Battle Honour 'NIVELLE'

Wed, 11/10/1813
Army Gold Medal Debarres Nivelle Toulouse Orthes
©The Army Gold Medal (NIVELLE) presented to Major Frederick Desbarres of the 2/87th Regiment, with bars for Orthes and Toulouse, is in the collection of The Royal Irish Fusiliers.

BH NIVELLEThe Battle Honour NIVELLE is emblazoned on the Regimental Colours of The Royal Irish Regiment.

The battle, which took place on the morning of 10 November 1813, was the first that Wellington fought on French soil. There were four Irish infantry Regiments of Foot present on that day:

3/27th Inniskillings were in Lt Gen Sir Lowry Cole's 4th Division (Anson's Brigade)

2/83rd, 2/87th and 1/94th* were in Lt Gen Sir Thomas Picton's 'Fighting 3rd Division' (commanded by Colville in his absence), all in Keane's Brigade.

1/88th (Connaughts) were also in the 3rd Division but in Brisbane's Brigade.

Marshal Soult's French army was stretched along a 20 mile perimeter in front of the River Nivelle, entrenched and occupying fortified hilltop redoubts.

Following the Light Division assault, that began before dawn at 0500 hours, Wellington launched nine divisions, including the 3rd and 4th Division, with a five mile frontage to attack Soult's centre. It was the 3rd Division that seized the bridge at Amotz effectively breaking Soult's lines of communication and splitting his army in two. Heavy fighting went on for much of the day and by 1400 hours the French were in full retreat across the Nivelle. The French had lost 4,500 killed and 1,200 taken prisoner. Wellington's Allied Army sustained 2,600 casualties in total.

All the Irish Regiments listed above were awarded the Battle Honour NIVELLE.

The 94th Regiment of Foot (Scotch Brigade) is also listed as it merged with the 88th Regiment in 1881 to become The Connaught Rangers.

(Medal images below subject to © control through RHQ R IRISH)