The Royal Welsh Fusiliers

The Royal Welsh Fusiliers goes back to 1689 and was one of the first regiments to be granted a fusilier title.

During the Great War eight of its soldiers received Victoria Crosses. It counted amongst its soldiers the poets and writers Robert Graves and Siegfried Sassoon, and the Welsh-language poet Hedd Wyn, who was killed at Ypres in 1917. Soldiers of the regiment took part in the Christmas truce of 1914.

The following battalions of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers spent time in Bedford:

1/5th (Flintshire) Battalion and 1/6th (Carnarvonshire and Anglesey) Battalion  August 1914 the 1/5th stationed at Flint and the 1/6th stationed at Carnarvon both as part of the North Wales Brigade of the Welsh division,  moved to Conway,  to Northampton and then to Cambridge. May 1915 moved to Bedford. May 1915 formation became 158th (North Wales) Brigade of the 53rd Division, and moved to Rushden. July 1915 embarked for Gallipoli from Devonport, Plymouth via Imbros. August 1915 landed at Suvla Bay and engaged in various actions against the Turkish Army. December 1915 evacuated from Gallipoli to Egypt due to severe casualties from combat, disease and harsh weather – the Division was reduced to just 162 officers and 2,428 men, about 15% of full strength. August  1916  and engaged in various actions of the Palestine campaign including: 1916 the battle of Romani; 1917 the first, second and third battles of Gaza, the captures of Beersheba, Tell Khuweilfe, and Jerusalem, and the defence of Jerusalem; and 1918 the battles of Tell’Asur  and Nablus. August 1918 amalgamated with the 1/6th Battalion to form the 5/6th Battalion. October 1918 ended the war moving back from Palestine to Egypt.

1/7th (Merioneth and Montgomery) Battalion August1914 stationed at Newtown, Montgomery as part of the North Wales Brigade of the Welsh division,  moved to Conway,  to Northampton and then to Cambridge. May 1915 moved to Bedford. May 1915 formation became 158th Brigade of the 53rd Division (their record then is as the 1/5th, see above, except in June 1916 transferred to the 160th Brigade).

2/4th (Denbighshire) Battalion September 1914 formed at Wrexham as a home service (second line) unit. November 1915 moved to join Welsh Division at Northampton. December 1914 moved to Cambridge. April 1915 attached to 203rd (2nd North Wales) Brigade, 68th Division at Northampton. July 1915 moved to Bedford.  November 1916 moved to AldeburghMay 1917 moved to Henham Park (Halesworth). October 1917 finally moved to Yarmouth. March 1918 disbanded.

2/5th (Flintshire) Battalion September 1914 formed at Flint as a home service (second line) unit. April 1915 attached to 203rd Brigade, 68th Division at Northampton. July 1915 moved  to Bedford, November 1916 moved to Westleton. May 1917 moved to  Henham Park (Halesworth). October 1917 finally moved to Yarmouth. March 1918 disbanded.

2/6th (Carnarvonshire and Anglesey) Battalion September 1914 formed at Carnarvon as a home service (second line) unit.  April 1915 attached to 203rd Brigade, 68th Division at Northampton. July 1915 moved to Bedford, November 1916 moved to Southwold. May 1917 moved to Henham Park (Halesworth). September 1917 disbanded.

2/7th (Merioneth and Montgomery) Battalion September 1914 formed at Newtown as a home service (second line) unit.  April 1915 attached to 203rd Brigade, 68th Division at Northampton. Moved to Bedford in July 1915. November 1916 moved to Wrentham and absorbed the 2/1st Brecknockshire Battalion of the South Wales Borderers. May 1917 moved to Henham Park (Halesworth). September 1917 disbanded.

The 2/5th Battalion, the Royal Welsh Regiment, goat - the regimental mascot
The 2/5th Battalion, the Royal Welsh Regiment, goat – the regimental mascot