For the fully illustrated text from the Brochure, please click the headings in the lefthand menu or below. The highlighted links for each section will take you to the appropriate pages of the splendid brochure of the Regiment produced by, and available from, The Fusiliers Museum HM Tower of London (Tel. 0207 488 5610).
Please note: The brochure is displayed in Adobe Acrobat reader. If you do not have it installed on your computer just click the link below. This will take you to the point on the Adobe website where you can download the programme free. It will be a useful programme to have on your site anyway. However it is quite large and so will take some time to download.
In June 1648 the Tower Guard was formed as part of the Trained Bands of The Tower of London and its Hamlets. The Regiment took its name from the new style musket (the fusil) which had a covered flash pan to minimise the risk of sparks igniting the gunpowder used by the Artillery. It was also known as The Tower Regiment of Foot, and it formed part of Oliver Cromwell's New Model Army.
An original fusil musket can be seen at The Royal Fusiliers Museum in the Tower of London.
In 1777 the Fusiliers were in Philadelphia during an inglorious time for British Arms. It is recorded that 'gaming was permitted to a ruinous extent, the miscounduct of officeres offended the Philadelphians and made rebels of people orginally loyal.'
In December 1779 the Fusiliers set sail for South Carolina to attack Charleston. The attack succeeded and in May 1780 the town surrendered with the loss of 10 American regiments, 3 battalions of artillery and the local militia. The Fusiliers lost one killed and one wounded.
On St George's day 1789 HRH Edward Duke of Kent (1767 - 1820) was appointed to command The Regiment and so began the Royal connection which continues to this day.
The Threat of Napoleon - The Napoleonic Wars, The Peninsular War 1796 - 1815
War against France was declared in May 1803. Parliament consented to an augmentation of the army and in July 1804 the 2nd Battalion Royal Fusiliers was reformed.
In 1809 The Fusiliers landed in Martinique where, following the surrender of the French at Fort Bourbon, they captured three Eagles, the equivalent of British Colours. As a reward for their brave efforts, the Fusiliers were allowed to keep the Eagle of the 82nd Regiment of the French Line which today is displayed in the Royal Fusiliers Museum in the Tower.
Of all the ten battle honours awarded to the Regiment in the Peninsular Campaign of 1809 - 1814, the name of Albuhera is one of the proudest borne on the Colours. Each year on 16th May, Albuhera Day, Officers and sergeants of the Fusiliers and the Royal Welch Fusiliers, have been members of each others messes.
In the years between Waterloo and the Crimea, the activities of the Regiment were leisurely and gentle, typical of the general military decay of the period. They spent time in Corfu, Malta and Ireland and whilst in Gibraltar in 1842, they were employed to build a road: 'Pace bonus et utilis' (In peace, law-abiding and useful), is how the Regiment is described on a tablet commemorating this work.
In November 1854 the Fusiliers were involved in the Battle of Inkerman, which the British won but at a fearful cost.
In June 1855 the Fusiliers were involved in an abortive attempt to capture a strongly defended earthworks at Sebastopol called the Redan. They suffered 87 casualties including their Colonel, Lacy Yea. William Hope, Lieutenant 7th Regt, was awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery in rescuing a wounded officer and he received his medal personally from HM Queen Victoria in Hyde Park in 1857. The Victoria Cross is Britain's highest military honour and each medal is created from a Russion gun captured during the Crimean War.
The Indian Mutiny broke out at Meerut on May 10th 1857. As soon as the news reached England, reinforcements including the 1st Battalion, The Royal Fusiliers, were hurried out. This was the first appearance of the Regiment in India: they actually saw little action as they were sent to occupy the Punjab to ensure that the population remained passive.
They did however take part in occasional campaigns along the Northwest Frontier such as that at Umbeyla in 1863.
The Fusiliers also saw action in Canada (1866-67), Afghanistan (1880) and Egypt (1882-86).
Friction between Britain and the Boers turned to outright war in 1899 and a British Expeditionary Force, including the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers, was dispatched to the Cape. The Battalion won the following honours for its Colours: 'Relief of Ladysmith' and 'South Africa, 1899 - 1902'.
Determined to resist Russian influence on the borders of India, the British dispatched a mission to Tibet, commanded by Colonel Younghusband. The Tibetans brought the expedition to a halt and British reinforcements, including four companies from the 1st Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers, were summoned. The Fusiliers helped defeat the Tibetans at Gyangtse Jong in July 1904 and became the only British Regiment to fight an action at an altitude of 16,500 feet.
Threat of French invasion led to the formation of The Volunteer Force in 1859. In 1883 The 19th Middlesex Rifle Volunteer Corps and the 46th Corps became respectively The 1st and 2nd Volunteer Battalions of Royal Fusiliers (The City of London Regiment) and adopted the dress and traditions of the arent regiment.
In 1890 two more Battalions were formed: these four battalions were increased to 19 during The Great War and fought in France, Flanders, Gallipoli and Egypt. The traditions and customs of the former Royal Fusilier Volunteers are carried on today by 'C' (City of London Fusiliers) Company, The London Regiment.
The World at War 1914 - 1919
A month after the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand of Austria and his wife in June 1914, Austria/Hungary declared war on Serbia and so activated a whole series of European Alliances leading to World War 1.
In August 1914 the 4th Battalion landed in France and went on to take up position on the canal bank at Mons in Belgium. Two VCs, the first of the War, were won at Mons by Fusiliers, Lieutenant M J Dease and Private S F Godley.
The 2nd Battalion of the Fusiliers, together with four Territorial Fusilier battalions, landed at Gallipoli in April 1915. The landing and following few months were a disaster. By the end of November, the Battalion numbered only 11 officers and 105 other ranks. In January 1916 the remnants of the 2nd Battalion left 'W' beach - they had arrived crammed into a troopship; they left in a trawler with room to spare.
Of the 235,476 Fusiliers who took part in the war, 21,941 were killed. Countless others were wounded or taken prisoner. There were 838 decorations for gallantry and 842 Fusiliers were mentioned in dispatches for gallant service. Two Fusiliers won the last two Victoria Crosses of the Great War - in North Russia assisting White Russian Forces.
In World War II only 17 Fusilier Battalions were formed: many battalions were given new functions - for example the 10th Battalion became a searchlight regiment, and others became anti-aircraft, anti-tank or reconnaissance units. Fusiliers regretted the changes but quickly came to see their value.
The 2nd Battalion were engaged throughout the withdrawal through Belgium and France where the remnants were evacuated from Dunkirk.
The 1st, 8th and 9th Battalions were active in the Middle Eastern and African campaign and in the Italian campaign. The 1st and 2nd Battalions fought almost alongside each other at the Battle of Monte Cassino in 1943, reunited for the first time since 1919.
In June 1950 Communist North Korea invaded South Korea. The UN sent in troops, including a British contingent. The Royal Fusiliers did not land in Korea until August 1952 and left one year later, in August 1953. They fought with their customary bravery and Fusilier Hodgkinson was awarded a Distinguished Conduct Medal for his bravery in 'Operation Pimlico'.
The first Battalion of Fusiliers to serve in Northern Ireland since the present troubles began arrived in June 1970. By this time, the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers, the Royal Warwickshire Fusiliers, the Royal Fusiliers and the Lancashire Fusiliers had been merged into a new large regiment, The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.
The Fusiliers have completed over 30 operational tours in Northern Ireland since 1970.
Operation Desert Storm
In August 1990 Iraqi forces invaded Kuwait. The UN Security Council ordered sanctions against Iraq and allied forces were deployed to Saudi Arabia. On 12th December the 3rd Battalion, the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, travelled from Germany to the Gulf. The 3rd Battalion Battle Group advanced into Iraq in February 1991 at the start of the ground war.
The ground war was short and sharp and the 3rd Fusiliers played a full part. Sadly, the Battalion sustained serious casualties including 9 killed when two Warrior armoured vehicles were destroyed by 'friendly fire'.
The Fusiliers' efforts were recognised by the award of two Battle Honours, 'Gulf 1991' and 'Wadi al batin'.
As a result of the break-up of Yugoslavia, an inter-ethnic war raged in Bosnia between April 1992 and October 1995. A UN Force was put in place to pave the way for stability and progress. Both regular Battalions of the Fusiliers have served in Bosnia with the UN and NATO Force.
Twenty members of The Royal Fusiliers have been awarded the Victoria Cross. The Victoria Cross is Britain's highest military honour and each medal is created from a Russion gun captured during the Crimean War.
Click link below for their names and pictures.