The Dorsetshire Regiment
The Dorsetshire Regiment was initially raised as the 39th and 54th Regiments of Foot.
Raised in 1702 and 1755 respectively, the regiments served in Ireland, Gibraltar, America and India, where they gained the motto “Primus in Indis”- First In India- as the first King’s Regiment there.
They fought against Napoleon in the Peninsular War and Egypt. In the 19th century they were again in India, Australia and saw service in Burma and the Crimea.
In 1881 the 39th and 54th Foot amalgamated to become The Dorsetshire Regiment. This was part of a wider reorganisation called the Cardwell Reforms, led by Secretary of State for War Edward Cardwell from 1868-1874. Britain's previous system of gentleman-soldiers was outdated and inefficient, compared to the Prussian system of military organisation. This had been proven in Germany's triumph in the Franco-Prussian war.
The regiment served in South Africa during the Boer War.
During the First World War battalions fought in France, Gallipoli and Mespotamia.
The Second World War saw the 1st Battalion in Malta, Sicily and Italy, with the 4th and 5th battalions fighting in North West Europe. The 2nd Battalion saw service in France in 1940 before joining the battle for Burma. After 1945 the regiment served in Austria, Hong Kong, Korea and Germany.
Despite the Dorset Regiment amalgamating with the Devonshire Regiment in 1958, the regimental title was retained in the Territorial Army until 1967.