THE 61st (South Gloucestershire) REGIMENT 

In 1756 several Regiments were ordered to raise a second Battalion. The 3rd Foot ('The Buffs') raised a second Battalion at Chatham. In 1758 the Battalion was renamed the 61st Regiment of Foot.

In 1758 the 61st took part in the capture of the island of Guadeloupe. During the operations the Regiment lost Captain William Gunning who was killed in an attack on a fort near Fort Louis. By the end of the operation they had also lost Ensign Samuel Horner (died) and Lieutenant John Rowland was wounded. Returning to Britain the 61st were stationed in Ireland from 1763 to 1771. The Regiment then sailed for Minorca, where they were in garrison for 11 years, along with the 51st (King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry). An outbreak of tertian fever hit the garrison and when in August 1781 the Duc de Crillon landed with 8000 Spanish troops and 100 guns, the garrison had only 1500 men. Soon after another 8000 French troops joined the Spanish. The Duc demanded the surrender of Fort St Philip. The garrison held out until February 1782 when it was forced to surrender, the enemy commanders were so impressed with the conduct of the defenders that they paraded their troops as the garrison marched out.

"No troops ever gave greater proofs of heroism than this poor worn-out garrison of St Philip's Castle, who have defended themselves almost to the last man."                                 The Duc de Crillon

The 61st returned to England in 1782 and marched to Gloucester, the Regiment's first direct link with the county. After a year in Gloucestershire, the 61st went to Ireland for 9 years. Next to Gibraltar and in 1794 to the West Indies. During the attack on St. Lucia the Regiment had 9 men killed and Captains Riddle and Whelan, Lieutenants Grant and Moore and Ensign Butler and 52 men wounded. After the island was taken the Regiment came home in 1796. 2 years later they sailed for the Cape of Good Hope. In 1801 the Regiment arrived in Egypt and marched 130 miles across the desert in July. They found the bodies of the French column that had attempted the same route, but lost only 1 man.

1803 the 61st were at Malta for 2 years. In 1805 they were at Messina defending Sicily from the French. In June a select force made up of the flank companies of 8 battalions sailed for the Italian coast. July 4th 1806 at Maida the British and French came into conflinct. The result was a victory for the British, even though they were outnumbered.
French losses: 490 killed. 870 wounded. 722 captured.
British losses: 45 killed. 282 wounded.

The Peninsular War

July 22nd 1812 Battle of Salamanca.

French : 43, 266 infantry. 3,575 cavalry. 78 guns. Commanded by Marshal Marmont.

British: 30,562 infantry/cavalry and 54 guns.

The 61st were in reserve with the 11th Foot (Devons). They were ordered to advance and drive the French from a steep hill.

"The 3 cheers of the 6th Division at Salamanca were the cheers of very brave men. The 11th and 61st were subject to the most intense musket-fire as they marched up the slopes..... The fighting was furious but gradually the French gave ground and before long the 6th Division was pursuing them down the other side of the hill."

The 61st lost 9 officers, including their commander Lieutenant-Colonel Barlow, and over 100 men. The French regrouped and attacked again. The fighting was intense but again it was the French who broke.

"The 61st, which was by far the finest regiment in the 6th Division, was almost annihilated in this severe action."                                        Officer of the 32nd (Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry) Regiment.

Of the 27 officers and 420 men who started the battle only 3 officers and 78 men remained. In the first company every man was killed or wounded but one, Private Chipchase. Six reliefs of officers and sergenats were shot under the Colours. They were finally carried to the top of the hill by 2 privates,
William Crawford and Nicholas Coulson.

The French lost 14,000 men and 2 Eagles, 6 standards and 12 guns. The British lost 5200 men.

Battle of Toulouse  10th April 1814. The 61st lost 20 officers and 161 men killed and wounded. See the "Flowers of Toulouse."

June 1816 the 61st sailed for Jamaica. 5 years later they returned to England and then Ireland before leaving for Ceylon in 1828.

Ceylon: The regiment remained in Columbo until October 1834 when they moved to Trincomalee. On the 22nd May 1837 three officers died while on a shooting expedition when their boat turned over off Cottiac. They were Lieutenants Shaw and Harkness and Ensign Walker.

In July 1837 the regiment returned to Columbo before moving to Kandy in August. In February 1839 they marched to Columbo and in October boarded HMS Jupiter for the journey home. They landed at Southampton on the 12th March 1840. In August 1842 the 61st were called out to suppress a civil riot in Halifax. Order was restored soon after. In March 1843 the Regiment supplied 200 volunteers to join the 98th Foot in China. In April 1843 the 61st moved to Ireland (Dublin). In July they moved to Limerick.

The 61st India.

Lieutenant Dashwood, 61st Foot.

The 61st were back in India from 1880 to 1893. A year in Aden was followed by 2 years in the Channel Islands. The Regiment was now the 2nd Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment.


In January 1900 the 61st landed at Cape Town. They advanced to the Orange Free State and took part in the capture of Bloemfontein and then Pretoria, in the Transvaal. February 14th they took part in the 9 day battle at Paardeberg when the Boer General Cronje surrendered his forces.

India ........ Boer War