The King's Shropshire Light Infantry & Affiliated Regiments


53rd (Shropshire) Regiment: Chronology and Battle Honours 1755 - 1881

Locations and active service 1755 - 1881.

53rd Regiment: Chronology of Service.

1755 Raised as the 55th Regiment.
1757 Re-numbered as 53rd Regiment.
1756-68 Served on Gibraltar. Seven Years' War.
1768-76 Stationed in Ireland.
1776-89 In Canada and North America. American Revolutionary war.
1782 Assumed title "The Shropshire Regiment".
1789-93 Service at home.
1793-95 Flanders and Northern Germany. War against France.
1795-1802 Active service in the West Indies.
1802-05 At home.
1805-23 1st 53rd in India. Campaign in Nepal 1814-17.
1804-08 War-raised 2nd 53rd in Ireland.
1809 2nd 53rd on the Wacheren expedition, Holland.
1809-14 2nd 53rd on service in the Peninsular War.
1815-17 2nd 53rd on St.Helena.
1817 2nd 53rd disbanded.
1823-29 53rd : Service in U.K.
1829-34 Stationed in Gibraltar.
1834-40 Stationed in Malta.
1840-44 Serving in the U.K.
1844-60 In India: N.W.Frontier 1852 ; Sikh Wars 1845-49; Indian Mutiny 1857-59.
1861-66 In UK
1866-69 In Canada.
1869-75 In the West Indies.
1875-81 In the U.K.

1881 Amalgamated with 85th (King's) Light Infantry.Became the 1st Battalion, King's Shropshire Light Infantry.

Battle Honours of the 53rd Regiment, 1755 - 1881.

Those marked * were carried on the Colours.

Nieuport* 1793 Flanders Campaign
Toumay* 1794 Flanders Campaign
St. Lucia 1796* 1796 West Indies
Talavera* 1809 (2nd Battn.) Peninsular War
Salamanca* 1812 (2nd Battn.) Peninsular War
Vittoria* 1813 (2nd Battn.) Peninsular War
Pyrenees * 1813 (2nd Battn.) Peninsular War
Nivelle* 1813 (2nd Battn.) Peninsular War
Toulouse* 1814 (2nd Battn.) Peninsular War
Peninsula* 1809 – 1814 (2nd Battn.) Peninsular War
Aliwal* 1846 1st Sikh War (Sutlej Campaign)
Sobraon* 1846 1st Sikh War (Sutlej Campaign)
Goojerat* 1849 2nd Sikh War (Punjab Campaign)
Punjaub* 1848-49
Lucknow* 1857 – 58 Indian Mutiny

Battle Honour : NIEUPORT

Date : October 1793
Campaign : French Revolutionary War : Flanders 1793-94
Regiment : 53rd Regt.

This was the first battle-honour granted to a Shropshire regiment and commemorated the defence of the town of Nieuport on the coast of present-day Belgium by the 53rd Regiment during a ten-day siege by 12,000 French troops under Vandamme. It is unique as a battle-honour to an infantry regiment; the Royal Marines were also granted the honour, but the 42nd Highlanders (Black Watch) who had half a battalion present were not. There were also Hessian regiments and detachments of artillery present during the defence.

Battle Honour : TOURNAY

Date : May 22nd 1794
Campaign : French Revolutionary War : Flanders 1793-94
Regiment : 53rd Regt.

Conferred for the last major action of the Flanders campaign and granted to three regiments (including the 53rd) constituting Fox’s brigade. Heavily outnumbered and defeated by the French on May 18th, the allied army (whose British element was commanded by the Duke of York) fell back towards Tournai, where it was attacked on May 22nd. Fox’s brigade had suffered heavy losses in action on the 18th and was intially held in reserve, but so severe was the fighting that it was brought into action and by a bayonet charge swept the French from their positions. This turned the tide in favour of the allies and the French were eventually defeated with heavy loss. The 53rd suffered 38 casualties. It is interesting that all the other regiments besides the three in Fox’s brigade which were present in the battle were not granted the honour.

Battle Honour : ST. LUCIA 1796.

Date : April - May 1796.
Campaign : French Revolutionary War : West Indies.
Regiment : 53rd Regiment.

For the campaign to conquer (or rather, re-conquer) parts of the French West Indies. The fighting - on Grenada, St. Vincent and St. Lucia - was undertaken largely to suppress rebellious native inhabitants rather than against French Regulars but there were nevertheless some very severe actions. Although an army of 18,000 men served in the “pacification” of the islands, and eight regiments suffered heavy losses on St.Lucia in 1796, only two (the 27th and the 53rd) were granted this honour.

Battle Honour : ALIWAL

Date : Jan. 28th 1846.
Campaign : Sutlej Campaign : 1st Sikh War.
Regiment : 53rd Regt.

This honour commemorates General Gough’s victory against the Sikh army when it was hemmed in along the banks of the Sutlej on January 28th 1846. The Sikhs suffered very heavy casualties following a frontal assault by British and Indian forces, in which the 53rd played a prominent part, and were forced to flee across the Sutlej, losing much of their artillery and equipment. The battle-honour was granted to one cavalry and three infantry regiments of the British army, as well as to Indian units of the East India Company estblishment.

Battle Honour : SOBRAON

Date : Feb. 10th 1846.
Campaign : Sutlej Campaign : 1st Sikh War.
Regiment : 53rd Regt.

Award for participation in another major action, only two weeks after Aliwal, in which the Sikh army found itself trapped with its back to the Sutlej and was forced to flee in disarray following frontal infantry and cavalry attacks. Sikh losses were put at nearly 70,000 men in what became a rout. The honour was granted to three cavalry and eight infantry regiments of the British army, as well as to Indian units. No fewer than eleven Indian regiments present in the action did not receive this honour.

Battle Honour : GOOJERAT

Date : Feb. 21st 1849
Campaign : Punjab Campaign : 2nd Sikh War.
Regiment : 53rd Regt.

This was a very easily-earned honour for the 53rd, since they were not in action at all during the battle and for much of its course were several miles away. However, it was felt that their conduct on previous days in pursuing the Sikh army merited recognition. The honour was granted to three cavalry and seven infantry regiments of the British army, as well as to Indian units, and rewarded the crushing victory by what had been the largest army to take the field against the Sikhs and which ended the independence of the Khalsa, the Sikh kingdom in the Punjab.

Battle Honour : PUNJAUB

Date : 1848-49
Campaign : Punjab Campaign : 2nd Sikh War.
Regiment : 53rd Regt.

The general theatre award granted to those regiments which had served during the 2nd Sikh War. Some regiments served in the Punjab during the 2nd Sikh War but were not present in any major action for which separate honours were granted.

Battle Honour : LUCKNOW

Date : 1857-58
Campaign : Indian Mutiny, 1857-59.
Regiment : 53rd Regt.

Given the length and ferocity of the campaign, there was general dissatisfaction with the paucity of battle-honours granted for the Indian Mutiny of 1857-59. The honour LUCKNOW was granted to 25 British regiments (and several Indian) for action in any one of four separate campaigns in or around Lucknow, the capital of Oude (Awadh), viz, the Defence of Lucknow (May-Sept. 1857); the first Relief of Lucknow under Sir Henry Havelock (June-September 1857); the final Relief of Lucknow under Sir Colin Campbell (November 1857) and the Battle of Lucknow, which re-established British control of the city, in March 1858. The 53rd Regiment played a distinguished role in the first Relief (suffering 76 casualties) and in the final Battle of Lucknow (30 casualties). The regiment was awarded five Victoria Crosses for the Mutiny campaign, four of them being for actions at Lucknow.

Uniforms of the 53rd and KSLI, 1865-1912


53rd Regiment : Succession of Colonels

(Dates are those of appointment as Colonel of the Regiment.)

Lieut. General William Whitmore 21st Dec. 1755.
Major General John Toovey 5th April 1759.
General Robert Dalrymple-Hom-Elphinstone 5th Feb. 1770.
General Gerard Lake, 1st Viscount Lake 3rd April 1794.
Major General Welbore Ellis Doy1e 2nd Nov. 1796.
General Charles Crosbie 3rd Jan. 1798.
Lieut. General Sir John Abercromby, G.C.B. 21st March 1807.
General Sir Rowland Hill, G.C.B., KC.H., KC. 24th Feb. 1817.
Fld Marshal Fitzroy Somerset, Lord Raglan, G.C.B. 19th Nov. 1830.
General Sir John MacDonald, KC.B. 8th May 1854.
Lieut. General William Sutherland 25th May 1855.
General Frederick Maunsell 4th June 1860.
Major General Charles William Ridley, C.B. 2nd April 1865