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York and Lancaster Regiment

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Created From
65th (2nd Yorkshire, North Riding) Regiment of Foot and 84th (York and Lancaster) Regiment of Foot
York and Lancaster Regiment
1881 - 1968

York and Lancaster Regiment

The York and Lancaster Regiment was a line infantry regiment of the British Army that existed from 1881 until 1968.

The regiment was formed by the amalgamation of the 65th (2nd Yorkshire, North Riding) Regiment of Foot and the 84th (York and Lancaster) Regiment of Foot. The regiment saw service in many small conflicts and both World War I and World War II until 1968 when the regiment chose to be disbanded rather than amalgamated with another regiment, one of only two infantry regiments to do so with the other being the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles).

Sudan (1884)

The 1st battalion of the new regiment had spent 11 years in India (as the 65th Reg) 1871-1882. They were moved to Aden to be held in reserve for the Egyptian Campaign. After 18 months they shipped on The Serapis to Trinkitat, Sudan, arriving 28 Feb 1884. The next day they came under gun fire and made a bayonet charge, capturing two Krupp guns. Later that day seven were killed and 35 wounded at the battle of El Teb. The 1st battalion was reported 421 strong when at Souakim, 14 March, before losing 32 killed and 25 wounded. They embarked on troopship HMS Jumna 29 March, arriving Dover 22 April 1884.

World War I

The regiment raised 22 battalions for service in the Great War, eight of which saw action on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. During the war the Regiment suffered 48,650 casualties out of 57,000 men serving, with 8,814 killed or died of wounds (72 out of every 100 men being either wounded or killed). The regiment won four Victoria Crosses and 59 battle honours, the largest number for any English regiment during the war.

During the Battle of the Somme the Yorks and Lancs' eight battalions that went over the top on the first day suffered huge casualties, the three Pals battalions; 12th (Sheffield City), 13th and 14th Barnsley Pals Battalions, in particular suffering heavily. Eleven battalions of the regiment fought during the Somme offensive.

The regular 1st Battalion returned from service in British India to be formed up as part of the 28th Division. The 28th Division consisted of regular battalions returning from overseas service and was shipped to France in January 1915. The 1st Battalion saw action in the Second Battle of Ypres and the Battle of Loos. The battalion was then shipped to the Balkans as part of the British Salonika Army where it would remain until the end of the war. While the battalion was still in France Private Samuel Harvey won the York and Lancs' first Victoria Cross since the regiment's creation in 1881.

The 2nd Battalion was stationed in Ireland with the 16th Brigade when war broke out. The battalion arrived on the Western Front in September 1914 with the 6th Division as part of the original British Expeditionary Force. The 2nd Battalion fought its first battle at Radinghem south of Armentières during the Race to the Sea. The 2nd Battalion fought in most of the major battles of the war including the Battle of the Somme and spent the entire war serving in France and Flanders. Private John Caffrey, 2nd battalion, won the Victoria Cross in 1915.

Following the armistice troops from the York’s and Lancaster Regiment were involved in a mutinous riot at the Clipstone Camp, Nottinghamshire, following disquiet at the slow rate of being demobilised.


  • Roll of the Officers of the York and Lancaster Regiment. The Second Battalion, formerly the Royal Highland Emigrants, 1775-1783, late 84th (York and Lancaster) Regiment, from 1758 to 1884 by George Alfred Raikes 1885 retrieved from Archive.org

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