In the year 1673 ten companies of Englishmen were raised under Sir Walter Vane to fight against the French in Holland. During the winter 'non-fighting season' of that year these companies were formed into an Irish Regiment under Viscount Clare, an English Regiment under Col Luke Lillington, and into another English Regiment and a Scottish Regiment. Clare's and Lillington's Regiments remained in Holland until the Monmouth Rebellion threatened England in 1685 when they were called back to this country. These Regiments later became the Fifth and Sixth Foot, their relative seniority being based on the order in which they disembarked.

Monmouth's Rebellion is thought to have so shaken James II that in June of that year he issued Letters of Service to Lord Dartmouth calling on him to raise a Regiment of Fusiliers; so called because he decreed that it should be armed with the 'snap-hance' musket which was the same as the French 'fusil'. The King referred to this Regiment, which was formed at the Tower of London, as 'Our Royal Regiment of Fuzileers', and it later became the Seventh Foot.

After William of Orange landed in England in 1688 he decided to increase the size of the Army, and in November of that year he commissioned Sir Robert Peyton to raise a regiment at Exeter - this became the Twentieth Foot.

Battle of the Boyne
Three of our four Regiments (5th, 6th and 20th) fought together at the Battle of the Boyne in July 1690 when King William defeated ex-King James's army in Ireland.

Besides the Seventh, or Royal Fusiliers, the Fifth and Twentieth were among the first six Regiments to be armed with the fusil.

The Sixth and Seventh shared as their first battle honour 'Namur 1695'. The Fifth was also present at the recapture of the town but did not take part in the repulsing of the very strong French counter-attack, and therefore did not receive the battle honour.

Battle of MindenAll four Regiments took part in the War of the Spanish Succession and it was as a result of very heavy losses by the Sixth in the year 1702 that the first known cross-posting took place between them when the Sixth received a draft of 100 men from the Seventh on their return to England in 1703.

Battle of St LuciaThe next time the Regiments met was in 1745 when the Fifth, Sixth and Twentieth were sent to Scotland to put down the '45 Rebellion. Twelve years later the Fifth and Twentieth set sail together for the Seven Years' War where the Twentieth, as Kingsley's Regiment, subsequently won fame at the Battle of Minden, and repulsed three lines of French cavalry.

Although all four Regiments took part in the American War of Independence, they did not fight together in the same engagements. After this war there was trouble in the West Indies where the four Regiments spent some time on garrison duty. It was during the tour in St Lucia in 1778 that the Fifth defeated a much larger French force and afterwards took the white plumes worn by the French, which the Fusiliers then wore in their own hats.

continued...
Map of PortugalThe Fifth and Sixth were in the British force in Portugal under Sir Arthur Wellesley at the break-up of the French outposts at Rolica, and were joined by the Twentieth at Vimiera - a victory which resulted in the signing of the Convention of Cintra whereby the French agreed to evacuate Portugal. These three Regiments were also to fight alongside each other at the Battle of Corunna, where the French Marshal Soult, despite numerical superiority, was held off in a fighting withdrawal. After returning home, they all took part in the ill-fated Walcheren campaign.

The four Regiments all formed part of the British force in the Second Invasion of Spain in 1812. The Twentieth or 'Young Fusiliers', as it was nick named, was in the same division as the Seventh. The 1st and 2nd Battalions of the Seventh, and 1st BattalionĀ of the Royal Welch Fusiliers, comprised the Fusilier Brigade under command of Sir William Myers at the Battle of Albuhera, 16 May 1811, where in a fierce counter-attack they routed a greatly superior force by storming the heights which had been captured by the French. This brigade was later to be commanded by Maj-Gen Ross, lately Colonel of the Twentieth. The fate of the French was sealed at Vittoria-a battle in which all four Regiments took part and which they carry as a battle honour to this day. The Regiments continued to fight alongside one another, each gaining the honours 'Pyrenees', 'Nivelle', 'Orthes', 'Toulouse' and 'Peninsula'.

In May 1836 the Fifth was made Fusiliers, having previously gained affiliation with Northumberland in 1784. The Sixth had previously become affiliated to Warwickshire in 1782 and become a Royal Regiment in 1832. The Twentieth, after nearly 100 years' connection with Lancashire, was renamed the Lancashire Fusiliers in 1881.

The Seventh and Twentieth served together in the Crimea but the next time all four Regiments served in the same theatre was in South Africa 1899-1902, although they did not all fight alongside each other in any particular battle of that campaign.

Soldiers on their way to GallipoliWith 163 Battalions serving in the Great War it was always probable that the four Regiments would serve alongside each other again. The first of such battles was Le Cateau, followed by the Retreat from Mons, Marne 1914, Aisne 1914, 1918, Ypres 1914-15-17-18, Somme 1916, 1918, Arras, Passchendale, Cambrai 1917-18, and Gallipoli, to name a few. It was in the Gallipoli campaign that a Fusilier Brigade was in action again. 86 Brigade, comprising a battalion of the Seventh and of the Twentieth, achieved immortal glory at the landing on 25 April 1915. A Lancashire Fusilier Brigade subsequently joined them in the campaign, as did battalions of the Fifth and the Sixth.

The historic connections and affiliations between the four Regiments were continued in many theatres during the Second World War, notably in North West Europe, Tunisia, Italy and in Burma. These associations culminated in April 1958 when the Fifth, The Royal Northumberland Fusiliers, the Seventh, The Royal Fusiliers, and the Twentieth, The Lancashire Fusiliers, formed the Fusilier Brigade. They were joined on 1 May 1963 by the Sixth, The Royal Warwickshire Regiment, when that Regiment also became Fusiliers. The four Regiments worked very closely together, adopting the same uniform, badges and insignia.

After WWII the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers and Royal Fusiliers fought in Korea and all four regiments saw service in one of the many trouble spots around the world from Malaya to Kenya.

Since 1968 and the Regiments formation, Fusiliers have seen service across the world and found themselves at the sharp end in countries as diverse as Northern Ireland and Cyprus, More recently the Regiment served in the Balkans and took part in the first and second Gulf wars.

Today, Fusiliers both Regular and TA have served from Iraq to Afghanistan and are ready for deployment anytime, anywhere.


FORMATION
The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers was formed on April 23rd 1968, as part of the reforms of the army that saw the creation of the first 'large infantry regiment', with theĀ amalgamation of the four English fusilier regiments these were:


The Royal
Northumberland Fusiliers

The Royal
Warwickshire Fusiliers

The Royal Fusiliers
(City of London Regiment)

The Lancashire Fusiliers