Royal West Kent

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Military uniform art prints of the Royal West Kent Regiment by military artists Richard Simkin and Harry Payne. All prints published by Cranston Fine Arts, the military print company.

Two linked battalions – the 50th (the Queen’s Own) and the 97th (Earl of Ulster’s) form the above regiment.

           The 50th was raised as the 52nd of the line in 1755 or 1756, assuming its proper number after the reductions of 1757.  The title, “West Kent,” was given it in 1782, that of the “Duke of Clarence’s Regiment” in 1827, the “Queen’s Own” in 1831, and its present designation fifty years later.  There had been one other of the same number- Shirley’s American Provincials- formed in 1745; but this became the 50th in 1754, and disappeared in 1757.  Apparently the present battalion was raised originally in Ireland, and in 1760 the flank companies, only, of the regiment were engaged at Corbach, Kirch-Denkern, and Wilhelmstahl, the rest of the regiment remaining in cantonments.  Returning home in 1763, it sailed for the West Indies in 1772, was broken up in 1776, but afterward recruited at Salisbury, to serve on board the fleet off Ushant.  In 1794 the 50th did good service in the attack on the Martello towers on the coast of Corsica, at the assault of Conventional Redoubt, the blockade of Bastia, and the siege of Calva.

           The next campaign of the regiment was that of Egypt, 1801, when it fought at Aboukir, Rackmani, Cairo, and Alexandria.  It saw much service in the Peninsula, at Vimiera and Corunna, where it was commanded by Charles Napier, afterwards of Scinde; at Fuentes d’Onor, Fort Napoleon, Bejar, Vittoria, the Pyrenees, the Niville, Bayonne, Orthes, Aixe, Tarbes, and Toulouse.  During these operations it suffered heavy loss on several occasions, especially in officers; but this was almost equalled by the loss from yellow fever between 1819 and 1822, when the regiment was serving in Jamaica.  Its next active service was in the first Burmah War of 1814; but, though it proceeded to Moulmein, it soon returned to India, and shared in the hard fighting at Punniar in 1842.  Lieutenant Crow and thirty-five convalescents from Cawnpore  marched fifty-three miles in twenty-four hours to join the regiment for this battle.           The 50th had suffered severly from shipwreck during its existence, but of all the recorded instances that of 1844 is the most curious; for on this occasion the Runnymede, conveying a detachment, was thrown high and dry onshore.  The regiment next fought at Moodkee and Ferozeshah, capturing two Sikh colours; and at Sobraon, where the regiment having taken a battery of guns, had to retake it when it was re-manned in their rear.           The 50th saw service in the Crimea at the Alma, Inkerman, and Sevastopol; and the “Queen’s Own” was the last to leave, as it had been one of the first to land on, Russian soil.  Finally it took part in the New Zealand campaign of 1864, at Te Rori, Weretoa, Kamaramea, and Putahi Pah; in the Egyptian campaign at Kassassin  (a detachment only was present at Tel-el-Kebir); in the Gordon Relief Expedition, when both battalions furnished a force of mounted infantry, which fought at Abu Klea and Metemneh; and in the after operations in the Soudan at Ambigole Wells and Ginniss.  A 2nd battalion of the 50th, raised in 1804, was absorbed by the 1st in 1814.

           The 2nd battalion, raised in 1824 as the 97th, was entitled the “Earl of Ulster’s in 1826.  It had five predecessors; the first from 1760-63; the second (which was at Gibraltar), 1780-83; the third (the Strathspey Highlanders), 1794-95; the fourth (Queen’s Germans), 1802-18, when it had become the 96th; and the fifth, recruited as the 98th in 1804, but disbanded as the 97th in 1818.  The first active service of the 97th was in the Crimea, where it did good work during the siege of Sevastopol; and in 1857 it embarked for India, seeing much hard fighting at Nusrutpore, Chanda, Sultanpore, Ameerapore, Lucknow, the Kaiser Bagh, etc.  In 1881 it shared in the disasters of the Transvaal campaign.  Finnaly in the Gordon Relief campaign it furnished part of the force of Mounted Infantry which marched across the Bayuda Desert from Korti, and fought as stated above.           The original facings of the 50th were black, altered in 1831 to blue; those of the 97th were sky-blue, the only regiment so dressed.  Now the scarlet uniform has royal blue facings, which with the officers are, “by special authority,” of velvet.  The motto, “Quo fas et Gloria ducunt,” was granted to the 97th; the White Horse and “Invicta” were the badges of the Kent Militia; the 50th contributes the royal crest and the Sphinx over “Egypt.”  The buttons have the crest, as also has the collar and waist-plate (with the “Queen’s Own Regiment”).  The helmet-plate bears the White Horse, the two mottoes, and the territorial title.  The Horse, with “Invicta” and complete title, is worn on the forage-cap.           The 3rd and 4th battalions are furnished by the West Kent Militia, which was raised in 1759, and divided into two battalions in 1876.  The Volunteer battalions are the 1st Kent, Turnbridge (green and green); the 3rd Kent, Blackheath (green and black); and the 4th Kent, Woolwich Arsenal (green and scarlet).           The nicknames of the 70th have been “the Blind Half-Hundred,” from the men suffering from ophthalmia in Egypt; the “Dirty Half-Hundred,” from the men wiping their faces with their black facings-or, as others state, “from blackening their faces through biting the cartridges for Brown Bess;” the “Gallant Half-Hundred,” from their bravery at Vimiera in 1808; and the “Devil’s Royals.”  The 97th was known as the “Celestials,” from the colour of their facings.           The Museum is in Maidstone

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Royal West Kent by Richard Simkin


Royal West Kent by Richard Simkin

Item Code : UN0266Royal West Kent by Richard Simkin - Editions Available
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PRINT Open edition print.
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ANTIQUE
CHROMOLITHOGRAPH
Original chromolithograph, published c.1888.
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Image size 10 inches x 13 inches (25cm x 33cm)none£140.00

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EX-DISPLAY
PRINT
**Open edition print. (One copy reduced to clear)
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Private Johnson Carrying off the sights and breechblock of a British gun.


Private Johnson Carrying off the sights and breechblock of a British gun.

During the fierce fighting at Neuve Chapelle on October 27th 1914, the men of the West Kent Regiment were forced to fall back, and in the retirement they abandoned a field gun. Recognising that it might be turned to deadly effect against themselves, Private George Henry Johnson, of the 1st Battalion, Royal West Kent Regiment, and some of his comrades pluckily ran out to drag it in. They were, however obliged to abandon the attempt and amidst a hail of bullets, they returned to their lines. The enemy were now very near, and there was no cover except from small shrubs just in front of the gun. An idea, however, flashed across Johnsons mind. Rushing back to the gun he removed the sights and breechblock, and hurriedly returned with them across the open ground. For his courageous conduct Johnson was rewarded with the D.C.M.
Item Code : DTE0452Private Johnson Carrying off the sights and breechblock of a British gun. - Editions Available
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PRINT First World War antique black and white book plate published c.1916-18 of glorious acts of heroism during the Great War. This plate may also have text on the reverse side which does not affect the framed side. Title and text describing the event beneath image as shown.
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The West Kent Regiment by Harry Payne.


The West Kent Regiment by Harry Payne.

Item Code : UN0019The West Kent Regiment by Harry Payne. - Editions Available
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PRINTOpen edition print.
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The Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment 1881 - 1914 by Lieutenant-Colonel H D Chaplin.


The Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment 1881 - 1914 by Lieutenant-Colonel H D Chaplin.

Item Code : NMP7055The Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment 1881 - 1914 by Lieutenant-Colonel H D Chaplin. - Editions Available
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BOOKPaperback book.
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174 pages.none£12.50

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The Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment 1914 - 1919 by Captain C T Atkinson.


The Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment 1914 - 1919 by Captain C T Atkinson.

Item Code : NMP7057The Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment 1914 - 1919 by Captain C T Atkinson. - Editions Available
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The Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment 1951 - 1961 by Lieutenant-Colonel H D Chaplin.


The Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment 1951 - 1961 by Lieutenant-Colonel H D Chaplin.

Item Code : NMP7056The Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment 1951 - 1961 by Lieutenant-Colonel H D Chaplin. - Editions Available
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