47th (Lancashire) Regiment of Foot


47th (Lancashire) Regiment of Foot

Infobox Military Unit
unit_name= 47th (The Lancashire) Regiment of Foot


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dates= 1751–1881
country= Great Britain (later United Kingdom)
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nickname= "The Cauliflowers", "The Lancashire Lads", "Wolfe's Own"
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battle_honours= Louisburg, Quebec 1759, Tarifa, Vittoria, San Sebastian, Nive, Peninsula, Ava, Alma, Inkerman, Sevastopol
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The 47th (Lancashire) Regiment of Foot was a regiment of the British Army.

The beginning

The regiment was first raised in 1741 as Sir John Mordaunt's Regiment of Foot in Scotland. The regiment ranked as the 58th of the line and was later renumbered as the 47th. [http://regiments.org/regiments/uk/inf/047-751.htm] The regiment first saw war service, paradoxically, at home during the 1745 Jacobite Rising against rebels who had risen in support of Bonnie Prince Charlie who claimed the thrones of the Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The regiment under Sir John Cope marched north into the Scottish Highlands but, as he thought the rebel force to be stronger than it really was, avoided engaging the Jacobites then sailed from Aberdeen down to Dunbar to meet the Jacobite forces to the east of Edinburgh at the Battle of Prestonpans which saw the Government forces routed by the Jacobites. The regiment subsequently took part in the defence of Edinburgh Castle which never capitulated to the Jacobite rebels during Bonnie Prince Charlie's control of the city of Edinburgh. The Jacobite Rebellion was eventually crushed by Government forces in 1746 and Charles was forced to escape to France.

4th Marines

For information on the 4th Marines, also known as the 47th Foot between 1739 and 1748 please see separate article 4th Regiment of Marines (British Army).

North America

In 1750 the regiment deployed to Nova Scotia, Canada and the following year it was numbered the 47th Regiment of Foot. The regiment took part in the Seven Years' War while in Canada, seeing action against the French-held Fortress Louisbourg during the 48-day Siege of Louisburg, a siege that culminated in a French surrender. The following year the 47th took part in the legendary Battle of Quebec which saw British forces, under the command of General James Wolfe, prevail again French forces in a battle that concluded a 3-month siege of Quebec. Wolfe was well-respected by his men, to such an extent that to commemorate the death of Wolfe in the battle the 47th began wearing a black line in their lace and also gained the nickname "Wolfe's Own". In 1760 the 47th took part in the Battle of Sainte-Foy, a British defeat against the French during the British defence of Quebec though despite the defeat the British held onto it.

In 1763 the regiment returned home from its long deployment in North America with the conclusion of Britain's war with France.

It arrived in North America in 1773 in New Jersey, a colony of the Great Britain and which would be one of the "Thirteen Colonies" that would soon revolt against British rule. In late 1774 the regiment was deployed to Boston and the following year the regiment saw action against rebels at Lexington and Concord and in the Battle of Bunker Hill which saw a British victory but at heavy cost.

In 1776 the regiment returned to Quebec to assist in its defence against American rebels. In 1777 the regiment was part of the disastrous expedition to Saratoga where it took part in a number of major engagements. The 47th became internees after the surrender of British forces on 17 October. It did not return home from its enforced stay until 1783 and the conclusion of the American War of Independence.

In 1782 the regiment was given a county distinction when it was given the title the 47th (The Lancashire) Regiment of Foot. In 1790 the regiment returned to the Western Hemisphere once again where it garrisoned a number of islands in the West Indies during the French Revolutionary War. In 1794 the 2nd Battalion was raised in Norfolk but was disbanded soon afterwards.

Napoleonic Wars

In 1803 the 2nd Battalion was raised again and the following year deployed to Ireland.

In 1806 the 1st Battalion arrived in the Cape of Good Hope to undertake garrison duties in the territory captured from the Dutch. That year an unsuccessful, and unauthorised, expedition to the French allies Spain against its South American possessions, led by Sir Home Riggs Popham, took place. The following year the 1st Battalion was part of the second-invasion force, led by Brigadier-General Sir Samuel Auchmuty, who was unaware of the failure of the first-invasion. The 1st Battalion took part in the siege and subsequent storming of Montevideo (now capital of Uruguay), which culminated in the capture of the city on 3 February. It also saw action in July during the mis-managed attempt to capture Buenos Aires (now capital of Argentina) from the Spanish. The attempt to capture the city failed and the British force was soon surrendered.

The 1st Battalion eventually arrived in India in 1808 and the following year its flank companies took part in an expedition to the Persian Gulf against notorious Arab Pirates in their base of Ras-al-Khaima.

Also that year the 2nd Battalion deployed to Gibraltar and in 1811 commenced its participation in the Peninsular War, a war which saw the UK, Portugal and Spain fighting the French. The regiment's flank companies took part in the Battle Barossa and in December took part in the Battle of Tarifa where they helped repulse an assault by French forces to take the town of Tarifa.

In 1812 the British were forced to withdraw back into Portugal though the following year British forces moved back into Spain to launch a concerted effort to remove the French from Spain. The 2nd Battalion in the British victory at the Battle of Vittoria as-well as, on 31 August, the siege and subsequent storming of San Sebastian during which the 2nd Battalion, one of the battalions that led the assault, and the rest of the British and Allied forces sustained significant causalities in the attempt to storm the breaches in the walls of the town of San Sebastian. The French surrendered on 8 September after the town, which the French had fled too, was subjected to a sustained bombardment by artillery.

The 2nd Battalion crossed the Bidasoa River, finally into France itself. The battalion took part in the Battle of Nive and ended its war while taking part in the siege of Bayonne, France in 1814 when the war with France finally concluded, with the UK victorious. The 2nd Battalion, having battled so determinedly in that bitter war, returned home and was disbanded at Portsmouth.

The Wars of Empire

In 1817 the "47th" took part in the 3rd Mahratta War, the last war between the British and the Mahratta Empire, and which ensured that Britain was effectively in control of much of present-day India.

In December 1819 the "regiment" was back in the Persian Gulf in a brief expedition that saw the Pirate base of Ras-al-Khaima captured.

In 1824 the "47th" took part in the First Burmese War. They were involved in a number of heavy fighting with the Burmese forces, and the "regiment" was awarded the Battle Honour "Ava". The war cane to an end in 1826 and the "47th" returned to India. The "regiment" finally returned home in 1829.

In 1850 the "regiment" arrived in the Mediterranean where they were based in the Ionian Islands, then a British territory. In 1853 the "regiment" arrived in Malta and the following year was to take part in the Crimean War against Russia.

The "47th" landed with the rest of the British at the ominous sounding Calamity Bay. The British and their French allies then began the journey to the important Russian naval base of Sevastopol. On the 30 September the "regiment", as part of the 2nd Division, was involved in the Battle of Alma, a battle that was bloody, especially at the 'Great Redoubt', a Russian earthwork.

On 5 November the "regiment" took part in the Inkerman. The numerically superior Russians had attempted to break the Siege of Sevastopol, besieged since 19 September, and attacked British and French forces on the heights of Mount Inkerman. The battle was brutal, chaotic hand-to-hand fighting prevalent during parts of the battle. The Russians were repelled but at a heavy price. Over 8,000 casualties were sustained by the British and the Russians over 11,000. The "regiment" was part of the force besieging Sevastopol, a long siege that lasted from September 1854 to September 1855 when it was captured by the British.

The "regiment" returned to Malta in 1856 upon the war ending with the Treaty of Paris, and, eventually, came home.

After the inception of the Victoria Cross (VC) in 1856 Private John McDermond was awarded the first, and only, VC of the "regiment" for his actions in saving a wounded Colonel during the Battle of Inkerman.

Garrison Duties to Amalgamations

In 1861 the "regiment" returned to Nova Scotia, Canada once more, this time to reinforce Canada's defences during tense times with the USA as a consequence of the Trent Crisis during the American Civil War. In 1866 during the so-called Fenian Raids by Irish-American ex-soldiers who invaded Canadian territory, the "47th" assisted in the defence of Canadian territory against the Fenians. In 1868 the "47th" arrived in Barbados in the West Indies and would return soon afterwards. The "regiment" remained based in the UK for the duration of the 1870s.

In 1881 the "regiment" amalgamated with the 81st (Loyal Lincoln Volunteers) Regiment of Foot to form the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment in consequence of Childers Reforms of the armed forces, a continuation of the Cardwell Reforms.

Presently (2004), the regiment of which the "47th's" lineage is maintained is the Queen's Lancashire Regiment.


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