28th (North Gloucestershire) Regiment of Foot
The regiment was first raised as Sir John Gibson's Regiment of Foot in 1694, disbanded in 1697, but reformed under the same colonel in 1702 during the War of the Spanish Succession and fought at the Battle of Elixheim in 1705 and at Ramillies in 1706.
They saw action in Spain, Flanders, Canada and North America during the Independence War and Flanders again, France the West Indies, Gibraltar and Menorca during the war with revolutionary France. In 1801 they were part of Abercromby’s force sent to Egypt to counter Napoleon’s threat to Britain’s trade routes. After an amphibious landing near Alexandra the British army was engaged by a superior force of cavalry and artillery. The fighting was very fierce and whilst under heavy attack to the front and flanks French cavalry was thrown at the 28th's rear.
Lieutenant Colonel Chambers gave the order '28th, rear rank only, right about face'
, and although assailed from both sides the regiment calmly repelled all attacks in fierce hand to hand fighting. By 10.00 am the French were in full retreat along their entire line. In honour of the 28th's conduct on that day they were granted the unique distinction of wearing a badge on the back of their head dress as well as at the front. This badge takes the form of a sphinx with the word 'Egypt' beneath.
Their next deployment was in Portugal in July 1808 for service in the Peninsular War. were they saw action in the retreat to Corunna before being successfully taken off by the Royal Navy. Although the main part of the regiment left the Peninsula a detachment was left behind in Lisbon which, as part of a composite battalion under the Duke of Wellington, took part in the Battle of Talavera in July 1809.
Meanwhile the remainder of the regiment went on to take part in the disastrous Walcheren Campaign in summer 1809. The regiment returned to the Peninsula in January 1810 and saw action at the Battles of Barrosa, Albuera and Arroyo dos Molinos in 1811, Vitoria, Pyrennes, Nivelle,and Nive in 1813 and Ortthez and Toulouse in 1814. At the end of the war the 28th were sent to Ireland but in March 1815 when Napoleon escaped from Elba the 28th were sent to Belgium.
On the afternoon, of the 16th of June they found themselves at the crossroads of Quatre Bras as part of Picton’s 5th Division and were immediately deployed in the front line along the Nivelles to Namur road. The 28th Foot, as Peninsular veterans effectively formed square and, unlike many of the other less experienced regiments they held firm, despite being attacked on three sides at once. For six hours the French cavalry tried to break the 28th, but failed every time. With the French advance checked the 28th, with the rest of the survivors were able to withdraw to Waterloo. During the battle on the 18th, the 28th Regiment once again proved their worth and because of their actions at Quatre Bras and on the day, the regiment earned distinguished mention in the dispatches of the Duke of Wellington.
310gm Limited edition of 50 c/w authentication certificate
Illustration by David Higham