Thank you to Richard Holmes and the
British Army Review for permission to print this review
Hugo White One and All: A History of the Duke of
Cornwall’s Light Infantry 1702-1959
by Richard Holmes
This is the definitive history of a fine regiment.
It has two main merits. Anyone with a personal or
family connection to the Duke of Cornwall’s
Light Infantry will find it invaluable as a detailed
account the regiment’s life from the raising
of its oldest ancestor, Fox’s Marines (soon
to be the 32nd Regiment of Foot), in 1702, to its
amalgamation with the Somerset Light Infantry in 1959.
But, in a wider sense, anyone seeking to understand
the practical workings of that puzzling, infuriating,
endearing and invaluable thing, the British regimental
system, will find its mechanism laid bare here.
Fox’s Marines were raised to fight in the War
of Spanish Succession, and received their baptism
of fire in an attack on Cadiz, where the effectiveness
of the allied force was as much hampered by the abundance
of sherry (Jerez is close by) as by Spanish resistance.
The regiment defended Gibraltar during the first siege
(1704-5) during which Edward Fox was killed, and his
regiment was taken over by the brave but quarrelsome
Jacob Borr. After the war the regiment never quite
ceased to exist, although it was much reduced, and
it fought at Dettingen (1743) and Fontenoy (1745)
during the War of Austrian succession. Thereafter
the 32nd, for so we may call it, for regiments were
now referred to by their seniority in the line, rather
than by the names of their colonels, served in Scotland,
Ireland and the West Indies, gaining its connection
with Cornwall in 1782, although this link fell far
short of the closer ties which came the creation of
county regiments a century later.
The 32nd had a busy time in the French Revolutionary
and Napoleonic wars, fighting at Copenhagen in 1807,
in the Peninsula and at Waterloo, where it lost well
over half its strength killed or wounded. It served
in the Mediterranean and Canada before departing for
India in 1846, arriving just in time to take part
in the Second Sikh War, one of the hardest-fought
campaigns in British colonial history. In 1857 it
formed the main regular infantry element of the garrison
of Lucknow, earning four Victoria Crosses (three going
to Irishmen and one to a Devonian, which says much
for the realities of recruiting) and gaining the title
Light Infantry ‘in consideration of the enduring
gallantry displayed in the defence of Lucknow.’
In 1877 the 32nd was linked with the 46th (South
Devon) Regiment of Foot, the first part of a process
justified, in terms familiar to many readers, by the
need to produce the flexibility deemed lacking in
single-battalion regiments, and in 1881 the restructuring
was completed when the regiments amalgamated to form
the DCLI. The 46th begun life as Price’s Regiment
in 1741, but made a poor start, running away, with
most of the royal army, when charged by the Jacobites
at Prestonpans in 1745. It then served in North America
during the Revolutionary war, was in the West Indies
for most of the Napoleonic wars, and went to the Crimea
in 1854. The advance party of 46th fought at the Alma
and at Inkerman, and the main body arrived in time
to do duty before Sevastopol that terrible winter.
It is a fitting comment that of the 706 men of the
regiment, nineteen were killed in action, four died
of wounds and another 481 died of disease.
The 1881 amalgamation produced tensions, but the
regiment soon settled into the pattern of soldiering
in high Victorian times, with one regular battalion
generally abroad and the other generally at home:
the 1st Battalion served in India, Ceylon and Burma,
and the 2nd Battalion fought in the Sudan campaign
of 1884-5 and in the Boer War of 1899-1902. When the
militia and volunteers were combined into the Territorial
Force in 1908 the regiment had its two regular battalions,
a 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion, and two Territorial
The First World War involved all elements of the
regiment which existed in 1914 and more too, as Territorial
battalions were divided, service battalions were raised
from wartime volunteers and, from early 1916, conscripts
were added. The regiment raised sixteen battalions
in all, including ‘split’ Territorial
battalions, and also formed two volunteer battalions
for home defence. Battalions of the DCLI served on
the Western Front, in Italy, Salonica, Egypt and Palestine.
At the war’s end the DCLI reverted to its pre-war
mode, though now with only a single territorial battalion
instead of two. The 1st Battalion found itself at
Lucknow, ‘the most revered battle honour in
DCLI history’ in 1923-7, and in 1920 the 2nd
Battalion was in Iraq, losing two men killed and five
wounded near Nasiriyeh.
During the Second World War the familiar pattern
repeated itself, with battalions serving in most of
the war’s main theatres. The 1st Battalion was
effectively destroyed in the Cauldron battle in the
Western Desert in June 1942, and eventually reconstituted
in the UK, being presented with colours previously
laid up in Bodmin church. The 2nd Battalion fought
in France in 1940, before moving to North Africa and
Italy, whence it departed in 1944 to participate in
the Greek civil war. The 5th Battalion landed in Normandy
as part of 43rd (Wessex) Division, and took part in
the ferocious battle for Hill 112. The division lost
nine commanding officers in a fortnight: 5 DCLI had
two of its COs killed.
The war was followed by an unquiet peace, with the
1st Battalion serving in Palestine, Cyprus and British
Somaliland. The 1st and 2nd Battalions were amalgamated
in 1950, and the new battalion served in Germany and
the West Indies, celebrating the 100th Anniversary
of the relief of Lucknow just before it was amalgamated
with 1st Battalion The Somerset Light Infantry to
form 1st Battalion the Somerset and Cornwall Light
Infantry in October 1959. That Regiment lasted only
a decade, until The Light Infantry came into being,
and, as I write, that too is about to be merge with
the Royal Green Jackets, forming a new regiment to
be styled The Rifles.
Hugo White makes his own feelings very clear. ‘Three
hundred years of history culminating in the two greatest
wars which this nation has ever fought is too deep
an experience to be discarded in a single lifetime,’
he affirms. My heart warms to him for, as the last
brigade commander of 1 DCLI wrote, there was something
very special about the Regiment: ‘The DCLI,
in my experience, have always been one of those Regiments
who are known to be first class, who are always charming,
who are a pleasure to serve with, an inspiration to
fight with, and a honour to command.’
Yet my head raises an uncharitable objection. The
DCLI, with its close links to that county whose name
it bore, existed for less than eighty years. Valuable
though those links were, they had been no help to
the 32nd, with its many fighting Irish, in its epic
stand at Lucknow. County regiments, stamped indelibly
on our military history, are demonstrably not the
only form of infantry organisation that has served
us well. The DCLI’s last brigade commander recognised
that what he really valued was the regiment’s
qualities: ‘no job is too difficult, no duty
too dull or irksome. In man-management, in bearing
and turnout, in discipline and sheer efficiency, the
best and only the best is acceptable.’ The real
merit of the British infantry across the centuries
has been to preserve qualities when organisations
change, for change they must in a world where few
things are constant. But none of this stopped me having
to blink rather hard when I saw the photograph of
Colonel Williams leading his troops out of the depot
at Bodmin for the last time.
The book costs £30 hardback, ISBN 1873951205,
plus £4 towards post & packing = £34,
or paperback £16.95, ISBN 1873951 plus £3.50
p.& p. = £20.45.
Post & packing on overseas orders depends on the
country to which the order is going.
Payment is preferred by cheque made out to Tabb House,
but for overseas orders we do accept Visa, Delta,
Mastercard and Switch cards (via an agency).
Post to: 7 Church Street, Padstow, Cornwall, PL28
Thank you to Michael Ball, Department
of Printed Books, National
Army Museum for many additions to this list.
Images of England, The Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry. Compiled by Hugo White for the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry Museum. 2000. ISBN 0752418939. 128 pages, contains over 200 photographs.
'Historical Records of the 32nd (Cornwall) Light Infantry', now the 1st Battalion Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry, from the Formation of the Regiment in 1702 down to 1892. Compiled and edited by Colonel G C Swiney, from the Orderly Room Records and other Sources. London: Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent, & Co., 1893. xii., 388 pp., portraits, plates, illustrations. 8 1/2". 10 coloured plates of uniform.
The Memoirs of Private Waterfield, Soldier in Her Majesty's 32nd Regiment of Foot (Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry), 1842-57 by Robert Waterfield (Unknown Binding, 188 pages, Published by Cassell, Dimensions: 22 cm., ISBN: 0304929158)
The Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry, 1939-45 by E. G. Godfrey (452 pages, Published by Images Pub. (Malvern), Dimensions: 25 cm., ISBN: 189781741X). 34 maps.
The 5th D.C.L.I. in N.W. Europe, 1939-45, compiled by Brigadier George Taylor.
The Duke Of Cornwall's Light Infantry 1939-45. by M. Godfrey, 1966. Regimental History Committee, 1st edn, 437pp, cond vg, maps, ROH, H&A, chipped , and slightly marked d/w. The Regiment was operational with the B.E.F., then in Iraq, the Western Desert, Italy, Greece, and N.W. Europe.
The Duke Of Cornwall's Light Infantry 1939-45. by M. Godfrey, 1994. Images Publishing, rpt, 452pp, maps, ROH, H&A, d/w, NEW. The Regiment was operational with the B.E.F., then in Iraq, the Western Desert, Italy, Greece, and N.W. Europe.
The Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry (The 32nd and 46th Regiments of Foot) by Robert Frederick Kinglake Goldsmith. (Hardcover, 122 pages, Published by Leo Cooper Ltd., Dimensions: 23 cm.,ISBN: 0850520258) Part of the Famous Regiments Series. 34 Illustrations. Pictured above.
Military Insignia of Cornwall by D. Endean Ivall Unknown Binding, 69 pages Published by Penwith Books [for the] Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry Regimental Museum Dimensions: 29 cm. ISBN: 0903686074
Military Insignia of Cornwall by Charles Thomas. Published by Penwith Books, 31 December 1976.
Supplement to Military Insignia of Cornwall by D.Endean Ivall & Charles Thomas. Published by Penwith Books in association with the DCLI Museum.1976. ISBN 0903686147
Four Years' Service in India by a private soldier RYDER John. (Corporal Ryder, formerly of the 32nd Foot, and now of the Leicestershire Constabulary). Modern quarter cloth. 190pp. Leicester, 1854.
The History of The Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry 1914-1919 by Everard Wyrall. With a Foreward by H.R.H. The Prince of Wales and Duke of Cornwall, Colonel-in-Chief. London: Methuen & Co. Ltd., 1932, xix, 514 pp., portraits, plates, maps, plans. 9".
Letters from Camp during the Siege of Sebastopol by Lt. Col. Colin Frederick Campbell (46th Foot). Bentley and Son. 1894.
Medals for the Crimean Campaign of 1854-56 awarded to the 46th (South Devon) Foot by Andrew Sewell. 110pp, A4, two colour illustr., publ. 1995 and still in print. A Crimean War Research Society Special Publication.
The Siege of Lucknow. A Diary by Lady Inglis. (London) 1892.
Lady's Diary of the Siege of Lucknow. Mrs. Harris. Seolus Books. 31 July 1997.
The Chronicle of Private Henry Metcalfe. H.M. 32nd Regiment of Foot. Sir Francis Tuker (ed.) Cassell. 1953. Together with Lieutenant John Edmondstone's letter to his Mother of 4th January, 1858 etc. 117pp., small 8vo, red cloth. Appendix, notes, two colour, 4 monochrome plates.
The Story of The First Battalion The Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry (32nd Foot). By Lieut. H. N. Newey. Aldershot: Gale & Polden Ltd. (1924). vii, 46 pp., portrait, plates, plan. 7 ". 1 coloured plate of uniform and coloured reproduction of colours and badge on paper covers. Cover reads "A Short History of The Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry", but it deals only with the 1st Battalion.
History of the 1st D.C.L.I., 1914. Compiled from Official Records and other Sources. By. E. M. Channing-Renton, Lieutenant. Illustrated by Viscount French, John Hassall, R.I., Major T. A. Kendall and others. Alexandria; Studies Publications, 1924. x, 43, v pp., portrait, plates, maps. (The Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry Great War History Series) 9".
Notes on the History of The Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry. Compiled by Major J. H. T. Cornish-Bowden. Devenport: Hiorns and Miller. (1913-14). 7". No. 1 - The Raising of the Regiment and the Meaning of its name. 64pp. No. 2 - Early War Services. 55 pp.
Historical Record of The Forty-Sixth, or The South Devonshire, Regiment of Foot; containing an Account of the Formation of the Regiment in 1741 and of its subsequent Services to 1851. Compiled by Richard Cannon, Esq., Adjutant-General's Office, horse Guards. London: Parker, Furnivall, & Parker, 1851. xxxv, 76 pp., plates, 8 1/2". 1 coloured plate of uniform and 1 of colours.
A Short History of The Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry; its Formation and Services, 1702-1928. Devonport: Swiss & Co., Army Printers and Publishers, 1929. xvi, 63 pp. Coloured plate of colours. 6 1/2 ".
A Short History of The Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry; its Formation and Services, 1702-1938. Plymouth: Underhill (Plymouth) Ltd., printers, 1939. xvi, 63pp., plate, 6 3/8". Another edition of the above book.
A Short History of The Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry, 1702-1945. Compiled by Lawrence S. Snell. Aldershot: Gale & Polden Ltd., 1945. (7) 54 pp., plates, 7 1/2". 1 coloured plate of uniform and 1 of colours.
The Fighting Wessex Wyverns. by Patrick Delaforce, 1994. Alan Sutton, pb edn, 243pp, ills, maps, card covers, fine. The 43rd Division, under the command of Maj.-General Ivor Thomas was a formidable force in Normandy and beyond. The Cornwalls, Dorsets, Hampshires, Wiltshires and Worcesters made up the Division.
To the Victoria Falls via Matabeleland; the Diary of Major Henry Stabb, 1875. by Stabb, Henry Sparke, 1835-1888. Cape Town: Struik, 1967. frontis, index, xii, 268p. dj. 21cm. Edited by Edward C. Tabler. First publication of this diary. Stabb, an Officer of the 32nd Regiment (Duke of Cornwall's) Light Infantry, tells of a hunting trip through the Transvaal and Matabeleland during which he met Lobengula.
With the Cornwall Territorials on the Western Front by E. C. Matthews.The History of the Fifth Battalion Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry in the Great War. Compiled from official records and other sources by E. C. Matthews. Lieut. (retired), D.C.L.I. and Lieut. Camb. Unv. Contingent O.T.C. Illustrated (12) by The Hon. J. R. L. French, John Hassall, R.I., and others. With maps (4) by E.C. Matthews, F.R.G.S. An introduction by Brig.-General Lord St Levan. Cambridge, W P. Spalding 43, Sidney Street, 1921.191 pages.
A Subaltern in the Field by E. C. Matthews. Lieut. of D.C.L.I. describes his experiences at Ypres, on the Somme, Nieppe, and other parts of the Western Front. Illustrated from photographs taken by the Author. W. P. Spalding 43, Sidney Street. Cambridge.
War Services of the 1/5th Battalion, Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry, 1914-1919. Arranged by A. D. Chegwin, 1/5th D.C.L.I., Truro, 12/19. Publishers and Printers, Hiorns and Miller, 107, Fore Street, Devonport.
With "The Thirty-Second" in the Peninsular and Other Campaigns, by Major Harry Ross-Lewin, of Ross Hill, Co. Clare. Edited by John Wardell, M.A., Reader in Modern History in the University of Dublin, and Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Economy in the Queen's College, Galway. Dublin:Hodges, Figgis & Co., Ltd., Publisher to the University. London:Simpkin, Marshall & Co., Ltd. 1914.
The Red Feather. The Regimental Magazine of the 6th (Service) Battalion of the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry. Printed by Drew, Union Street, Aldershot.
TAYLOR, BRIG. GEORGE INFANTRY COLONEL 1990. Privately published, 1st edn, 203pp, ills, maps, d/w, fine. The author was the third in command of the 5th Bn. The Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry, on Hill 112
The Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry Regimental standing orders. --. Author: Great Britain. Army. Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry. Publisher: Underhill (Plymouth) Ltd.
Episodes and reflections: being some records from the life of Major-General Sir Wyndham Childs, K.C.M.G., K.B.E., C.B., one time second lieut., 2nd Volunteer Battalion, the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry. Author: Childs, Wyndham, Sir, 1876- Publisher: Cassell,
Historical records of the 32nd (Cornwall) Light Infantry, now the 1st Battalion, Duke of Cornwall's L.I., from the formation of the regiment in 1702 down to 1892. Author: Swiney, G.C. (George Clayton). Publisher: Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent,
D.C.L.I. Mentions in Other Books
A Particular Duty, The Canadian Rebellions 1837-1839 by Michael Mann. Hardcover, 211 pages, Published by Michael Russell (Publishing) Ltd. The Chantry, Wilton, Salisbury. 1986. ISBN 0 85955 136 9. 5 Maps, 19 Photos. 32nd Foot mentioned on pages 27, 31, 32, 37, 40, 43, 44, 69, 75, 76, 107, 155, 171, 174, 175. One photo is of the attack on St. Eustache by 1st, 32nd and 83rd Foot.
Volunteers & Redcoats, Raiders & Rebels, A Military History of the Rebellions in Upper Canada by Mary Beacock Fryer. Hardcover, 155 pages. Published by Toronto & Oxford, Dundurn Press 1987 in collaboration with the Canadian War Museum, Canadian Museum of Civilization, National Museums of Canada (Canadian War Museum Historical Publication No. 23). ISBN 1-55002-024-2. 32nd Foot mentioned on pages 13, 14, 68, 69, 70, 73, 74, 79, 83, 125, 127, 128.
Redcoats & Patriotes, The Rebellions in Lower Canada 1837-38 by Elinor Kyte Senior. Hardcover, 218 pages. Published by Canada's Wings, inc. Canadian War Museum Historical Publication No. 20. 1985. ISBN 0-920002-28-5. 12 maps, 120 illustrations. 32nd Foot mentioned on pages 26, 76, 78, 80, 85, 87, 104, 107-109, 124, 125, 131, 134, 142, 144.Includes photo of Sir John Inglis, once a lieutenant of the 32nd Regiment, sketch of the death of Lieutenant George Weir fo the 32nd Regiment and layout of Quebec Gate Barracks where 426 rank and file of the 32nd were quartered.
The Lives and Times of the Patriots. An Account of the Rebellion in Upper Canada, 1837-1838 and of the Patriot Agitation in the United States, 1837-1842 by Edwin C. Guillet. Hardcover, 304 pages. Published by Thomas Nielson and Sons, Ltd. 1938 and The Ontario Publishing Co. Ltd. 1963. This edition University of Toronto Press 1968. 71 illustrations. 32nd Foot mentioned on pages 96, 99, 100, 102, 180.
The story of Gort's army, Destination Dunkirk by Gregory Blaxland. Hardcover, 436 pages. First published in 1973 by William Kimber & Co. Limited, Godolphin House, London. ISBN 07183 0203 6. 24 maps, 23 illustrations. Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry, 2nd Btn. mention on pages 50, 160, 274-5, 314, 337. Page 337 includes a brief account by RSM Hill on the 2nd Btn.'s role at Dunkirk.
Historic Fort York, 1793-1993 by Carl Benn. Softcover, 191 pages. Published by Natural Heritage/Natural History Inc. Toronto, Ontario. 1993. ISBN 0-920474-79-9. Illustrated (No pictures of 32nd). 32nd Foot mentioned on pages 89, 102.
The Boer War by Denis Judd. Hardcover, 190 pages. Published by Granada Publishing Limited, London. 1977. ISBN 0 246 10868 1. Illustrated (No pictures of D.C.L.I.). D.C.L.I. mentioned on pages 123, 124. Map on page 122, 'The Battle of Paardeberg', indicates position of D.C.L.I.
ARNHEM 1944, The Airborne Battle. by Martin Middlebrook, 1994. Published by Penguin Books 1995. 501 pages. 38 photographs. 13 maps. 5th Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry on pages 409, 476.
The Last Days of the Raj by Trevor Royle. 1989, Published by the Penguin Group, 27 Wrights Lane, London W8 5TZ England. ISBN 07181 2904 0. 291 pages. 12 photographs. India's declaration of independence on 15 August 1947 was one of the most momentous occasions of twentieth-century history. Trevor Royle recreates the drama and tension of the years leading up to and following independence. 1st Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry mentioned on page 37.
British Infantry Uniforms Since 1660 by Michael Barthorp, illustrated by Pierre Turner. Blandford Press, Poole, Dorset. 1982. 160 pages. 32nd on page 55, 46th on page 75, shows Grenadier and Light company sergeants; Colour-sergeant and sergeant, battalion company; sergeant-major in 1837. Also shows from 1837, ensigns with Queen's and Regimental Colours; officer, undress; regimental surgeon.
THE TIMES HISTORY OF THE WAR IN SOUTH AFRICA, 1899-1900, VOL. I. AMERY, L.S. (EDITED BY).London: Sampson Low, Marston & Co., 1900. 1st edition. 392 pages.
THE TIMES HISTORY OF THE WAR IN SOUTH AFRICA, 1899-1902, VOL. II. London: Sampson Low, Marston & Co., 1902. 1st edition. 467 pages.
VOL. III. London: Sampson Low, Marston & Co., 1905. 1st edition. 597 pages.
VOL. V. London: Sampson Low, Marston & Co., 1907. 1st edition. 614 pages.
VOL. VI. London: Sampson Low, Marston & Co., 1909. 1st edition. 622 pages.
VOL. VII, INDEX AND APPENDICES. London: Sampson Low, Marston & Co., 1909. 1st edition. 209 pages.
Orange River Vol II Page 389 " III 110 Witteputs " " Sunnyside " 115 & 116 Strength & Distribution " 376 " IV 505 SE Pretoria " 393 Paardeberg III 433, 437, 440, 441, 446 Houtnek IV 98 Tvl " 272 E. Tvl V 290 M.I. IV 504