Medals of the Regiments:
The Dorsetshire Regiment

officers cap badge Dorsetshire Regiment Other Ranks Dorsetshire Regiment Cap Badge.
Officers silver and gilt ( left) and other ranks bi-metal cap badge -  this pattern in use through both world wars.
The unique sphinx and "Marabout" honour is for the 54th's assault on the fort of that name during the 1801 Egypt campaign.(21/8/1801)
Kipling and King 651

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  Dorsetshire Regiment
1702 - 1958
pre 1881post 1881
39th ( Dorsetshire) Regiment of Foot1st Battalion, The Dorsetshire Regiment
54th (West Norfolk) Regiment of Foot2nd Battalion, The Dorsetshire Regiment
Earliest recognised formation: 39th Regiment; 1702, when raised as Richard Coote's Regiment of Foot.
54th Regiment; 1755, initially numbered the 56th, renumbered the 54th Regiment in 1757.
Mottoes: Primus in Indis = First in India.
Montis insignia Calpe = The Badge of the Rock of Gibraltar.
WWI:Battle Honours; 57Victoria Crosses; 0Died; 4060
WWII:    Battle Honours; 26Victoria Crosses;  0Died; ????
Amalgamated:1958 with  The Devonshire Regiment, to form  The Devonshire and Dorset Regiment
Two battalions of the 39th Regiment operational 1803-1815, and two battalions of the 54th, 1800-1802.

Egypt Campaign 1801, and the Peninsular War (39th served in the Peninsular and the 54th in the 1801 Egypt campaign)

Military General Service Medal 1793 - 1814

39th Regiment (both battalions present)










total medalsmax clasps

A single "Maida" clasp medal was awarded to Lt. Richard Church of the 39th for service with the 13th Regiment of Foot.

54th Regiment (both battalions present)



* three of these medals also had clasps awarded for service with other regiments: QM Sjt. Robert Farmery had Busaco, Fuentes d'Onor, Badajos, and Salamanca for service with the 5th Regiment; Pte. John Haney had Talavera for service with the 83rd Regiment; and Pte. Patrick Thomson had Corunna for service with the 52nd regiment.


Battle Honours : Marabout,  Albuhera, Vittoria, Pyrenees Nivelle Nive, Orthes, Peninsula


Battle of Waterloo 1815 54th Regiment   

Waterloo Medal 1815


Not deployed directly in the Waterloo battle:  positioned at Hal to prevent any potential surprise attack in the direction of Brussels & the right flank. [4th Division (Collville) 6th British Brigade (Johnstone) with 2/35th, 2/59th and the 1/91st ]


First Anglo-Burmese War 1824-1826  54th Regiment

Army of India Medal 1799 - 1826




Battle Honour: Ava


Gawalior Campaign 1843 39th Regiment

Gawalior Campaign Maharajpoor Star 1843


Battle Honour:  Maharajpore


Crimean War  1854 - 1856  39th Regiment

Crimea Medal 1854 -56

Clasp: →..none...


Total Medals
Number:??? ( 684 names on the main roll)

An Assistant Surgeon on the roll received Alma and Inkermann clasps.


Battle Casualties;

Action.KilledDied of Wounds'Wounded'Dangerously
2nd, 3rd, 4th, & 5th Bombardments of Sebastopol and Minor Actions. 51*-1532-44

* recorded as "mortally wounded"  


Men who served in the Crimea also eligible for:

Turkish Crimea Medal 1855


Battle Honour: Sevastopol.


Indian Mutiny 1857-59   54th Regiment

India Mutiny Medal. 1857 -59

 1881: The 39th and 54th Regiments now become the 1st and 2nd Battalions, The Dorsetshire Regiment.

North West Frontier Operations 1897-98  1st Battalion

India Medal 1895


Punjab Frontier  1897-98

Tirah 1897-98
total medals

VCs: 1;  Vickery


Battle Honour: Tirah


South African War 1899 - 1902 or "Boer War"  2nd Battalion ( Dec 1899-end of the war) with detachments serving as Mounted Infantry (MI)

Queen's South Africa Medal 1899-1902, with or without the King's South Africa Medal 1901 - 1902

Common clasps: Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Transvaal, South Africa 1901, South Africa 1902; also:

Relief Of Kimberley
Diamond Hill
Relief of Ladysmith
Tugela Heights
Laing's Nek

The general rule of thumb is that the MI have some combination of the first five clasps listed above and the foot sloggers some combination of the last three. (perhaps with state bars) - MI being a considerable minority.



OfficersNCOs and Men
KIA & DOWWoundedDeath from disease KIA & DOWDeath from disease WoundedMissing / POW

Battle Honours: Relief of Ladysmith, South Africa 1899-1902


The Great War 1914 - 1918  ( 11 battalions; 6 served overseas:- )

Generally awarded the British War Medal & Victory Medal, men overseas prior to 1/1/1916 also a 1914 or 1914-15 Star as approprite.

Battalion →1 2*1/42/45**6
date of first overseas service.
 (first theatre red x )
France & Flandersx   xx
Gallipoli    x
Egypt & Palestine   xx 
Mesopotamia xx
India  xx  
possible ?
1914 or 1914-15 x     
or 1914-15 only x  xx
Extracted from : "Soldiers / Officers Died in the Great War" (consider approximate - in addition the regiment as a whole lost an additional  121 officers who are recorded with 'battalion not shown'  or with battalions not shown here, or who we have  not yet allocated a battalion.)

* The second battalion was in India when war broke out, being dispatched from there to the Persian Gulf, arriving 6/11/1914. The Battalion was captured at Kut al Amara 29/4/16, although a temporary composite battalion was reformed shortly afterwards from the recovered wounded and new drafts of the 2nd Dorsets and 2nd Norfolks (nicknamed the Norsets). The battalion was fully reconstituted on the 21th July 1916.
** To Suvla via Mudros and Imbros.


RegularTerritorial ForceNew ArmiesGarrison.

Territorial Force War Medal 1914-19
 36 officers and men of the Dorsetshire Regiment also qualified for this medal.


Battle Honours: Mons; Marne 1914; Ypres 1915, 1917; Somme 1916, 1918; Hindenburg Line; Sambre; Suvla; Gaza; Shaiba; Ctesiphon; Khan Baghdadi.  Le Cateau; Retreat from Mons; Aisne 1914; La Bassée 1914; Armentières 1914; Gravenstafel; St Julien; Bellewaarde; Albert 1916, 1918; Flers-Courcelette; Thiepval; Ancre 1916, 1918; Arras 1917; Scarpe 1917; Messines 1917; Langemarck 1917; Polygon Wood; Broodseinde; Poelcapelle; Passchendaele; St Quentin; Amiens; Bapaume 1918; Epéhy; Canal du Nord; St Quentin Canal; Beaurevoir; Cambrai 1918; Selle; France and Flanders 191418; Landing at Suvla; Scimitar Hill; Gallipoli 1915; Egypt 1916; El Mughar; Nebi Samwil; Jerusalem; Tell'Asur; Megiddo; Sharon; Palestine 1917-18; Basra; Kut al Amara 1915, 1917; Defence of Kut al Amara; Baghdad; Mesopotamia 1914-18.


Moplah Rebellion, Malabar  1921-1922  2nd Battalion

India General Service Medal 1908

Malabar 1921-22

Jewish / Arab unrest, Palestine 1936 - 39 2nd Battalion (1936)

General Service Medal 1918 -62


WW2 1939 - 1945  5 Battalions served overseas:

Battalion →1st2nd4th5th30th
campaign ↓     
France and
Belgium 1940.
(Dunkirk )
North Africa & Middle Eastx
Burma x   
Sicily / Italyx   x
N.W. Europex xx 


 231st Infantry Brigade for the duration. (Malta Defence 3/9/39 - 3-/3/43)
D-Day landers, with the 50th Infantry Division.
5th Infantry Brigade for the duration

Burma 30/3/44 -25/4/45

130th Infantry Brigade for the duration

entered NW. Europe theatre 24/6/44. In the UK prior to this.

43rd Infantry Brigade:- North Africa 23/9/43 - 5/11/43; Sicily 5/11/43-16/6/44. To Gibraltar after this with 1st Gibraltar Brigade.

WW2 Stars common to the Battalion. (excluding 39-45 star )
 Key: A = Africa, P = Pacific, B =  Burma, I = Italy,  F&G = France and Germany


Most also entitled to the 1939-45 War Medal and many the Defence Medal


Battle Honours:  St Omer-La Bassée; Normandy Landing; Caen; Arnhem 1944; Aam; Geilenkirchen; landing in Sicily; Malta 1940-2; Kohima; Mandalay. Villers Bocage; Tilly sur Seulles; Mont Pinçon; St Pierre La Vielle; Goch; Rhine; Twente Canal; North-West Europe 1940, 1944-5; Agira; Regalbuto; Sicily 1943; Landing at Porto San Venere; Italy 1943; Mt Popa; Burma 1944-5.

1948: Regulars reduced to a single battalion (the 1st)
1951: Title changed from "The Dorsetshire Regiment" to "The Dorset Regiment".

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Selected Links

The Regimental Museum. (Located in )


Selected Bibliography;

Compiled by Richard Cannon, Esq., Adjutant-General's Office, Horse Guards.Historical Record of The Thirty-Ninth, or The Dorsetshire Regiment of Foot; containing an Account of the Formation of the Regiment in 1702, and of its subsequent Services to 1853. 104 pp. London: Parker, Furnivall, & Parker, 1853. Printed by George E. Eyre and William Spottiswoode for H.M. Stationery Office.
Compiled by Capt. P. R. PhippsRecords of the 1st Battalion, The Dorset Regiment, late 39th Regiment. From 1853 to 1893.  45 pp.Cairo.???
C. T. Atkinson. The Dorsetshire Regiment. The Thirty-Ninth and Fifty-Fourth Foot and the Dorset Militia and Volunteers.
Vol. 1. Part I. The Thirty-Ninth. 355 pp.
Vol. 2. Part II. The Fifty-Fourth. Part III. The Dorsetshire Regiment. 223, 284 pp.
Oxford: Privately printed at the University Press, 1947
 Major H. C. Lock and O. C. Vidler.History of The Dorsetshire Regiment, 1914-1919. Compiled for the Regimental History Committee.  306, 152, 205pp

Part I. The Regular Battalions.
Part II. The Territorial Units. and the 1st Volunteer Battalion The Dorsetshire Regiment.
Part III. The Service Battalions.

Dorchester: Henry Ling Ltd. 1933
Major-Gen. A. L. Ransome"The Fine Fighting of the Dorsets"; three battles of 1st Battn. The Dorsetshire Regiment in 1914 and 1915.      35 pp.Dorchester: The Regimental. Museum. 1959
 Lt.-Col. A. E. C. Bredin.Three Assault Landings. The Story of the 1st Battn. The Dorsetshire Regiment in Sicily, Italy and N.W. Europe.   172 pp.Aldershot: Gale & Polden Ltd., 1946
 By Lieut.-Col. O. G. W. White.Straight on for Tokyo. The War History of the 2nd Battalion The Dorsetshire Regiment (54th Foot), 1939-1948.   426 pp.Aldershot: Gale & Polden Ltd., 1948.


Additional Bibliography for this Page.

Officers of the Regiment.Unpublished rolls in the care of the National Archives; WO 100/ etc.-
 Additional bibliography same as Northumberland Fusiliers page  



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Guide to British Medals

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