South Staffordshire Reg

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Military art prints of the South Staffordshire Regiment (Staffordshire Regiment), (Lillingstone's Regiment, 38th Foot) shown in military art prints at the battle of Arnhem, showing J.D. Baskeyfield winning his VC by Terence Cuneo. Military art print published by Cranston Fine Arts.

The South Staffordshire Regiment-Regimental District No. 38-is composed of the 38th and 80th Regiments of the line.  The 38th Regiment dates from 1702, when it was raised in Ireland, and for many years known as Colonel Luke Lillingstone’s Regiment of Foot.  Five years after its formation the regiment went to the West Indies and served there “an unprecedented period of, it is said, nearly sixty years, during which detachments of the corps served at the capture of Guadaloupe in 1759, and of Martinique in 1762.”  (Archer.)  On their return home the 38th-as they were numbered in 1751-served in the American War, after which the flank companies were employed at Martinique in 1794, and subsequently at St. Lucia.  The regiment as a whole, after taking part in the campaign in Holland, served under Sir D. Baird at the Cape of Good Hope in 1805, and the following years at Buenos Ayres.  At Monte Video in 1807, under Colonel Vassal, they formed part of the assaulting party, and greatly distinguished themselves, Colonel Vassal being mortally wounded.  The 38th then took part in the Peneinsular War, fighting at Roleia and Vimiera, sharing in Moore’s splendid victory at Corunna, and gaining for their colours the eloquent legend of “Busaco.”  At Badajoz, when a temporary discomfiture caused Walker’s brigade to fall back, the pursuing French found themselves checked by “two hundred men of the 38th, who had been kept well in hand by Colonel Nugent,” and who, after a fierce volley, charged with the bayonet.  They fought at Salamanca and Burgos under Graham, the conquered at Vittoria, they shared in the ghastly victory at San Sebastian, forced the passage of the Bidassoa, and fought in the conquering ranks at the Nive.  They were not at Waterloo, but joined the army of occupation after it was won.  In 1818 they served in South America, and in 1822 repaired to India and were engaged in the first Burmese War, gaining the distinction of “Ava” for their colours.  Returning to England in 1836, the following fifteen years were spent in various places, including Central America.  In the Crimea the 38th were in Sir Richard England’s (Third) Division, and-for we must needs leave much untold-bear “Alma,” “Inkerman,” and “Sevastopol” on their heavily emblazoned colours.  From the Crimea they were ordered to India, where they arrived in November 1857, and after fighting valiantly at Lucknow, took part in the subsequent campaign in Oude.  They returned to England in 1872, and enjoyed a peaceful interval between that date and 1882, when they were ordered to Egypt.

           Few regiments can boast a better record than the South Staffordshire during the campaigns in 1882, and 1884-85.  The 38th, with the 3rd battalion of the 60th, were the first regiments to land in Egypt after Sir Beauchamp Seymour’s ultimatum, and on the 22nd of July took part in the first skirmish of the war in connection with the destruction of the Ramleh Isthmus.  In the final arrangement of the forces they were in the 4th brigade (Second Division), and took part, under Colonel Thackwell, in the reconnaissance at Mahalla, where they had one man wounded.  During all of the operations they ably carried out their part in the various duties, which devolved upon the Second Division, duties none less important, because they did not include the more familiarly known of the engagements.  They formed part of the force under General Earle, and at Kirbekan they highly distinguished themselves.  Early in the day their gallant Colonel Eyre, leading his men against a ridge held by an overwhelming force of fierce fanatics; “the Arabs fought at the bay with the courage of desperation, having the vantage-ground everywhere.  And thus, against desperate odds our gallant soldiers, in spite of a withering fire all round, gained rock after rock, fastness after fastness, behind which the well-directed aim of the Arabs dealt death at every shot.  Inch by inch, with fearful odds against them, do the Highlanders on the left and the South Staffordshire men on the right press forward and gain ground.”  After General Earle had fallen the 38th were ordered by General Brackenbury to storm “a steep and rocky hill four hundred feet high, held by a body of the Sudanese,” a difficult task which they brilliantly accomplished after incredible toil and severe fighting.  And so, with the freshly added lustre shed by the latest Egyptian War, ends the record of the services of the brave South Staffordshire.

           The 2nd battalion of the South Staffordshire, the 80th Regiment, dates from 1793, when lord Paget raised it.  The following year, the Staffordshire volunteers, as the regiment was then called, joined the Duke of York’s army in Flanders, and during their sojourn there lost more than half their number.  A few years later they formed part of Baird’s army, which, with a view to joining Abercrombie, made the march across the desert, which has before been referred to, and by this participation in the campaign gained the Sphinx and “Egypt” for their colours.  After this they were for several years in India, gaining warriors’ craft in the many battles by which the British rule was consolidated, and thus missed participation in any of the Peninsular battles, as they did not return to England before 1818.  After a stay here of some sixteen years or so, they were ordered to Australia, and during the years 1836-1844, were more or less busily employed in the not very congenial task of suppressing convict riots.  Their next station was in India, during their voyage to which occurred a most extraordinary incident.  “Part of the corps,” says Colonel Archer, “during the voyage was shipwrecked under very remarkable circumstances, being cast high and dry by a storm wave in the deal of night on the top of a wood or jungle in the Little Andamans.”  Arrived in India, they were fortunate enough to participate in some of the most important events, which the stirring history of British arms in India has to chronicle.  They fought at Moodee, where night alone saved the foe from total destruction.  At Ferozeshah they earned a reputation for courage and discipline of which any regiment might be proud.

           “About twelve o’clock at night, the Sikhs finding that Sir Harry Smith had been forced to retire from the village, and that their batteries were not occupied, brought some guns to bear upon the column, the fire from which was very destructive.  The Governor-General mounted his horse and called to the 80th Regiment, which was at the head of the column, ‘my lads, we shall have no sleep until we have those guns.’  The regiment deployed immediately, advanced, supported by the 1st Bengal Europeans, and drove a large body of Sikhs from three guns, which they spiked.  The regiment then retired, and took up its position again at the head of the column as steadily as if on a parade, much to the admiration of the Governor-General and Commander-in-Chief, the former of whom exclaimed, as they passed him, ‘Plucky dogs” we cannot fail to win with such men as these.’”

           To the brilliant victory of Sobraon they contributed not a little, and it was at that head of the 80th that the gallant Sir Robert Dick received his death wound.  They bore a brilliant part in the second Burmese War in 1852.  In the attack on the Grand Pagoda four companies of the 80th under Major Montgomery formed the advance, driving the enemy steadily before them, while in the attack on the eastern entrance the assaulting force comprised a wing of the 80th under Major Lockhart.  In the attack on Pegu, Captain Ormsby commanded the one company of the 80th that were present, and ably performed their part in the singularly easy and bloodless victory achieved by our troops.  After the war in Burmah, the next fighting in which the 80th shared was in India, where they gained “Central India” as a distinction.  Those familiar with the military history of that time know how much severe and splendid fighting those words commemorate.  They assisted at the capture of Calpee, shared in the arduous tasks of the pacification of Oude, and a few years later took part in the Bhotan Expedition, which was found so much more difficult than had at first been anticipated.  The regiment returned home in 1886, and were represented nine years later in the expedition to Perak.  The next important was in which they were engaged was that in South Africa of 1878-79.  They were in garrison at Luneburg under Major Charles Tucker, and in March 1879, a company under Captain Moriarty was ordered to meet some supplies, which were being forwarded.  Owing to some delay the Intombe River, which had to be crossed, grew swollen with the rains, and some question seems to have been raised as to the judgment with which the encampment was laid.  However that may be, in the early morning of the 12th some four thousand Zulus, led by the Chief Umbelini, swept down upon the little band of seventy-one.  Across the river, Lieutenant Harward had been posted with some thirty men; in a few moments all that remained of the entire company scarcely numbered more.  Captain Moriarty was killed the moment he left his tent; in some cases his men were assuaged before they could leave theirs.  Lieutenant Harward’s party opened a brisk fire on the Zulus, but naturally it could have no effect on such a mass, and at least two hundred of them crossed the river.  Lieutenant Harward ordered his men to fall back upon a farmhouse, and then he did a thing, which, fortunately, is without a parallel in military history-rode off him to obtain succour from Luneburg!  Probably the severest critics of this infatuated action would acquit Lieutenant Harward of anything approaching cowardice, but the error was none the less a terrible one.  Fortunately, dark though the Hour was, with it came the man.

           “Sergeant Booth, the senior non-commissioned officer present, now assumed command, rallied the small group of men, and endeavoured to cover the retreat of the few soldiers upon the opposite bank, who were trying to escape across the river towards him.  The little band, to avoid being assuaged at close quarters, was compelled to fall back.  This small knot of gallant men fought the Zulus for three miles in retreat, but Sergeant Booth and his men showed a bold front on every side.  They kept close together firing volleys at their pursuers as they prepared to rush upon them.  The party gallantly checked the Zulus, and finally completed its retirement without losing a man.  Sergeant Booth’s heroic conduct enabled several fugitives who had safely crossed the river without arms or even clothe to escape and reach Luneberg.”           The Gazette informed his countrymen “that had it not been for the coolness displayed by this non-commissioned officer, not one man would have escaped.”           The observations made by Lord Chelmford in commenting on the decision of the Court Martial held on Lieutenant Harward included some remarks, which deserve a place in any record of British regiments.  After referring to the “monstrous theory that a regimental officer, who is the only officer present with a party of soldiers actually and seriously engaged with the enemy, can, under any pretext, be justified in deserting them,” his Lordship went on to say: -“The more helpless the position in which an officer finds his men, the more it is bounden duty to stay and share their fortune, whether for good or ill.  It is because the British officer has always done so, that he occupies the position in which he is held in the estimation of the world, and that he possesses the influence he does in the ranks of our army.  The soldier has learned to feel that come what may, he can in the direst moment of danger look with implicit faith to his officer, knowing that he will never desert him under any possible circumstances.  It is to this faith of the British soldier in his officer that we owe of the gallant deed recorded in our annals.”           On another a previous occasion had a man of the 80th gained a V.C. in this savage African warfare.  “On the 22nd January, 1879, when the camp at Isandhlwana was taken by the enemy, Private Wassall, 80th Foot, retreated towards the Buffalo River, in which he saw a comrade, Private Westwood of the same regiment, struggling and apparently drowning.  He rode to the bank, dismounted, leaving his horse on the Zulu side, rescued the man from the stream, and again mounted his horse, dragging Private Westwood across the river under a heavy shower of bullets.”           Some five companies of the 80th were at Ulundi, where they led the advance, and subsequently the regiment was represented in Colonel Clarke’s column.  In the operations against Sekukuni, Major Creagh did valuable service, and in the final attack upon the chief’s stronghold, the 80th were in the centre column.  The regiment returned home in 1880, and have not since then been engaged in any important warfare.  

The regiment was formed as Lillingstone's Regiment in 1702, becoming in 1751 the 38th of foot. also in 1793 the Staffordshire Volunteers in 1793 was also formed. These two Regiments became the1st and 2nd battalions of the South Staffordshire Regiment in 1881.

Regimental Battle Honours

  • 1756 - 1763 Guadaloupe, Martinique during the Seven Years war

  • 1807 Montevideo  during the Expedition against the Spanish during the Napoleonic wars

  • 1808 - 1814  Rolica, Vimiera, Corunna, Busaco, Badajos, Salamanca, Vittoria, San Sebastian, Nive during the Peninsula war

  • 1824 - 1826    Ava,  during the First Burma War

  • 1845 - 1846 Moodkee, Ferozeshah, Sobraon. during the First Sikh War

  • 1852 - 1853, Pegu during the Second Burma War

  • 1854 - 1855 Alma, Inkerman, Sebastopol , Crieman War

  • 1857 - 1858 Lucknow and Central India during the Indian Mutiny

  • 1878 -1879   Zulu war

  • 1882- 1884  First Sudan war

  • 1885 Kirbekan, Nile during the Egypt Campaign

  • 1899 - 1902,  The Boer War

  • 1914 - 1918 Mons, Marne 1914, Aisne 1914, 1918 Ypres 1914, 1917, Loos, Somme 1916, 1918, Cambrai 1917,1918 St Quintin Canal Vittorio Veneto, Suvla

  • 1939 - 1945  Caen, Noyers, Falaise, Arnhem,  North Africa 1940, Sicily Landings, Chindits 1944, Burma 1944.

VICTORIA CROSS AWARDS

Six Victoria Crosses, have been awarded to members of the regiment, Two during the Zulu and Basuto war,  Two during The First World war and Two during the Second World War

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Lance Sergeant J D Baskeyfield VC by Terence Cuneo.


Lance Sergeant J D Baskeyfield VC by Terence Cuneo.

During the Battle at Arnhem, Lance Sgt. Baskeyfield (2nd Bt. South Staffordshire Reg.) with all his crew dead or wounded, he continued to man the the 6-pounder alone, until it was put out of action, he then crawled (with a shattered leg) to another undamaged 6-pounder and fired two shots knocking out an advancing self-propelled gun, seconds later he was killed. He was awarded, posthumously, the Victoria Cross.
Item Code : DHM0994Lance Sergeant J D Baskeyfield VC by Terence Cuneo. - Editions Available
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LZ S-17, Operation Market Garden, September 1944 by Jason Askew.
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Lieutenant George Cairns VC, at the Battle of Pagoda Hill, Burma 13th March 1944 by David Rowlands.


Lieutenant George Cairns VC, at the Battle of Pagoda Hill, Burma 13th March 1944 by David Rowlands.

Lieut. George Cairns of the South Staffordshire Regiment at the Battle of Pagoda Hill, Burma, 13th March 1944, along with the 3rd/6th Gurkha Rifles.
Item Code : DHM1078Lieutenant George Cairns VC, at the Battle of Pagoda Hill, Burma 13th March 1944 by David Rowlands. - Editions Available
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South Staffordshire Regiment by Harry Payne.


South Staffordshire Regiment by Harry Payne.

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South Staffordshire Regiment (38th and 80th foot) by Richard Simkin.


South Staffordshire Regiment (38th and 80th foot) by Richard Simkin.

Printed on high quality 300gsm German etching stock. Only 25 copies of this superb quality reprint are available.
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Captain A. F. G. Kilby Cheering His Men On To The Attack After Being Seriously Wounded.


Captain A. F. G. Kilby Cheering His Men On To The Attack After Being Seriously Wounded.

Though wounded at the outset of the attack, Captain Arthur Forbes Gordon Kilby, of the 2nd Battalion, The South Staffordshire Regiment, continued to lead his men along a narrow two path right up to the enemy wire, under a devastating machine gun fire and a shower of bombs. Here he was shot down, but, although his foot had been blown off, he continued to cheer on his men and to use a rifle. He has been missing since the date of the great act of valour, but in recognition of it an award of the V.C. has been made.
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