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BATTLE HONOURS
Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment
28th, 49th, 61st, 62nd, 66th and 99th Regiments of Foot

 

GUADALOUPE 1759

24th January 1st May 1759

Unit awarded Battle honour Subsequent designation
61st(South Gloucestershire) Regt 2nd Bn Gloucestershire Regiment
  Merged 1st Battalion 1948
  Amalgamated 1st Bn D.E.R.R. 1994
  Now, 1st Bn R.G.B.W.

 

The 61st of Foots First Battle Honour

 

The Battle
 

The taking of GUADALOUPE is not memorable so much for the brilliance of the military success, though there was plenty of fine fighting, as for the resolution and fortitude of the commander and his troops against very adverse circumstances. There were two enemies in the West Indies In those days the French and a much more deadly foe sickness the taking of GUADALOUPE was for the 61st of foot a token of the future it was success, but costly and hard won.

The expedition sailed from Portsmouth In November 1758 in a great fleet of transports and warships with six regiments aboard. The convoy sailed to GUADALOUPE via Barbados and Martinique

There a successful combined naval and military operation was achieved against the town and fortress of basse-Terre. The town was bombarded heavily by the navy and set on fire and the, conflagration was considerably helped by the large stocks of rum and sugar. The next day the troops were landed.

61st at Guadaloupe

The 61st Land at Guadaloupe

Thus the first action of the 61st of foot was surprisingly easy and successful but the situation soon became difficult the French had withdrawn to a stronger position inland, and were able to maintain tantalizing and costly assaults against the British outposts and piquet’s. Worse still sickness began to take a terrible toll of the men

The 61st of foot remained in this location for about three months after which French resistance was worn down until the end of April, when  there remained but one point of resistance, at Saint Maries, where all The remaining French were concentrated

Saint Marys was a strong position well entrenched and the French had their guns well cited here was fought the file battle in which the 61st of foot distinguished themselves in a gallant attack on a dense wood and gained the rear of a strong post which they captured in the teeth of most desperate resistance

Soon afterwards the main French position was attacked by the steady advance of the long line of red coats, an advance against incessant gun and musket fire ending in a furious and triumphant charge which won the day

To the survivors of the 61st of foot went back to England their colors honorably baptized by fire and their first battle honour ‘GUADALOUPE’ worthily gained.

 

Historical footnote

Up to the year 1909 the battle honours ‘Martinique’ and ‘GUADALOUPE’ which figured on the colours and appointments of some of our regiments had been granted only for the capture of those islands by Sir George Beckwith in the years 1809 and 1810. In 1909 it was determined that the previous expeditions which dated back to 1759 were also worthy of being recorded, and an Army Order was issued in the month of November, 1909 announcing that the King had been graciously pleased to approve of the under mentioned honorary distinctions being born on the colours and appointments of a certain number of regiments present in the following expeditions ‘Havana’  ‘GUADALOUPE 1759’  ‘GUADALOUPE 1810’  ‘Martinique 1762’  ‘Martinique 1794’ and 1809 ‘Saint Lucia’ 1778 1793 and 1803

 

GUADELOUPE (Local spelling) Today

Modern day map

Shows clearly the location of 'Sainte-Marie' the scene of the final action which included the 61st.

 

The units entitled to the battle honour GUADALOUPE 1759’

Buffs
Gloucestershire
Royal highlanders
Manchester
Kings own (Lancaster)
South Stafford’s
North Stafford’s
York and Lancaster Regt

 

SOURCES
Cap of Honour (The Story of the Gloucestershire Regiment)
Battle Honours of the British Army, By C.B. NORMAN
Battle honours of the British and Commonwealth Armies, by Anthony Baker
 
 
                             
 
                        
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                            Revised: 27 June 2003.