This Day In History

1918 Battle of the Selle. In a carefully-planned attack, rehearsed over 5 days, 5th East Lancashires mount a remarkably successful night assault near Briastre. They move off at 2 a.m., in a heavy downpour which lasted throughout the engagement, to the sound of the Regimental March being played by the battalion band. Met by heavy machine-gun fire and an artillery barrage which causes 50 casualties, they charge through with a yell and are on their final objective well before the 7 a.m. deadline set, taking 300 prisoners in the process. Casualties are 2 officers and 13 men dead, and 6 officers and 109 men wounded. Some 22 German dead were counted on the battalion front. Study of the ground the next day shows that the battalion had gone through no fewer than 6 defensive belts, including a very strongly-held railway embankment, before reaching its final objective. The 300 prisoners were ‘of far better physique and appearance’ than any of the enemy previously encountered, and turn out to be picked troops. They said that they were members of Kaiser Wilhelm’ bodyguard; that they had never before known defeat; and that they had been sent to hold the line at all costs.
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Chapter 6 – THE NAPOLEONIC WARS 1803-15

Peace with France came in 1802 but lasted barely a year. Under the threat of invasion by Napoleon the British Army expanded rapidly and all predecessor Regiments raised 2nd battalions. All six regiments took part in the war against France and her Allies, serving with distinction in many parts of the world. In the 1806 the 1/81st were part of an expeditionary force which having occupied Sicily, routed a French army at the battle of Maida in southern Italy.

Also in1806, the 1/59th took part in the capture of Capetown from the Dutch. This was not the first Regimental visit to the Cape, for the 81st had seen service there in 1799-1802.

In 1807 the 1/40th and 1/47th were in South America, adding Monte Video to the Regiments’ battle honours.

That same year the 1/82nd took part in the capture of Copenhagen

Chapter 5 | Chapter 7