The Green Howards regiment had two regular battalions, the 1st and 2nd. While the 1st Bn remained active throughout the regiment’s history, the 2nd Bn was raised and then placed in a state of ‘suspended animation’ on a number of occasions, the last time being in 1956.
Between 1907 and 2006, the regiment also contained a number of reserve battalions or companies which were part of the army’s volunteer reserve force – the collective name of which has changed several times over the years (currently the Army Reserve).
During the First World War there were 24 battalions, with 12 in World War Two. There are usually between 600 and 1000 men in a battalion.
The regiment first saw active service in Ireland, at the Battle of the Boyne.
1695 to 1744
Flanders. The regiment was present at the siege of Namur (1695), the campaigns of the Duke of Marlborough (1707 to 1714) where it earned the battle honour of Malplaquet, and in support of the House of Austria in the war against France and Bavaria (1744).
1761 to 1854
During this period, the regiment took part in many campaigns, including Belle Isle (1761), the American War of Independence (1775), the Siege of Ostend (1794), campaigns in Ceylon, and operations against Tippoo Sahib (1796 – 1820).
1854 to 1856
The regiment played a key role during the Crimean War at the Battles of Alma and Inkerman, and the Siege of Sevastopol.
During the action at the Battle of Alma, the Regiment stormed and captured the Russian position known as ‘The Great Redoubt’. Alma Day is marked on 20 September each year. During the Crimean War, the regiment was awarded its first two Victoria Crosses.
1857 to 1871
The regiment was sent to India following the 1857 Mutiny. In 1868 the regiment was involved in action against tribes in the North West Frontier, and remained in India until 1871.
The regiment saw action in Sudan and wore the scarlet coat of the English Infantry for the last time at the Battle of Ginnis.
In 1897 they were present during the Tirah Campaign on the North-West Frontier of India.
1899 to 1902
The Boer War. The regiment’s third Victoria Cross was awarded after the Battle of Paardeberg.
1914 to 1918
During the First World War the regiment grew to twenty four battalions, seeing action in most of the principal battles and campaigns of the war. Over 65,000 men served, more than 7,500 were killed and nearly 24,000 wounded. Twelve Victoria Crosses were awarded.
1919 to 1938
Following the Armistice, Green Howards were sent to Northern Russia to support the White Russians against the Red Army. 1919 also saw action in the 3rd Afghan War. They were in Shanghai between 1927 and 1930, Palestine during 1938, and involved in the Waziristan operations of 1937-1939.
1939 to 1945
Twelve battalions were raised, fighting in Norway, the Western Desert, Sicily, Italy, Burma, France, Holland and Germany. Three Victoria Crosses were awarded, including the only VC to be awarded on D-Day.
1949 to 1952
Green Howards were on active service in Malaya.
1952 to 2006
The Green Howards were based, or served in England, Germany, Austria, Afghanistan, Suez, Cyprus, Hong Kong, Libya, Belize, Berlin, Northern Ireland, Kuwait, Bosnia and Kosovo.
The Green Howards merged with the Prince of Wales Own Regiment of Yorkshire and the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment, to form The Yorkshire Regiment. Green Howards soldiers formed the 2nd Battalion, the Yorkshire Regiment (Green Howards).