In 1688 James II was seated on the throne of England. His hard Catholic rule drove Protestants in England to offer William of Orange the throne if he would invade England and despose of James II.
William of Orange landed in Torbay on 5 November 1688 and many supporters flocked to join him. Among these was Colonel Luttrell, a known politician and soldier. Prince William charged Colonic Francis Luttrell to raise a regiment of foot soldiers in his support.
On November 19, 1688 he formed the regiment which was the forerunner of the later known Green Howards.
Since its formation, the regiment has fought in many campaigns all over the world. Immediately after formation the regiment had almost 20 years of continuous fighting.
The 2nd Battalion was at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690 and also at the Bloody Battle of Aughrim.
In 1744 the dispute over the Austrian succession began, and the regiment was sent to Flanders.
It was here that the regiment first became known as the Green Howards.
In those days it was accepted practice to name regiments after their colonels.
At this time the 19th were commanded by Colonel The Honourable Charles Howard. It then became necessary to distinguish between the two regiments. As the 19th wore green facing on their uniforms they were given the nickname The Green Howards. The other regiment had buff facings and became the Buff Howards, and later, simply, The Buffs.
Between 1761 and 1850 the regiment took part in many campaigns.
Among these were the expedition against Belle Isle in 1761, the American War of Independence in 1775 and the Siege of Ostend in 1794.
In 1792 the regiment made its firm association with the North Riding of Yorkshire, adding at the time the county name of the 1st North Riding Regiment to its title.
The association grew from strength to strength, and the regiment enjoyed the freedom of six Yorkshire boroughs and the right to march through them with “bayonets fixed, drums beating and colours flying.”
In 1854 the regiment fought in all the principal battles of the Crimean War. During this war, Corporal Lyons and Private Samuel Evans were each awarded the first Victoria Crosses which were struck from the bronze of captured Russian cannons.
Those were the first of many Victory Crosses awarded to the Green Howards.
In 1875 Alexander, Princess of Wales, presented new colours to the First Battalion , and later became Colonel-in-Chief of the regiment.
She consented to the regiment being known as ‘Alexandra, Princess of Wales’s Own Yorkshire Regiment.
The date 1875 and her personal cypher ‘A’ became incorporated into the regimental badge, and was designed by the princess herself.
This link with the Danish royal house was renewed in 1942 when Queen Alexandra’s nephew and son-in-law, Haakon VII, King of Norway, became Colonel-in-Chief. When he died in 1957, his son King Olav V took over the post.
In the First World War the regiment raised 24 battalions, and over 65,000 men served in their ranks. Of those, 7,000 lost their lives and 24,000 were wounded.
The regiment was awarded 56 Battle Honours, 10 of which are emblazoned in the Queen’s Colours.
Between the wars the regiment served in the Afghan , the Palestinian and Waziristan campaigns.
Twelve battalions were raised by the regiment during the Second World War. Twenty-five battle honours were awarded to the regiment, of which ten were selected to be borne on the Queen’s Colours. Sergeant Major Hollis won the only Victoria Cross to be awarded on D-Day, when the men of his Battalion penetrated from the Normandy beaches further inland than any other Allied Force that day. Since the war the regiment has served in Sudan, Egypt, Malaya, Hong Kong, Libya, British Honduras, Germany, Northern Ireland, Cyprus and Berlin. The Green Howards were amalgamated with The Prince of Wales’s Own Regiment of Yorkshire and The Duke of Wellington’s Regiment, all Yorkshire-based regiments in the King’s Division, to form The Yorkshire Regiment on June 6, 2006.