The 44th of Foot raised by Colonel James Long of the 1st (Grenadier) Guards.
The 44th of Foot took part in the Battle of Preston Pans during the short campaign in Scotland against “Bonnie Prince Charlie”.
The Regiment was then sent to North America.
The 56th of Foot raised by Lord Charles Manners, son of the Duke of Rutland.
The name Pompadours was first used as a nick name. Originating from the colour known as Pompadour Purple which was adopted for the Regimental facings, a colour said to be the favourite of Madame de Pompadour, mistress of Louis XV. The nick name remained, being adopted by the 3rd East Anglian Regiment and the 3rd Bn of The Royal Anglian Regiment.
Action for the 56th of Foot was the capture of Havannah, the capital of Cuba in the West Indies.
For the gallant part played in the capture of Fort Moro, the main defence was awarded the unique battle honour “Moro” in addition to “Havannah” awarded to other units in the expedition.
Siege of Gibraltar, in which the “Pompadours” took part with great distinction. The Regiment was awarded the battle honour “Gibraltar 1789 – 93” and the right to bear on its Colours the Castle and key. The Castle and Key form the centrepiece of the Regimental cap badge.
The 44th of Foot became the 44th (East Essex) Regiment and the 56th of Foot became the 56th (West Essex) Regiment .
Both Regiments served in the West Indies in amphibious operations against the French islands of Guadelope and Martinique.
The 44th of Foot took part in the expedition of Egypt.
The Napoleonic Wars.
The 44th served with great distinction under the Duke of Wellington against the French during the Peninsula Campaign in Spain and Portugal. The battle honours of “Peninsula”, “Badajoz”, and “Salamanca” were gained.
During the battle of Salamanca Lt Pearce captured the Eagle Standard of the French 62nd Infantry Regiment.
The Eagle remains important to the Regiment, being adopted as a collar badge by the 3rd East Anglian Regiment and the 3rd Bn of the Royal Anglian Regiment and finally as a shoulder badge of the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the Royal Anglian Regiment.
The original Eagle can be seen in the Regimental Museum.
The 44th gained the battle honour “Ava” by its participation in the campaign to subdue Burma.
The 44th occupy Kabul, capital of Afghanistan.
During the winter the garrison attempted to withdraw across the mountains to India, but after untold hardships was annihilated. The final stand of 20 men from the Regiment was at Gundamuk where Lt Souter tore the Regimental Colour from its pike and attempted to save it by wrapping it around his body. In the final massacre his life was saved; the Afghans, seeing the rich material of the Colour, took him hostage.
Lt Souter and the Colour later returned to England and the fragments of this Colour were laid to rest in the Regimental Chapel.
The Crimean War.
The 44th and 56th were awarded the battle honours of “Alma”, “Inkerman”, and “Sevastopol”.
The Victoria Cross was instituted and one of the first to be awarded was won by Sgt McWhiney of the 44th for conspicuous gallantry at Sevastopol.
The two Regiments also served in India and China up until 1861.
Army reforms meant that the 44th and 56th were linked together to be called the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the Essex Regiment.
The 2nd Essex Regiment were awarded the battle honour “Nile”, as a result of their part in the expedition to Khartoum to save General Gordon.
The South African War. Both Battalions took part and were awarded battle honours “South Africa”, “Relief of Kimberly” and “Paardeberg”.
The Great War. The Regiment raised 31 fighting Battalions.
The Essex Regiment fought with great distinction on the Western Front in France and Flanders. They took part in the historic Le Chateau and Marne battles of 1914.
The 1st Battalion took part in the Gallipoli landings in 1915.
The Territorial Battalions formed 161 Essex Brigade, which as part of 54 East Anglian division participated in the fighting at Gallipoli and liberated Palestine from the Turks.
No fewer than 70 Battle honours were awarded.
Peace keeping on the North – West frontier of India (1930 – 31) and in Palestine (1937 – 38).
The Second World War.
The Pompadours were again among the first in action, taking part in the retreat and withdrawal to Dunkirk in 1940.
They landed on D-day and fought throughout North-west Europe.
The 1st Battalion saw service in Abyssinia, Iraq and Syria before being closely associated with the 1st Battalion the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment in the siege and breakout of Tobruk in 1941.
They later served as part of the famous Chindit Brigade operating far behind Japanese lines in Burma in 1944.
The 4th and 5th Territorial Battalions fought in North Africa and Italy.
The 1st and 2nd Battalions amalgamated to form the 1st Battalion of the Essex Regiment.
A further amalgamation, this time with Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment to form the 3rd East Anglian Regiment.
Each company of the 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment was affiliated with an association and its respective county in East Anglian. C Company now has strong links with The Essex Regiment.
NB: It is an interesting point, that during their short period as 3rd East Anglian Regiment they continued to wear the No 2 Dress hat without a red band as they were not a ‘Royal’ Battalion.