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Preamble to History


A Brief History

The 'Dukes' were raised in 1702, when Colonel George Hastings, the 8th Earl of Huntingdon was authorised to form a new Regiment, which he did in and around the city of Gloucester, at the outbreak of the War of the Spanish Succession.  As was the custom in those days the Regiment was named Huntingdon's Regiment, after it's Colonel.  As Colonel Succeeded Colonel, the name changed.

1702 - The Earl of Huntingdon’s Regiment;

1703 - Henry Leigh’s Regiment;

1705 - Duncanson's Regiment (12th February to 9th June 1705);

1705 - George Wade’s Regiment (disbanded 1714);

1715 - George Wade’s Regiment; 

1717 - Henry Hawley’s Regiment; 

1730 - Robert Dalzell’s Regiment; 

1739 - John Johnson’s Regiment (renumbered to 33rd in 1751, Johnson remained Colonel until 1753);


In 1751 Regiments were given numbers, in precedence of when they were originally formed, and the Regiment was from that time known as the 33rd of Foot.  It soon established a reputation for excellence and by the 1770's was described as the best trained regiment in the Army.


1751 - 33rd Regiment


In 1782 the Regiment's title was changed to 33rd (or 1st Yorkshire West Riding) Regiment, thus formalising an association with the West Riding of Yorkshire which, even then had been long established. At the same time it was announced that a regimental depot was going to be built On Highroad Well Moor.

1782 - 33rd (or First Yorkshire West Riding) Regiment.

1853 - 33rd (or The Duke of Wellington’s) Regiment.





In 1793 Arthur Wellesley, later to become the 1st Duke of Wellington, joined the 33rd and subsequently commanded it in the Netherlands and India until 1803.  He succeeded as Colonel in 1806 and held this post until 1813.  The 33rd later fought under his command at the Battle of Waterloo.   The Duke of Wellington, or 'The Iron Duke' as he became known as, died in 1852.  The following year, on the 18th of June 1853, the first anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo following his death, the title of "The Duke of Wellington's Regiment" was conferred on the 33rd Regiment, due to the Duke's long and close personal connection with the Regiment.

The Regimental insignia incorporates the lion, from the Duke's crest, and the mullet (5 pointed white star) which was placed upon the shoulder of the lion.  The mullet had remained on the crest of Arthur Wellesley to denote he was the third son of the Earl of Mornington, it was not removed until both his elder brothers passed away, at which time he became the Earl of Mornington.

The Regiment had been formally linked with the West Riding of Yorkshire in 1782, at the request of Lord Cornwallis, in recognition of its long practice of recruiting its soldiers from that part of the country, following a government decision to 'link' regiments to counties to improve recruiting. 

On the 1st of April, 1873, as part of the Cardwell reforms, the Depot of the Regiment was established, with the construction of a new barracks, in Halifax, West Yorkshire.  The Barracks construction was completed in 1877 and on the 1st of September the Depot Companies of the 33rd and 76th Regiments marched in.


 76th Regiment of Foot

The 76th was originally raised in 1745 by Lord Simon Harcourt, Viceroy of Ireland (1714 - 1777) for service in the Jacobite Rebellion. It was disbanded in 1746. It was re-raised in 1756, under the command of the 4th Earl of Granard, Lt Col George Forbes (Viscount Forbes). 

In 1761 the Regiment was despatched to Martinique, under the command of Lt Col William Rufane. Martinique, a French Crown colony, was taken and Lt Col Rufane was appointed as the Governor. The regiment remained there until the island was retaken by the French in 1763, at which time the regiment was disbanded.

The regiment was finally re-raised, in 1787, for service in India where it distinguished itself with honours.  For its service in India it was awarded a 'Honorary' stand of colours and the badge of an elephant, circumscribed by the word Hindoostan.

1745 - Lord Harcourt’s Regiment (disbanded 1746).

1756 - 76th Regiment (disbanded 1763).

1777 - 76th Regiment (Macdonald’s Highlanders) (disbanded 1784).

1787 - 76th Regiment.

1806 - 76th Regiment (Hindoostan). 

1810 76th Regiment

In 1881, during the Cardwell reforms, the 76th was formally amalgamated with the the 33rd Regiment of Foot, becoming the 2nd Battalion of the regiment. Initially renamed as the Halifax Regiment the title was changed, by Royal Order, six months later.

1881 (May) The Halifax Regiment (Duke of Wellington’s).

1881 (July) The Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding Regiment).

1921 (January) The Duke of Wellington’s Regiment (West Riding).

Between them the Battalions had seen service in:- Spain, Portugal, France, Belgium, Austria, Holland, Germany, America, The Caribbean, Canada, the Crimea, India, The Northwest Frontier Provinces (Pakistan), Gibralter, Minorca,  and South Africa.

During the 1st World War twenty four Battalions were raised, fourteen of which were engaged on active service on the Western Front, in France, Italy and Gallipoli and a total of 72 Battle Honours were awarded.  In the Second World War Battalions of the Regiment took part in the campaigns of Dunkirk, North West Europe, North Africa, Italy and Burma.

On the 17th of June 1948 the 1st and 2nd Battalions, the two Regular Army battalions, were amalgamated into a single Battalion to become:-

1st Battalion the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment (West Riding). 

In 1953 the 1st Battalion fought in Korea with the UN.  Since then they have seen action with the United Nations in  undefined undefined undefined undefined undefined undefined undefined undefinedthe Korean War, two UN Peacekeeping tours in Cyprus, Police actions in Kenya and Hong Kong, several tours in Northern Ireland, a tour in the Falkland Islands, Nato service in Kosovo and the Republic of Macedonia and UN Peacekeeping Duties in Bosnia.  They were part of the UN invasion force during the Gulf War in Iraq (OP TELIC 1) and since then have served a further tour in Iraq, helping to train the Iraqi security forces of the newly elected government.  

They had trained and served in all parts of the world from the Arctic to the Caribbean.

Nine members of the Regiment have been awarded the Victoria Cross, Britains Highest Military Honour. It was the first Regiment to have one of it's members awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross, which is second only to the Victoria Cross.  Nine British Towns and Districts have given the Freedom of their Town to the Regiment.  On November the 11th 2005 the Regiment was awarded the Theatre Honour 'Iraq 2003', in recognition of it's service during the Gulf War.  Then the following day it was given the Key to the Town of Erquinghem Lys, France.  It is the only British Military Regiment to be so Honoured by any French Town.


The 'Dukes'  were an Armoured Infantry Regiment, equipped with the Warrior Armoured Infantry Fighting Vehicle.

stationed in Battlesbury Barracks Warminster.

On 6th June 2006 The 'Dukes' were amalgamated with the Prince of Wales's Own Regiment of Yorkshire and The Green Howards to form, respectively, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Battalions of the Yorkshire Regiment. The antecedent regiments territorial army units merged together to form the 4th Battalion (TA). In 2013, under the Army 2020 changes the Green Howards Battalion (2nd) in Cyprus, was merged into the 1st and 3rd Battalions. 1st (PWO) Germany, or 3rd (DWR) Warminster. Some soldiers left the army by choice or redundancy, subsequently the 1st Battalion (PWO) handed over its Colours to the 3rd Battalion (DWR), on July 25th, 2013. The 3rd Battalion was then renumbered as the new 1st Battalion (1 Yorks), whilst the PWO Battalion took over the Colours of the 2nd Battalion (Green Howards) and renumbered as the new 2nd Battalion (2 Yorks).