This Day In History

  • 1916 On the Somme, 1st East Lancashires attack at Le Transloy through “a vast lake of mud pitted with shell-holes”, losing all the officers, warrant officers and senior NCOs of the assaulting companies and a total of 362 other ranks.
  • 1918 11th East Lancashires (the Accrington Pals) liberate the large towns of Turcoing and Wattrelos.
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The Regiments of Foot

Regiments were originally known by the name of their Colonel, but this led to confusion over precedence and rank. Precedence was established by  allocating numbers based on date of raising, or entry into British service. Finally, a Royal Warrant of 1751 decreed that Regiments would henceforward be known by their number only.

This system, which provided a simple and instant indication of a regiment’s seniority, remained in use for over 100 years until the Childers Reforms of 1881 introduced “territorialisation,” and banded senior and more junior regiments together as the 1st and 2nd battalions of the new, county-affiliated regiments.

However, the fondly-remembered and much-cherished old numbers, in which were vested so much history and glory, continued to be used on an informal basis within regiments, as to an extent they still are to this day.

By order of seniority, and therefore precedence, the Regiments of the Line which eventually became the East Lancashire, South Lancashire, and Loyal North Lancashire Regiments, and finally the Queen’s Lancashire Regiment, were:

30th of Foot 1st Battalion, East Lancashire Regiment
40th of Foot 1st Battalion, South Lancashire Regiment
47th of Foot 1st Battalion, Loyal North Lancashire Regiment
59th of Foot 2nd Battalion, East Lancashire Regiment
81st of Foot 2nd Battalion, Loyal North Lancashire Regiment
82nd of Foot 2nd Battalion, South Lancashire Regiment