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History of the Essex Regiment 1741-1958



The rise of England as a world power in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries meant a gradual expansion of the standing army. In 1741 what was later to be known as the 44th Regiment of Foot was one of seven infantry regiments raised during the War of the Austrian Succession. A few years later - in 1755 - with the approach of what was to become known as The Seven Years War, ten additional foot regiments were raised. These included the 56th Regiment of Foot.


This Regiment adopted for its facing colour (collar, lapels and cuffs), a shade known today as "Rose-Pompadour", the favourite colour of the Marquise de Pompadour, mistress of King Louis XIV. Their smart appearance soon earned the Corps its nickname of "The Pompadours" or "The Saucy Pompadours", a nickname which has lasted to modern times.


Both Regiments saw action soon after formation. The 44th Foot was present at the Battle of Preston Pans in 1745, and again saw service in Flanders in 1747. In 1755 it was sent to North America, where it experienced the greatest hardships and suffered severe losses in the ten years' campaigning it was to experience before returning home in 1765. It shared in the tragic march of Braddock's ill-fated column through the American forests, and in the disastrous attack on Fort Ticonderoga and the capture of Niagara, where the French were completely defeated. The 56th first saw service at the capture of Havana, in Cuba, in 1762. For the gallant part it played in the capture of Fort Moro, the main defence of the city, the Regiment was awarded the unique battle honour "Moro", in addition to the honour "Havannah" given to all regiments in the expedition. These are the oldest battle honours emblazoned on the Colours of The Essex Regiment.

The outbreak of the War of American Independence sent the 44th once more to North America. Landing in 1775, it fought with commendable courage through that unfortunate campaign, taking part in the battles of Brandywine, Germanstown and Monmouth Court House. In 1780 it was transferred to Canada, staying there until sent home in 1786.

Meanwhile the 56th Foot, on return from Havana, had enjoyed a short spell of garrison duty in Ireland before being sent in 1770 to Gibraltar, where it was to serve for over twelve years. This tour of duty included service through the Great Siege of Gibraltar (1779-83) by the combined forces of France and Spain, who were allied with the American colonists against Britain. The Rock was held only by the indomitable courage of its garrison.


The 56th Foot, together with the 12th, 39th and 48th Regiments, was awarded the battle honour "Gibraltar, 1779-83", with the right to bear on its Colour a "Castle and Key" with the motto "Montis Insignia Calpe" (the sign of the Rock of Calpe - Calpe being the ancient name for Gibraltar). The Key is symbolic of Gibraltar being the key to the Mediterranean. The "Castle and Key", continue to be part of the badge of the Royal Anglian Regiment.


In 1782 a system of linking regiments territorially with geographical areas took place. The 44th became the 44th or East Essex Regiment, and the 56th, the Pompadours, the West Essex Regiment. This was the first territorial connection of the two regiments with Essex.



The outbreak of war with revolutionary France in 1793 found the 44th and the 56th in Ireland. Both Regiments were sent to the West Indies, being employed in operations against the French islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique. While the 56th Foot was to remain in the West Indies until 1799 fighting both the French and the yellow fever until decimated, the 44th returned home in 1794 to be sent, ill-prepared and under strength, to fight under the Duke of York in Flanders. This ill-conceived campaign ended for the 44th in the spring of 1795, when it returned with the other remnants of the army to England, only to be sent once more to the West Indies. Returned home in 1797, the 44th next garrisoned Gibraltar from October, 1800, at a time when Napoleon conquered Egypt only to have his fleet destroyed by Nelson at the Battle of the Nile. Isolated by British sea-power, the eventual fate of the French was certain and only depended on when the hard-pressed England could spare the force necessary for their destruction. In 1801 the 44th was made part of this expedition. It took part in the Battle of the Pyramids and the Siege of Alexandria. It was awarded its first battle honour, "The Sphinx Superscribed Egypt", to be borne on the Regimental Colour. A Sphinx formed part of the Regimental cap badge.


Expansion of the army during the Napoleonic Wars resulted in the raising of the 2/44th (1803) and the 2/56th (1804), while the 3/5th was raised in 1813. The 2/44th was raised in Ireland, and it is perhaps to commemorate this and the many Irishmen who served with gallantry in the ranks of the 44th and 56th in their earlier years that both regular battalions of The Essex Regiment always marked St Patrick's Day by the beating of reveille by the Corps of Drums playing traditional Irish airs - a custom still observed today.

The 44th served in Malta, Sicily, Spain and North America. In the latter campaign the battle honour "Bladensburg" was awarded for the part the Regiment took in the advance to and occupation of Washington, the American capital, 1814. The 2/44th in its short life crowned itself with glory, gaining great distinction under Lord Wellington in the Peninsular War and at Quatre Bras and Waterloo. It won for the Regiment the battle honours of "Badajoz", "Salamanca", "Peninsula" and "Waterloo". It was a party of the 2/44th, under command of Lieutenant W. Pearce that captured the Eagle Standard of the 62nd Regiment of French Infantry during the Battle of Salamanca in 1812. This Eagle (only five were taken in battle in all the wars with the French) rests in the Museum and an Eagle badge is worn as an arm badge by the Royal Anglian Regiment.

The gallantry of the 2/44th in the Peninsular War gained them the nickname "The Little Fighting Fours". The 56th helped in the destruction of French power in the East, taking part in the seizure of Rodriguez, the raid on St Paul's, Bourbon, and the capture of Mauritius, as well as seeing active service in India. The 2/56th served many years in India, while the 3/56th served in Holland at the Battle of Merxem and the Siege of Antwerp.

The Essex Regiment and the Napoleonic War



After the final defeat of Napoleonic France in 1815 came an era of peace which lasted until the Crimean War in 1854. The regular army, however, saw much service in what may be termed the small wars of colonial expansion. The 44th served in Ireland, India, Assam and Burma, Afghanistan, Gibraltar and Malta. By its participation in the expedition which occupied the Arakan and Assam in 1824 it was awarded the battle honour "Ava".


In 1841 it was sent to Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, a country then occupied by the British in what is known as the First Afghan War. Violent insurrection, however, placed the British garrison of Kabul in jeopardy. It attempted to retire on Jellalabad. Incessantly attacked, without shelter or food, the force waded in deep snow through the narrow passes for four days, at the end of which the entire column had been annihilated. A last stand was made by twenty men of the 44th at Gundamak. During the final stage of this bitter retreat Lieutenant T.A. Souter tore the Regimental Colour from its pike and attempted to conceal it by wrapping it round his body. In the final massacre his life was spared because the Afghans, seeing the rich material of the Colour, took him for a person of high birth and rank. Lieutenant Souter and the Colour eventually returned unharmed, but the Queen's Colour was lost. Remnants of the Gundamak Colour hang in the Regimental Chapel at Warley.

Meanwhile the 56th spent these years in Jamaica, Canada, Gibraltar and Bermuda. Whilst in   Canada it was under arms during the Maine Boundary Dispute with the United States, but otherwise service was uneventful, except for the excessive casualties from disease which were then sustained by every unit in the tropics.


In 1854 came the Crimean War. Both Regiments served in this campaign, the 44th being one of the earliest units in the field. It was awarded the battle honours "Alma" and "Inkerman", while both 44th and 56th were awarded "Sevastopol", having participated in the siege of that place. Stirred by the gallantry of her troops in this war, Queen Victoria instituted the award of the Victoria Cross, one of the very first to be awarded being won by Sergeant W.McWhiney of the 44th.

The close of the Crimean War was quickly followed by the Indian Mutiny (1857); both 44th and 56th being dispatched as reinforcing units. They arrived too late, however, to take any part in that arduous campaign, but four years later the 44th was again to see active service. This was at the storming of Taku Forts in North China. Lieutenant R.M. Rogers and Private J. McDougal were both awarded the Victoria Cross for valour in this action.


In 1881 important changes, known as the Cardwell Reforms, were made. As a result the various infantry units of a county or district were grouped territorially. In Essex the 44th (East Essex) Regiment and the 56th (West Essex) Regiment were brought together and called the 1st and 2nd Battalions of The Essex Regiment. The two units of the ancient militia, the East Essex Militia and the Essex (Rifles) Militia, were re-designated the 3rd and 4th (Militia) Battalions of The Essex Regiment, while the depot companies of these four units were brought together at Warley Barracks and formed into the Regimental Depot. Finally the various Corps of Essex Rifle Volunteers became the four Volunteer Battalions of the Regiment. In this manner was the foundation laid for the Territorial Army.

Under the Cardwell system it was intended that one regular battalion should be at home while the other served abroad. So we find the 1st Essex at home from 1880, and the "Pompadours" serving in Gibraltar, Malta, Egypt and the Sudan, Cyprus, India and Burma. In 1884 they formed part of the River Column under Lord Wolseley which struggled up the Nile to relieve Khartoum and save General Gordon from the Mahdi, who had overrun the Sudan. For this campaign the Regiment was awarded the battle honour "Nile, 1884-5".


Both regular Battalions, the 3rd (Militia) Battalion and elements of the Volunteer Battalions, served in the South African War (1899-1902), the Regiment gaining the battle honour "South Africa, 1889-1902", while the 1st Battalion was awarded in addition the honours "Relief of Kimberley" and "Paardeberg" for its part in those engagements. At Paardeberg, Lieutenant F.N. Parsons gained the fourth Victoria Cross to be awarded to the Regiment.

From 1902 to 1914 the 1st Battalion served in India, Burma and Mauritius, while the 2nd Battalion remained on home service. In 1908 further large-scale reforms resulted in the reorganization of the Volunteers into the Territorial Force and the Militia into the Special Reserve. At the outbreak of World War 1 in 1914 the Regiment consisted of: 1st Essex (Mauritius and Durban), 2nd Essex (Chatham), 3rd S.R. Battalion (Warley), 4th (T.F.) Essex (Ilford), 5th (T.F.) Essex (Chelmsford), 6th (T.F.) Essex (West Ham), 7th (T.F.) Essex (Walthamstow) and 8th (Cyclist) (T.F.) Essex (Colchester).

THE GREAT WAR, 1914-1918

Very great expansion of the army was necessary to meet the German menace, and this was arrived at by the expansion of the Territorial Force and the raising of Service battalions. In all, thirty-one battalions of The Essex Regiment were formed, eleven serving overseas with great distinction. In all, no fewer than seventy battle honours were won, ten selected honours being borne on the Queen's Colour.


The 1st Battalion served on the Gallipoli Peninsula and in France and Belgium. As part of the immortal 29th Division it took part in the initial landing on the Peninsula and in all the hard-fought battles that followed. Its record on the Western Front was equally glorious. Of the ten honours emblazoned on the Queen's Colour the 44th shares with other battalions of the Regiment "Gallipoli", "Somme", "Arras", "Ypres, 1917" and "Cambrai".

The 2nd Battalion was the first in action, moving to France with the 4th Division of the original B.E.F. and taking part in the Retreat from Mons and the Battle of the Marne. Its record throughout the war was unsurpassed. Of the honours on the Queen's Colour, "Le Cateau", "The Marne" and "Ypres, 1915" were gained by the "Pompadours", who also share with other battalions "Ypres, 1917", "Somme, 1916, '18" and "Arras, 1917, '18".




The 1/4th, 1/5th, 1/6th and 1/7th Territorial Battalions served with distinction on Gallipoli and in Egypt and Palestine, taking part in many hard-fought engagements with the Turks and gaining ten battle honours for the Regiment. Of the Honours, "Gaza" was won by these Territorial Battalions, who also share "Gallipoli" with the 1st Battalion.


The 9th, 10th, 11th and 13th Special Services Battalions all served in France and Flanders. They claim a worthy share in four of the ten honours carried on the Colours - "Somme, 1916, '18", "Arras, 1917, '18", "Cambrai, 1917, '18" and "Ypres, 1917", while the 9th and 11th Battalions added the honours "Loos" and "Selle" to the Colours. Lieutenant F.B. Wearne of the 11th Battalion was awarded the Victoria Cross for his conspicuous valour. The 15th Essex also served on the Western Front during the concluding months of the war.

Some 9000 officers and men of the Essex Regiment died in the 1914-18 War, many having no known grave.


The 1st Battalion soldiered at home, also seeing active service in South Ireland (1919-21) and in Palestine (1937-38), with an early peace keeping tour in the Saarland, 1934-35. The 2nd Battalion served in Malta, Turkey, India, Egypt and the Sudan, seeing active service in Turkey (1920) and on the North-West Frontier of India (1930-1).

In 1913 four silver drums were presented to each regular battalion by the County of Essex. These were added to between the wars by public and private subscription, so that by 1937 the Regiment possessed a still unsurpassed display of silver drums and bugles.

Prior to the last war the calls of anti-aircraft defence caused the conversion of two Territorial battalions, leaving only the 4th and 5th Essex. These were duplicated in 1939, so that the Regimental order on the outbreak of World War II was 1st Battalion (Egypt), 2nd Battalion (Warley), 1/4th and 2/4th Battalion (TA) (Ilford), 1/5th (TA) (Chelmsford), and 2/5th Battalion (TA) (Colchester). To these were added during the course of the war the 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 30th and 70th Battalions.


The 2nd Battalion, the "Pompadours", were again first in the field, moving to France in September, 1939. They took part in the retreat to, and withdrawal from, Dunkirk in May, 1940. They again landed on D Day, 1944, and fought through without respite, but with great renown, to the final capitulation of Germany in May, 1945.

The 1st Battalion served in the Sudan, Iraz, Syria, at Tobruk and in Assam and Burma, the most striking episodes being the epic struggle for Ed Duda during the successful break-out from Tobruk in November, 1941, and the expeditions as "Chindits" behind the Japanese lines in Assam and Burma in 1944.

The 1/4th (TA) gave distinguished service in North Africa, Italy and Greece. The Battalion took part in the Battle of El Alamein and in the final battles which led to the surrender of the Axis forces in Africa. In Italy the Battalion played a crucial role in the Battle of Monte Cassino.

The 1/5th Essex (TA), too, gave valiant service in some of the most bitter fighting in the Italian Campaign of 1943-4, at the crossing of the Trigno and Sangro Rivers, and saw the final stages of the fighting in North-West Germany.

The 2/5th Essex (TA) was overwhelmed at Deir-El-Shein in 1942, but all ranks have the satisfaction of knowing that the delay their resistance caused Rommel's Africa Korps was an essential factor in gaining time for the withdrawing Eight Army to reorganize and stand on the Alamein Line.

The wartime raised 8th, 9th and 10th Essex were converted to armoured, artillery and parachute troops respectively, and as such took part in the campaign in North-West Europe., 1944-45.

Lieutenant-Colonel A.C. Newman, 4th Battalion, gained the Victoria Cross during the St.Nazaire Raid whilst serving with the Commandos.


After the war the 1st and 2nd Battalions were amalgamated to form the 1st Battalion (44th and 56th), while the need for anti-aircraft units in the re-formed Territorial Army meant that the 4th Battalion was the only remaining Essex Territorial infantry battalion.

From 1953 to 1954 the 1st Battalion served in Korea, before being stationed in Hong Kong, 1954-56 and Germany 1956-58. In Korea the large numbers of young National Service soldiers from Dagenham brought into use a new Regimental nickname- “The Dagenham Light Infantry”!

Whilst at Dortmund, on 2nd June 1958 the 1st Battalion Essex Regiment was amalgamated with the 1st Battalion, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment to form the 1st Battalion, the 3rd East Anglian Regiment, (16th/44th Foot). This was a result of the ending of National Service for young men and a policy of reliance on Nuclear Weapons for National Defence.

The new Regiment served in Germany, in the Malayan Emergency, in Northern Ireland, then a pleasant and peaceful posting, before being posted to Berlin soon after the erection of the Berlin Wall. A welcome change was made to an all-Regular Army.


Whilst in Berlin the regiments of the East Anglian Brigade were the first to adopt the new policy of forming a "large regiment", the Royal Anglian Regiment on 1st September 1964. The Pompadours became the 3rd Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment, serving later in Tidworth, Aden, for an Emergency Tour, Aldershot, Cyprus, as part of the United Nations forces, and Germany, as part of the British Army of the Rhine (BAOR).

The 3rd Battalion served a number of tours in Northern Ireland between 1972 and 1992, in both rural and urban areas. Indeed, it was while during an operational tour in Londonderry in the latter year that the Battalion learnt it was to be disbanded as part of cuts forced on the Army by the Government's "Options for Change" paper.

On 5th October 1992 the 3rd Battalion, Royal Anglian Regiment (Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Essex), was disbanded at Colchester and its personnel and traditions were passed on to the 1st Battalion of the Regiment.

In all its long and colourful history The Essex Regiment has never failed in peace and war. It has only one standard in barracks or in battle - the highest. To attain this standard it must cling at all times to the old simple ideas that have made the British Army famous in history throughout the world - obedience, service and sacrifice.

Essex Regiment in the 19th Century


The Essex Regiment in 1914-1918

Regular Army

1st Battalion

August 1914 : in Mauritius. Returned to England in December 1914. 18 January 1915 : attached to 88th Brigade, 29th Division. 4 February 1918 : transferred to 112th Brigade, 37th Division.

2nd Battalion

August 1914 : in Chatham. Part of 12th Brigade, 4th Division.

3rd (Reserve) Battalion

August 1914 : in Warley. Remained in UK throughout the war.


1/4th Battalion

August 1914 : in Brentwood. Part of Essex Brigade, East Anglian Division. May 1915 : formation became 161st Brigade, 54th Division.

1/5th Battalion

August 1914 : in Chelmsford. Part of Essex Brigade, East Anglian Division. May 1915 : formation became 161st Brigade, 54th Division.

1/6th Battalion

August 1914 : in West Ham. Part of Essex Brigade, East Anglian Division. May 1915 : formation became 161st Brigade, 54th Division.

1/7th Battalion

August 1914 : in Walthamstow. Part of Essex Brigade, East Anglian Division. May 1915 : formation became 161st Brigade, 54th Division.

1/8th (Cyclist) Battalion

August 1914 : in Colchester, unallotted to a Brigade. Remained in UK until moving to Ireland in February 1918, where it remained. Attached to 73rd Division, January to October 1917.

2/4th Battalion

Formed at Brentwood in October 1914. Became part of 2nd Essex Brigade (206th) , 2nd East Anglian Division (69th). December 1915 : disbanded in England.

2/5th Battalion

Formed at Chelmsford in October 1914. Became part of 2nd Essex Brigade (206th) , 2nd East Anglian Division (69th). March 1918 : disbanded in England.

2/6th Battalion

Formed at West Ham in November 1914. Became part of 2nd Essex Brigade (206th) , 2nd East Anglian Division (69th). January 1918 : disbanded in England.

2/7th Battalion

Formed at Walthamstow in November 1914. Became part of 2nd Essex Brigade (206th) , 2nd East Anglian Division (69th). 10 October 1917 : transferred to 201st Brigade , 67th Division. March 1918 : disbanded in England.

2/8th (Cyclist) Battalion

Formed in Colchester in September 1914. Remained in UK throughout the war.

3/4th to 3/7th Battalions

Formed at home stations in May 1915. 8 April 1916 : became 4th to 7th (Reserve) Bns; eventually 4th absorbed the others. Remained in UK throughout the war.

3/8th (Cyclist) Battalion

Formed at Colchester in April 1915. Remained in England until disbanded in April 1916.

15th Battalion

1 January 1917, the 65th Provisional Bn became the 15th Essex. It had been formed in June 1915 from Home Service personnel. Became a Garrison Guard Bn on 27 April 1918 (this title being removed on 16 July 1918). Moved to France in May 1918. 12 May 1918 : attached to 177th Brigade, 59th Division.

16th Battalion

1 January 1917, the 66th Provisional Bn became the 16th Essex. It had been formed in June 1915 from Home Service personnel. Disbanded in England in December 1917.

17th Battalion

1 January 1917, the 67th Provisional Bn became the 17th Essex. It had been formed in June 1915 from Home Service personnel. Remained in England throughout the rest of the war.

New Armies

9th (Service) Battalion

Formed at Warley, August 1914, as part of K1. August 1914 : attached to 35th Brigade, 12th (Eastern) Division.

10th (Service) Battalion

Formed at Warley, September 1914, as part of K2. September 1914 : attached to 53rd Brigade, 18th Division.

11th (Service) Battalion

Formed at Warley, September 1914, as part of K3. September1914 : attached to 71st Brigade, 24th Division. 11 October 1915 : transferred with Brigade to 6th Division. 27 October 1915 : transferred to 18th Brigade, 6th Division.

12th (Reserve) Battalion

Formed in Harwich, 26 October 1914, as a Service battalion, part of K4. October 1914 : attached to 106th Brigade, original 35th Division. April 1915 : became a second Reserve battalion (after the 3rd Bn).1 September 1916 : absorbed in the Training Reserve battalions of 6th Reserve Brigade.

13th (Service) Battalion (West Ham)

Formed at West Ham, 27 December 1914, by the Mayor and Borough. August 1915 : attached to 100th Brigade, 33rd Division. 22 December 1915 : transferred to 6th Brigade, 2nd Division. 10 February 1918 : disbanded in France.

14th (Reserve) Battalion

Formed in Brentwood, September 1915, as a local reserve Bn. 1 September 1916 : became 98th Training Reserve battalion of 23rd Reserve Brigade.

Other units

18th (Home Service) Battalion

Formed in Yarmouth, 27 April 1918, to replace the 15th Bn on Garrison guard duties.

1st Garrison Battalion

Formed in Denham, Buckinghamshire on 21 July 1915. Left Devonport, arriving Mudros 3 September 1915. Served on Gallipoli before moving to Egypt in February 1916, where it then remained.

2nd Garrison Battalion

Formed in Halton Park in January 1916. Moved to India, where it then remained.

The Long, Long Trail

© Chris Baker, 2003






















Movements of the 2nd Bn Essex Regiment:







2nd Battalion, The Essex Regiment



England: Aldershot
























India: Rhaniket








Burma: Schwebo




South Africa




England: Warley








Ireland: Dublin












England: Chatham




France and Flanders

4 Div



France and Flanders

36 Div



France and Flanders

4 Div








Army of Occupation



India: Ambala




Landi Kotal







Land forces of Britain, the Empire and Commonwealth, Graham Watson, 2nd Battalion the Essex Regiment 1881-1948;


N.B.: There is an inconsistency between the info from the Essex Regiment Museum (Chelmsford) and the info from T.F. Mills website


Mills states that the 2nd Bn Essex Regiment was stationed in Malta in 1904, which is contradictory with the fact that the Essex Museum stations the Regiment in England from 1902 to 1914! And Mills has won! See John Burrows.


Composition & Movements and Locations of the 56th / 2nd Bn Essex Regiment:


United Kingdom  


Note: This is a battalion history of the Regular Army. See the main regimental page for full lineage and other information.


     1755.12.28    58th Regiment of Foot




     1757              56th Regiment of Foot




     1779.06         Gibraltar                                             





     1795.11?       At sea                                                

     1796.05         Santo Domingo                                   

     1798.10?       Jamaica                                              




     1871.04                                         India: Poona

     1878.02                                         England: Parkhurst, Isle of Wight

     1878.01                                         Malta

     1879                                              England: Gosport – Forts Grange & Rowner

     1879.10                                         England: Portland        

     1881.05                                          England: Aldershot[1]    

     1882                                               Gibraltar            

     1884                                               Egypt                  

     1885                                               Sudan                  

     1887                                               Malta                

     1889                                               Cyprus              

     1892                                               India: Rhaniket   

     1895                                               Lucknow           

     1897                                               Burma: Schwebo       

     1901.12                                          South Africa      

     1902                                               England: Warley         

     1904                                               Malta                

     1907                                               Ireland: Dublin   

     1909                                               Curragh             

1912                                                            Bordon



And J.W. Burrows: 22nd the Essex Regiment, Vo. 1


1st Bn. Regular. 04 Aug 1914 in Mauritius.

2nd Bn. Regular. 04 Aug 1914 at Chatham in the 12th Brigade, 4th Division.

3rd (Reserve) Bn. Regular. Stayed in the UK and supplied drafts to the Regular Battalions overseas.

1/4th Bn. Territorial Force. 04 Aug 1914 at Brentwood in the Essex Brigade, East Anglian Division (54th Div).

2/4th Bn. Territorial Force. Formed at Brentwood in Oct 1914. Joined the 206th Brigade, 69th Division.

3/4th Bn. Territorial Force. Formed at Brentwood in May 1915. Supplied drafts to the 1/4th Bn.

1/5th Bn. Territorial Force. 04 Aug 1914 at the Association Buildings, Market Road, Chelmsford in the Essex Brigade, East Anglian Division (54th Div).

2/5th Bn. Territorial Force. Formed at Chelmsford in Oct 1914. Joined the 206th Brigade, 69th Division.

3/5th Bn. Territorial Force. Formed at Chelmsford in May 1915. Supplied drafts to the 1/5th Bn.

1/6th Bn. Territorial Force. 04 Aug 1914 at West Ham in the Essex Brigade, East Anglian Division (54th Div).

2/6th Bn. Territorial Force. Formed at West Ham in Nov 1914. Joined the 206th Brigade, 69th Division.

3/6th Bn. Territorial Force. Formed at West Ham in May 1915. Supplied drafts to the 1/6th Bn.


1/7th Bn. Territorial Force. 04 Aug 1914 at Walthamstow Lodge, Church Hill, Walthamstow in the Essex Brigade, East Anglian Division (54th).

2/7th Bn. Territorial Force. Formed at Walthamstow in Nov 1914. Joined the 206th Brigade, 69th Division.

3/7th Bn. Territorial Force. Formed at Walthamstow in May 1915. Supplied drafts to the 1/7th Bn.

1/8th (Cyclist) Bn. Territorial Force. 04 Aug 1914 at Colchester, Eastern Command.

2/8th (Cyclist) Bn. Territorial Force. Formed at Colchester. Stayed in the UK.

3/8th (Cyclist) Bn. Territorial Force. Formed at Colchester. Stayed in the UK.

9th (Service) Bn. K1. Formed at Warley in Aug 1914 in the 35th Brigade, 12th Division.

10th (Service) Bn. K2. Formed at Warley in Sep 1914 in the 53rd Brigade, 18th Division.

11th (Service) Bn. K3. Formed at Warley in Sep 1914 in the 71st Brigade, 24th Division.

12th (Reserve) Bn. K4. Formed at Harwich on 26 Oct 1914. Stayed in the UK and supplied drafts to the Service Battalions overseas.

13th (Service) (West Ham) Bn. Locally raised. Formed at West Ham by the Mayor and borough on 27 Dec 1914. Joined the 100th Brigade, 33rd Division.

14th (Reserve) Bn. Locally raised. Formed at Brentford from the Depot Coys of the 13th Bn in Sep 1915. Stayed in the UK and supplied drafts to the 13th Bn.

15th Bn. Territorial Force. Formed at Great Yarmouth from the 65th Provisional Bn on 01 Jan 1917 in the 225th Brigade.

16th Bn. Territorial Force. Formed at Fleet from the 66th Provisional Bn on 01 Jan 1917 in the 213th Brigade, 71st Division.

17th Bn. Territorial Force. Formed at Sheringham from the 67th Provisional Bn on 01 Jan 1917 in the 223rd Brigade.

18th Bn. Formed at Great Yarmouth on 27 Apr 1918 in the 225th Brigade.

1st Garrison Bn. Formed at Denham on 21 Jul 1915. Went to Gallipoli in Aug 1915.

2nd Garrison Bn. Formed at Halton in Jan 1916. Went to India joining the Nasirabad Brigade, 5th (Indian) Division.


Source: Essex Regt Museum
Oakland Park
Moulsham Street




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     1914              England: Chatham                               

     1914.08         France and Flanders                              4 Div

     1915.11         France and Flanders                            36 Div

     1916.02         France and Flanders                              4 Div

     1919              Malta                                                 

     1920              Turkey                                                  Army of Occupation

     1922              India: Ambala                                     

     1927              Landi Kotal

     1929              Nowshera                                          

     1930              NW Frontier: Nowshera                     

     1931              Nasirabad                                          

     1933              Bombay                                             

     1935              Sudan                                                 

     1936              England: Warley                                 

     1939              UK                                                    

     1940.06         UK                                                     2 Inf Div

     1944.08         NW Europe                                        49 Inf Div

     1945              Germany                                            

     1947              UK


     1948.11.03    amalgamated at Colchester with 1st Battalion









[1] This is incorrect, as the Census of 1881 reveals thet the 56th was in Aldersot in March!