal Engineers, parted from the main force and, after climbing the cliff face, found their way blocked by a thorny hedge over a wall. Private James Bergin, a very tall man, used his bayonet to cut a hole in the hedge and Drummer Michael Magner climbed onto his shoulders through the hedge in the gap and dragged Bergin up behind him as Ensign Conner and Corporal Murphy helped shove from below. Bergin kept up a rapid rate of fire on the Koket-Bir as Magner dragged more men through the gap in the hedge. As more men poured through and opened fire as they advanced with their bayonets the defenders withdrew through the second gate. The party rushed the Koket-bir before it was fully closed and then took the second gate breaking through to the Amba. Ensign Wynter scrambled up onto the top of the second gate and fixed the 33rd Regiments Colours to show the Plateau had been taken. Private Bergin and Drummer Magner were later awarded the Victoria Cross for their part in the action.

Tewodros II was found dead inside the second gate, having shot himself with a pistol that had been a gift from Queen Victoria. When his death was announced all opposition ceased. The regiment later received the battle honour Abyssinia.

==Duties of Empire (1881–1914)==

===1st Battalion===

The 1st Battalion returned to England in 1889 after a number of years stationed in India. In 1895, the battalion deployed to Malta in the Mediterranean and returned home again in 1898.

The 1st Battalion began the first year of the 20th century at war when it arrived in South Africa, in 1900, as reinforcements for British forces fighting Boers, in the Second Boer War. The battalion took part in the Relief of Kimberley, in February 1901, which had been under siege by the Boers since October 1899. The battalion also took part in the Battle of Paardeberg, which was eventually captured by the British, after the Boers surrendered on 27 February 1901. The battalion saw action at the British victory at Driefontein on 10 March 1901.

On 29 November 1901, Lieutenant Colonel George Evan Lloyd, the commanding officer of the 1st Battalion, was killed in action at Rhenoster Kop. The 1st Battalion saw numerous small-scale actions against the elusive Boer commandos for the duration of the war, returning home in 1902. The regiment gained the battle honour “Relief of Kimberley” and the theatre honour “South Africa 1900–02”.

The 1st Battalion’s stay in England was relatively brief, as it departed for India in 1905, where it remained until 1921.

===2nd Battalion===

Meanwhile, the 2nd Battalion (formerly the 76th Regiment) had deployed to Bermuda in 1886 for garrison duty, where they remained until 1888 when it arrived in Nova Scotia, Canada. In 1891 they moved to the West Indies and in 1893 moved to South Africa leaving just before the start of the Boer War, for service in Burma. The Battalion was stationed in Ireland when the First World War began in 1914.

==World War I (1914–1918)==

The 1st Battalion (Regular) remained in India throughout the war, but the 2nd Battalion (Regular) first saw action at the Battle of Mons. It then fought a rearguard action at the Battle of Le Cateau, an action during the retreat from Mons. Despite being heavily outnumbered, the British forces inflicted severe casualties on the Germans. The British soldier’s ability to fire the Lee-Enfield rifle with deadly accuracy and speed was certainly a deciding factor in the engagement. Although it was a victory for the Germans, at least tactically, the