DWR Memorial Appeal

REASON FOR A MEMORIAL

It is now over 12 years since The Duke of Wellington’s Regiment left the Army’s order of battle and whilst a number of plaques and other mementoes have been unveiled there is no formal memorial to reflect the Regiment’s 300 years of loyal and conspicuous service to the Crown. The time is now right for such a memorial: if we who served in ‘The Dukes’ do not grasp this opportunity then there will be no lasting memorial, thereby relegating the Regiment to a footnote in the history books.

The purpose of the memorial is far greater than simply a statement that the Regiment existed and that ‘we were different’. The memorial will honour all those ‘Dukes’ who gave their lives; acknowledge all those who served in all battalions and, importantly, the families that supported those men; it will commemorate our heritage, and it will recognise the county from which the majority came. Furthermore, the memorial will be situated in the very heart of Halifax, home to the Regiment for over 200 years, and which still views ‘The Dukes’ as its regiment. This project has the wholehearted support of Calderdale Council which will be key to helping look after its legacy.

We do not underestimate the challenge we have set ourselves in raising the required funds to bring this vision of a memorial to reality. His Grace The Duke of Wellington has kindly agreed to be the Patron of this appeal and our Vice Patrons are General Sir Charles Huxtable, Major General Sir Evelyn Webb-Carter, Brigadier W R Mundell, Colonel John Barkshire and Colonel Charles Dent.

I am conscious that we are all inundated with requests for money from all sorts of organisations but, for everyone within ‘The Dukes’ family, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to support the placing of a fitting memorial to the Regiment right in the heart of our historic home.

SHORT HISTORY OF THE REGIMENT

In 1702 the Earl of Huntingdon was authorised to raise a new regiment in order to take part in the War of The Spanish Succession. In 1751 regiments were given numbers and the Regiment was from that time known as the 33rd Foot. In 1782 the Regiment’s title was changed to 33rd (or 1st Yorkshire West Riding) Regiment thereby formalising the association with the West Riding. In 1787 the 76th Regiment of Foot was raised for service in India and it was into this Regiment that the young Arthur Wellesley was first commissioned. He later purchased his majority in the 33rd Foot and subsequently commanded that Regiment serving with them in the Netherlands and India. He succeeded as Colonel in 1806. In 1853, a year after The Great Duke’s death, the title of the Regiment was changed to 33rd (or The Duke of Wellington’s Regiment). In 1881 the 33rd and 76th were formally linked to become the 1st and 2nd Battalions of The Duke of Wellington’s Regiment (West Riding).

The Regiment served in all major campaigns of the 19th century but it was the First World War that saw the greatest increase in numbers, as during that conflict a total of 24 battalions were raised. During the Second World War battalions of the Regiment took part in the campaigns of Dunkirk, North West Europe, North Africa, Italy and Burma.

In 1948 the two regular battalions were amalgamated into the 1st Battalion since when it has fought in Korea, Cyprus and completed numerous tours in Northern Ireland during The Troubles. The last operational tours undertaken by the Battalion were to Iraq in 2003 and 2005.

The Territorial Force, formed in 1908, drew its men from distinct parts of the regimental recruiting area: the 4th Battalion from the Halifax, the 5th Battalion form Huddersfield, the 6th Battalion from Skipton, and the 7th Battalion from the Colne Valley. In the Great War, the Regiment lost over 8,000 men. During the Second World War, the TA again played its full part in the hostilities.

THE DESIGN OF THE MEMORIAL

The Regimental Memorial sculpture by world-renowned sculptor Andrew Sinclair MRBS is designed to reflect the 300-year history of the Regiment. The three main figures are soldiers from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, placed as if on steps carved into a rock edifice: the first two are communicating with each other, whilst the contemporary soldier stands guard at the top. They are connected by a golden thread which represents the formation of the Regiment to its final amalgamation. The ‘rock edifice’ serves as a bas-relief which symbolically reflects all that is important to the Regiment: the service of the 76th Foot in India (the Honorary Colours), the sacrifices made during WW1 represented by an officer leaping out of the trenches, the support provided by the families of those who served, the importance to the Regiment of the game of rugby, the link with the Duke of Wellington, and finally the regimental emblems and motto.The Memorial will stand on a plinth of Yorkshire stone and will be some 15 feet in height. The central part will be cast in phosphor bronze that allows intricate detail and beautiful patination to be incorporated.

FUNDRAISING

In order to bring the Memorial to reality, we need to raise £225,000. This we recognise as a genuine challenge but, after only 6 months, we have already raised some £130,000 which has been achieved by means of a direct appeal to the Regimental family along with 2 fund-raising events held in London. The second part of the fundraising campaign, and our focus now, will centre on Yorkshire where we will be holding various events. Most importantly we will be looking at finding all those who were associated with the Regiment, either in business or as a family member and who would like their name as a donor to be recorded in a leather-bound book that will be placed in Bankfield, as a final memento of this appeal. There will be other events organised so please check on the website but the principal fundraising event in the County will be held on Friday 2nd November 2018 in Halifax at The Arches, Dean Clough.

 

News from Wellington College

The Regimental Association’s status as part of the Wellington College Community continues to pay dividends; almost literally.  The College has a fine set of history boards, exhibited in the passages of the main building, which tell the tale of the College’s story since it was founded at the same time as the 33rd were renamed in the Duke’s honour.  Now the College has paid for one on the history of the Regiment, which was designed by Michael Bray, and is shown below. The board was unveiled at the Officers lunch by Lady Honor Montagu, nee Wellesley, daughter of the Duke and an OW.

She has worn our badge, being on parade some years ago with the CCF when her Grandfather presented each cadet with our Regimental cap badge, which superseded a Wellington badge of their own design.

The lunch this year was rather special because we not only unveiled the history board but we also had the Memorial Statue maquette on display, complete with the Sculptor, Andrew Sinclair, on hand to talk about it.

The Corps of Drums excelled themselves with the quality of their beating as did the Bugles who played a number of Regimental calls.

The Master, who is a very supportive backer of the CCF and our Association, welcomed us all and we were pleased to have not only our Sculptor but our fundraiser, Caroline Cary, and the Chief Executive of Calderdale Council, Robin Tuddenham, and their spouses.

As it was St Patrick’s Day, General Charles Huxtable wore a fine display of shamrock. Michael Bray’s florist could only supply wholesale and so he presented Alistair Roberts with a chrysanthemum called Shamrock as a thank you for arranging the seating plan, an adequate substitute for 144 bunches of shamrock.

As previously, the Wellington staff looked after us superbly and we look forward to returning, but it may not be next year when in May we will be holding a major celebration in Halifax to unveil the Memorial.  Readers should keep an eye open for the announcement of 1919 plans.

Brigadier Michael Bray CBE

UPDATE ON THE MEMORIAL TO THE REGIMENT

COMMISSIONING OF THE ARTIST

Since announcing the intention to raise a Memorial to the Regiment, there have been a number of important developments the first of which is that a sculptor, Andrew Sinclair, has been commissioned. His design, which will be unveiled in maquette form at Apsley House on 6th March by The Duke of Wellington, will reflect the full history of the Regiment, all those who served as well as the families that supported those in uniform. The Memorial will also celebrate our traditional recruiting area of the West Riding, an aspect to the whole project that will be reinforced by having it situated in Halifax, our home for over 200 years. For those interested in Andrew’s work, he has his own website at www.andrew-sinclair.com.

FUND-RAISING PROGRESS

Members of the Association will be aware that fundraising for the Memorial started last year and the excellent news is that to date over £70,000 has been raised, a figure that will be further increased once Gift Aid is reclaimed. Add to this the generous grant of £50,000 from the Trustees of the Regimental Association and we are well on the way to achieving our fundraising goal of £225,000. The sharp eyed will see that this figure has increased and there are a couple of reasons. Firstly the design by Andrew Sinclair was so compelling it was felt that, even though it was over the original budget, it was one the Committee felt we simply had to commission. The second reason is that the unveiling will now be in early 2019. At the outset we set as a target the autumn of this year but we quickly came to the conclusion that with so much happening to mark the end of World War 1 we would simply not get the level of public interest we want. Furthermore we want the unveiling to be a major Regimental event and that will also need to be funded.

The funds raised to date have in the main come from individual members of the Regimental family which is really heartening as it is concrete demonstration of the support the project has even before the design has been made known. Further to this was an excellent event held at The Leathersellers Hall in London in February, thanks to David Santa-Ollala’s help and support, which celebrated the rugby heritage of the Regiment. Nigel Melville, Director of Professional Rugby at the RFU (and brother-in-law of Andrew Drake) gave an excellent talk after which there was an auction the result of which was that the evening raised over £10,000 for the Appeal .

NEXT STEPS

Following on from the Apsley House event the next stage of our fundraising will begin and this will involve a publicity campaign in Yorkshire to broadcast what we are doing to as wide an audience as possible. We shall be organising specific fundraising events in Yorkshire, details of which will be publicised once confirmed. Applications will also be made to other charitable trusts seeking their assistance with the project.

Finally we intend to post regular updates on the progress being made with the Project. This will of course be posted on the Regimental website so that everyone knows what is happening.

Virtutis Fortuna Comes

Andrew Meek

President of the Association

If you would like to be a member of the 500 club and would like to attend the Apsley House Reception on 6th March please the forms for the 500 club online by 28th February as we have a few spaces left and email Caroline: carolinecary@gmail.com. 

 

Rugby and the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment

Brief History of Rugby in the Duke of Wellingtons Regiment 1877 to 2006

In 1877 Halifax became the Depot for the Duke of Wellingtons Regiment (West Riding of Yorkshire) and records state that it also saw the birth of rugby within the Regiment. Here is an update of the history of some of the major achievements within the rugby world……. you might even have a look at the gallery on the website as there are some cracking images up there too!

Please see attached…

Brief History of Rugby in the Duke of Wellingtons Regiment 1877 to 2006

Welcome – our very first post!

Welcome to The Duke of Wellington’s Regimental Memorial website page. We are thrilled that the decision has been made to erect a memorial to celebrate and reflect the Regiment’s 300 years of loyal and conspicuous service to the Crown.

We are delighted that this memorial will be placed in the centre of Halifax and will bring it back to the family and the very core of this regiment. There is a tremendous amount of focus on the town that is often described as the North’s best kept secret. And, with the opening of the Piece Hall on Yorkshire Day, 1st August 2017 after a three-and-a-half-year renovation to bring the elegant Georgian building back to its former glory, there could not be a better time to place this memorial in the Regiment’s home town. Robin Tuddenham, Chief Executive of Calderdale Council wrote an impressive piece about the opening-  Our Finest Hour: We Made Yorkshire Day Ours!

For over 240 years we have recruited men from the West Riding of Yorkshire, especially from within the environs of Halifax where our Regimental depot was established and which has always been seen as our ‘home’ town. The aim of erecting our memorial here is to commemorate that heritage, our soldiers’ commitment over the generations to the nation and our home county’s support for them and their families.

We are delighted to be working with the Calderdale Council who have been incredibly supportive of this project and we will work closely with them to make sure we deliver something that Halifax is proud of too.

“Calderdale Council is fully supportive of this wonderful project for the Duke of Wellington’s Regimental Memorial in Halifax. We have a long and proud association with the regiment, and would be delighted to see the statue further add to our heritage experience and sense of place in the town.” Robin Tuddenham, Chief Executive of Calderdale Council.

Please get behind this amazing project and its appeal and make a donation, engage with us and encourage others to do so and help to make this the most stunning memorial and something to remember with pride.  In turn it will bring awareness of this unique regiment, its history within the West Riding and will raise awareness of The Yorkshire Regiment and where we are today.