The Duke of Wellington’s regiment - name will go

Dukes homecoming parade and reception, Halifax Town, 2012.
Dukes homecoming parade and reception, Halifax Town, 2012.

The historic batallion title of the Duke of Wellington regiment - which has its roots in Halifax - is to be dropped.

As part of a major restructing process of the Yorkshire Regiment, it has been confirmed the 3rd Battalion (Duke of Wellington) Regiment title will be lost.

The decision follows the announcement that Yorkshire Regiment’s 2nd Battalion (Green Howards) are to be merged into the 1st Battalion (Prince of Wales’s Own) and the 3rd Battalion - after the Government said the regiment must reduce by one battalion.

Now army chiefs have decided to renumber and rename the remaining two battalions to become the 1st and 2nd - and drop all three historic titles.

They have also announced the 3rd Battalion’s colours will be laid up.

David O’Kelly, retired Lieutenant Colonel and regimental secretary, told the Courier he expected it all to come into effect later this year - probably autumn.

“Because three into two doesn’t go neatly, rather than try to keep two of the antecedent regiments and lose one, we have decided to drop them all in the battalion title.

“So it will just be 1st Batallion The Yorkshire Regiment and 2nd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment.

“There were three set of colours and clearly with only two battalions left, we have one spare set of colours. Because we have renumbered and that leaves the 3rd set of colours surplus to requirements, it will be that set of colours which will be laid up in due course - but not in an immediate time frame. There’s no rush to do that.”

The decision ends over 300 years of history and former Duke Richard Mellor, who served as a Lance Corporal from 1999-2007, said his friends still serving are sad at the news.

“I’m very passionate about the Duke of Wellingtons and its history. It’s drilled into you as part of basic training. And it’s going to be gone. It’s always been a close family regiment, obviously with Halifax being the base of its regimental area. 300 years - there’s been a lot of spilled blood, a lot of Battle Honours. I’ve got mates still serving in there and the feeling is it’s losing its tight-knit family feeling.”

The Duke of Wellington’s Regiment - a brief history

The “Dukes” date back to 1702, when it began as the Huntingdon’s Regiment.

The name was taken in 1853 because the Duke of Wellington had been Colonel of the 33rd Regiment of Foot.

In 1873, the construction of new Wellesley Barracks began in Halifax.

The regiment is unique in carrying four colours on parade.

Since 1845, the Regiment has the right, granted by the County Borough of Halifax, to march through the streets of the town.