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The Royal Anglian Regiment is the British Army’s regiment of infantry which covers the ten counties of Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Essex, Lincolnshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, and Rutland.

Each of these counties had its own regiment at one time or another, some tracing their history back to 1685. With the size of the Army reducing in the mid 20th Century various amalgamations took place to form the 1st East Anglian Regiment (1959), the 2nd East Anglian Regiment (1960), and the 3rd East Anglian Regiment (1958).

These three regiments, together with the Royal Leicestershire Regiment, were, in turn, amalgamated to form the Royal Anglian Regiment on 1 September 1964.

Find out about our Forebear Regiments:

The Royal Norfolk Regiment
The Royal Lincolnshire Regiment
The Suffolk Regiment
The Bedfordshire & Hertfordshire Regiment
The Royal Leicestershire Regiment
The Essex Regiment
The Northamptonshire Regiment
The Cambridgeshire Regiment
The Hertfordshire Regiment

Sobraon Day

Undercover of darkness and dense fog the Tenth moved in utter silence towards the enemy position. As they advanced to within the range of muskets and artillery the enemy opened fire, the effect was devastating, men fell at every step, yet the advance continued in perfect line, as though on the parade square, still in silence with mot a shot being fired. The Tenth was now reduced to half its original strength. When only a short distance from the Sikh guns the Colonel of the Tenth ordered them to halt for breath, this they did, still in perfect silence, still not a shot fired by them.

Talavera Day

Talavera was a battle of the Peninsular War. Wellington had advanced into Spain with the intention of bringing to battle a large French army. On 27 July 1809 his forces occupied high ground at Talavera; southwest of Madrid, alongside a large Spanish force. Late in the evening, the French attacked, before the left of the British line was properly in position, and occupied an important hill.

Minden Day

The Seven Years’ war began in 1754 (although hostilities in Europe did not commence until 1756) and lasted until 1763. It was a result of tensions overseas between Britain and France, as each sought to extend their influence worldwide, and concerns regarding British interests in Hanover (the British Royal Family were at the time also rulers of Hanover). Prussia allied herself with Great Britain, Austria with France.

Blenheim Day

Blenheim was a battle of the War of Spanish Succession. In 1702 the Duke of Marlborough was appointed to command a combined English, Dutch and Prussian force, which campaigned with some success against the French in the low countries (Belgium and the Netherlands). By 1704 Vienna was threatened, so Marlborough took his English and Prussian troops down the valley of the Danube to Munich; deciding that it was too strongly defended to capture, he pulled back and sought to engage a strong French force in a well-defended position around the village of Blenheim.

Salamanca Day

Following the French Revolution in 1789, Great Britain was at war with France for most of the period 1793-1815 as Napoleon Bonaparte, seizing power in 1799, attempted to dominate the whole of Europe. Much of the action was at sea, but the Peninsular War, from 1808 to 1814, was the setting for the Army’s major contribution to Napoleon’s eventual defeat. For most of the time the British forces in the Peninsula were under the command of General Sir Arthur Wellesley, later to become the Duke of Wellington, and fought alongside Portuguese and Spanish allies.

Royal Tigers' Day

The regimental day of the Royal Leicestershire Regiment was, unusually, not connected with a battle but with the grant of an honorary distinction on 25 June 1825 when His Majesty King George IV was pleased to approve the 17th (Leicestershire) Regiment of Foot ‘bearing on its Colours and appointments the figure of the ‘Royal Tiger’, with the word ‘Hindoostan’ superscribed, as a lasting testimony of the exemplary conduct of the corps during the period of its service in India, from the year 1804 to 1823.

Almanza Day

The War of the Spanish Succession, which lasted from 1701 to 1714, was brought about by disagreement between the European nations over who should succeed King Charles II of Spain who had died in 1700 with no clear heir. Had the French candidate been accepted, the thrones, and empires, of France and Spain would have been united and tilted the balance of power in Europe and abroad. To prevent this England formed an alliance with the Dutch Republic, Portugal, and others to promote the rival Austrian candidate.

Background on the Regular Army

The Regular Army of today really traces its origins back to the Restoration of Charles II as King of England in 1660. Parliament, remembering previous power struggles with the Monarchy, kept a tight control on the formation of a standing Army. Regiments of Foot – as infantry units were then called – were raised from time to time and although they had a fixed numerical seniority they were known by the names of the colonels currently in command.

Gradually names fell out of use and numerical titles predominated. This was made the official system in 1751. In 1782 regiments of foot were affiliated to counties, in an attempt to help recruiting.

The next major change came with the Cardwell reforms in 1881 when numbers were dropped and county titles formalised. Additionally, regiments of foot which only had one battalion were amalgamated so that all regiments had two battalions, the idea being that one would be serving overseas and the other at home.

Significant expansions took place during both World Wars but the two-battalion regiment essentially remained until the late 1940s when all second battalions were disbanded.

In the late 1950s further cutbacks in the size of the Army occurred, and the 1st, 2nd and 3rd East Anglian Regiments were formed in 1959, 1960 and 1958 respectively. Then on 1 September 1964 those three regiments and the Royal Leicestershire Regiment were merged into one ‘large regiment’, the Royal Anglian Regiment, with four regular battalions. Subsequently, in 1970 and 1992, two of those battalions were disbanded leaving the Regiment with only two regular battalions today.

Background on the Army Reserves

Volunteers, originally referred to as ‘trained bands’, and militia have existed for several hundred years, with their strength rising and falling according to the threats facing the country. They were available only for service at home, and originally loosely organised on a local basis under the control of the Lord Lieutenant of each county.

As part of the Cardwell reforms of 1881 the volunteers and militia became formally associated with the Regular Army as ‘volunteer battalions’ of their county regiments. This association was further strengthened by the Haldane reforms of 1908 which created the Territorial Force (TF), later to become the Territorial Army (TA). Again there was much expansion in both World Wars, and much reorganisation after World War 2.

When the three East Anglian Regiments and the Royal Anglian Regiment were formed their TA battalions remained in being, still with their old county titles. Between 1967 and 1971, however, the TA was reorganised and that led to the formation of the 5th, 6th and 7th (Volunteer) Battalions of the Royal Anglian Regiment. Subsequent cutbacks have reduced the strength to just one battalion, now numbered the 3rd Battalion, part of what is now the Army Reserve.

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