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The Childers Reforms restructured the infantry regiments of the British army. The reforms were undertaken by Secretary of State for War Hugh Childers in 1881, and were a continuation of the earlier Cardwell reforms.

The reorganisation was brought into effect by General Order 41/1881, issued on 1 May 1881, amended by G.O. 70/1881 dated 1 July, which created a network of multi-battalion regiments. In England, Wales and Scotland, each regiment was to have two regular or "line" battalions and two militia battalions. In Ireland, there were to be two line and three militia battalions. This was done by renaming the numbered regiments of foot and county militia regiments. In addition the various corps of county rifle volunteers were to be designated as volunteer battalions. Each of these regiments was linked by headquarters location and territorial name to its local "Regimental District". The reforms came into effect on 1 July.

From 1881 regimental seniority numbers were officially abolished and battalions came to be known by their number within the regiment and the regimental district name. Unofficially, the regiments were still referred to by their numbers by their officers and men, as tradition and a point of pride, and several regiments such as "The Buffs", The Cameron Highlanders, and "The Black Watch", lobbied to keep their distinct names as part of their battalion titles.

In practice, it was not always possible to apply the scheme strictly: the Cameron Highlanders initially had only one regular battalion, while several regiments had more or fewer militia regiments than envisaged in the initial scheme. In addition, the Rifle Brigade and King's Royal Rifle Corps had no local regimental districts, and their affiliated militia and volunteer battalions were selected not on a territorial basis, but due to their "rifle" traditions. This structure lasted until 1948, when every regiment of line infantry had its regular battalions cut to one, with only the three original Guards Division regiments retaining two regular battalions.

Standardisation of uniforms and colours

An attempt was made to have the facings of uniforms standardised: English and Welsh regiments would have white facings, Irish regiments would wear green facings, Scottish regiments would have yellow facings, and royal regiments would have dark blue facings. Officers' uniforms had lace in distinctive national patterns: rose pattern for England and Wales, thistle for Scotland and shamrock for Ireland. In the case of regular battalions the lace was gold, while that of the militia battalions was silver. There were also attempts to assimilate regimental insignia and remove "tribal" uniform distinctions. This was less successful, as regimental tribalism and tradition forced a national outcry. Two regiments that displayed fierce reaction were the 75th and the 92nd that were grudgingly joined together to become the Gordon Highlanders. The 75th went so far as commissioning a marble monument to themselves in Malta where they were based at the time. They had spent so long away from Scotland that they were effectively an English unit that had to relearn how to wear kilts. The 92nd, though they lost much less identity in the amalgamation, staged a mock funeral procession to themselves, complete with a full-size coffin with the number '92' on it.

In 1890, The Buffs succeeded in being allowed to resume the wearing of buff facings. Within a few years, a number of other regiments had replaced white facings with traditional colours. After 1935, the ruling on blue facings for royal regiments effectively lapsed. In that year, in celebration of his silver jubilee, King George V designated three regiments as royal. In each case, they were "permitted to retain their present facings".[1] In 1939 The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, who had worn blue facings since 1881, were issued buff regimental colours "by request and gracious permission".[2] Again in 1946 three infantry regiments were designated as "royal" for services in the Second World War. Of these, only the Royal Lincolnshire Regiment replaced its (white) facings with blue.[3]

Regiments created

Original title Changes Regular battalions Militia battalions Volunteer battalions Regimental district Facings
The Royal Scots (Lothian Regiment) 1921: The Royal Scots (The Royal Regiment)[4] 1st, or The Royal Scots Regiment (2 battalions) The Edinburgh (or Queen's) Regiment of Light Infantry Militia
City of Edinburgh Rifle Volunteer Brigade

2nd Midlothian (Midlothian and Peebles-shire) Rifle Volunteer Corps
1st Berwickshire RVC*
1st Haddington RVC
1st Linlithgowshire RVC

Berwickshire*, City of Edinburgh, County of Edinburgh, Haddingtonshire, Linlithgowshire Blue
The Queen's (Royal West Surrey Regiment) 1921: The Queen's Royal Regiment (West Surrey)[4] 2nd (Queen's Royal) Regiment of Foot (2 battalions) 2nd Royal Surrey Militia 2nd Surrey RVC

4th Surrey RVC
6th Surrey RVC
8th Surrey RVC

Part of Surrey (including Bermondsey, Croydon, Guildford and Southwark) Blue
The Buffs (East Kent Regiment) 1935: The Buffs (Royal East Kent Regiment)[5] 3rd (East Kent, The Buffs) Regiment of Foot (2 battalions) East Kent Militia
A new 4th Battalion was also formed
2nd Kent (East Kent) RVC

5th Kent (Weald of Kent) RVC

Part of Kent (including Ashford, Canterbury, Dover and Ramsgate) White, changed to buff in 1890[6]
The King's Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment) 1921: The King's Own Royal Regiment (Lancaster)[4] 4th (King's Own Royal) Regiment of Foot (2 battalions) 1st Royal Lancashire Militia (Duke of Lancaster's Own) (2 battalions) 10th Lancashire RVC Part of Lancashire (including Barrow-in-Furness, Lancaster, Morecambe and Ulverston) Blue
The Northumberland Fusiliers 1935: The Royal Northumberland Fusiliers[5] 5th (Northumberland) (Fusiliers) Regiment of Foot (2 battalions) The Northumberland Light Infantry Militia 1st Northumberland (Northumberland and Berwick-on-Tweed) RVC

2nd Northumberland RVC
1st Newcastle upon Tyne RVC

Northumberland (including Berwick-upon-Tweed) White, changed to gosling green in 1899
The Royal Warwickshire Regiment 1963: The Royal Warwickshire Fusiliers 6th (Royal 1st Warwickshire) Regiment of Foot (2 battalions) 1st Warwickshire Militia

2nd Warwickshire Militia

1st Warwickshire (Birmingham) RVC

2nd Warwickshire RVC

Warwickshire Blue
The Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment)   7th (Royal Fusiliers) Regiment of Foot (2 battalions) Royal London Militia

3rd or Royal Westminster Middlesex (Light Infantry) Militia
4th or Royal South Middlesex Militia

1st Tower Hamlets Rifle Volunteer Brigade

Originally the 5th Middlesex RVC, 9th Middlesex RVC and 22nd Middlesex RVC, reallocated to King's Royal Rifle Corps 1882/3
replaced by: 10th Middlesex RVC
11th Middlesex RVC
23rd Middlesex RVC

City of London, part of Middlesex (the Tower division, Bloomsbury and Westminster) Blue
The Liverpool Regiment 1881: The King's (Liverpool Regiment)

1921:The King's Regiment (Liverpool)[4]

8th (the King's) Regiment of Foot (2 battalions) 2nd Royal Lancashire Militia (Duke of Lancaster's Own Rifles) 1st Lancashire RVC

Liverpool Rifle Brigade (5th Lancashire RVC)
13th Lancashire RVC
15th Lancashire RVC
18th Lancashire (Liverpool Irish) RVC
19th Lancashire (Liverpool Press Guard) RVC
1st Isle of Man RVC

Part of Lancashire (including Bootle, Liverpool and Southport) and the Isle of Man Blue
The Norfolk Regiment 1935: The Royal Norfolk Regiment[5] 9th (East Norfolk) Regiment of Foot (2 battalions) 1st or West Norfolk Militia

2nd or East Norfolk Militia

1st Norfolk (City of Norwich) RVC

2nd Norfolk RVC
3rd Norfolk RVC
4th Norfolk RVC

Norfolk White, changed to yellow in 1905
The Lincolnshire Regiment 1946:The Royal Lincolnshire Regiment[7] 10th (North Lincoln) Regiment of Foot (2 battalions) Royal North Lincolnshire Militia

Royal South Lincolnshire Militia

1st Lincolnshire RVC

2nd Lincolnshire RVC

Lincolnshire White, changed to royal blue in 1946 and to blue in 1949[7][8]
The Devonshire Regiment   11th (North Devon) Regiment of Foot (2 battalions) 1st or East Devon Militia

2nd or South Devon Militia

1st Devonshire (Exeter and South Devon) RVC

2nd Devonshire Rifle Volunteers (Prince of Wales's)
3rd Devonshire RVC
4th Devonshire RVC
5th Devonshire RVC

Devon White, changed to Lincoln green in 1905
The Suffolk Regiment   12th (East Suffolk) Regiment of Foot (2 battalions) West Suffolk Militia

Cambridgeshire Militia

1st Suffolk RVC

6th Suffolk (West Suffolk) RVC
1st Cambridgeshire (Cambridge, Essex and Huntingdonshire) RVC
2nd Cambridgeshire (Cambridge University) RVC

Cambridgeshire and Suffolk, also Huntingdonshire until 1900† White, changed to yellow in 1899
Prince Albert's Light Infantry (Somersetshire Regiment) 1882: The Prince Albert's (Somersetshire Light Infantry)

1912: Prince Albert's (Somerset Light Infantry)
1921: The Somerset Light Infantry (Prince Albert's)[4]

13th (1st Somersetshire) (Prince Albert's Light Infantry) Regiment of Foot (2 battalions) 1st Somersetshire Light Infantry Militia

2nd Somersetshire Light Infantry Militia

1st Somersetshire RVC

2nd Somersetshire RVC
3rd Somersetshire RVC

Somerset Blue
The Prince of Wales's Own (West Yorkshire Regiment)
1921: The West Yorkshire Regiment (The Prince of Wales's Own)[4] 14th (Buckinghamshire) (Prince of Wales's Own) Regiment of Foot (2 battalions) 2nd West York Light Infantry Militia

4th West York Militia

1st Yorkshire, West Riding RVC

3rd Yorkshire, West Riding RVC
7th Yorkshire, West Riding RVC

Part of the West Riding of Yorkshire (including Bradford, Harrogate, Leeds and Ripon) and the county and city of York White, changed to buff in 1900[9]
The East Yorkshire Regiment 1935: The East Yorkshire Regiment (The Duke of York's Own)[5] 15th (York, East Riding) Regiment of Foot (2 battalions) East York Militia 1st Yorkshire, East Riding, RVC

2nd Yorkshire, East Riding, RVC

East Riding of Yorkshire White
The Bedfordshire Regiment 1919: The Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment[10] 16th (Bedfordshire) Regiment of Foot (2 battalions) Bedfordshire Light Infantry Militia

Hertfordshire Militia

1st Hertfordshire RVC

2nd Hertfordshire RVC 1st Bedfordshire RVC

Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire; also Huntingdonshire 1900 - 1908† White
The Leicestershire Regiment 1946: The Royal Leicestershire Regiment[7] 17th (Leicestershire) Regiment of Foot (2 battalions) Leicestershire Militia 1st Leicestershire RVC Leicestershire and Rutland White, changed to pearl grey in 1931[11]
The Royal Irish Regiment Disbanded 1922[12] 18th (The Royal Irish) Regiment of Foot (2 battalions) Wexford Militia

2nd or North Tipperary Light Infantry Militia
Kilkenny Fusiliers Militia

N/A County Kilkenny, County Tipperary, County Waterford and County Wexford Blue
The Princess of Wales's Own (Yorkshire Regiment) 1902: Alexandra, Princess of Wales's Own (Yorkshire Regiment)

1921: The Green Howards (Alexandra, Princess of Wales's Own Yorkshire Regiment)[4]

19th (1st York, North Riding) (Princess of Wales's Own) Regiment of Foot (2 battalions) 5th West York Militia

North York Rifles

1st Yorkshire (North Riding) RVC

2nd Yorkshire (North Riding) RVC

North Riding of Yorkshire White, changed to grass green in 1899
The Lancashire Fusiliers   20th (East Devonshire) Regiment of Foot (2 battalions) 7th Royal Lancashire Militia 8th Lancashire RVC

12th Lancashire RVC

part of Lancashire (including Bury, Middleton, Radcliffe, Rochdale and Salford) White
The Royal Scots Fusiliers   21st (Royal Scots Fusiliers) Regiment of Foot (2 battalions) Dumfries, Roxburgh, Kirkcudbright and Selkirk (Scottish Borderers) Militia[13]

Royal Ayrshire and Wigton Rifles (The Prince Regent's Own)

1st Ayrshire RVC

2nd Ayrshire RVC

Ayrshire, Kirkcudbrightshire and Wigtownshire, also Dumfriesshire, Roxburghshire and Selkirkshire until 1887* Blue
The Cheshire Regiment   22nd (Cheshire) Regiment of Foot (2 battalions) 1st Royal Cheshire Light Infantry Militia

2nd Royal Cheshire Militia

1st Cheshire RVC

2nd (Earl of Chester's) Cheshire RVC
3rd Cheshire RVC
4th Cheshire (Cheshire and Derbyshire) RVC
5th Cheshire RVC

Cheshire White, changed to buff in 1904
The Royal Welsh Fusiliers 1920: The Royal Welch Fusiliers[14] 23rd (Royal Welsh Fusiliers) Regiment of Foot (2 battalions) Royal Denbigh and Merioneth Rifles

Royal Carnarvon Rifle Corps

1st Denbighshire RVC

1st Flintshire and Carnarvonshire RVC

Anglesey, Carnarvonshire, Denbighshire, Flintshire and Merionethshire, also Montgomeryshire from 1908.[15] Blue
The South Wales Borderers   24th (2nd Warwickshire) Regiment of Foot (2 battalions) Royal South Wales Borderers Militia (Royal Radnor and Brecknock Rifles)

Royal Montgomery Rifles

1st Brecknockshire RVC

1st Monmouthshire RVC
2nd Monmouthshire RVC
3rd Monmouthshire RVC
1st Montgomeryshire RVC

Brecknockshire and Monmouthshire, also Montgomeryshire and Radnorshire until 1908.[15] White, changed to grass green in 1905
The King's Own Borderers 1887: The King's Own Scottish Borderers 25th (King's Own Borderers) Regiment of Foot (2 battalions) Transferred from the Royal Scots Fusiliers in 1887:
Dumfries, Roxburgh, Kirkcudbright and Selkirk (Scottish Borderers) Militia[13]
Transferred from the Royal Scots in 1887:

1st Roxburgh and Selkirk (The Border) RVC
1st Berwickshire RVC

Transferred from the Royal Scots Fusiliers in 1877:

1st Dumfriesshire RVC
The Galloway RVC

Originally to have been part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, but no regimental district formed in 1881. In 1887 a regimental district was formed comprising Berwickshire, Dumfriesshire, Roxburghshire and Selkirkshire by transferring areas from the Royal Scots and Royal Scots Fusiliers. Blue
The Cameronians (Scotch Rifles) 1881: The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) 26th (Cameronian) Regiment of Foot

90th (Perthshire Volunteers) (Light Infantry) Regiment of Foot

2nd Royal Lanark Militia (2 battalions) 1st Lanarkshire (or Glasgow 1st Western) RVC

2nd Lanarkshire RVC
3rd Lanarkshire (or Glasgow 1st Southern) RVC
4th Lanarkshire (or Glasgow 1st Northern) RVC
7th Lanarkshire RVC

Part of Lanarkshire (including Hamilton, Motherwell and parts of Glasgow) Rifle green faced dark green
The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers   27th (Inniskilling) Regiment of Foot

108th (Madras Infantry) Regiment of Foot

Fermanagh Light Infantry Militia

Royal Tyrone Fusiliers Militia
Londonderry Light Infantry Militia
The Prince of Wales's Own Donegal Militia

N/A County Donegal (until 1922), County Fermanagh, County Londonderry, County Tyrone‡ Blue
The Gloucestershire Regiment   28th (North Gloucestershire) Regiment of Foot

61st (South Gloucestershire) Regiment of Foot

Royal South Gloucestershire Light Infantry Militia

Royal North Gloucestershire Militia

1st Gloucestershire (City of Bristol) RVC

2nd Gloucestershire RVC

Gloucestershire White, changed to primrose yellow in 1929
The Worcestershire Regiment   29th (Worcestershire) Regiment of Foot

36th (Herefordshire) Regiment of Foot

1st Worcestershire Militia

2nd Worcestershire Militia

1st Worcestershire RVC

2nd Worcestershire RVC

Worcestershire White, changed to grass green in 1920 and to "grass green (emerald)" in 1924
The West Lancashire Regiment 1881: The East Lancashire Regiment 30th (Cambridgeshire) Regiment of Foot

59th (2nd Nottinghamshire) Regiment of Foot

5th Royal Lancashire Militia 2nd Lancashire RVC

3rd Lancashire RVC

Part of Lancashire (including Accrington, Blackburn, Burnley, Clitheroe and Darwen) White
The East Surrey Regiment   31st (Huntingdonshire) Regiment of Foot

70th (Surrey) Regiment of Foot

1st Royal Surrey Militia

3rd Royal Surrey Militia

1st Surrey (South London) RVC

3rd Surrey RVC
5th Surrey RVC
7th Surrey RVC

Part of Surrey (including Camberwell, Kingston upon Thames, Richmond, Southwark and Wandsworth) White
The Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry   32nd (Cornwall) (Light Infantry) Regiment of Foot

46th (South Devonshire) Regiment of Foot

Royal Cornwall Rangers, Duke of Cornwall's Own Rifles 1st Cornwall RVC

2nd Cornwall RVC

Cornwall White
The Duke of Wellington's (West Riding Regiment) 1921: The Duke of Wellington's Regiment (West Riding)[4] 33rd (Duke of Wellington's Regiment) Regiment of Foot

76th Regiment of Foot

6th West York Militia (2 battalions) 4th Yorkshire, West Riding RVC

6th Yorkshire, West Riding RVC
9th Yorkshire, West Riding RVC

Part of the West Riding of Yorkshire (including Brighouse, Halifax, Huddersfield, Keighley and Skipton) White, reverted to scarlet in 1905 (both 33rd & 76th were originally Scarlet)
The Border Regiment   34th (Cumberland) Regiment of Foot

55th (Westmoreland) Regiment of Foot

Royal Cumberland Militia

Royal Westmoreland Light Infantry Militia

1st Cumberland RVC

1st Westmoreland RVC

Cumberland and Westmorland White, changed to yellow in 1913
The Royal Sussex Regiment   35th (Royal Sussex) Regiment of Foot

107th (Bengal Infantry) Regiment of Foot

Royal Sussex Light Infantry Militia 1st Sussex RVC

2nd Sussex RVC
1st Cinque Ports (Cinque Ports and Sussex) RVC

Sussex Blue
The Hampshire Regiment 1946: The Royal Hampshire Regiment[7] 37th (North Hampshire) Regiment of Foot

67th (South Hampshire) Regiment of Foot

Royal Hampshire Militia 1st Hampshire RVC

2nd Hampshire RVC
3rd Hampshire RVC
4th Hampshire RVC,
1st Isle of Wight RVC

Hampshire (including the Isle of Wight) White, changed to yellow in 1904
The South Staffordshire Regiment   38th (1st Staffordshire) Regiment of Foot

80th (Staffordshire Volunteers) Regiment of Foot

(The King's Own) 1st Staffordshire Militia (2 battalions) 1st Staffordshire RVC

3rd Staffordshire RVC
4th Staffordshire RVC

Part of Staffordshire (including Handsworth, Walsall, Wednesbury and Wolverhampton) White, changed to yellow in 1936[16]
The Dorsetshire Regiment 1951: The Dorset Regiment[17] 39th (Dorsetshire) Regiment of Foot

54th (West Norfolk) Regiment of foot

Dorsetshire Militia 1st Dorsetshire RVC Dorset White, changed to grass green in 1904
The Prince of Wales's Volunteers (South Lancashire Regiment) 1938: The South Lancashire Regiment (The Prince of Wales's Volunteers)[18] 40th (2nd Somersetshire) Regiment of foot

82nd (Prince of Wales's Volunteers) Regiment of Foot

4th Royal Lancashire (Duke of Lancaster's Own) Light Infantry Militia 9th Lancashire RVC

21st Lancashire RVC

Part of Lancashire (including St Helens and Warrington) White, changed to buff in 1933
The Welsh Regiment 1920: The Welch Regiment[14] 41st (The Welsh) Regiment of Foot

69th (South Lincolnshire) Regiment of Foot

Royal Glamorganshire Light Infantry Militia 1st Pembrokeshire (Pembroke, Carmarthen and Haverfordwest) RVC

1st Glamorganshire RVC
2nd Glamorganshire RVC
3rd Glamorganshire RVC

Carmarthenshire, Glamorgan and Pembrokeshire White
The Black Watch (Royal Highlanders) 1934: The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment)[19] 42nd (Royal Highland, The Black Watch) Regiment of Foot

73rd (Perthshire) Regiment of foot

Royal Perthshire Rifle Regiment of Militia 1st Forfarshire RVC

2nd Forfarshire (Forfarshire or Angus) RVC
3rd Forfarshire (Dundee Highland) RVC
1st Perthshire RVC
2nd Perthshire (Perthshire Highland) RVC
1st Fifeshire RVC

Fife, Forfarshire and Perthshire Blue
The Oxfordshire Light Infantry 1908: The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry 43rd (Monmouthshire Light Infantry) Regiment of Foot

52nd (Oxfordshire) (Light Infantry) Regiment of Foot

Royal Bucks (King's Own) Militia

Oxfordshire Militia

1st Oxfordshire (Oxford University) RVC

2nd Oxfordshire RVC
1st Buckinghamshire RVC
2nd Buckinghamshire (Eton College) RVC

Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire White
The Essex Regiment   44th (East Essex) Regiment of Foot

56th (West Essex) Regiment of Foot

Eastern Regiment of Essex Militia

1st or West Essex Militia

1st Essex RVC

2nd Essex RVC
3rd Essex RVC
4th Essex RVC

Essex White, changed to purple in 1936[20]
The Sherwood Foresters (Derbyshire Regiment) 1902: The Sherwood Foresters (Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment) 45th (Nottinghamshire) (Sherwood Foresters) Regiment of Foot

95th (Derbyshire) Regiment of Foot

1st Derbyshire Militia

2nd Derbyshire Militia (The Chatsworth Rifles)
Royal Sherwood Foresters or Nottinghamshire Regiment of Militia

1st Derbyshire RVC

2nd Derbyshire RVC
1st Nottinghamshire (Robin Hoods) RVC
2nd Nottinghamshire RVC

Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire White, changed to lincoln green in 1913
The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment The Loyal Regiment (North Lancashire)[4] 47th (Lancashire) Regiment of Foot

81st (Loyal Lincoln Volunteers) Regiment of Foot

3rd Duke of Lancaster's Own Royal Lancashire Militia (2 battalions) 11th Lancashire RVC

14th Lancashire RVC

Part of Lancashire (including Bolton, Chorley and Preston) White
The Northamptonshire Regiment   48th (Northamptonshire) Regiment of Foot

58th (Rutlandshire) Regiment of Foot

Northampton and Rutland Militia 1st Northamptonshire RVC
Northamptonshire, plus Huntingdonshire from 1914† White, changed to buff in 1927
Princess Charlotte of Wales's (Berkshire Regiment) 1885: Princess Charlotte of Wales's (Royal Berkshire Regiment)

1921: The Royal Berkshire Regiment (Princess Charlotte of Wales's)[4]

49th (Hertfordshire) (Princess Charlotte of Wales's) Regiment of Foot

66th (Berkshire) Regiment of Foot

Royal Berkshire Militia 1st Berkshire RVC Berkshire White, changed to blue in 1885
The Queen's Own (Royal West Kent Regiment) January 1, 1921: The Royal West Kent (Queen's Own)[4]

April 16, 1921: The Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment[21]

50th (Queen's Own) Regiment of Foot

97th (Earl of Ulster's) Regiment of Foot

West Kent Light Infantry Militia 1st Kent RVC

3rd Kent RVC

Part of Kent (including Bromley, Maidstone, Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells) Blue
The King's Own Light Infantry (South Yorkshire Regiment) 1887: The King's Own (Yorkshire Light Infantry)

1921: The King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry[4]

51st (2nd Yorkshire, West Riding, King's Own Light Infantry) Regiment of Foot

105th (Madras Light Infantry) Regiment of Foot

1st West York Rifles Militia 3rd Yorkshire, West Riding RVC Part of the West Riding of Yorkshire (including Batley, Castleford, Dewsbury, Doncaster, Goole, Pontefract and Wakefield) Blue
The King's Light Infantry (Shropshire Regiment) 1882: The King's (Shropshire Light Infantry)

1921: The King's Shropshire Light Infantry[4]

53rd (Shropshire) Regiment of Foot

85th (Bucks Volunteers) (King's Light Infantry) Regiment of Foot

Shropshire Militia

Royal Herefordshire Militia

1st Shropshire RVC

2nd Shropshire RVC
1st Herefordshire (Hereford and Radnor) RVC

Herefordshire and Shropshire, also Radnorshire from 1908[15] Blue
The Duke of Cambridge's Own (Middlesex Regiment) 1921: The Middlesex Regiment (Duke of Cambridge's Own)[4] 57th (West Middlesex) Regiment of Foot

77th (East Middlesex) Regiment of Foot (The Duke of Cambridge's Own)

Royal Elthorne or 5th Middlesex Light Infantry Militia

Royal East Middlesex Militia

3rd Middlesex RVC

8th Middlesex RVC
1882: 11th Middlesex (Railway)RVC
17th Middlesex RVC

Middlesex, except parts included in the regimental district of the Royal Fusiliers White, changed to lemon yellow in 1902
The King's Royal Rifle Corps January 1, 1921: The King's Royal Rifles[4]

February 10, 1921: The King's Royal Rifle Corps[22]

60th (King's Royal Rifle Corps) Regiment of Foot (4 battalions) Huntingdonshire Rifles Militia

Royal Flint Rifles Militia
2nd Royal Rifle Regiment of Middlesex Militia
Carlow Rifles Militia
North Cork Rifles Militia

3rd City of London RVC

1st Middlesex RVC (Victoria Rifles)
2nd Middlesex RVC (South Middlesex)
4th Middlesex RVC (West London)
6th Middlesex RVC (St George's)
12th Middlesex RVC (Civil Service)
13th Middlesex RVC (Queen's Westminsters)
25th Middlesex (Bank of England) RVC
1888: 26th Middlesex (Cyclist) RVC

Recruited throughout United Kingdom (depot at Winchester) Rifle green faced scarlet
The Duke of Edinburgh's (Wiltshire Regiment) 1921: The Wiltshire Regiment (Duke of Edinburgh's)[4] 62nd (Wiltshire) Regiment of Foot

99th (Duke of Edinburgh's) Regiment of Foot

Royal Wiltshire Militia 1st Wiltshire RVC

2nd Wiltshire RVC

Wiltshire White, changed to buff in 1905
The Manchester Regiment   63rd (West Suffolk) Regiment of Foot

96th Regiment of Foot

6th Royal Lancashire Militia (2 battalions) 4th Lancashire RVC

6th Lancashire (1st Manchester) RVC
7th Lancashire RVC
33rd Lancashire (2nd Manchester) RVC
40th Lancashire (3rd Manchester) RVC

Part of Lancashire (including Ashton-under-Lyne, Manchester and Oldham) White, changed to deep green in 1937
The Prince of Wales's (North Staffordshire Regiment) 1921: The North Staffordshire Regiment (Prince of Wales's)[4] 64th (North Staffordshire) Regiment of Foot

98th (Prince of Wales's) Regiment of Foot

The King's Own (2nd Staffordshire) Light Infantry Militia

The King's Own (3rd Staffordshire) Rifles Militia

2nd Staffordshire (Staffordshire Rangers) RVC

5th Staffordshire RVC

Part of Staffordshire (including Burton upon Trent, Stafford, Stoke-on-Trent and Tamworth) White, changed to black in 1937
The York and Lancaster Regiment   65th (2nd Yorkshire, North Riding) Regiment of Foot

84th (York and Lancaster) Regiment of Foot

3rd West York Light Infantry Militia 2nd Yorkshire West Riding (Hallamshire) RVC

8th Yorkshire West Riding RVC

Part of the West Riding of Yorkshire (including Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield) White
The Durham Light Infantry   68th (Durham) (Light Infantry) Regiment of Foot

106th (Bombay Light Infantry) Regiment of Foot

1st South Durham Militia

2nd North Durham Militia

1st Durham (Durham and North Riding of York) RVC

2nd Durham RVC
3rd Durham (Sunderland) RVC
4th Durham RVC
5th Durham RVC

County Durham White changed to dark green in 1903
The Highland Light Infantry 1923: The Highland Light Infantry (City of Glasgow Regiment)[23] 71st (Highland) (light Infantry) Regiment of Foot

74th (Highlanders) Regiment of Foot

1st Royal Lanark Militia 5th Lanarkshire (Glasgow 2nd Northern) RVC

6th Lanarkshire RVC
8th Lanarkshire (The Blythswood) RVC
9th Lanarkshire RVC
10th Lanarkshire (Glasgow Highland) RVC

Part of Lanarkshire (including Glasgow and Lanark) Yellow, changed to buff in 1899
Seaforth Highlanders (Ross-shire Buffs) 1881: Seaforth Highlanders (Ross-shire Buffs, The Duke of Albany's)

1921: The Seaforth Highlanders (Ross-shire Buffs, The Duke of Albany's)[4]

72nd (Duke of Albany's own Highlanders) Regiment of foot

78th (Highlanders) (Ross-shire Buffs) Regiment of Foot

Highland Rifles Militia (The militia regiment of the counties of Ross, Caithness, Sutherland and Cromarty) 1st Ross-shire (Ross Highland) RVC

1st Sutherland (The Sutherland Highland) RVC
1st Elgin RVC

Caithness, Cromarty, Elginshire, Nairnshire, Orkney, Ross-shire and Sutherland Yellow, changed to buff to 1899
The Gordon Highlanders   75th (Stirlingshire) Regiment of Foot

92nd (Gordon Highlanders) Regiment of Foot

Royal Aberdeenshire Highlanders Militia 1st Aberdeenshire RVC

2nd Aberdeenshire RVC
3rd Aberdeenshire (The Buchan) RVC
4th Aberdeenshire RVC
1st Banffshire RVC
1st Kincardineshire (Deeside Highland) RVC

Aberdeenshire, Banffshire and Kincardineshire, also Zetland from 1900 Yellow
The Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders   79th (Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders) Regiment of Foot

2nd battalion raised in 1897

Inverness, Banff, Elgin and Nairn Militia 1st Inverness-shire (Inverness Highland) RVC
Inverness-shire Blue
The Royal Irish Rifles 1922: The Royal Ulster Rifles 83rd (County of Dublin) Regiment of Foot

86th (Royal County Down) Regiment of Foot

Royal North Down Rifles

Royal Antrim Rifles Militia
Royal South Down Light Infantry Militia
Royal Louth Rifles Militia

N/A County Antrim and County Down, also County Louth until 1922 Rifle green faced light green, facings changed to dark green 1882
The Royal Irish Fusiliers (Princess Victoria's)   87th (Royal Irish Fusiliers) Regiment of Foot

89th (Princess Victoria's) Regiment of Foot

Armagh Light Infantry Militia

Cavan Militia
Monaghan Militia

N/A County Armagh plus County Cavan and County Monaghan until 1922‡ Blue
The Connaught Rangers Disbanded 1922[12] 88th (Connaught Rangers) Regiment of Foot

94th Regiment of Foot

South Mayo Rifles Militia

Galway Militia
Roscommon Militia
North Mayo Fusilers Militia

N/A County Galway, County Leitrim, County Mayo and County Roscommon Green
Princess Louises's (Sutherland and Argyll Highlanders) 1882: Princess Louises's (Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders)

1921: The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (Princess Louise's)[4]

91st (Princess Louises's Argyllshire Highlanders) Regiment of Foot

93rd (Sutherland Highlanders) Regiment of Foot

Highland Borderers Light Infantry Militia (The militia regiment of the counties of Clackmannan, Dumbarton, Kinross and Stirling)

Prince of Wales's Royal Regiment of Renfrew Militia

1st Renfrewshire RVC

2nd Renfrewshire RVC
3rd Renfrewshire RVC
1st Stirlingshire RVC
1st Argyllshire RVC
1st Dumbartonshire RVC
Clackmannanshire and Kinross RVC

Argyllshire, Buteshire, Dumbartonshire, Kinross-shire, Renfrewshire and Stirlingshire Yellow
The Prince of Wales's Leinster Regiment (Royal Canadians) Disbanded 1922[12] 100th (Prince of Wales's Royal Canadian) Regiment of Foot

109th (Bombay Infantry) Regiment of Foot

King's County Royal Rifles Militia

Royal Queen's County Rifles Militia
Royal Meath Militia

N/A King's County, County Longford, County Meath, Queen's County, and County Westmeath Blue
The Royal Munster Fusiliers Disbanded 1922[12] 101st (Royal Bengal Fusiliers) Regiment of Foot

104th (Bengal Fusiliers) Regiment of Foot

South Cork Light Infantry Militia

Kerry Militia
Royal Limerick County Militia (Fusiliers)

N/A County Clare, City of Cork, County Cork, County Kerry and County Limerick Blue
The Royal Dublin Fusiliers Disbanded 1922[12] 102nd (Royal Madras Fusiliers) Regiment of Foot

103rd (Royal Bombay Fusiliers) Regiment of Foot

Kildare Rifles Militia

Queen's Own Royal Dublin City Militia
Dublin County Light Infantry Militia

N/A City of Dublin, County Dublin and County Kildare Blue
The Prince Consort's Own (Rifle Brigade) 1921: The Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own)[4] Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own)[24] (4 battalions) Queen's Own Royal Tower Hamlets Light Infantry Militia

Prince of Wales's Royal Regiment of Longford Light Infantry Militia
King's Own Light Infantry Militia (a militia regiment of the Tower Hamlets)
Leitrim Rifles Regiment of Militia
Westmeath Rifles Regiment of Militia

7th Middlesex (London Scottish) RVC

14th Middlesex (Inns of Court) RVC
15th Middlesex (Customs and Docks) RVC
16th Middlesex (London Irish) RVC
18th Middlesex RVC
20th Middlesex (Artists) RVC
24th Middlesex (Post Office) RVC
1st Tower Hamlets RVC
2nd Tower Hamlets RVC

Recruited throughout United Kingdom (depot at Winchester) Rifle green faced black

* Berwickshire, Dumfriesshire, Roxburghshire and Selkirkshire were transferred to the regimental district of the King's Own Scottish Borderers in 1887

† Huntingdonshire was originally included in the regimental district of the Suffolk Regiment. There were no volunteer units recruited in the county from 1889 until 1900, when the 4th (Huntingdonshire) Volunteer Battalion, The Bedfordshire Regiment was formed. In 1908 it became part of the 5th Battalion of the Bedfords. In 1914 the Huntingdonshire companies were transferred to a newly formed Huntingdonshire Cyclist Battalion, affiliated to The Northamptonshire Regiment. The successors to the cyclist unit continued to be part of the Northamptons.[25]

‡ It was originally proposed to disband the Royal Irish Fusiliers in 1922. However, the 2nd battalion of that regiment and of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers were disbanded instead. In 1924 the two regiments formed a single "corps" sharing a depot and regimental district consisting of Counties Armagh, Fermanagh, Londonderry and Tyrone. In 1937 the regiments were again separated each forming a second battalion in the following year.

Later changes

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Between 1897 and 1900 the regular army was increased in size in response to a number of conflicts, especially the Second Boer War. The Cameron Highlanders raised a second battalion, while third and fourth regular battalions were added to the Northumberland Fusiliers, Warwickshire Regiment, Royal Fusiliers, King's (Liverpool Regiment), Lancashire Fusiliers, Worcestershire Regiment, Middlesex Regiment and the Manchester Regiment. The recruiting areas of each of these regiments included parts of large conurbations.

The Territorial and Reserve Forces Act 1907 reformed the reserve forces in 1908. A number of militia battalions were disbanded with the remainder being transferred to a new Special Reserve. At the same time the volunteer battalions became part of the new Territorial Force, and were redesignated as numbered battalions of the regiments.

The army was expanded for the duration of the First World War, with the territorial battalions being duplicated and numerous war-time service battalions being formed.

In 1921 - 1922 the system was somewhat recast: the special reserve battalions were placed in "suspended animation" and a number of Irish regiments were disbanded on the creation of the Irish Free State. All remaining regiments were reduced to two regular battalions.

During the Second World War regiments were again expanded, although not to the same extent as in the previous conflict.

Following the independence of India in 1947 regiments lost their second battalion, although some were temporarily reformed during the Korean War.

The system introduced in 1881 finally came to an end with the reforms introduced by the Defence White Paper of 1957. A number of pairs of regiments were amalgamated, while regimental depots were closed with recruiting and training being organised in multi-regiment brigades.


See also


  1. Honours for the army - new royal regiments, The Times, June 3, 1935.
  2. Eric Hamilton, Colours of the Regular Army Infantry of the Line 1st July 1881 to 1958, Bulletin of the Military Historical Society Special Issue No.1, London, 1968
  3. Royal corps and regiments - war service honours, The Times, December 10, 1946
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 4.14 4.15 4.16 4.17 4.18 4.19 Army Order 509/1920, in effect 1st January 1921
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Army Order 110/1935
  6. Naval and military intelligence, The Times, September 13, 1890
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Army Order 167/1946
  8. Army Order 136/1949
  9. Naval and military intelligence, The Times, April 4, 1900
  10. Army Order 269/1919
  11. Army's return to old colours - Leicestershire Regiment's new facings, The Times, April 25, 1931
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 Army Order 78/1922
  13. 13.0 13.1 Transferred to the King's Own Scottish Borderers in 1887
  14. 14.0 14.1 Army Order 56/1920
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 With the creation of the Territorial Force in 1908, Radnorshire was included in the regimental district of the King's Shropshire Light Infantry, and Montgomeryshire in that of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers
  16. The Army - Restoration of old facings, The Times, June 4, 1936
  17. Army Order 70/1951
  18. Army Order 244/1938
  19. Army Order 256/1934
  20. The Army - The Essex Regiment, The Times, August 19, 1936
  21. Army Order 183/1921
  22. Army Order 69/1921
  23. Army Order 221/1923
  24. The Rifle Brigade was originally the 95th Regiment of Foot. In 1816 the regiment ceased to have a number, taking precedence at the end of the line.
  25. The Huntingdonshire Battalion ([dead link]

External links

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