Raised in 1685 as Colonel the Duke of Beaufort’s Musketeers the Devons became the 11th Regiment of Foot in 1751 when infantry regiments of the line were numbered instead of being named after the colonel of the moment. In 1782 it was given a county association as 11th (North Devonshire) Regiment of Foot, and in 1881 it became The Devonshire Regiment. As a matter of interest the 20th of Foot was given the title East Devonshire in 1782, but in 1881 this became The Lancashire Fusiliers (it was not just the Lord who moved in mysterious ways!). The regiment earned the nickname ‘The Bloody Eleventh’ when they incurred nearly 70% casualties at the Battle of Salamanca in 1812 in the Peninsular War.
When war broke out in 1914 the regiment consisted of two regular battalions, a Special Reserve and four Territorial battalions; by the end of the war the total was twenty-nine. This history contains the account of the operations of those battalions which took an active part in the war which earned them two VCs and sixty battle honours at a cost of 5,787 dead. They served on the Western Front, in Italy, Macedonia, Egypt, Palestine, India and in Mesopotamia. The author is among the foremost of the Great War divisional and regimental historians and this book is typical of his standard of writing and composition. He has provided a continuous narrative in a chronological order, bringing in the various battalions as they came onto the stage in the relevant theatre of war. He has made use of war diaries, not only of the battalions but also, where appropriate of brigades and divisions. He was also able to make use of collected accounts of various actions and experiences of those who took part in them, giving the point of view of the man in the trenches. One third of the book, some 250 pages, contains the complete list of honours and awards, including Mention in Despatches, and the Roll of Honour, listed alphabetically by battalions.
On 17 May 1958 the old regiment passed into history when it amalgamated with the Dorsets to become The Devonshire and Dorset Regiment.
DEVONSHIRE REGIMENT 1914-1918
The regiment expanded from seven battalions (including four TF) to twenty-nine by the end of the war. They served on the Western front, in Italy, Macedonia, Egypt, Palestine, India and Mesopotamia, were awarded sixty battle honours and two VCs. Total dead numbered 5,787. dead. Roll of Honour and list of Honours and Awards