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The Royal North Gloucester Militia

The North Gloucestershire Militia were embodied for service on April 4th 1761 as a battalion of fusiliers (blue facings with gold lace).

In November 1761 the battalion was at South Moulton, Devon with 352 men. They marched to Bideford where they guarded French prisoners until June 1762 when the Devon Militia took over the duty. They returned to Gloucester.

It was not embodied again until March 1778 and stood down in 1782. In 1792 they were recalled and moved to Plymouth and in 1795 were at Weymouth. King George III was also at Weymouth and the battalion was granted the title of 'Royal'.

When the rebellion broke out in Ireland in 1798, the Royal North Gloucestershire Militia volunteered to serve. They moved to Pill, near Bristol, and sailed for Dublin.

The Star (newspaper) 17th September 1798: "On the 11th inst. arrived the North Gloucester regiment of militia at Dublin commanded by Colonel Kingscote. It is a very handsome regiment and musters nearly 1000 men."

They then marched to Drogheda but saw no action, the French force that landed in support of the Irish rebels surrendered at Ballinamuck 17 days after landing. "...... the insurrection died out, or dwindled down into a series of agrarian murders." - a taste of things to come. The House of Commons of Ireland voted thanks to the militia for volunteering to serve in Ireland. They had lost one man during the duty, when Lieutenant Savage had drown at Drogheda on 4th April 1799.

April 1799 the battalion returned to England and camped in Sussex where they were presented with a pair of Colours by the Corporation of Gloucester. Almost 25,000 militiamen were taken into the regular army in this year.

From 1800 the battalion was in garrison at Dover Castle to await the expected French invasion. By September the alarm had passed and the battalion returned to Gloucestershire. With the signing of the Peace of Amiens on March 27th 1802, the battalion was stood down.

War with France broke out again in 1803 and the militia were recalled. The North Glosters assembled at Cirencester and marched to Portsmouth. They assisted in preparing defensive works and moved to various stations before marching to Bristol in 1805. In 1807 they returned to Plymouth and back to Bristol by 1809. With the victory over France in 1815 the militia were not required until the 1850's.

In July 1852 orders were given to reraise the Gloucestershire Militia. In October 605 men assembled for training. With the start of the Crimean War the Militia were called up for service on 26th December 1854 and some men were taken into regular regiments. A second draught of men was taken in 1856. When the Militia battalions balloted for regimental numbers and the Royal North Gloucesters drew the 69th.

The battalion was stood down on June 12th 1856. With the outbreak of the Indian Mutiny the militia were again required to free-up regular battalions. On November 3rd 1857 the North Glosters assembled and went to Birkenhead by train. There they boarded the coast steamers 'Trafalgar' and 'Prince' for passage to Dublin. From there they took the train to Athlone. On January 14th 1858 they moved to the Royal Barracks, Dublin. On May 8th they left Dublin and boarded the 'Pacific' for the passage back to Bristol. They were stood down at Cirencester on May 18th.

In 1872 the militia were transferred to the War Office. The militia battalion became Reserve Battalions for the Regulars. The Royal North Glosters were linked with the 28th (North Gloucestershire) Regiment, based at Bristol. During the Russo-Turkish War, the militia were recalled in 1878. In 1881 the Old Battalion numbers were officially abolished and the North Gloster Militia became the 4th Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment.

With the start of the Boer War the 4th Battalion was ordered to assemble at Cirencester. They moved by train to Holyhead and crossed to Ireland, arriving at North Wall.

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