musketeer with matchlock and bandolier of cartridges.
On 14th October 1661,
The Tangier Regiment, later to be known as the 2nd Regiment
of Foot and the Queen’s Royal Regiment, was first paraded
on Putney Heath under the comand of the Earl of Peterborough.
The Regiment was raised to garrison the port of Tangier in North
Africa, which King Charles II had acquired as part of the dowry,
when he married Catherine of Braganza, the Infanta of Portugal.
This was in the early
days of the Regular Army, as ex Royalist and Cromwellian troops
were forged into a new force. The new Regiment, which arrived
in Tangier in 1662 was joined by parliamentarian companies from
the garrison of Dunkirk and two units from the Royalist Force,
which had been serving in Flanders; they officially took over
Tangier from a small naval garrison. The Portuguese inhabitants
were not happy with these arrangements and left on the British
ships, leaving a civilian population made up of only wives and
families of the military.
Tangier was considered
a valuable acquisition, as it commanded the entrance to the Mediterranean
and was ideal as a trading centre, however, there had been years
of previous conflict with the Moors. In addition, Tangier needed
a mole to protect its harbour from the Atlantic weather and the
building of this lasted the next twenty-two years of English occupation.
out with the Moors in 1663 and after some heavy casualties a truce
ensued. However war began again, when the new Governor, The Earl
of Teviot, a soldier of fortune who had served with the French Army
until 1660, took command. He began extending the fortifications,
which resulted in fierce fighting, but during a sally in May 1664,
he was killed and by that stage of the occupation, half the garrison
had died. Lord Bellasye, the new Governor concluded a peace and
returned to England leaving Colonel Norwood in command. Unfortunately,
Norwood died in 1668, followed by his successor, the Earl of Middleton,
in 1675; the new Governor was then the Earl of Inchiquin.
the pressure from the Moors increased, as the Emperor of Morocco
joined forces with the Chief of Fez in order to pursue a bloody
war against all Christians in North Africa. Reinforcements were
needed at the Garrison, which was raised to 3000 in number. Colonel
Fairborne briefly took command, before his death, and in April 1682
Colonel Pierce Kirke was appointed Colonel and Governor.
was evacuated in 1684, as the cost of maintaining the Garrison had
become too high. A fleet was sent to demolish the mole and the fortress
and the Regiment left in April after twenty-two years gallant service.
The battle honour of TANGIER 1662-1680 was awarded to the
Regiment in 1909 and is the oldest in the British Army; the only
other regiment to hold this distinction for the full garrison period
is the Household Cavalry Regiment. It is still proudly emblazoned
on the Colours of the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment,
the modern successor of the Tangier Regiment.