A Short History of The Royal Leicestershire Regiment

PART V - 1946 TO 1964

The 2nd Battalion was stationed in Bombay in 1946 and, while there, it took part in putting down the mutiny in the Indian Navy.  It also helped to quell the serious riots in the streets of Bombay which immediately followed and in which the Battalion suffered twelve casualties.

In November 1947 the 2nd Battalion returned home and was stationed at Long Marston in Worcestershire.  In December the 1st Battalion which had returned from Germany a few weeks before, took over a disused airfield at Honeybourne nearby.

In February 1948 the 2nd Battalion went into “suspended animation” and, on 30 June 1948, the 1st and 2nd Battalions were amalgamated, taking the title of the 1st Battalion, and moved to Glen Parva Barracks.  At about the same time, along with other Regiments of the region, The Royal Leicestershire Regiment joined The Midland Brigade.

During and immediately after the War the Regimental Depot at Glen Parva Barracks had experienced several changes.  In September 1939 it made way for an Infantry Training Centre.  This in turn gave way to the Auxiliary Transport Service Training Centre and in 1946 it once more became the Depot of the Regiment, sharing accommodation with the 17th Primary Training Centre.  In 1948 the PTC ceased to exist when the “Group” system came into being and the Regimental Depot was left in sole occupation of Glen Parva Barracks, the home of the Regiment, for the first time since 3 September 1939.  It was not, however, until November 1951 that the Depot took up its old role of training soldiers for the Regiment.

In April 1949 the 1st Battalion was ordered at very short notice to move to Hong Kong to reinforce the garrison against a Communist threat.  Later it was joined by the rest of the 40th Division.

In October 1951 the 1st Battalion embarked at Hong Kong for Korea.  On 5 November the Battalion took part in what was afterwards known as the Gunpowder Plot Battle.  The young and inexperienced troops fought magnificently and continued to show high fighting qualities during the remainder of the year in which the Battalion campaigned in Korea.   There the Battalion won the last two Battle Honours of The Royal Leicestershire Regiment.

In August 1952 the Battalion returned home to Quorn and was warmly welcomed by the people of Leicestershire.  For the first time the Battalion exercised the Freedom of the City of Leicester and marched through the streets of the City with bayonets fixed and Colours flying.  It was on this occasion that the County presented to the Regiment a Fanfare of Trumpets to mark its appreciation of the Battalion’s fine record in Korea.

In December 1952 the Battalion left Quorn for Iserlohn in Germany and there new Colours were presented in July 1954.

In April 1955 the 1st Battalion sailed for Khartoum, where efficient ceremonial parades by the last British unit to serve in the Sudan marked the independence celebrations in October that year.  The Battalion then moved to Cyprus, playing an important role in peace-keeping for 2½ years of the Emergency.  After further service in Germany at Muenster 1958-62, the 1st Battalion moved to Watchet in Somerset, from where in 1963 it was sent to for six months to Hong Kong en route to Borneo on an emergency tour, where it saw its final active service in the jungle against invading Indonesian forces.  

In the post-war years, the Territorial Army elements of the Regiment were subjected to change.  In 1947 5th Battalion was re-formed, and the successor of the original 4th Battalion and still part of the Royal Artillery was reconstituted as 579th (The Royal Leicestershire Regiment) Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment RA (TA).  It downsized in 1955 to become ‘Q’ (The Royal Leicestershire Regiment) Battery, 438th LAA Regt, and in 1961 amalgamated with the 5th Battalion to become 4/5th Battalion The Royal Leicestershire Regiment (TA). 

In 1960 The Royal Leicestershire Regiment joined with The Royal Warwickshire Regiment and The Sherwood Foresters to form The Forester Brigade, which had its Headquarters and Depot at Glen Parva Barracks, South Wigston.  That Brigade was short-lived.  When The Royal Leicestershire Regiment subsequently joined The East Anglian Brigade in 1963, Glen Parva Barracks ceased to be the Depot (its function being transferred to Bury St Edmunds), and Regimental Headquarters moved to Ulverscroft Road in Leicester.  On 1 September 1964, The Royal Leicestershire Regiment was amalgamated into The Royal Anglian Regiment, with the 1st Battalion of the former becoming the 4th (Leicestershire) Battalion of the new Large Regiment of Infantry.  The Royal Leicestershire Regiment (Territorial) ceased to exist in 1971. 

Details of the subsequent activities of Leicestershire’s Regular and TA elements within The Royal Anglian Regiment can be found in the book which describes the final years of The Royal Leicestershire Regiment, Marching with The Tigers