Somerset Light Infantry

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Military Art prints of The ( Prince Albert's ) Somerset Light Infantry, historical art prints published by Cranston Fine Arts.

  The Prince Albert’s (Somersetshire Light Infantry)-Regimental District No.13-consisting of the famous old 13th Foot, date from 1685, when the threatened invasion by Monmouth induced the king to increase the strength of the army.  At the time of the Revolution the sympathies of the regiment were divided, their Colonel, Lord Huntingdon, remaining loyal to king James, while others of the officers advocated the cause of the Prince of Orange.  When the country had settled down under the new regime the 13th was employed in Scotland, taking part in the operations against Edinburgh and in the battle of Killiecrankie.  On the latter occasion, under Colonel Hastings, they shared with the 25th the praise of being the only regiments that did not behave badly, the commander stating that in the thick of the flight he saw “Hastings on the right sustaining the reputation of the British lion.”  They fought at the Boyne and other Irish battles, and in 1701 commenced the career of Foreign Service in which they have won so great a renown.  They fought at Mineguen and assisted at the sieges of Venloo, St. Michaels, Ruremonde, Liege, and others.  In 1704 Barrymore’s Regiment, as the 13th were then called, were sent to Gibraltar to assist the Prince of Hesse Darmstadt who was defending Gibraltar, and during the siege Major Moncall of the regiment rendered most important service.  A selected party of French Grenadiers forced their way some distance into the defences when Major Moncall led his men to the charge and drove the bold assailants off.  The 13th then served at the siege of Barcelona and the relief of St. Matheo.  Shortly after the bulk of the regiment were, at the instance of Lord Peterborough, converted bodily into dragoons.  The nucleus returned home to recruit, and the following year returned again to Portugal, when they fought most gallantly at Caya.  In 1727 they took part in the defence of Gibraltar, after which they remained comparatively inactive till 1743, when they fought at Dettingen, the first name they bear on their colours.  They suffered heavy loss at Fontenoy, after which they returned home and took part in the engagements with the adherents of Prince Charles Edward.  In 1746 they went abroad, and at Roucoux and Val were distinguished for their “heroic conduct.”  Passing over the intervening years, during which they were not engaged in any war of importance, in 1790 we find the 1st Somersetshire Regiment-to use the title given in 1782-ordered to the West Indies, where, notably at fort Bizzeton, in St.Domingo, they very greatly distinguished themselves.  They returned home “a regimental wreck” in 1796, and after taking part in the suppression of the Irish rebellion went, in 1800, to Egypt.  Here they were brigaded under General Cradock, their own Colonel being Colonel Colville, and at the battle and blockade of Alexandria earned high praise.  Their next fighting of importance was at Martinique, where, as well as at Guadeloupe under General Skinner, they again distinguished themselves.  The 13th were not engaged in any of the Peninsular battles, but in 1813 were ordered to Canada, where they had their full share in what fighting was to be had.  After a few years at home they were ordered, in 1823, to India, and the following year paid a glorious part in the Burmese War.  Most interesting would it be to follow at length the brave deeds, which are commemorated by “Ava,” but a very brief recapitulation of them must perforce save our purpose.  In the capture of the Rangoon Major Sale of the regiment killed the Burmese commander in single combat, and took his gold-hilted sword and scabbard.  When fear leant prudence to the councils of the “Lord of the White Elephant” the European captives were released, but “Major Sale, of the 13th Light Infantry-the future hero of Jellalabad-found Mrs. Hudson, of missionary celebrity, bound to a tree and immediately released her.”

           Throughout the campaign Major-soon afterwards Colonel-Sale was with his brave 13th, foremost wherever fighting was, and almost invariably the same dispatch that recorded his courage added the ominous words, “severely wounded.”  At Melloone the 13th, with the 38th, formed the storming party.  “By these two British regiments, weakened in numbers by war and pestilence to nearly half their proper strength, fifteen thousand well armed men were hunted, in one confused mass, from the strongest works they had ever constructed.”  So fierce and irresistible was the assault that the total casualties of the storming column were only five killed and twenty wounded.  Returning to India, the 13th had a period of repose for twelve years or so, after which their prowess found another opportunity for assertion in the Afghan War of 1829.  Well, indeed, may the regiment glory in the recollection of Jellalabad, and, like their ancestors of Agincourt, “Stand a-tiptoe when that day is named.”

           At Ghuznee they captured two standards.  There were a few of the 13th amongst the unfortunate captives from Cabul; Lady Sale, the wife of their gallant Colonel, was wounded by a musket-ball, and sent back-happily for her-as a hostage; it was Colonel Dennie of the 13th who, when rumours of trouble first came from Cabul, foretold with such terribly literal accuracy the ghastly catastrophe that came to pass: - “You will see that not a soul will escape from Cabul but one man, and he will come to tell us that the rest are all destroyed.”  Meanwhile, at Jellalabad, the gallant Sale and the 13th were stemming the fierce torrent of murder and conquest, and when the time came for the army of Vengeance to start on its righteously stern mission, the command of on the divisions was given to him.  At Jugdulluck, the 13th, with whom were the 9th, “sealed the heights, turned the position, and bayoneted the defenders with dreadful slaughter, neither side asking quarter nor hoping for it.”  At Tizeen, that decisive battle that occupied only a few minutes, and where the might of the British power was indelibly written in grim and blood red letters, the 13th operated in extended order on the right, and the central gorge was passed, “Closed in by companies, fixing their bayonets as they came cheering down the charge.”  When the rescued captives were brought in under an escort led by Sir Robert Sale in person, it is difficult to read without emotion how “the gallant 13th Light Infantry crowded with loud cheers round the wife and widowed daughter” of their beloved chief.  On their return to India, the brave regiment that had fought so splendidly were received everywhere with praise and applause; garrisons presented arms to them as they passed; public and private bodies vied in doing them honour; and they received from the Sovereign the title of her Consort’s regiment, the right to wear the Royal facings, and the special badge of the “Mural Crown.”           Many were the officers of the 13th who distinguished themselves in that Afghan War, and amongst them was one whose name a few years later was on the lips and in the hearts of all his countrymen-Sir Henry Havelock.           The 13th returned to England in 1845, and for a few years enjoyed well-earned repose.  In the Crimean War they were attached to the fourth division, but did not take part in any of three famous battles whose names appear on the colours of the regiments; they bear, however, the comprehensive distinction of “Sevastopol.”  In October 1857, they arrived in India, where they shared in the relief of Azimghur, and “subsequently saw more service in the Jugdespore jungle, and in the Trans-Gogra districts during the years 1858-9.”  After a sojourn at home and in Gibraltar, the Prince Albert’s Light Infantry were ordered to the Cape, and were in the third column of Lord Chelmsford’s army, under Sir Evelyn Wood-subsequently the Flying Column-their own chief being Colonel Victor Gilbert.  At the battle of Kambula, on the 29th of March 1879, they experienced some severe fighting, and greatly distinguished themselves, they and the 90th “Vying with each other in noble rivalry, and beating back the hordes of Zulus upon the two most exposed flanks.”  They fought gallantly at Ulundi, where they unfortunately lost Lieutenant Pardoe, who was mortally wounded, and in July received orders to return to England, their departure effecting the disintegration of the famous Flying Column, which had done such great things.  Since the Zulu War, the only active service in which the Somersetshire have been engaged has been with the Burmah expeditionary force, the details of which are of too recent date to come within the scope of this work.

   THE SOMERSET LIGHT INFANTRY (PRINCE ALBERT'S)  Raised in 1865 as the Earl of Huntingdon's regiment, becoming in 1822 The 13th Light Infantry.

Battle Honours.

  • 1701 - 1715, Gibraltar during the war of Spanish Succession
  • 1740 - 1748 , Dettingen, during the War of the Austrian Succession
  • 1803 - 1815  Martinique during the Napoleonic War
  • 1824 - 1826  Ava during the First Burma War
  • 1839 - 1842  Ghuznee, Affghanistan, Kabul during the first Afghan war
  • 1845 - 1846  Aliwal during the First Sikh War
  • 1854 - 1855  Sebastopol during the Crimean war
  • 1877 - 1879  Zulu and Basuto War
  • 1885 - 1887  Third Burma War
  • 1899 - 1902  Relief of Kimberley during the Boer War
  • 1914 - 1918  Marne 1914, 1918, Aisne, Ypres 1915, 1917,1918, Somme 1916, 1918 Albert 1916, 1918, Arras 1917, 1918, Cambrai 1917, 1918,  Hindenburg Line   and Palastine 1917-18, Tigris 1916.during World War One.
  • 1919   Third Afghan war
  • 1939 - 1945  Hill112,  Monte Pincon,  Rhineland, Rhine, Cassino II, Cosina Canal Crossing, North Arakan, Ngakyedauk pass. 1944, during the Second World War

VICTORIA CROSS AWARDS.Five members of the regiment have been awarded the Victoria Cross:   2 during the Indian Mutiny  one in the Zulu and Basuto War,  One in World war One, and One in World War Two.

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Remnants of an Army by Lady Elizabeth Butler.


Remnants of an Army by Lady Elizabeth Butler.

Depicts Dr. William Brydon, an assistant surgeon in the Bengal Army arriving at the gates of Jellabad on his exhausted and dying horse. He was thought to be the sole survivor of some 16,000 strong army and followers from Kabul, which was forced to retreat the 90 miles over snow covered passes to Jellabad during the first Aghan war. A few others eventually struggled through to the fort.
Item Code : DHM0062Remnants of an Army by Lady Elizabeth Butler. - Editions Available
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The Battle of Culloden by Richard Simkin.


The Battle of Culloden by Richard Simkin.

The Somerset Light Infantry at the Battle of Culloden during the Jacobite rising of 1745 to 1746.
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The Somerset Light Infantry (the Prince Alberts) by Richard Simkin


The Somerset Light Infantry (the Prince Alberts) by Richard Simkin

Item Code : UN0299The Somerset Light Infantry (the Prince Alberts) by Richard Simkin - Editions Available
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Prince Alberts Somerset Light Infantry by Richard Caton Woodville


Prince Alberts Somerset Light Infantry by Richard Caton Woodville

Item Code : UN0456Prince Alberts Somerset Light Infantry by Richard Caton Woodville - Editions Available
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Sergeant Coxon Shoots Two Of A Party Of Three Germans Who Had Attacked Him During An Attack On Their Trenches.


Sergeant Coxon Shoots Two Of A Party Of Three Germans Who Had Attacked Him During An Attack On Their Trenches.

On the night of December 15th 1915, a British bombing party carried out an attack against the German trenches at Armentieres. After bombing into the trench Sergeant J. W. Coxon of the 8th Battalion Somerset Light Infantry, was attacked by three Germans. He shot two of them and took the third prisoner. He set a fine example to his men and was awarded the D.C.M. for conspicuous gallantry.
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