The Leeds Rifles, a much-decorated TA battalion originally formed with the rifle volunteers in 1859, wore a green/yellow/blue ribbon on its shoulder straps, a silver metal maple leaf on the upper sleeve (marking service with the Canadians in the Second World War), a Croix de Guerre ribbon (for distinguished service at Bois de Petit Champ and Bligny in 1918) and an embroidered tank sleeve badge, representing a term spent with the Royal Tank Regiment in North Africa and Italy in 1942-5.
Maria Theresa, an arrangement of three funeral marches presented to Col Howard at the Viennese court in 1742, is the oldest of this collection and stands as the regimental slow march of the Green Howards. Their quick march, Bonnie English Rose, was adopted by the 19th in 1868 and officially sanctioned to the regiment in 1881, when its badge was the white rose of York.
A painting of the Battle of Famars in 1793 showing the 14th Regiment storming a redoubt to their drummers' stolen beat
Ca Ira, the regimental quick march of the West Yorkshire Regiment, is unique in being the only march gained in battle. It was the Duke of York who ordered the 14th to adopt this French Revolutionary chant in 1793 following the action at Famars, where Lt-Col Doyle rallied his men with the command 'Drummers, strike up Ca Ira and break the scoundrels to their own damned tune!' The French were stunned and the day was won but the regiment's return to England was slightly marred by the good people of Dartford, who stoned the band for playing the enemy's music. Today the march is played with Yorkshire Lass, the regimental march of the East Yorkshires, arranged in 1881 from Egerton's 1875 composition My Bonnie Yorkshire Lass.
The PWO slow march, God Bless the Prince of Wales/March of the XVth Regiment, similarly unites the slow marches of the WYR and EYR. The XVth von England was used by the 15th (Yorks, East Riding) Regiment from 1790, along with the troop The Duke Of York.
The title Duke of York's Own was authorised to the EYR in 1935 on the occasion of the 250th anniversary of the regiment and the Silver Jubilee of King George V to honour the Duke of York, Colonel-in-Chief of the East Yorkshires since 1922.
The Wellesley, the old regimental march of the 33rd, was adopted by the Duke of Wellington's Regiment for its title, the family name of the Iron Duke' when he became colonel of the 33rd in 1806. The regiment's second march, Scotland the Brave, tells of the origins of the old 76th Regiment. On guest nights in the officers' mess Rule Britannia is traditionally played with a medley of rugby tunes, the West Riding being a strong rugby-playing area and The Dukes' very successful in the Army Challenge Cup.
The 19th Regiment re-enactment team in 2005; display of rifle drill and uniform of the Crimean War
Formation Day (6 June) was chosen to fall on the anniversary of D Day, a battle honour shared by all three regiments.
'The Dukes' observe two anniversaries: St George's Day (23 April), when a white rose is worn in the cap, and Waterloo Day (18 June) to commemorate the heavy losses of the 33rd in the battle, under their former colonel the Duke of Wellington. During the Napoleonic Wars the 33rd became known as 'The Havercake Lads', after a West Riding oatcake used by recruiting sergeants to tempt hungry young men to the colours. The regiment is unique in being able to parade a pair of honorary colours in addition to the regulation pair. The originals were presented to the 76th Regiment on Jersey in 1808 on the wishes of Lord Lake, who had the 76th in his 1803 Hindustan campaign against the Mahrattas. Renewed in 1830, 1886, 1906 and 1969, the honorary colours carry the elephant with howdah and mahout, circumscribed HINDOOSTAN, and the battle honours 'Mysore, Nive, Corunna, Peninsula, Laswaree Nov. 1 1803, Deig Dec. 23 1804, Agra Oct. 10 1803, Delhi Sep. 11 1803 and Ally Ghur Sep. 4 1803'. The last three blazons are accredited to no other British regiment.
Green Howards drummers wrapping the five Russian drums with oak leaves for Alma Day at Aldershot in 1934. (Green Howards Regimental Museum)
Imphal Day (22 June) celebrates the raising of the Siege of Imphal in Burma in 1944, in which the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the West Yorkshire Regiment fought the Japanese for four months without respite. The date is also significant in being the birth of the regiment in 1685.
Quebec Day (13 September) remembers the 15th Regiment in the Canadian campaign of 1759 and its association with the Wolfe Society. The East Yorkshire Regiment would decorate its colours with white roses on this day.
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