Battle Honour 'BADAJOZ'

Mon, 04/06/1812 - Tue, 04/07/1812
From the drawing on the wall of the patio at Government House, Gibraltar, by Captain Marshman, circa 1870. Although not a work of fine art it is a soldier's depiction of the savagery typical of close combat as fought at Badajoz and elsewhere during the Peninsular War.

The Battle Honour BADAJOZ is emblazoned on the Regimental Colours of The Royal Irish Regiment.

Both the 3rd (Young) Inniskillings and the 2/83rd took part in the third siege of Badajoz, one of three fortresses from which the French derived great strength in blocking Wellington's advance into Spain. Wellington realised that to continue his successes against the French he would have to capture Badajoz, this his third attempt. The siege opened on 17 March 1812 when his troops began digging trenches against an outlying fort, La Picurina, which was a key feature. The assault against this fort occurred on 24 March 1812; included in the storming party were two officers and 50 other ranks from the 2/83rd.

BHBADAJOZThis operation having succeeded, Wellington's siege artillery began breaching the walls. The main assault on Badajoz took place on the night 6-7 April 1812. Whereas the 4th Division, which included the Young Inniskillings, attacked the breaches, the 3rd Division, with 2/83rd, attacked the Castle.

Hazelhurst MedalAlthough the French repulsed all British attempts to penetrate the breaches, the 3rd Division scaled successfully the Castle's walls, and having captured that strong point, outflanked the main French defences close to the breaches.

Thus fell Badajoz but the losses were severe. The Young Inniskillings had suffered particularly heavy casualties while attempting to storm the breaches on the night of 6-7 April; four officers and 37 other ranks killed while the 2/83rd suffered one officer and 22 other ranks killed.

The following day the storming of the town was one of the most infamous in the history of many corps and regiments of the British army; soldiers broke into the town's brandy store and thereafter followed a dreadful rampage of pillage, arson and drunkenness. Despite this orgy of destruction, which was excessive when judged by the standards of the time, both Regiments were included in the award of the Battle Honour BADAJOZ to twenty-three British infantry regiments.

You can read the story of Sergeant Hazelhurst of the 2/83rd at Badajoz by clicking on the account of his fighting at the siege of Badajoz. Sergeant Hazelhurst's Military Service Medal with its twelve battle clasps (right) for actions in the Peninsular War, including BADAJOZ is in the Collection of The Royal Ulster Rifles.