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Painting of the 22nd (Cheshire) Regiment at Meeanee in 1843. (National Army Museum)
The Cheshires' membership of the Wolfe Society came through the 22nd, which had joined Amherst's 1758 expedition to capture the port of Louisburg on Cape Breton Island. The grenadier company was detached for Wolfe's assault on Quebec in the following year when, at the height of battle, the general died in the arms of Henry Brown of the 22nd. The Foresters' place in the society came courtesy of the 45th Regiment, which served at the Siege of Louisburg with James Wolfe.
Badajoz Day (6 April) is celebrated in the way of the Sherwood Foresters, with a red coat flown from a flagpole to mark the action of Lt McPherson in the siege of this Spanish border fortress in 1812. When the 45th Regiment reached the citadel, McPherson signalled his section's achievement by running his coat up the flagpole. The Foresters' colours would be trooped on this day and then given over to the sergeants' mess, which hosted a ball in memory of those 'Old Stubborns' who fell at the Siege of Badajoz.
On Alma Day (20 September) tradition dictates that the drums captured by the 95th (Derbyshire) at the Battle of the Alma in 1854 are paraded and the regimental colour is carried by a common soldier in memory of Pte Keenan, who took up the colour after several officers had been killed in the attempt to keep it flying. The dangerous position of colour parties in war led to an army order to the effect that colours would no longer be carried in battle after the Alma. The 95th, which had been in existence for thirty years at the time of the Crimean War, were known as 'The Hosiers' after Derbyshire's hosiery trade and 'The Nails' from the hard nature of the men.
The Glorious First of June was celebrated by Worcesters everywhere to honour the 29th Regiment and its tour of duty with Lord Howe's fleet in the naval victory of 1794. The naval crown borne on the regimental colour today was awarded to the Worcestershire Regiment in 1909 for this action. The loyal toast was made in naval fashion with a special procedure in which the mess president would both propose and make the toast.
The custom of wearing swords in the mess originated in 1746, when officers of the 29th were attacked at dinner by American Indians. For the next 104 years all officers of the regiment wore swords when dining, but from 1850 onwards only the orderly officer and the officer of the week were required to keep the custom. Today the WFR orderly officer and duty field officer wear their swords in the mess but all other officers wear their sword frogs on the Sam Browne belts as a matter of course.
Pte Derby is the regiment's ram mascot, a legacy of the Sherwood Foresters, who maintained the ram traditions of the 95th Regiment and the Derbyshire Militia - a custom probably inspired by the old Jacobite song that was once made into a regimental march, The Derby Ram. The first ram was acquired by the 95th during the Siege of Kotah in the Indian Mutiny of 1857. Notable successors were Derby VIII, presented by the Maharajah of Alwar, and Derby X (1900-7), given by the Duke of Devonshire, the first in a long line of Swaledale rams from the herd at Chatsworth. The Staffordshire Regiment owns bull terrier mascots, each with the name Watchman, a custom begun in 1949 when the 6th Battalion North Staffordshire Regiment (TA) was presented with a Staffordshire bull terrier.
Ypres Day (31 July) commemorates the 1st North Staffords' attack on the first day of hostilities at Ypres in 1917.
Ferozeshah Day (21 December) celebrates the 80th Regiment at the Battle of Ferozeshah in 1845. It was the custom of the South Staffords for the colours to be handed over to the sergeants for the day in honour of Sgt Kirkland, who received a battlefield commission for his capture of a Sikh standard in the fray.
If neither of these anniversaries can be observed in any year then Anzio Day (22 January) or Arnhem Day (17 September) may be substituted. Whichever day is selected, the Ferozeshah sergeants' custom is employed.
The Royal Welsh Regiment (RWR) formed as three battalions on St David's Day 2006: the Royal Welch Fusiliers, the Royal Regiment of Wales and the Royal Welsh Regiment (TA).
The Royal Welch Fusiliers were born at Ludlow in 1689 under Lord Herbert of Chirbury. Although they recruited all over Wales, the Fusiliers annexed the militia regiments of north Wales in 1881 and established bases at Wrexham and Caernarvon.
The Royal Regiment of Wales (RRW), which also dates back to 1689 through its antecedent 24th of Foot, is an amalgamation of the South Wales Borderers (RHQ at Brecon) and the Welch Regiment (RHQ at Cardiff). The RRW headquarters were set up in the Cardiff barracks in 1969.
Corporal and officer of the Royal Welch Fusiliers in No. 2 dress, the flash clearly visible on the officer's jacket. (RWF Museum)