The Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry

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(32nd & 46th Regiments of Foot)

A Private of Fox's Marines (Charles Stadden)

This regiment was first raised in 1702 as Fox's Regiment of Marines, then numbered as the 32nd Foot in 1751. The 46th was raised in 1741 as Price's Regiment, in 1782 the 32nd was affiliated to Cornwall and the 46th to South Devonshire. in 1858 the 32nd was designated as a light infantry regiment to commemerate its defence of Lucknow during the 140 days of Indian Mutiny siege in the previous year, eighty seven days of this period the regiment was alone..

At the outbreak of the Indian Mutiny the 32nd (The Cornwall) Regiment was stationed at Lucknow. By the 30th June 1857 the regiment in the face of vastly superior numbers of mutineers was forced to withdraw into the Residency. Despite intense heat, severe casualties and the ravages of cholera, the Regiment withstood constant attacks. It was not until the 18th November that Lucknow was finally relieved. Casualties amounted to 15 officers and 364 other ranks dead and 11 officers and 198 other ranks wounded. Civilian casualties were also numerous. The Regiment was to win 4 Victoria Crosses for gallantry during the seige.

Her Majesty Queen Victoria directed that - "In consideration of the enduring gallantry displayed in the Defence of the Residency of Lucknow, the 32nd Regiment be clothed , equipped and trained as a Light Infantry Regiment from 26 February 1858".

The Union Flag over the Residency is the only one which is not struck at sundown. It flies and has flown since the mutiny, day and night.

The Residency in Lucknow - 2 years after the end of the Mutiny

Picture taken on 18 Nov 2007 on the 150th Anniversary of the Relief of Lucknow at the DCLI Lucknow Memorial - on the left the late Captain Richard Hogg with Brigadier Gage Williams

In 1881 the regiments were linked as 1st & 2nd Battalions The Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry. Reduced to a single battalion in 1948 and amalgamated with the Somerset Light Infantry in 1959 to form The Somerset & Cornwall Light Infantry

During 1884, the D.C.L.I. was stationed at Dublin, where its men would be sent after four months training at the newly-built depot at Bodmin, Cornwall. The Regimental Museum has photographs of all the recruits of the time, but unfortunately, they are not named. In 1885, the First Battalion moved to Malta, and three years later, on 18th February 1888, they moved to India, arriving in Madras on 7th March.

In 1890, rebellion broke out in Burma, led by a tribe known as the Tsawbaws. The First Battalion were moved to Mandalay, and the following year took part in what became known as the Wunthoo Expedition which successfully quelled the revolt.

They then returned to India, doing garrison duty successively at Pur and Roorkee (1893), Chakrata and Meerut (1894) and Lucknow (1896). In 1897 a campaign was fought on the North-West Frontier in which the Battalion took part in the Tirrah expedition, seeing active service in Tirrah and the Bara Valley.

During the next two years they were stationed at Peshawar, Rawal Pindi and Lucknow (1898-1899) and Calcutta and Dum-Dum (1900).

During the Battle of Waterloo a French officer attempted to seize the King's Colour of the 32nd but was run through by Sgt. Switzer's pike and Ensign Birtwhistle's sword.

In 1901, prisoners of war from South Africa were shipped over to Ceylon to hastily constructed camps, and the First Battalion was given the task of guarding them. The following year they sailed for South Africa as part of the army of occupation, and were stationed at Stellenbosch (1902), Middleburg and Cape Colony (1903) and Wynberg (1904-05).

In 1906, the Battalion returned to England where they were initially quartered at Crownhill Barracks, Plymouth. From there they moved to Woolwich (1907), Gravesend (1908-1910) and Tidworth (1911). In 1913 they were back in Ireland in Curragh and they mobilised for war on 5th August, 1914. They took part in every major battle on the Western Front.


DCLI .Peppercorn Ceremony, St Georges Bermuda 1956 - A Coy-Band-Bugles. Original Photo taken by Mrs Marsh Company Commanders Maj.T Marsh Wife.

DCLI. Peppercorn Ceremony Bermuda

The Peppercorn Ceremony is one of the highlights of the year in St George and was one of the many parades that DCLI carried out during its tour in Bermuda.

Facings:----- White, ----Motto: One and all: from that of the County of Cornwall

Nicknames:--- The Red Feathers (46th): from Paoli, and the Docs: from the Duke of Cornwall.

Customs: ---The Loyal Toast was drunk once a year in the Officer's Mess. This was on the sovereign's birthday and commemorated the shortage of wine during the seige of Lucknow.

Bodmin Depot - DCLI

The old Barrack Blocks at Victoria Barracks, Bodmin (the home of the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry) are now converted into private homes, However, the roadway in front of these new homes! That saw thousands of recruits forming up for muster and passing our parades for so many years, is now sign posted and named “ROYFFE’S WAY” a fitting tribute to a legend. RSM Royffe.

A mid terraced two bedroom house located in the recently converted Grade II Victoria Barracks retaining many character features
20 man rooms either side of doorway with another two at top of stairs. At the time, 1960 I thought this was the doorway to the level below Hell.( Comment by Tony Hood who supplied the pic taken in 2007)
Guardroom, where our uniforms were inspected before being let loose on Bodmin. on the opposite side were the cells (never saw the inside of those.) now a office for Recruiting. (Comment by Tony Hood who supplied the pic taken in 2007)
The way they were.

Bandsman Thomas Edward Rendell VC

Thomas Edward Rendle VC (14 December 1884 – 1 June 1946) was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

He was 29 years old, and a bandsman in the 1st Battalion, The Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry - on 20 November 1914 near Wulverghem, Belgium, Bandsman Rendle attended to the wounded under very heavy rifle and shell fire and rescued men from the trenches in which they had been buried from the blowing in of the parapets by the fire of the enemy's heavy howitzers.

Rendle later achieved the rank of sergeant. After World War I, he emigrated to South Africa where he became bandmaster of the Duke of Edinburgh's Own Rifles.

His Victoria Cross is displayed at the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry Museum in Victoria Barracks, Bodmin, Cornwall.

This painting was presented to members of Rendell platoon of the Royal School of Music

Information and image supplied by Rex Brain

32nd Cornwall Regiment of Foot 1808 - 1815

1 DCLI Memorabilia of the 1953 - 1957 era

"A" Company 1st Battalion DCLI Bermuda - Pictures

British Army in Bermuda 1776 - 1977

Bermuda - masses of military and history links

dcli.h1.jpg (150495 bytes)

Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry Association
Contact: The Keep, Victoria Barracks, Bodmin, Cornwall, PL31 1EG, Tel: 01208 72810

Also see Michael Hargreave Mawson's excellent site on the 46th Foot


Thursday, 23 August, 2018 16:41

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