Battle Honour 'WATERLOO'.

Sunday, 18 June, 1815
Waterloo 27th Battle Honour
French cavalry attack the 27th Inniskillings in their 'square' battle formation.

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

The Battle of Waterloo was fought on Sunday 18 June 1815, near Waterloo in present-day Belgium, then part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands.

An Imperial French army under the command of Emperor Napoleon was defeated by the combined armies of the Seventh Coalition, an Anglo-Allied army under the command of the Duke of Wellington combined with a Prussian army under the command of Field Marshal von Blücher, Prince of Wahlstatt. It was the culminating battle of the Waterloo Campaign and Napoleon's last. The defeat at Waterloo put an end to Napoleon's rule as Emperor of the French and marked the end of his Hundred Days return from exile.

Of the 27th Inniskillings, the Duke of Wellington later said, 'They saved the centre of my line'.

Napoleon Bonaparte is quoted as saying, 'I have seen Russian, Prussian and French bravery, but anything to equal the stubborn bravery of the regiment with castles in their caps I never before witnessed'.


The Inniskillings was the only Irish infantry regiment to take part in the Battle of Waterloo. On 16 June, the Inniskillings under Major John Hare marched 70 kilometres in 28 hours in pouring rain to join the main Army, occupying a position 1,200 metres behind the Allied line near Mont St Jean.

During heavy fighting earlier on 18 June, the Allied line was broken and the Inniskillings moved forward to a crucial spot where the road from Brussels to Charleroi crossed the Allied line behind La Haye Sainte. For the rest of the day there was no respite from attacks by French snipers, cavalry and artillery.

The 27th (Inniskilling) Regiment of Foot's killed and wounded amounted to 486 out of a total of 747 - the highest casualties of any British regiment. When only one officer remained standing, the neighbouring 40th Regiment offered to lend them some officers, to which Major Hare, the commanding officer, replied, 'The Sergeants like to command the companies and I would be loathe to deprive them of the honour'. Since that time, traditions have reflected the history of the day, examples being command of parades to a Quartermaster and The Colours loaned to the Warrant Officers and Sergeants Mess on Waterloo Day.