Who We Were
In the process of establishing a high 'esprit de corps' it is very easy for regiments to come to believe that they are, in some way, special. Whatever the individual merit of such a claim, all regiments have one thing in common - they are members of that truly unique British contribution to military organisation: the regimental system. Only those who have experienced it fully understand its strengths. As for the Dukes, General Sir Charles Huxtable put it succinctly when he wrote, after vacating the colonelcy in 1990:
"We are not a smart, social regiment. We do not seek to be ever in the headlines. We do not pretend to have some special expertise. Indeed perhaps what makes us special is that we do not seek to be any of those things.
We are ordinary, straight-forward folk who stick together. We have in the Dukes some of the best soldiers in the world. I would back the 'Dukes' soldier - the good, honest straigh-forward, hard working Yorkshireman - against any soldiers in the world. From these first class soldiers we have consistently obtained outstanding Senior NCOs and Warrant Officers and hence have always had a very powerful Sergeants' Mess.
Finally, we have officers who are not afraid to get their boots muddy and who understand the soldiers they lead. If you put these assets together in an organisation that works hard and plays hard, which gets on with its job and, if you ensure there is a proper understanding and communication between the various groups and add those very loyal and supportive families, you end up with a first class professional regiment. A regiment which will do any job it is given, anywhere in the world, and will stick at it until it is successful. You get a feeling of mutual support and respect, you get a group of people with strong bonds of friendship, of history, of enjoyment, of endeavour and achievement. In short, you get The Duke of Wellington's Regiment."
General Sir Charles Huxtable KCB OBE DL
All Regiments claim they are the best, many with good reason, but with the 'Dukes it was a fact. In 1772 following its Annual Inspection it was recorded as being "One of the finest Regiments in his Majesty's service." By 1774, when the Regiment was inspected, by Major General William Gore, it had become known as 'The Pattern', or in other words at the highest level of quality and professionalism that all other regiments should try to attain.
THE IRON DUKE
But The Duke of Wellington's Regiment was distinct from other regiments in other ways as well. It was the only Regiment in the British Army to be named after an individual who was not part of the Royal Family. The 1st Duke of Wellington, and it was also the only Regiment whose Colonel in Chief was not a member of the British Royal Family, or any other European Royal Family The last was:-
Brigadier, His Grace, Arthur Valerian Wellesley KG LVO OBE MC BA DL, the 8th Duke of Wellington.
THE HONORARY COLOURS
The 'Dukes' were the only Regiment in the British Army to carry four Colours on parade. The first pair being the Regulation Queens Colour and the Regulation Regimental Colour, which all regiments carry. In adddition to these the Regiment had two Honorary 'Battle' Colours; the Honorary Queens Colour and The Honorary Regimental Colour, both of which are of the original size of 6' 6" by 6' 6". Regulation Colour sizes are 3' 9" by 3', and differ little to the design laid down by King George II. These Honorary Colours were originally awarded to the 76th Regiment, in 1808, by the Honorable East India Company, for their distinguished services in India, during 1803-1804, at the capture of the Fortress of 'Ally Ghur' and the capture of 'Delhi'. Following the amalgamation of 'The Dukes' into The Yorkshire Regiment, as the 3rd Battalion, the Honorary Colours were taken forward and carried when the battalion was on parade.
Common to both the 33rd and the 76th Regiments were the rare 'Red Facings', linings, to their uniforms. This unusual distinction continued in modern times by the use of a red backing to the Cap Badge and the use of red lanyards by Officers, Warrant Officers and Sergeants, and red sashes by Sergeants and Warrant Officers. When the regiment became part of the Yorkshire Regiment in 2006. the red cap badge backing was replaced by a Brunswick Green one, thought the lanyards and sashes were retained.
THE CAP BADGE
The cap Badge was the crest of the Duke of Wellington; A Lion Rampant, carrying a Banner Unfurled, within a crown, below which is a crest bearing the words "Virtutis Fortuna Comes" - translated as "Fortune Favours The Brave". Below this is a Scroll bearing the words "West Riding".
The Badge of an elephant, to which a Howdah was later added, circumscribed with the words "HINDOOSTAN" was granted to the 76th at the same time as the Honorary Colours. The Elephant became the Collar Badge of the Regiment, following the merger of the 33rd and 76th Regiments. It also became the design displayed on the Regimental Buttons of various uniforms. Such as No.1 Dress (Blues), No.2 Dress and No.6 Dress.
Alliances and Affiliations:
Canada: - Les Voltigeurs de Quebec.
Pakistan: - 10th Battalion the Baloch Regiment.
Royal Navy: - HMS Iron Duke.