The Royal Sussex Regiment.

Raised in Belfast, in June 1701, as the Earl of Donegall’s Regiment, the Regiment was the 35th Regiment of foot.

In 1803 Major-General Charles Lennox, later to become the 4th Duke of Richmond, became Colonel, and in the following year he requested the title be changed from “The Dorsetshire” to ”The Sussex”. In 1832 King William the Fourth added the “Royal” appellation to the title, for services rendered.

Our County Regiment has served with great distinction on many occasions, probably the most celebrated of which was the battle of Quebec, where, on 13th September 1759, the Regiment took part in the action on the Heights of Abraham, defeating the French Royal Roussillon Regiment. “In recognition of the Regiment’s fine discipline in that battle authority was given for it to wear the white plume of the Royal Roussillon Regiment. The 35th also took from this regiment their colours, which bore the French lilies of gold, and from this originated the nickname “The Orange Lilies”. The white plume the 35th bore on their hats for forty years afterwards”1, and was eventually to be commemorated in the badge worn by the Regiment until 1966. Thus the Regiment played its part in General Wolfe’s great victory, and at the same time, were present at the death of the French Marquis de Montcalm, avenging the earlier massacre of the 35th at Fort William Henry, by the North American Indians, allies of the French who had been commanded by Montcalm, the story of which was immortalised in ‘The Last of the Mohicans’.

The Regiment helped to quell the Indian Mutiny, in the 1850s, and took part in the 1885 Nile Expedition, including the actions at Abu Klea and El Gubat, sending a small detachment of twenty NCOs and men, under Captain Lionel Trafford, by steamers with Colonel Sir Charles Wilson to relieve General Gordon at Khartoum, regrettably arriving too late. A full account of these events can be found in the work


A first-hand account by the commander of the Talahawiya steamer by James Baxendale O.B.E. © Click here or on the title above to access the account in full.

(We are most grateful to James for offering this work to us for inclusion on our website.)

Signature Lionel Trafford

Signature of Lionel Trafford (then Lt and acting Qtr Mstr) taken from an 1877 entry in the Soldiers Small Book of Sjt (12) Harry Tamkin, 1st Btn The Royal Sussex Regiment


The Boer War added to the Regiment’s distinguished record, whilst the First World War, in which the Regiment lost 6,8002 officers and men, earned the 2nd Battalion the nickname ‘The Iron Regiment’ from German prisoners at the First Battle of Ypres.

The Short History3 gives casualties as follows:

“The numbers of those who fell, however (their names are recorded on panels in the Regimental Chapel of St. George, in Chichester Cathedral), are as follows:


We are informed by Colonel R. R. McNish that recent research would suggest a figure in excess 7,400 to be a more accurate record.

World War II was to add further to the Regiment’s reputation, including the famous action at Monte Cassino.

Post war the Regiment saw service in Palestine, Suez, Korea, and finally Aden and Radfan.

On July 3rd, 1966, a Council of Colonels announced the decision to convert the Home Counties Brigade, of which the Royal Sussex Regiment was a part, into a single large regiment – The Queen’s Regiment- which formally came into being on Saturday, December 31st 1966. The final chapter was written in the 1992, when, under ‘options for change’, the Queen’s itself merged with the Royal Hampshire Regiment, to form the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, senior infantry regiment of the line, and the ‘County Regiment’ of Surrey, Kent, Sussex, Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Channel Islands and Middlesex.

1st Battalion drum of the Victorian period
(replica used by the group)

  1. Extracted from A Short History of the Royal Sussex Regiment (35th foot – 107th foot), 1701-1926. Printed by Gale & Polden 1927   
  2. Extracted from A Short History of the Royal Sussex Regiment (35th foot – 107th foot), 1701-1926. Printed by Gale & Polden 1927   
  3. Extracted from A Short History of the Royal Sussex Regiment (35th foot – 107th foot), 1701-1926. Printed by Gale & Polden 1927