51st (2nd Yorkshire West Riding) Regiment of Foot

For other units with the same regimental number, see 51st Regiment of Foot (disambiguation).

The 51st (2nd Yorkshire West Riding) Regiment of Foot was a British Army line infantry regiment. During the Childers Reforms it was united with the 105th Regiment of Foot (Madras Light Infantry) to form the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry.[1][2]

Service history

The 51st was formed in 1755 for service during the Seven Years' War.[3] The regiment started out in Exeter, but was transferred to Leeds later in the same year. In the space of one month, 800 men had volunteered to serve for three years or as long as the country needed them to.[4] Originally numbered the 53rd, Napiers, Regiment of Foot, and bearing the name of its colonel, Robert Napier, it was re-numbered in 1757, with the name of its new colonel, as 51st Brudenells Regiment.[5] In 1759 they saw action at the Battle of Minden,[6] which later became their first battle honour. Following the war, the 51st had garrison duty in Ireland and Minorca, acquiring their county association in 1782 as the 51st (2nd Yorkshire West Riding) Regiment.[7]

The regiment was at Gibraltar at the start of the French Revolutionary Wars and in 1795 they were in Corsica at the siege of Calvi.

In early 1800 the East Indiaman Earl Cornwallis, transported the regiment to Ceylon (Sri Lanka). In 1803-05, the Regiment took part in the Kandyan Wars.[8]

In 1808, the 51st became a Light Infantry regiment and took part in Peninsular War, where they fought in every major action. Following Napoleon's escape from Elba in 1815, they fought in the Battle of Waterloo.[8]

In 1881, as part of the Childers Reforms, the 51st was amalgamated with the 105th Regiment of Foot (Madras Light Infantry) to form the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry.[9]

Battle Honours

Battle honours gained by the regiment were:[10]

Notable members

Colonels of the Regiment

Colonels of the regiment were:[10]

53rd Regiment of Foot - (1755)

51st Regiment of Foot - (1756)

51st (2nd Yorkshire West Riding) Regiment of Foot - (1782)

51st (the 2nd Yorkshire West Riding) or The King's Own Light Infantry Regiment - (1821)


  1. Harold Carmichael Wylly (1926). History of the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry Vol I, from 1755 to 1914. P. Lund, Humphries & Co.
  2. Wickes, HL Regiments of Foot (1974) ISBN 0-85045-220-1
  3. "51st (2nd West Riding Light Infantry)". 51stlight. Retrieved 9 February 2016.
  4. Knowles, Lees (1 August 1914). Minden and the Seven Years' War. London: Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent & Co. p. 77. Retrieved 9 February 2016.
  5. "King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry Regimental Museum Archive". National Archives. Retrieved 9 February 2016.
  6. "51st Timeline". The Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. Retrieved 9 February 2016.
  7. "badge, headdress, British, Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry". IWM. Imperial War Museum. Retrieved 9 February 2016.
  8. 1 2 "51st (2nd Yorkshire West Riding), or The King's Own Light Infantry Regiment". nam. National Army Museum. Retrieved 9 February 2016.
  9. "Unit History". Forces War Records. Retrieved 9 February 2016.
  10. 1 2 "51st (2nd Yorkshire West Riding) Regiment". regiments.org. Archived from the original on 18 April 2007. Retrieved 16 July 2016.
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