The Peninsular War


The Queen’s, The Buffs (East Kent), 31st (Huntingdonshire), 50th (West Kent), 57th (West Middlesex), 67th (South Hampshire) and 77th (East Middlesex) all took part in the Peninsular campaign. The battle honours of Vimiera, Corunna, Douro, Talavera, Barrosa, Albuhera, Ciudad Rodrigo, Badajoz, Almaraz, Salamanca, Vittoria, Pyrenees, Nivelle, Nive, Orthes, Toulouse and Peninsula were won by forebear regiments. It is not surprising that the second Regimental Day of The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, Albuhera, comes from this War.

Following initial allied successes against General Junot in Portugal during 1808, Napoleon decided to intervene personally. This compelled the force under Sir John Moore to withdraw to Corunna for evacuation by the British fleet. The Queen’s, 50th and a company of The Buffs were amongst this exhausted army when it reached the port of Corunna and found that the ships had not yet arrived. On the 16th January 1809, the French Marshal Soult attacked the allied force and was defeated. The 50th repeated the bayonet charges, which the French had been unable to face at Vimiera and their commanders’ success was acknowledged by Sir John Moore who cried ‘Well done my majors!’ the majors were Sir Charles Napier and the fatally wounded Charles Stanhope. Both were to be remembered by the toast to the ‘Corunna Majors’ on the anniversary of the battle by The Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment and, celebrated in later years by the 2nd Battalion The Queen’s Regiment.