A memorial in Halifax town centre marking the 304 years of service of the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment has been unveiled.
The 18-foot tall statue, created by world-renowned sculptor Andrew Sinclair, is situated at the top of Woolshops, and was revealed by the Mayor Calderdale Dot Foster and the Duke of Wellington at a special ceremony in the town.
Hundreds of people gathered round the statue to see it unveiled, before which the unique Honorary Colours of the regiment were paraded by the Yorkshire Regiment, all of which drew warm applause from the watching public.
A special service took place before the unveiling at Halifax Minster, led by Vicar of Halifax Hilary Barber, which included music such as Ilkla Moor Baht ‘At and The Last Post, and the story of the Regiment, and its links to the West Riding, through music and words.
Both events were attended by dozens of former Dukes, with many more in the crowd for the unveiling at Woolshops.
The Regiment, which was amalgamated into the Yorkshire Regiment in 2006, can trace its roots back to Huntingdon’s Regiment, which predates the 1707 Act of Union between England and Scotland.
The Duke of Wellington’s Regiment has a long association with Halifax, although when it was first announced the regiment was to be moved to the town in 1872, there was a petition from residents and the council opposing it.
But the Regiment moved into the Wellesley Barracks, Highroad Well on August 29, 1872 and stayed there for the next 82 years, becoming synonymous with the town and being taken into the hearts of local residents.
At its height, more than 2,000 men were accommodated in the barracks.
In 1945, the Halifax Corporation granted the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment “the privilege, honour and distinction of marching through the streets of Halifax on all ceremonial occasions with bayonets fixed, colours flying and bands playing”.