The 60th The King's Royal Rifle Corps

A Period of Peace

In 1824 the Regiment was granted by King George IV the name of "The 60th, Duke of York's Own Rifle Corps" in honour of their Colonel-in-Chief. His Royal Highness's sword and belts were presented to the officers of the Battalion by H.M. King George IV, and are now in the Regimental Museum.

The 60th is the only Infantry Regiment in the Army designated a "corps", and the Rifle Brigade the only one designated "brigade"; the reason being that both Regiments had several battalions, and the name "regiment" had always been applied to a single battalion. For the same reason, the two Rifle Regiments alone had a Colonel-in-Chief of the Regiment and a Colonel Commandant of each battalion, as is the case today.

H.R.H. The Duke of York died in 1827, after being Colonel-in-Chief for thirty years, and was succeeded by his brother, Field-Marshal H.R.H. Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge. The seventh son of George III and the father of the late Field-Marshal H.R.H. George Duke of Cambridge, Colonel-in-Chief, 1869-1904.

In 1830 the title of the Regiment was again changed, to " The 60th The King's Royal Rifle Corps."

A long peace followed the Napoleonic Wars, and until 1848 the Regiment was not engaged in active service.

In this period of peace the Regiment was fortunate possessing many officers of great experience. It owed much to Lieutenant-Colonel The Hon. Henry Richard Molyneux, who commanded the 1st Battalion (then in the Mediterranean) from 1836 until his untimely death in1841. The high efficiency of the Battalion and its strong esprit de corps, when it sailed for India in 1845, under his successor, Lieutenant- Colonel The Hon. Henry Dundas, were largely due to Lieutenant-Colonel Molyneux's personality and powers of organization. Dundas commanded the Battalion from1845 to 1854 and afterwards became General Viscount Melville, G.C.B., Colonel Commandant, 1854 to 1857. In the Sikh War, both as Colonel and Brigadier-General, he showed high qualities of leadership and courage; throughout the nine years of his command the Battalion held a foremost place in the British Army in India.


Badge of the Regiment.

The Maltese Cross was adopted as a badge soon after the formation of the 5th Rifle Battalion in 1797. The reason is unknown. A similar cross was a medal for distinguished service in the Bavarian Army. The pattern used by the Regiment has varied slightly from time to time.


Rate of March and Drill.

The 60th was the first regiment to abandon the rigid movements of the Prussian march for a free and natural rhythm, the object being maximum speed with minimum fatigue. "To bring down the feet easily without shaking the upper part of the body" ran de Rottenburg's Regulations for the Exercise of Riflemen, "is the grand principle of marching," This tradition has always been maintained in the Regiment, which has constantly had a high marching reputation. The pace is 140 to the minute (as against the 120 of infantry) and quicker still on ceremonial parades. Drill is often carried out at the double.

In regard to drill the Rifle Regiments have their own methods, eliminating unnecessary words of command, including the preliminary order "Attention." Nor do they ever slope arms, but carry their rifles at the trail. On ceremonial parades swords are never fixed.

The principle has been to employ on the parade ground, and at all times, the methods most suited for the battlefield. Quick marching and quick, silent drill bring with them quick thought and quick action.


The Regimental March.

This was originally "The British Grenadiers March," though different battalions had their own marches at various times. In 1796 "The Duke of York's March" was composed and when the Duke became Colonel-in-Chief of the Regiment this was played on inspections. "The Huntsman's Chorus." from Weber's opera "Der Freischutz," was adopted in 1820, and continued to be the Regimental March until 1905, when the present march, "Lutzow's Wild Hunt," which had been used in 1845, was introduced. This march really is an adapted version of Lutzow's with a great deal of von Geirach's "Yagersleben" introduced.


Officers' Mess Kit.

Officers' mess kit was introduced in 1842 by the 1st Battalion when in the Ionian Islands. Until then Officers in the Army dined in full dress. Owing to the heat the shell jacket was worn open with a braided waistcoat, and this remained the mess kit until 1902.

Mess kit was finally approved for the whole Army in 1876. It was greatly modified in 1902. A peculiarity of the regiment is that no badges of rank were worn at Mess. Since the Second World War the wearing of mess kit has not been resumed.


Minor Wars.

The Sikh War, 1848-1849.

Punjaub, 1848-49. The province of Mooltan had been only two years under British rule. The two British emissaries who had been sent in April 1848, to support the new Sikh Governor were murdered and the whole of the Western Punjaub broke into revolt, backed by the Ameer of Afghanistan. By the end of the year sufficient troops were assembled and operations began.

Mooltan. Was invested on 27th December and taken by assault on 21st January 1849. The 1st Battalion, under the command of Major M.G. Davis (Lieutenant-Colonel Dundas having been given command of a division), covered the advance and lost 11 killed and 31 wounded during the siege. It then marched to join the army under Lord Gough.(afterwards Field-Marshal Viscount Gough, K.P., K.C.B., G.C.S.I., Colonel-in-Chief, 1854-69)

Goojerat, 21st February 1849. At Goojerat Lord Gough gained a complete victory over a force of 60,000 Sikhs and Afghans, capturing 53 guns. Lieutenant-Colonel J Bradshaw commanded the 1st Battalion in this battle, after which he was given a brigade and Major Davis resumed command. A vigorous pursuit followed. Sixteen thousand of the enemy surrendered at Rawl Pindi with 41 guns. The Afghans were followed up as far as the Khyber Pass, which was reached on 18th March. The Battalion had marched 496 miles since 3rd February.

"Nothing could exceed the gallantry and discipline of the 60th Royal Rifles" were the words of the Gazette.

Rifleman Burke's Standard. In December the same year a punitive expedition, including about 200 of the 1st Battalion was sent to the Yussufazi country. It was here that Rifleman Michael Burke captured the standard now in the Regimental Museum. His companion, Rifleman Connell, was killed. For this Burke was promoted Corporal on the field. He subsequently became Regimental Sergeant-Major. The silver centre-piece in the Museum, mounted on the mess elephant's tusk, was presented to the 1st battalion by Major T. Maughan, R.A., in commemoration of Burke's exploit.

SUCCESSION OF COLONELS-IN-CHIEF

On 8th July 1850, H.R.H. Adolphus Duke of Cambridge died and was succeeded as Colonel-in-Chief by Field-Marshal H.R.H. Prince Albert, Consort of Her Majesty Queen Victoria. On the resignation of the Prince Consort in 1852, General Viscount Beresford became Colonel-in-Chief, to be succeeded in 1854 by Lord Gough.

George Martin returned home to Britain 31 October 1852 and his first son, also named George was born in Reading, Berkshire 16 August 1855.

The Kaffir War, 1851-1853 In 1851 the 2nd Battalion left home for South Africa, where it was engaged in the Kaffir War for nearly three years.

Winchester. The Rifle Depot was established at Winchester in 1858.

The Indian Mutiny, 1857-1858. The outbreak of the great Mutiny of the Native Indian Army took place on the 10th May, 1857, at Meerut. There had been considerable unrest in India for some time; England had lost prestige in the Crimean War the year before, and a tradition existed that her power in India would last only a hundred years. The immediate cause of the Mutiny was the issue of cartridges for the new Enfield rifle lubricated with grease from cows (sacred animals to the Hindus) or from pigs (unclean to the Mohammedans). Warnings of the coming storm were disregarded.

Return. After the Mutiny of 1857-8, Hindun 1857, Siege of Delhi 1857, Rohilkund 1858, and Oudh 1858-9 the 1st Battalion returned home to England in March, 1860, and in a General Order Lord Canning, Governor-General of India, bore further testimony to the services of the Battalion, concluding with the following tribute:

"It is not more by the valour of its officers and men, conspicuous as that has been on every occasion, than by the discipline and excellent conduct of all ranks during the whole of their service in India, that this Regiment has distinguished itself. The Governor-General tenders to the Battalion his warmest acknowledgments for the high example it has set in every respect to the troops with which it has been associated in quarters as well as in the field; and he assures its officers and men that the estimation in which their services are held by the Government of India confirms to the full the respect and admiration with which they are universally regarded."

The record of the 1st Battalion during its service in India (1845-60) will always be regarded by the Regiment as marking a golden age in its history.

The Monument erected on the sea front at Dover by the Battalion, to the memory of those who fell in these Indian campaigns, has survived the bombardments of the Second World War.

In 1855 all infantry regiments dropped their numbers, and the "60th" was officially erased from the title of
The King's Royal Rifle Corps.


Notes

1. On 2nd February 1849 they had a march of 283 miles to Goojerat, arriving on the 18th February, just in time for the Battle of Goojerat. (18 miles per day)

2. The 1st Battalion then pursued the enemy a further 213 miles to the Khyber Pass.

3. English translations of place names in India do not always have the same spelling.

4. He was in the Punjaub until 31 Oct 1852, his first son was born 16 Aug 1855. 1861 Census shows wife Hannah was born 1836 the marriage has been searched unsuccessfully 1850 - 1860 at St. Catherines House G.R.O. (now the Family History Centre).

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