History of the Regiment

Raised in 1719 by General Edmund Fielding the regiment was formed of Invalids and Chelsea Out-Pensioners (soldiers who were to diseased, injured or old to serve in the regular army, but not so that they warranted a place in the Chelsea Hospital).

Re-named in 1741 the Royal Invalids

They were numbered the 41st Regiment of Foot in 1751.

When the other regiments took county titles in 1782, they were denoted as the 41st (Royal Invalids) Regiment of Foot

Finally in 1787 they became a line regiment, dropping the Invalid title, becoming the 41st Regiment of Foot.

The 41st only received a territorial affiliation in 1831, becoming the 41st (Welch) Regiment of Foot.

1969 they amalgamated with the 24th Foot (South Wales Boarders) to become the Royal Regiment of Wales

In 2004 another amalgamation, this time with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, saw the formation of the Royal Welsh Regiment.  

The 41st in Canada

The 41st were posted to Canada in 1799 and remained there until they were due to be posted to Europe

1812.

However with the war hawks of America pushing for retaliation to what they perceived as unfair blockades of their vessels trading with France and the dubious action of the Royal Navy boarding US ships to check for deserters from the Royal Navy. It was deemed prudent to keep the 41st in Canada as they were familiar with Canada’s climate and terrain.  

Soldiers of 41st Foot were the first combatants of the War, at the River Canard, 2 privates named Hancock and Dean, standing sentry, came under attack from the invading US forces and held them until the regiment was alerted to the attack. Sadly Hancock was killed in the action and Dean was badly injured and captured, but their actions did not go un-noticed, and both were specially commended in the General Orders for their valour at the opening encounters of the war.

August saw the capture of Fort Detroit, a glorious episode in the history of the Regiment. US forces had entered Canada in July and had continually come up against forces of the British army, Canadian militia and Native forces under the command of the great tribal leader Tecumseh. General Brock in overall command played a great bluff against the US forces now hold up in Fort Detroit. In a parley with the senior US officer, Brock explained that he could not guarantee the safety of the occupants of the fort if the Allied forces had to storm the fort, in particular he could not guarantee the behaviour of the native forces. Without a shot being fired, the US forces surrendered, they were allowed to return to their American homes after giving their parole to not take up arms against Britain/Canada. The regimental flag of the 4th US Infantry Regiment was handed to Lt. Bullock with a guard of 40 men of the 41st Foot. The flag is today on display in the Regimental museum at Cardiff Castle.    

Prior to the War of 1812 the 41st Foot had no Battle honours adorning their colours, they would later be awarded 2 battle honours for their actions in 1812 Detroit and the Battle of Queenstown.

1813

The Americans counter-attacked on the Detroit frontier, a January offensive by General Henry Harrison led to an aggressive counter-punch by Procter at Winchester's isolated and exposed American command at Frenchtown (now Monroe, Michigan) on January 22, 1813, and in the desperate fighting which resulted, the companies of the 41st present suffered over 50% casualties.

 
The 41st earned the Battle Honour "Miami" (the Maumee River was also called the "Miami" at this time).

1813 was a hard year for the regiment, with only men from the flank companies still providing a fighting force. However back in Britain the regiment had already started recruiting new troops to join the battalion already in Canada and their arrival in May 1813 allowed the 41st to continue as an effective force.
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In 1813, men of the Regiment's two battalions had been stationed spread out from Montreal to Fort Malden - and Captain Richard Bullock of the Grenadier Company commanded the garrison at Mackinac from September 13, 1813, to May 18, 1814 The Regiment had seen much hard service on all fronts.

It was decided to merge the 1st and 2nd battalions into one battalion; this mixed the battle hardened soldiers of the 1st Battalion with the fresh troops of the 2nd.

Traditionally in regiments of the period a battalion was comprised of 10 companies, a light company of the left flank, made up of the smaller agile men who would act as skirmishers during battles, 8 centre companies comprised of men with no particular specialities but would perform general duties and on the right flank, the grenadiers, who historically were the largest men who threw the grenades they were named for. But as tactics changed they would be made up of the soldiers who would act as shock troops, a company mixed of the biggest and the hardest fighters.

 It appears that the best men were put in to the flank companies and continued to see heavy action, while the regular line companies were utilised mainly in support roles.
By December 19 1813, the combined battalion supplied flank companies for the assault on Fort Niagara, while the line companies helped capture Lewiston.
On December 30 1813, an attack was launched on Black Rock & Buffalo, with 250 men of the 41st participating, suffering casualties of 2 killed, 5 wounded, and 3 missing.
On 9 January 1814, Drummond ordered the 41st ordered to York; on February 8, they were ordered from York to Kingston.
The 41st found itself back on the Niagara Peninsula in time to help repel the last major American offensive of the War.
At the Battle of Lundy's Lane in July 1814, the Light Company of the 41st under Captain Glew managed to distinguish itself.
In Drummond's subsequent operations in pursuit of the retreating Americans, Colonel Tucker (with most of the 41st under his command) managed to bungle an attack on Black Rock. This was a relatively unremarkable occasion except that Shadrach Byfield was wounded, losing an arm, and started on his long journey back to his Wiltshire home.
The Regiment participated in the siege of Fort Erie, with the flank companies taking heavy casualties in the failed night assault of August 15. At that point, the Regiment was pulled back to form part of the garrison of "the forts" at the mouth of the Niagara River: Fort Niagara, Fort George, and Fort Mississauga. It was found that the 41st was the most useful unit to garrison Fort Niagara, as other units placed there suffered from excessive desertion rates.
Eventually, the Regiment was withdrawn to York, then Kingston.
It had earned its 4th Battle Honour in the War of 1812: "Niagara", for its participation in the 1814 Niagara Peninsula campaign.

In 1815 the regiment finally received orders to return to Britain, it being 16 years since some of the 1st Battalion men having been home. As they approached the Irish coast on June 7th orders were received to detour to Belgium, as Napoleon had reformed his army and was marching on Brussels.  

A storm at sea prevented the vessels from landing and the 41st missed the Battle of Waterloo by a few days. They did however form part of the forces that hunted down the defeated French army, and acted as part of the Army which occupied Paris from August 1815 until December 1815. Finally on December 1815 the 41st Foot returned to Britain

At the outset of the War the 41st Foot bore no honours, but when the Regiment was presented with its new colours in 1816 it was adorned with the honours, Detroit, Queenstown, Miami and Niagara. Having received more Battle Honours during the War than any other Regiment. Also there was the added distinction that Detroit is a unique honour, shared by no other Regiment in the British Army.