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The 40th Regiment of Foot

"A condensed history"

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In 1717 England had four independent companies garrisoned in Newfoundland and another four at Annapolis Royal in Nova Scotia. These eight companies were ordered to form a Regiment at Nova Scotia in that year under the command of Colonel Richard Phillips, the Governor of that colony. The 40th Regiment was born, but as common at this period Regiments were known by their Commanding Officer, and in this case, "Phillips Regiment of Foot", - later Cornwallis'.

From 1717 to 1743, Phillips Regiment was mainly garrisoned at Annapolis, Placentia and Canso protecting the settlers from indian raids and French build up in the area. When war was declared against France in 1744, Phillips Reg't held the attack at Annapolis but fell at Canso, but the following year Nova Scotia was saved

1751, and by Royal Command Phillips Reg't, (now Cornwallis') was to be known as the "40th Regiment of Foot". In 1755, the 40th took part in the defeat of Fort Beausejour, and drove the French out of Nova Scotia.

In 1758 with Britain in its final struggle with France over the sovereigncy of Canada, the Grenadiers of the 40th formed part of General Wolfe's famous "Louisburg Grenadiers" which captured Louisburg under his personal leading. At a later date Flank Companies of the Reg't were present with Wolfe at the taking of Quebec, and the Reg't took part at the surrender of Montreal whereby Canada became a British Colony.

In 1761 the 40th moved from Canada to the West Indies to take the French outpost of Martinique, followed by Cuba and in June beseiged Havana after Spain declared war on England. This war ended in early 1763 and the 40th Reg't arrived in the British Isle in 1765, 48 years after its formation.

With America embroiled in its War of Independance with Britain, the 40th arrived in Boston in 1775 ready for active service. The Regiment earned high praise for its conduct in the war. In 1778 the 40th left America for the West Indies but returned to New York in September, 1781.

In 1782 the 40th was given the distinction of a county title, and was to be known as "The 40th Regiment 2nd Somersetshire". The 40th returned to England in 1783 after the peace treaty of Versailles.

Between the years 1793 and 1799, the Reg't was active against the French in Holland and St Vincent, and garrison duty at Gibraltar, Minorca and Malta.

In 1800 the 40th was part of the force at the landing at Abourkir Bay near Alexandria, Egypt, and the Flank companies distinguished themselves so well that they were granted the distinction of wearing the "Sphinx-superscibed Egypt".

In 1807 the Reg't took part in a short campaign in South America where the 40th earned the battle honour "Montevideo" and from Sth America the 40th sailed to Portugal for the start of the Peninsula War. Here the British under Wellington fought Napoleons army for six weary years and eventually drove them from Portugal through Spain and back into France. The 40th Reg't earned thirteen hard fought battle honours from "Rolica to Toulouse".

The 40th returned to England in 1814, but were soon back in Europe again where at Waterloo the fate of Napoleon was finally decided. For their steadfastness and discipline on this day the 40th were awarded the battle honour "Waterloo" and permitted to encircle their badge with a laurel wreath.

In 1824 the 40th Reg't arrived in Australia for its first tour of garrison duty with most of the reg't in Tasmania and one company in N.S.W. The Regiment left Australia for India in 1829.

Because of uprisings in Afghanistan, the 40th was part of a field force ordered to Candahar in 1841. After taking part in numerous actions against the rebels, the field force started its return to India in August 1842, via Ghuznee, Cabool and the Kyber Pass fighting rebels all the way, and on the 23rd of December,1842, crossed the Sutlej into India. All regiments that took part were awarded the battle honours "Candahar - Ghuznee - Cabool 1842" and a silver medal with the above inscribed.

In December 1843, the 40th, with other British and Indian troops took part in a heavy action against rebels near the village of Maharajpoor, for which they were awarded the battle honour "Maharajpoor" and a medal (the Indian Star). The 40th sailed for England in 1845 and served on garrison duty in England and Ireland.

1852, the 40th moved from their post at Templemore to Cork ready to embark for Australia for their second tour of duty there. On the 12th July, the Reg't under the command of Lt Col T.J. Valiant embarked on H.M Steam Ship Vulcan and sailed on the 15th, arriving in Hobsons Bay, Port Phillip on the 19th October, disembarked at Melbourne on the 4th and 5th November.

The 40th was to garrison Melbourne and all the major gold towns in Victoria. The most notable incident of their stay being the Eureka Stockade incident on the 3rd December 1854, where the 40th and the 12th regiments with local police attacked a stockade manned by armed miners. The 40th lost two dead, including Captain H.C. Wise, and about six wounded.

The regiment left Australia in 1860 for New Zealand for the Maori War. They returned to England in 1866, and after various postings they went to Ireland untill 1872, when once again the 40th was posted to India.

In 1881, the 82nd Regiment -(Prince of Wales' Volunteers) was grouped with the 40th and became 1st and 2nd battalions of the "South Lancashire Regiment (Prince of Wales' Volunteers)".

The first war of importance after 1881 was the South African War of 1889-1902, which the 1st battalion "the old 40th" took part. From Sth Africa the 1st battalion sailed back to India where they stayed right through the 1914-1918 war doing great service for King and Country.

The 1st battalion went to France in 1939, and returned to England via Dunkirk. The South Lancashire was one of two assault battalions who landed first on the beaches of Normandy on D.Day.

When the war ended in 1945, the 1st battalion sailed from France to the Middle East, and returned to England in 1947. In 1948 at a ceremony held at Trieste, the 1st and 2nd battalions of the regiment were amalgamated to form the 1st battalion South Lancashire Regiment (Prince of Wales' Volunteers.

In Hong Kong on the 1st of July 1958, the Sth Lancashire reg't amalgamated with the East Lancashire reg't to become the Lancashire Regiment (PWV), then again in 1970, the Lancashire Reg't amalgamated with the Loyal Regiment, North Lancashire, to become the "Queens Lancashire Regiment". Their present Regimental Headquarters is Fulwood Barracks in Preston, and their Regimental Museum is at Peninsula Barracks, Warrington. Here also is the Parish Church of St Elphin where many of the old Colours are laid up, including the Colours that were brought to Australia in 1852..

This then is the short history of the old 40th Regiment.

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