Battle Honour 'FUENTES D'ONOR'

Fri, 05/03/1811 - Sun, 05/05/1811
Battle Honour FUENTES D'ONOR

The Battle Honour FUENTES D'ONOR is emblazoned on the Regimental Colours of The Royal Irish Regiment.

Wellington had advanced from the defensive lines at Torres Vedras in Portugal following the French retreat into Spain. Marshal Massena, the French commander, had left a garrison at the Portuguese border fortress town of Almeida. Wellington moved to besiege it, intent on taking Almedia before advancing into Spain. During April, Massena advanced from Ciudad Rodrigo equally intent on relieving Almedia. Wellingtom chose the ground at and overlooking the village of Fuentes d'Oñoro* to meet and engage Massena in battle. The 37,000 British faced 48,000 French and Massena attacked on 3 May 1811.

In the subsequent battle the 2/83rd, commanded by Major Carr, had two days of hard fighting. While the Light Company fought in the village, the rest of the Regiment was drawn up in line on the plateau overlooking the village. The first day was a struggle for control of Fuentes d'Oñoro but by nightfall the British had repelled the French and held the village.

Massena did not renew the battle until 5 May when he launched three divisions against the main British position. Again, the French attack failed. The 2/83rd's casualties were light and Wellington's Dispatches recorded one officer and two men killed and one officer and 28 men wounded and missing.

A War Office Memorandum, dated 23 August 1819, promulgated the approval by The Prince Regent for the 83rd Regiment of Foot to bear on its Colours the Battle Honour of FUENTES D'HONOR. The actual emblazoned distinction became FUENTES D'ONOR.

Also referred to as Fuentes d'Onor, Fuentes d'Honor, Fuentos Onovos and Fuentes Onova. The French refer to the fighting as the Battle of Pozo Bello.