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The award of Battle Honours did not become practice until 1800. The first campaign award, in 1802, that of the ‘Sphinx’, was to the 31 regiments which had taken part in the campaign in Egypt in the preceding year. From then on the award of Battle Honours became more and more frequent, but the wars, campaigns and battles fought before 1800 continued to remain unrecognised. It was not until 1881 that an attempt was made to remedy the situation. Thus ‘Dettingen’, fought in 1743, only became a Battle Honour of the 33rd until 1882.

The Duke of Wellington’s Regiment has been awarded 118 Battle Honours in all, of which those in bold below are emblazoned on the Colours. Of these the groups of ten each for World War 1 and World War 2 are emblazoned on the Queens Colour. The remaining 21 are emblazoned on the Regimental Colour.

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Dettingen, MysoreSeringapatamAlly GhurDelhi 1803, Leswaree, Deig, Corunna, NivePeninsularWaterloo, AlmaInkermanSevastopol, Abyssinia, Relief of KimberleyPaardebergSouth Africa 1900–02

World War I:
MonsLe CateauRetreat from MonsMarne 1914, 18Aisne 1914La Bassée 1914Ypres 1914, 15, 17Nonne BosschenHill 60GravenstafelSt. JulienAubersSomme 1916, 18, 18Albert 1916, 18BazentinDelville WoodPozièresFlers-CourceletteMorvalThiepvalLe TransloyAncre HeightsArras 1917, 18Scarpe 1917, 18ArleuxBullecourtMessines 1917, 18, Langemarck 1917Menin RoadPolygon WoodBroodseindePoelcappellePasschendaeleCambrai 1917, 18St QuentinAncre 1918LysEstairesHazebrouckBailleulKemmelBethuneScherpenbergTardenoisAmiensBapaume 1918Drocourt-QuéantHindenburg LineHavrincourtÉpehyCanal du NordSelleValenciennesSambreFrance and Flanders 1914–18, PiaveVittorio VenetoItaly 1917–18SuvlaLanding at SuvlaScimitar HillGallipoli 1915Egypt 1916

Afghanistan 1919

World War II:
Dunkirk 1940St. Valery-en-CauxTilly sur SeullesOdonFontenay Le PesnilNorth-West Europe 1940, 1944–45Banana RidgeMedjez PlainGueriat el Atach RidgeTunisDjebel Bou Aoukaz 1943North Africa 1943, AnzioCampoleoneRomeMonte CecoItaly 1943–45Sittang 1942PaungdeKohimaChindits 1944, Burma  194244

The Hook 1953Korea 1952–53

Iraq 2003

 

Battles fought by the 33rd and 76th Regiments which are not commemorated on the Colours

The rules laid down that only victories would qualify and then only “provided their results have left their mark on history which renders them familiar”. Under that rule the Battle Honour of ‘Bed Boo Ali’ (1823), and other similarly little known actions, hardly seem to qualify. It was also laid down that the HQ and at least half the regiment must have been present – a rule not always strictly followed. The inconsistencies resulting from trying to apply rules to something not easily subjected to a system are shared by all regiments. However, a battle not emblazoned on the Colours may easily slide into obscurity, which does less than justice to those who fought in it.

 

The War of the Spanish Succession (1702-1713)

There were two theatres in the Spaniish War of Succession, North West Europe (Flanders and Germany) and the Spanish Peninsula (Spain and Portugal). British troops who fought in NW Europe became eligible for the Battle Honours Blenheim, Ramillies, Oudenarde and Malplaquet – though not until 1882. On the other hand the British troops who fought in the Peninsula, including the 33rd, received nothing. That was because they had to surrender at Brihuega (1710), where the British rearguard of 4,500 men fought with heroic tenacity but were finally overwhelmed by a French army of 20,000 men. The British Commander, General Stanhope, reported; “…we had not 500 men who had any ammunition… should I ever again be entrusted with troops I never desire to serve with better men.”

 

The War of the Austrian Succession (1742 – 1748)

Although the 33rd gained the Battle Honour Dettingen during this war, the 33rd were also at the battle of Fontenoy where the British Infantry excelled itself. Victory was denied them because of the failure of the attacks elsewhere in the line. Casualties of the 33rd totaled 189 among whom was the CO who was killed.

 

The American War of Independence (1775 – 1783)

As the American War of Independence ended in defeat for the British no honours have been awarded for any of its battles, including the individual battle victories at Brooklyn (1776), Brandywine (1777), German Town (1777), Monmouth Court House (1777) and Camden (1780), as well as the final defeat at Yorktown (1781), which virtually put an end to British operations until the peace treaty of 1783.