The Hampshire Regiment Through Time

The Hampshire Regiment through time

The Hampshire Regiment AKA “The Fighting Tigers” was a line infantry regiment of the British Army, created as part of the Childers Reforms in 1881 by the amalgamation of the 37th (North Hampshire) Regiment of Foot and the 67th (South Hampshire) Regiment of Foot.

The regiment existed continuously for 111 years and served in the Second Boer War, World War I and World War II. An Army Order of the 28 November 1946 stated, due to distinguished service in the Second World War, the regiment would be re-titled as the Royal Hampshire Regiment.

On 9 September 1992, after over 111 years of service, the Royal Hampshire Regiment was amalgamated with the Queen’s Regiment to form a new large regiment, the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, which continues the traditions of the Royal Hampshires.

Of local interest, the 6th Battalion, Hampshire Regiment was an infantry battalion of the British Army. Part of the Volunteer Force, later the Territorial Force (renamed the Territorial Army in 1920), the battalion was part of the Hampshire Regiment and recruited from Portsmouth, Hampshire. It served as infantry during World War I and as a Royal Artillery regiment during and after World War II.

The battalion’s origins lay in the enthusiasm for joining local Rifle Volunteer Corps (RVCs) engendered by an invasion scare in 1859. The volunteer units which became the battalion comprised the following:

4th Hampshire Rifle Volunteers – formed in Havant in February 1860
5th Hampshire Rifle Volunteers – formed in Portsmouth in February 1860
6th Hampshire Rifle Volunteers – formed in Gosport in March 1860
7th Hampshire Rifle Volunteers – formed in Fareham in May 1860
12th Hampshire Rifle Volunteers – formed in Petersfield in May 1860
23rd Hampshire Rifle Volunteers – formed in Cosham in November 1860

Cyclists of the 3rd Volunteer Battalion Hampshire Regiment, 1896.

In 1880 the units were linked together to create the 2nd Administrative battalion Hampshire Rifle Volunteers. By 1885 the battalion was redesignated 3rd Volunteer Battalion, Hampshire Regiment. Lettered companies were created to form the following organisation:

A-E Companies (late 5th Hampshire)
F-G Companies (late 6th Hampshire)
H Company (late 4th Hampshire)
I Company (late 12th Hampshire)
K Company (late 7th Hampshire)
L Company (late 23rd Hampshire)

In 1893 the battalion received the designation ‘’’Duke of Connaught’s Own’’’.

In 1901 the headquarters of the unit were at the newly-opened Connaught Drill Hall in Portsmouth.The hall opened in 1901, was damaged during WW2, and is now a night club.

During WW1 the 1/6th Battalion under the 43rd (Wessex) Division, in October 1914, was ordered to India to relieve Regular troops there. The 1/6th (Duke of Connaught’s Own) Battalion landed in India in November 1914: it remained there until transfer to Mesopotamia in 1917. The battalion was demobilised on 11 September 1919. The battalion was demobilised on 11 September 1919.

The 2/6th Battalion formed at Portsmouth in September 1914 served as a home service (“second line”) unit.

Interwar, in 1938, the battalion was converted into the 59th (Duke of Connaught’s Hampshire) Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Artillery (TA). During WW2 they served with the 43rd (Wessex) Infantry Division and went with them to Normandy. The 6th were commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Donald Ray on D-Day, however he was killed the following month from wounds received in action near Caen.

On the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939 the Territorial Army was doubled in size. As a result, a 2nd Line duplicate unit was raised as 69th Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Artillery (TA) with headquarters at Gosport. The unit was redesignated in 1943 as 69th Light Anti-Aircraft /Anti-Tank Regiment RA (TA). It was subsequently converted to an infantry role and amalgamated with 51st (Westmorland and Cumberland) Field Regiment, Royal Artillery as 51st/69th Infantry Regiment, Royal Artillery, serving with the Chindits in which 69th LAA/AT Rgt provided 69 Column.

When the TA was reconstituted in 1947, the regiment was reformed as 383rd Anti-Tank Regiment, RA (Duke of Connaught’s Royal Hampshire) (TA), with headquarters still in Portsmouth. In 1961 reductions in the size of the Territorial Army led to the amalgamation of the regiment with ‘P’ Battery of 256th (Wessex) Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment RA (TA) to form 383rd Field Regiment Royal Artillery (Duke of Connaught’s Royal Hampshire) (TA).

With further reductions in the Territorial Army in 1967 the unit became B Company (Duke of Connaught’s 6th Royal Hampshire RA) The Hants and Isle of Wight Territorials.

In 1971 on the formation of the Wessex Regiment, ‘A’ Company of the new regiment was designated Duke of Connaught’s Own. On the disbandment of the company in the 1990s, the title was lost, though was resurrected in 2014 with the formation of No. 679 (The Duke of Connaught’s) Squadron AAC.

10 members of the Hampshire Regiment were awarded the highest honour of the Victoria Cross, further details can be read here…
One example is Second Lieutenant Montague Shadworth Seymour Moore. V.C. CROIX DE GUERRE. 15th Battalion Sept, 20th 1917 Ypres

For most conspicuous bravery in operations necessitating a fresh attack on a final objective which had not been captured. Second Lieutenant Moore at once volunteered for this duty, and dashed ahead of some seventy men. They were met with heavy machine gun fire from a flank which caused severe casualties, with the result that he arrived at his objective-some five hundred yards on-with only a sergeant and four men. Nothing daunted, he at once bombed a large dug out and took 28 prisoners, 2 machine guns, and a light field gun. Gradually more officers and men arrived, to number about sixty. His position was entirely isolated, as the troops on the right had not advanced, but he dug a trench and repelled bombing attacks through out the night.

The next morning he was forced to retire a short distance. When the opportunity offered he at once reoccupied his position, re-armed his men with enemy rifles and bombs, most of theirs being smashed, and beat off more than one counterattack. He held his post under continual shell fire for thirty-six hours, until his force was reduced to ten men, out of six officers and one hundred and thirty men who had started the operation. He eventually got away his wounded, and withdrew under cover of a thick mist.