The Durham Light Infantry

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68th Foot Timeline

1756 - 68th Foot formed at Leicester as 2nd Battalion of 23rd Foot (now Royal Welch Fusiliers) first active service at Walcheren - Gibraltar, Minorca

1756-57 - Leicester, Loughborough, Market Harbour, Plymouth

1757 - Berkshire, Ellsley, Folkestone, Henley, Hungerford, Newbury

1757-58 - Chatham, Reading, Rochester, Isle of Wight

1758 - 22nd April - became 68th Regiment of Foot. The men are said to have been largely recruited in the county of Durham, and the colonelcy was bestowed on Lieutenant-Colonel, afterwards General, John Lambton of the Coldstream Guards, many years M.P. for Durham and grandfather of the first Earl of Durham, by whom it was retained until his death in 1794. The new regiment was employed in some of the descents on the French coast at Cherbourg and St. Malo.

1758 - Brompton, Dover, Folkestone, Kingston-On-Thames, Stroud, Walkingham, Isle of Wight - King's Forest, Isle of Wight - St. Helen's Bay, France - Cancale Bay, Cherbourg, St. Cas, St. Lunaire, St. Malo, Ireland - Mallow

1759 - Isle of Wight

1759 - Bishop's Waltham, Fareham, Gosport, Jersey

1759-60 - Folkestone, Romsey, Southampton

1760 - Hatfield, Leeds, Newcastle, Newcastle-on-Tyne, Portsmouth, Ringwood, Tynemouth Barracks

1760-64 - Ireland

1761 - Canterbury, Hexham, Morpeth, Moro Fort - Cuba

1762 - Berwick, Colchester, Fort George (Scotland)

1764 -West Indies, Capture of Dominica

1764 - England then a few years later to Antigua

1769 - Rochester

1770 - North America, in Ireland during American War

1772 - St. Vincent - action against Black Caribs

1773 - Home Service

1776 - Donaghadee, Ireland

1778 - Armagh, Ireland

1782 - 68th (or the Durham) Regiment of Foot, again in Durham then Gibraltar, West Indies, Ireland and West Indies again over 20 years

Peninsula Campaign

1785 - Gibraltar for nine years until the outbreak of war with France

1794 - St. Lucia - action against brigands - Grenada - action against negro rebels

1795 - Capture of St. Lucia

1796 - St. Vincent, Grenada against the brigands

1798 - Ireland

1799 - 68th raised a second battalion of 'short service' volunteers from the Militia, and in the summer of 1800 it was a magnificent regiment 2,800 strong, which for parade purposes was usually divided into three ten-company battalions

1800 - Swinley (near Aldershot) - a large number of men were discharged at the Peace of Amiens and the regiment again went to the West Indies

Second battalion raised 1/68th Martinique 2/68th Barbadoes and Dominica

Mutiny of 8th West India Regiment suppressed by 2/68th

1802 - Battalions merged

1803 - Recapture of St. Lucia, Dominica

1806 - England

1808 - became 68th (Durham Light Infantry) Regiment, brigaded with the 15th, under Baron de Rottenburg, at Brabourne Lees, between Shorncliffe and Canterbury.

1809 - Walcheren, Siege of Flushing

Walcheren - August to October 1809: The British sent an expedition of thirty-four warships and 200 transports to capture Antwerp from the French and based the 40,000 troops on malaria-infested Walcheren Island. Under an incapable naval commander (Richard Strachan) and an equally incapable general (Lord Chatham), the campaign never got properly started. In eight weeks the British commanders lost 217 men in action, 7,000 dead from illness and another 14,000 seriously ill. 

Flushing - August 1809: A British expedition of thirty-five warships, escorting 200 transports carrying 40,000 men, was sent to capture Antwerp and thus divert Napoleon's attention from Central Europe. The expedition commander was the Earl of Chatham (the younger Pitt) who wasted time and men in the capture of Flushing on the island of Walcheren. Meanwhile, Louis Bonaparte and Marshal Bernadotte had reinforced Antwerp. Chatham withdrew, leaving a garrison of 15,000 on Walcheren; 5,000 died in a malaria epidemic. Flushing surrendered after a feeble defence, August 16, 1809.

1811 - Portugal - Elvas, near Badajos

1812-13 - Madrid, Salamanca, siege of Burgos, Vittoria, investment of Pampeluna, Pyrenees, Nivelle, St. Pe, passage of Adour, capture of Bordeaux

Salamanca  - 22 July 1812: Wellington had captured the French-held fortresses of Ciudad Rodrigo and Badajoz and was now moving in northern Spain, manoeuvring for an advantage over the French army (Marshal Marmont), also 40,000-strong. Marmont himself brought on the clash at Salamanca, but he was seriously wounded, and Clausel assumed command. The French were mauled, suffering 12,000 casualties before Clausel could withdraw his army. Wellington, who lost 5,000 men, marched for Madrid, but French pressure pushed him back to the Portuguese frontier.

Vittoria - 21 June 1813: Napoleon's brother Joseph, King of Spain, had evacuated Madrid and fled north, covered by an army of 66,000 under Jordan. Wellington, with 80,000 British, Portuguese and Spanish troops, outflanked Jordan by crossing the Ebro and routed the French with powerful assaults at three different points. The French lost 8,000 men and nearly all their artillery (151 guns, 450 wagons of ammunition) and transport. Allied casualties, 5,000. Napoleon's Spanish adventure was now nearly over, as Wellington prepared to push the French from Spain. 

Pyrenees - July to August 1813: The engagements fought between Wellington's generals and Soult's army, which was endeavoring to relieve San Sebastian, are collectively the "Battles of the Pyrenees." They include the actions of Soravren, Roncesvalles, Maya, Santarem and Buenzas. The British losses amounted to 7,300, while the French lost 14,000. 

Nivelle - 10 Nov 1813: The French (Soult) were driven from a strong position by the British (Wellington) and retired behind the Nivelle. The French lost 4,265, including about 1,200 prisoners, 51 guns, and all their field magazines. British losses, 2,694, killed and wounded. 

1813-28 - Ireland, Ionian Islands during Greek War of Independence, Canada

1829 - England

1834-37 - Canada

1839 - 2nd Bombay European Regiment raised at Poona by East India Company - later 2nd Battalion of D.L.I.

1851-54 - Malta, Corfu

1854 - 68th in Crimea with Sir George Cathcart's Division, Balaclava, Alma, Inkerman, siege of Sebastopol. Fist VC won.

Balaklava: Fought between 30,000 Russians (Prince Mentschikov) and the British (nominally, Lord Raglan). There were three phases: (1) The stand by the 93rd Highlanders (Sir Colin Campbell) against the Russian cavalry; they became known as "The thin red streak tipped by a line of steel." (W. H. Russell's phrase. The "thin red line" was a subsequent corruption.) (2) As the Russians fell back, the 500-strong British Heavy Brigade (General Scarlett) delivered an audacious attack against a force eight times its own strength and broke the Russians. Had the Light Brigade (Lord Cardigan) charged at this moment the battle might have been decided. (3) The Charge of the Light Brigade (Lord Cardigan). This had no proper purpose or objective and was merely a death ride into the middle of the Russian guns and a fighting retreat. Of the roughly 700 men who took part in the charge, only 195 returned. The 13th Light Dragoons could muster only two officers and eight men. The net result of the whole battle was that the Russians became more firmly established than ever on the British right flank.

Alma River: The Russians held the heights near the Alma River with 40,000 men under Prince Mentschikoff (Menshikov). They were attacked by a combined British and French army, 26,000-strong, led by Lord Raglan and Marshal St. Arnaud. The British 2nd and Light Divisions carried the heights at bayonet point. Casualties: Russian, 1,200 killed, 4,700 wounded and captured; British, 3,000; French, 1,000.

Inkerman: 50,000 Russians (Prince Mentschikoff) attacked the British position at Inkerman, held by about 8,000 troops. In dense fog, the fight--a "soldier's battle"--degenerated into a series of hand-to-hand brawls. Chief fighting was around the Sandbag Battery, where the Russians had 1,200 killed. Following the arrival of French reinforcements, the Russians retreated. Total Russian casualties were 12,000; British, 2,500; French, 1,000.

1855 - Second VC won

1857 - Indian Mutiny - 1st Battalion despatched to India via Egypt and the Red Sea, but on arrival sent to Burmah, where it remained several years. 2nd Bombay European Regiment becomes 106th Bombay Light Infantry.

1863-66 - New Zealand, Maori Rebellion then England - 1864 at Gate Pah and Te Ranga.

1864 - Third VC won

Gate Pah - 27 April 1864: General Cameron, with 1,700 British soldiers and sailors, attacked a Maori stockade, the Gate Pah. After a short bombardment, about 600 men penetrated the stockade, but 112 became casualties and the others were beaten back. The Maoris, having suffered forty casualties, evacuated the stockade that night. The British lost 14 officers, and 98 men killed and wounded. 

1872-87  - India

1873 - 68th and 106th linked for recruiting purposes with depots at Sunderland

1881 - 68th and 106th become 1st and 2nd Battalions The Durham Light Infantry


Monday, 19 December, 2005 18:05

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