History of the 3rd Batt. the Monmouthshire Regt.
A brief history
of 3rd Battalion The Monmouthshire Regiment
Two Companies of volunteers were originally raised in Abergavenny during the Napoleonic Wars of 1793-1815, but after the fall of Napoleon they were disbanded. However, in 1859, because of the panic caused by the hostile tone of the French and the defenceless state of this Country, a number of companies of Rifle Volunteers were raised in Monmouthshire including ‘H’ Company at Abergavenny.
In July 1885, the 3rd Corps of The Monmouthshire Rifle Volunteers became the 4th Volunteer Battalion The South Wales Borderers. During the Boer War, the battalion provided numerous volunteers who gained the battalion’s first Battle Honour “South Africa 1900-02”. The value of these volunteers was recognised in 1908, when, under the Lord Haldane reforms, the Militia, Yeomanry and Volunteers were combined to form the single Territorial Force, the forerunner of today’s Territorial Army. The 4th Battalion became the 3rd Battalion The Monmouthshire Regiment (TF) with its headquarters at Abergavenny and companies at Abertillery, Blaina, Cwm, Ebbw Vale, Sirhowy and Tredegar.
The 3rd Monmouths served with great distinction in France and Belgium during the 1st World War with the Regiment gaining 25 further Battle Honours. On 8th May 1915 during the 2nd Battle of Ypres, the battalion made one of the most gallant stands in military history when in obeying the order to stand to the last man in, the battalion was practically annihilated, without giving an inch of ground to the enemy, the battalion lost 703 in killed and wounded; all but a handful of officers and men remained. The survivors were merged with those of 2nd Battalion The Monmouthshire Regiment which had suffered a similar fate. The officers and men of battalion were awarded 1 CMG, 2 DSOs, 12 MCs, 13 DCMs and 22 MMs.
When in 1922, the Territorial Army re-formed, 3rd Monmouths re-emerged as 3rd (Brecknockshire and Monmouthshire) Battalion The Monmouthshire Regiment (TA) with its headquarters at Abergavenny and
companies at Abertillery, Blaina, Cwm, Ebbw Vale, Nantyglo and Tredegar. Although the Territorials of Monmouthshire had been allowed in 1908 to adopt a title different from that of the Line Regiment of their County, the South Wales Borderers had always provided their Permanent Staff Instructors and many Adjutants. It was therefore fitting that an Army Order of 1929 should clarify the position by constituting the Monmouthshire battalions as “part of the Corps of The South Wales Borderers”.
During the 2nd World War the Brecknocks and 3rd Monmouths assumed their separate identities again. The 3rd Monmouths served at home until 1944, when they crossed to France on 13th June and fought throughout the campaign in North West Europe. It was with this battalion that Corporal Ted Chapman gained the Victoria Cross on 2nd April 1945; the only Victoria Cross to be awarded to a member of the Corps of The South Wales Borderers during the 2nd World War. In ten months of fighting, the battalion suffered 267 killed and 889 wounded.
When the Territorial Army was re-constituted in 1947, the 3rd Monmouths became 637 (3rd Mons) Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment Royal Artillery (TA). In May 1953 in recognition of it’s contribution during two World Wars, the Regiment was granted the freedom of the Borough of Abergavenny. On the disbandment of the Anti-Aircraft Command in 1955, the Regiment amalgamated with 638 Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment. The Regiment finally disappeared in re-organisation of the Territorial Army in 1967. Although there are no Territorial Army units based in Abergavenny today, the spirit and traditions of The Monmouthshire Regiment are proudly maintained in the county by the Regular and Territorial Battalions of The Royal Regiment of Wales (24th/41st Foot).
Date of coverage04/11/2005
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