Friday, 6 November 2015

Caernarfon Castle World War I tribute planned for those killed in the conflict


The writing will be on the wall this month when a Welsh Army regiment graphically displays the number of soldiers who fell on the battlefields of the First World War.
The names of nearly 11,000 men who lost their lives are to be projected onto the walls of Caernarfon Castle on Armistice Day - November 11 along with some of their photos.
The projection will begin with the very fitting song - “Bring Him Home” sung by Alfie Boe who recently headlined the Llangollen International Eisteddfod.
The Bring Them Home project is the latest event being staged by the Royal Welsh Fusiliers Museum to illustrate the extent of the losses suffered by just one regiment in the 1914-18 conflict.
One RWF soldier killed in action on a Flanders battlefield in 1917 was poet Hedd Wyn.
As well as displaying the names of the Fallen on the walls of the castle, which houses the regimental museum, the organisers hope the event will spur families to send in photographs of family members who died in the war.

Shirley Williams, Museum Development Manager said: “The names of those who fell are marked on war memorials in towns and villages across Wales, but we think this event will help to bring the boys together to show the horror inflicted on just one regiment.
“It’s particularly poignant because we will shortly be marking some of the big battles of the war - like Mametz Wood and the Somme where large numbers from the RWF lost their lives.

“We are also hoping this project will add to the collection of photographs we’ve been compiling of the soldiers who died, which we are displaying at the Museum on the centenary of each man’s death. Currently, we have gathered around one in eight of those who never came home.
“We would dearly love to bring all the boys back together again in pictures if at all possible - and perhaps project their faces on the walls of Caernarfon Castle in 2018 to mark the end of the War”.
Relatives with photographs are being asked to bring to the RWF Museum, Caernarfon Castle or email to where they can be scanned and kept safe for posterity.

The screening has been made possible by HLF funding. Richard Bellamy, Head of the HLF in Wales said, “The centenary of the First World War is an important opportunity for us all to pause and reflect on the sacrifice of all those involved in conflict.
“War memorials remind us of that incredible sacrifice and I am really pleased that National Lottery money is being used to help people to find out more about the people and stories that they represent, in a new and different way.”
Pupils from Ysgol Bontnewydd will be attending the museum on Sunday morning, dressing up in WW1 costume and going over to the War Memorial in Castle Square for 11am.
The Last Post will be played from a castle tower at 11am.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015


Start of 1st Battle of Ypres, Belgium, 1914

The 1st Battle of Ypres has been said to have begun when 7th Division (with 1 RWF) met the Germans near Gheluvelt on 19 October. It resulted in the establishment of the Ypres Salient which the British would hold until the final advance of 1918. This battle lasted until 22 November. The 7th Division was reduced to a weak brigade and four battalions, including 1 RWF, had been merged into one.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

All that was left of them

A photo of the original members of 4 RWF. All that was left of "them"', 4th Battalion of the Royal Welch Fusiliers, c.1918

Thursday, 8 October 2015



In August 1914 Albert Hill joined the 10th Battalion, the Royal Welch Fusiliers, as a private. He was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions at Delville Wood, part of the Battle of the Somme in 1916. His citation read:
For most conspicuous bravery. On 20 July 1916, during the Somme Offensive, when 15280 Private Hill's battalion had been deployed under heavy fire, for an attack on the enemy in Delville Wood, France, the order to charge was given and he dashed forward. He met two of the enemy and bayoneted them both. Later, he was sent by his platoon sergeant, Hugh Green, to contact the enemy, and found himself cut off, being surrounded by over twenty Germans. He threw two hand grenades, killing and wounding about eighteen and scattering the remainder. He then joined a sergeant of his company and helped him to fight the way back to the lines. When he got back, hearing that his Company Officer, Captain Scales, and a scout were lying out wounded, he went out and assisted to bring in the mortally wounded Officer, two other men bringing in the scout. Finally, he himself captured two of the enemy and brought them in as prisoners. His conduct throughout was magnificent.[1]
He was also a holder of the French Croix de Guerre, the Russian Cross of St. George, and three campaign medals.

Sunday, 27 September 2015


Battle of Loos, France, 1915

This was the main British offensive of 1915 and the first time gas was used by them. 1, 2, 4 and 9 RWF were involved. 1 RWF was affected by gas before leaving its trenches and lost over 450 men overall. 2 RWF was in support but had 123 casualties. The 9th Battalion advanced through almost impenetrable wire, gas, and MG fire from both flanks. The CO, three company commanders and the adjutant were killed. Overall casualties totaled 250. The only battalion to have any success was the 1st.

Monday, 21 September 2015


Sgt Luke O’Connor won VCs at The Alma, Crimea, 1854

During the assault on the Russian lines Sgt Luke O’Connor, although badly wounded, took up the Regimental Colour and, dashing forward planted it on the Redoubt above the Alma River. Sgt O’Connor received the Victoria Cross and was commissioned in the field. O’Connor went on to gain the rank of Major General and served as Colonel of the Regiment before his death in 1915.


Capt EWD Bell won VCs at The Alma, Crimea, 1854

During the assault on the Russian lines, Captain Bell, seeing that one of the Russian guns was being withdrawn more slowly than the rest, captured it single-handed and galloped to the rear. Later, he led the 23rd out of the battle as the most senior uninjured officer left on the field. Captain Bell was one of the first recipients of the Victoria Cross.

18th September 1918 – ON THIS DAY IN RWF HISTORY

L/Sgt H Waring won a VC
At Epéhy 25th (Montgomery and Welch Horse Yeomanry) Battalion, RWF was checked in its advance on Ronssoy in France when the artillery barrage lifted and it was exposed to very heavy fire. Waring ‘led an attack against enemy MGs ... and, in the face of devastating fire ... rushed a strong point, bayoneting four of the garrison and capturing 20 with their guns. L/Sgt Waring then, under heavy shell and MG fire ... inspired them for another 400 yards, when he fell mortally wounded ...’. He received a posthumous VC.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

It's a long way to Tipperary

Oldbury, Langley and Warley Local History have unveiled a blue plaque dedicated to Jack Judge, the composer of the WWI Marching Song “Tipperary”.
At the ceremony was the granddaughter of Jack Judge, Gillian Nicklin, Alderman Martin Prestidge and local history expert Dr Terry Daniels who is the Chair of the Oldbury Local History Group.
The Plaque is on the wall of the Rights and Equality Sandwell in Oldbury overlooking the site where Jack Judge sold fish before his career as a Music Hall performer and Composer.

His Son was Private John Judge 35506 8th Bn RWF John Judge born 1897 Oldbury Worcestershire son of Jack Judge and Ann Jane of 23 Low Town Oldbury Birmingham. He had brothers Thomas b.1902, James b.1905 and sister b. Jane Ann 1900.One of the songs that became famous during the Great War “It’s a long long way to Tipperarry” one of the troops famous marching songs as popular at home as on the battlefields of France and Flanders. Written and composed by Jack Judge and Harry Williams first recorded in 1914. Jack’s son John enlisted Birmingham 30th Oct. 1915 into the RWF at the age of 18 years 11 months at the James Watt Recruiting Station, James Watt Street, he stood 5ft 8inches tall, brown hair, grey eyes, weighed 125lbs, 35 inch chest with 2 inch expansion. Posted 3rd Bn for training at Litherland 5th Nov.1915 

Posted 8th Bn and with the MEF 25th April he embarked at Devonport 28th April 1916. Disembarked Basra 1st June. Admitted to hospital Sheikh Saad on 1st July rejoined his unit 19th Aug.1916. Killed in action at Basra 15th Feb.1917 Remembered on Basra Memorial panel 15 Iraq. Total service; Home 30th Oct.1915 until 24th April 1916; MEF 25th April 1916 until 15th Feb. 1917. British War and Victory medal.

On this day in RWF history - 30th August 1918

Have you seen the fantastic Flintshire War Memorials website?

On the 2nd October, 1917, Richard Hugh had enlisted. He was killed less than a year later, on the 30th August 1918 aged 19. Less than 3 months later the war was over!

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Can you help us find photos of the RWF who fell in WW1?


Today 1918, Lance Corporal Henry Weale of Shotton, North Wales was awarded the Victoria Cross after his gallantry at Bazentin-le-Grand in France.
Henry was serving with the 14th battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. The British advance was being held up German machine gun posts which Weale was ordered to neutralise.
"When his Lewis gun failed him, on his own initiative, he rushed the nearest post and killed the crew, then went for the others, the crews of which fled on his approach. His dashing action cleared the way for the advance, inspired his comrades and resulted in the capture of all the machine-guns."
Henry Weale survived the war and lived in Rhyl until his death in 1959.
Killed today 1918, Private Henry Hutt of Llandudno who also served with the 14th battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015


2nd Battalion formed for the first time at Leicester, 1756

This was the first time that the Regiment had a 2nd Battalion. It lasted only for two years, but was reactivated many times during the Regiment’s history, the longest period being the ninety years from 1858  to 1948.

Friday, 14 August 2015


2nd Bn at relief of Peking [Beijing], China, 1900
A secret society known as ‘Boxers’ was dedicated to the extirpation of all foreigners from the Chinese empire. Missionaries were murdered and foreign legations in Peking besieged. An international force was dispatched, including 2 RWF from Hong Kong. The force was opposed on its journey by rail and foot to
Peking which it reached on 13 August, nearly 2 months after it set off from the coast. The next day the RWF and US Marines entered via the sewers. The battle honour PEKIN 1900 was granted and the link with United States Marine Corps was forged.

Monday, 20 July 2015


Cpl JJ Davies and Pte A Hill won VCs, 1916

10 RWF attacked Delville Wood in support of the South Africans. In the dark Cpl Davies and six men became separated from their company. From a shell hole they held up a German counter-attack and then drove the enemy off with the bayonet. Later Pte Hill, acting on his own, dispersed twenty of the enemy before helping to bring in some wounded men under enemy fire. They both received a VC.
On the 20th July 1916, at Delville Wood, Corporal Davies and eight men were surrounded during an enemy counter-attack. Taking cover in a shell hole, they repulsed the attackers with grenades and rapid fire. He then followed up the retreating party of Germans and bayoneted several of them. All the officers had become casualties, Corporal Davies, badly wounded in a shoulder, took charge and led two attacks and kept a tight control of the reserves.
On the 20th July 1916, at Delville Wood, when the battalion had deployed under very heavy fire for an attack he dashed forward, when the order to charge was given, and meeting two of the enemy suddenly, bayoneted them both. He was sent later by his platoo, sergeant to get in touch with the company, and finding himself cut off and almost surrounded by some twenty of the enemy, attacked them with bombs, killing and wounded many and scattering the remainder. He then joined a sergeant and helped him to find the way back to the lines. When he got back, hearing that his Company Officer and a scout were lying out wounded, he went out and assisted in bringing in the wounded officer, two other men bringing in the scout. Finlly, he himself captured and brought in as prisoners two of the enemy.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Battle of Waterloo 1815

18th June, 1815 

The 1st Battalion of the 23rd Royal Welch Fusiliers fought at the Battle of Waterloo. They were inspected by the Duke of Wellington just before the Battle and described as thus:
“I saw the 23rd the other day and I never saw a regiment in such order. They are not strong in numbers, but it was the most complete and handsome military body I ever looked at.” 

Of the 660 soldiers in the Battalion, 190 were Welsh:
81 from north Wales (40 from Denbighshire, 6 from Caernarvonshire, 2 from Anglesey)
109 from mid and south Wales (Montgomery: 28, Cardigan: 23, Pembrokeshire: 18)
The Battalion fought on the right of the Allied Army and spent most of the day in square under cavalry attack but also faced one infantry attack. It lost its commanding officer, Colonel Sir Henry Ellis, together with three other officers and 11 men killed and 8 officers and 78 men wounded.

Don't forget our commemoration event at the Museum inside Caernarfon Castle 8th and 9th August.

Friday, 17 July 2015


Lieut-Col Toby Purcell promoted to the Colonelcy of 23rd, 1691

When Col Charles Herbert was murdered in Ireland in 1691, he was succeeded to the colonelcy by Lieut-Col Tobias Purcell.

When Col Charles Herbert was murdered in Ireland in 1691, he was succeeded to the colonelcy by Lieut-Col Tobias Purcell, second-in-command of the Regiment at the battle of the Boyne in 1690. The spurs which he wore in the battle became a prized Regimental possession, being drunk to at every St David’s Day Dinner, and worn on ceremonial occasions by successive seconds-in-command until lost in a fire in Canada in 1842.

Sunday, 12 July 2015


Captain Robert Barclay completed his famous walk, 1809

He was commissioned 2nd Lieut RWF in 1804 but left the army a few years later. He was a great walker. His greatest feat occurred in 1809 when he accepted a wager to walk 1,000 miles at the rate of 1 mile an hour for 1,000 consecutive hours for 1,000 guineas (£1,100). He set out on Newmarket Heath on 1 June and completed it successfully on 12 July.
In 2003 the London For a Marathon recreated the challenge for six elite ultra endurance athletes. The only difference being that the 1000 miles would be competed in 38 times round the London Marathon route with the immediate running of the London Marathon at the end of the 1000 miles! In the early hours of a particularly good Officers’ Mess Dinner Night Lt David Lake decided that this event needed a member The Royal Welch Fusiliers to take part. He volunteered and was selected by the organisers on the basis of the Regimental link. David duly undertook the challenge and complete it coming fourth in the overall event. 

Tuesday, 7 July 2015


38th (Welsh) Division attacked Mametz Wood, France, 1916

This was the first major action fought division, which included the 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th Battalions. The first attack on the 7th July failed. A second one was made on the 10th. There was heavy fighting throughout the day at very close quarters in the wood. When relieved on the 12th the division had lost 4,000 men, and the Royal Welch Fusiliers well over 1,000, including four out of five commanding officers.

Monday, 6 July 2015


RWF awarded battle honour of a Sphinx superscribed ‘Egypt’, 1802

Notification was received that all regiments that participated in the defeat of Napoleon in Egypt were granted permission to ‘wear on their on their Colours a badge as a distinguished mark of HM’s Royal approbation ... of the glory acquired by ... the zeal, discipline and intrepidity of His troops ... ’ The badge was the Sphinx superscribed ‘Egypt’.


RWF arrived at Paris, France as part of the army of occupation, 1815

Following the Allied victory at Waterloo the 4th Division, with the 23rd, went first to Valenciennes before occupying Cambrai. It then marched towards Paris, reaching the Bois de Boulogne on the outskirts on the 4th. The prize money distributed for Waterloo and the capture of Paris was in the following proportions: Field Officers each, £433; Captains; £90; Subalterns, £34; Sergeants, £19; and Rank and File, £2.57.


The Royal Welch Fusiliers exercised the Freedom of Wrexham. The Colours of the 1st, 4th and 6th/7th Battalions were all on parade. The Guards were provided by the 1st Battalion and ‘A’ Company of The Welsh Volunteers, together with RWF Cadets and Comrades.

Friday, 26 June 2015


Presentation of the ‘Royal Welch Fusiliers March’ by Sousa to the Regiment, 1930

The warm feelings that had existed between the Regiment and the United States Marine Corps resulting from shared experiences with 2 RWF in China in 1900, led to the composition of a march, The Royal Welch Fusiliers by Lieut Comdr JP Sousa of the US Naval Reserve. It was presented personally by Sousa to the Colonel of the Regiment at Tidworth in the presence of an American delegation.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015


2 RWF at Red Dragon Crater, 1916
The battalion had just returned to the trenches in the Givenchy area of France. Shortly after 1.30 am the largest German mine of the war was detonated under B Company, many of whose members were buried alive. The blast was followed by an enemy raid which was repulsed in hand-to-hand fighting. The company suffered about 100 casualties. Some men lay out in the open, exposed to German fire, until after dark. The crater measured 150 by 75 yards at the base; the lips were 40 feet high.


Battle of Vittoria, Spain, 1813
A retreating French army under Napoleon’s brother Joseph occupied a strong position at Vittoria. Wellington’s operations began in a thick mist. His columns gained position after position and by shortly after midday the enemy’s retreat was intercepted and the pursuit was kept up until after dark. Battalion losses were very light but, nevertheless, the Regiment gained the battle honour VITTORIA.


Battle of the Schellenberg, Germany, 1704

After the memorable march of Marlborough’s army he learnt that Bavarian troops were fortifying the formidable heights of the Schellenberg near the Danube. He decided on an immediate assault. The leading troops were repulsed but three battalions, including the 23rd, resolutely stood their ground and beat off the enemy counter-attack and saved the day. The RWF suffered nearly 250 casualties.


The Death of Henry Walton Ellis, Commanding Officer The Royal Welch Fusiliers at Waterloo 
He was born on 29 November 1782, the son of Lieutenant-Colonel John Joyner Ellis, RWF (q.v.), and his wife Sarah (née Walton), and was christened in St Nicholas’ Church, Worcester almost a year later, on 6 October 1783. There is still uncertainty as to where he was born, which may be connected with the long period between his birth and baptism. The often-quoted Cambray could be near Cheltenham, or possibly Cambrai, in what is now north-eastern France.
His father purchased a commission for him as ensign in 89th Foot, when he was only a few weeks old on 26 March 1783. When 89th Foot was disbanded later the same year the baby was placed on half pay, but on 21 September 1789 he was brought onto full pay as ensign in 41st Foot (aged 5); lieutenant 31 March 1792 and captain-lieutenant 15 December 1794.
He transferred to RWF as captain-lieutenant on 3 September 1795 and was promoted captain RWF on 20 January 1796; major on 23 October 1804; lieutenant-colonel in command on 23 April 1807 and colonel on 14 June 1814. He was nominated KCB on 2 January 1815.
During his service he was wounded no less than eight times, including the expedition to the Helder in 1799, at Alexandria in 1801, at Albuera being ‘shot badly through the right hand’, at the storming and capture of Badajoz, at Salamanca and in the Pyrenees.
On 26 December 1814 the county and city of Worcester presented Sir Henry with a splendid silver-gilt vase, which had been funded by public subscription, “in testimony of the high sense they entertain of your meritorious services, so repeatedly displayed in the defence of your country . . . .”. At the same ceremony he was presented with the honorary freedom of the City of Worcester. Detailed accounts of the ceremonies were printed in Berrow’s Worcester Journal of 29 December, and the Worcester Herald of 31 December.
At the battle of Waterloo he was severely wounded in the chest by a musket ball. “Feeling himself faint from loss of blood, he calmly desired an opening to be made in the square and rode to the rear. At a short distance from the field he was thrown from his horse while in the act of leaping a ditch; here he was found soon afterwards, much exhausted, and conveyed to a nearby out-house where his wound was dressed. In the course of the night of 19 June the hovel in which he was lodged unfortunately caught fire and he was with difficulty rescued from the flames by Assistant Surgeon Monroe of the RWF, but was exhausted by so many shocks and on 20 June expired”. He was aged 32.
He was buried on the battlefield of Waterloo, but there is doubt as to exactly where. The Wellington museum at Waterloo, an authoritative source on the battle, consider that ‘Sir Henry Ellis was buried in the cemetery next to the church of Waterloo, which is confirmed by Tarlier and Wauters (1869) [Historians, who wrote about the French Empire]. This cemetery (700 feet from the church) was to the west of the church and is then not on the museum side. The former cemetery was closed between 1955 and 1975. We suppose that Sir H. Ellis’ body was not found 150 years after his burying and the monument which was on his grave was moved to the Wellington museum. That’s how it arrived here. . . . It's possible that he was first buried in the yard of the house where he died, but probably not in Braine-l’Alleud, or then he would have been moved to Braine-l’Alleud cemetery instead of Waterloo. He was surely buried in Waterloo and maybe close to the windmill of Waterloo, situated close to the place where the road from Nivelles is meeting the one Charleroi-Brussels.’


Battle of Waterloo, Belgium, 1815

During the battle the RWF in Mitchell’s Brigade was moved into the first line which they anchored on its right flank and covered Hougoumont. This was to the immediate right of the
main line of attack of the French cavalry. It was during one of these attacks that the commanding officer, Colonel Sir Henry Ellis, was fatally wounded. The Regiment suffered much from the French guns and suffered 100 casualties. WATERLOO was granted as a battle honour.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015


Battle of Bunker Hill, Massachusetts, North America, 1775

British forces were blockaded in Boston by the rebel militia, which greatly outnumbered the garrison. The enemy also occupied the peninsula from where heavy guns on Bunker Hill, which commanded the harbour, could stop supplies and reinforcements reaching Boston. A successful attack was launched on the hill by troops including the flank companies of the 23rd. The Grenadier Company had only five unwounded out of 49 men.


Gen Sir Hugh Stockwell GCB KBE DSO born, 1903

Commissioned into the RWF in 1923. In 1940 he led an independent company (later commandos) in Norway. He commanded 2 RWF at Madagascar in 1942. He commanded a brigade and a division in Burma, rising from major to major-general in only five years. After the war he was Commandant of Sandhurst, Commander 1 (BR) Corps, Land Force commander during Suez (1956), and Military Secretary. His last appointment was Deputy Supreme Commander Allied Powers Europe. He was Colonel of the Regiment 1952-64. He died in 1986.

Friday, 29 May 2015


Members of the 1st Battalion captured by Serbs in Bosnia, 1995

On 28 February 1 RWF deployed to Bosnia as part of the UN force. The enclave of Gorazde was the most dangerous and exposed garrison and was surrounded by elements of three Serb corps. The situation deteriorated in May when the Bosnian Serb Army commander decided to resolve the Eastern Enclave issue once and for all. On the 28th three A Company OPs were surrounded by a large force of heavily armed Serbs. With a restrictive mandate and Rules of Engagement, the officer and 31 men manning the OPs were taken hostage. Once situation reports were received, the remaining Gorazde Force OPs were successfully evacuated in a three our fighting withdrawal. Following high-level negotiations the last hostages were released on 14 June.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015


Lieutenant Siegfried Sassoon was awarded an MC, 1916

Sassoon (b. 1886) was commissioned into the RWF in 1915 and joined 2 RWF in France. He quickly earned a reputation for aggressive patrolling. He won an MC for his gallantry during a raid on enemy trenches when he remained under fire for over an hour bringing in casualties. He recorded his wartime experiences in Memoirs of an Infantry Officer, which is never out of print. He died in 1961.


Death of Captain Stephen Healey, Recce Platoon Commander, the 1st Battalion, the Royal Welsh (The Royal Welch Fusiliers).
Captain Stephen Healey commanded the Combined Force Burma reconnaissance platoon and, while conducting a vehicle patrol in the north of the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province, his vehicle struck an improvised explosive device. He was given immediate first aid before being flown to the military hospital at Camp Bastion where, sadly, his death was confirmed.
Captain Stephen Healey was born on 19 September 1982 in Cardiff. On leaving school he became a semi-professional footballer; playing for a number of clubs in the South Wales area including an apprenticeship with Swansea City. He continued to play whilst completing a degree in Sports Science at Swansea University. He joined the Army in 2007 and was commissioned into the 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh in 2008.
In 2009 he was awarded a Mention in Dispatches for his actions on Op HERRICK 11 as the Officer Commanding 4 Platoon, B Company. In 2011 he was selected to command the reconnaissance platoon and led their Op HERRICK 16 deployment. He deployed to Afghanistan on 9 March 2012, where he took over responsibility at Checkpoint Langar as part of Combined Force Burma.
Captain Adam Libbey, Second-in-Command, B Company, 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh, said:
Steve epitomises everything good about the Royal Welsh and the Army, fun, up for anything and fiercely loyal to his men and battalion. He was a genius at friendship that reached all levels, loved as much on the football pitch as in work. He was adored by his men for his assured yet unassuming and humble nature. Steve was ultra competitive and unfairly fit making him a brilliant sportsman and competitor.
He had the same steely determination in work and was always the ultimate professional. He was the talisman of the officers of the Royal Welsh both socially and professionally and always a ‘go to man’ for me. Ever reliable and honest, I cannot imagine a better officer and friend. Steve was a true winner of a bloke in every sense of the word. He will be sorely missed by all the battalion and his best mate.
Captain Mark Lewis, Second-in-Command, D Company, 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh, said:
Quite simply he was a giant of a man with an even bigger heart. A true leader of men that inspired and made an impression on all that he met. He was the ultimate professional and set the example to all that worked for and with him.
Steve was a charming bloke and the social hub of the Officer’s mess. He was also a humble man who would often shy away from the praise and the limelight, even when he clearly deserved it. He embodied the true spirit of a Royal Welshman and lived up to everything a Fusilier should be. He was the model of what an Officer should be, all can learn from the example he set.
It is nothing but an honour to say that I have served alongside him and that I could.

Friday, 22 May 2015


New Colours presented to 1 RWF by HM The Queen, 1996

The Queen presented new Colours to the 1st Battalion at Beachley Barracks, Chepstow. Following a dress rehearsal on the previous day in bright sunshine the presentation itself took place in appalling conditions. The parade included detachments from 3 RWF, the Cadet battalions and the Comrades. The Queen was received in the Sergeants’ Mess and later had lunch with members of the Regiment and their guests.

Monday, 18 May 2015


The Regiment reviewed by King George I, 1728

Instructions were received that he wished to review in London the 23rd, which was in Berwick. It left in March and proceeded on foot to London. According to the London Journal ‘ ... at the Review before the King and Queen ... [the] Regiment of Welch Fusiliers made so fine an appearance and performed all their exercise with so much Regularity, Exactness and Dexterity, as was highly applauded ... and approved by his Majesty …’.

Sunday, 17 May 2015


Employed as Marines, 1693

A letter, dated this day, from Queen Mary, ordered certain regiments, including the 23rd, to exchange their pikes for muskets and to proceed to Portsmouth to act as marines. The Regiment was divided between twelve men-of-war, a company to each.

Saturday, 16 May 2015


CSM F Barter won VC, 1915
At Festubert, France, CSM Barter, with eight men, seized and held 500 yards of trench and captured over 100 prisoners. ‘He acted with the utmost speed and with confident leadership, the men following him, catching some of his reckless enthusiasm as he bombed his way along the trench ... He forced 3 officers and 102 men to surrender to his swift and fearless attack, and also found and cut no less than eleven mine leads ...’. He was awarded a VC. 
CSM (later Capt.) Frederick Barter, V.C., M.C.
Frederick Barter was born at 60 Daniel Street in Cathays, Cardiff, on17 January, 1891, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Barter. Educated at the Crwys Road Board School, Cardiff he joined the Royal Welsh Fusiliers on 4 December, 1908, as No. 3908 and later transferred to the Special Reserve of the RWF. Some of the occupations held by Frederick were with the Cardiff Wagon works as a Collier and as a Porter with the Great Western Railway. Prior to the outbreak of World War One he was working as a stove repairer for the Cardiff Gaslight and Coke Company, and when war was declared he soon found himself once more with the colours, this time as a Special Reservist with the first Battalion RWF.
Barter's military service record in the Great War and after ran as follows:
He was a Company Sergeant Major in 1914 and served in France 1914-15. He became a 2nd Lieutenant on 26th August 1915. between 10 May 1916 and 29 December 1916 he was at the Western Command Bombing School as a Temporary Lieutenant. and after this was in France between December 1916 and February 1917. He was then transferred to the Indian Army in March 1917 and served with the Queen Alexandra's Own Gurkha Rifles, North-West Frontier Province, at Kohat as a Brigade Bombing Officer. He was then in Palestine with the 2/3rd QAOGR wth the rank of acting Captain. On 16 May 1918 he relinquished his current commission in favour of a permanent Captaincy with the Indian Army but was invalided back to Britain with fever in 1919 and subsequently retired with the rank of Captain in 1922. During the Second World War Barter served as a Major in command of the 4/7th Company of the 4th Middlesex Home Guard.
His Victoria Cross was awarded after, on 16 May, 1915, for an act of bravery at Festubert, in France. His VC citation in the London Gazette read as follows: "For most conspicuous bravery and marked ability at Festubert on 16th May, 1915. When in the first line of German trenches, company sergeant Major Barter called for volunteers to enable him to extend our line and with eight men who responded he attacked the German position with bombs, capturing 3 German officers and 102 men along with 500 yards of their trenches. He subsequently found and and cut eleven of the enemy's mine leads, situated about 20 yards apart."
Capt. Barter was decorated at Buckingham Palace by King George V on 12 July, 1915.
For his Military Cross, the citation in the London Gazette of 26 July 1918 reads:
"For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty when ordered to make a flank attack.He led his two platoons up a precipitous hill, and turned the enemy's flank. Then, placing one platoon with two Lewis guns to command the enemy's line of retreat, he gallantly led an attack with the other platoon from the rear and flank, killing or capturing practically the whole garrison."
Curiously, at El Kefr, Palestine, for a herioc act of gallantry on 10 April, 1918, Rifleman Karanbahadur Rana was awarded the Victoria Cross for saving Barter's life.
He was married on 13 May1925 to a divorcee, Catherine Mary Theresa Mclaren (nee Wright) of the Heathfield Hotel, Waldron, who died in 1944. They had no children. In 1928 he joined the AEC as a labour manager located at Southall, Middlesex, after trying several business ventures. Barter died at St. Annes Nursing Home, Canford Cliffe, Poole, Dorset, on 15 May 1953 and was cremated at Bournemouth Crematorium.
In his honour, two places at Wrexham bear his name. One is known as Barter Road and the other at Hightown, Wrexham, is called Barter Court.


Battle of Albuera, Spain, 1811
One of the hardest ever infantry battles. The three battalions of the Fusilier Brigade attacked nine French ones. According to Napier (historian), ‘The fuzileer battalions, struck by the iron tempest, reeled and staggered like sinking ships; but suddenly ... they closed on their terrible enemies ... Nothing could stop that astonishing infantry.’ The attack decided the battle. The 23rd suffered 340 casualties and ALBUHERA became a battle honour. For a full account of the Royal Welch Fusiliers role in the Battle of Albuera see the excellent ‘Dragon Rampant: The Royal Welch Fusiliers at War 1793 to 1815’ by Don Graves. The book is available from the RWF Museum Web bookshop at a reduced price.

During the battle, otherwise known as 'Bloody Albuera', the 23rd suffered a huge amount of casualties. Here are some 23rd Royal Welch Fusilier buttons found on the battlefield. They really do bring us at an almost touching distance from the history of this regiment