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How did ‘The Diehards’ get their name?
The expression “Diehard” is now normally used in the English language to denote an individual or group of people who will not budge from a position or opinion once taken or expressed. Maybe the stand taken is not logically sound but the fact remains if the person refuses to retreat and holds out against all odds he is called a die-hard. This is the only regiment in the world whose nickname has become part of the language.
The term “Die-Hard” was coined in the smoke of war during the battle of Albuhera, fought on 16th May 1811 which was the bloodiest battle of the Peninsula War.
At this battle the 57th were out numbered four to one. The Commanding Officer of the 57th, Colonel Inglis, took his position in front of his “Fighting Villains”, a term used by him when referring to his regiment and a term used by the illustrious Picton. When the fighting was at its heaviest he was struck down by a charge of grape shot in his neck and left breast. He refused to be carried to the rear for treatment, but lay in front of his men calling on them to hold their position and when the fight reached its fiercest cried, “Die hard the 57th, die hard!“, and die hard they did. The casualties were 420 out of the 570 men in the ranks and 20 out of the 30 officers. Marshal Beresford wrote in his dispatch, “our dead, particularly the 57th Regiment, were lying as they fought in the ranks, every wound in front“.
Even after this savage fight and such appalling casualties, the regiment were eager to advance with the remainder but Beresford called out, “Stop, stop the 57th, it would be a sin to let them go on!”
Later when the battlefield was viewed it was seen that the dead of the 57th were lying like a pack of cards that had toppled over.
Oman, the historian, said of the honour “Albuhera” “this, the most honourable of all Peninsular Blazons on a regimental flag……“, but it was the soldiers of Wellington’s army themselves that dubbed the regiment the “Diehards” after the exhortation of their Commanding Officer. This indeed is a compliment as the British soldier is wary when giving praise to fighting men.
Where can I see ‘The Diehards’ in action
Have a look at our events page for the latest details.
How do I book the ‘The Diehards’ for an event?
Contact us with details of your event. Contact details are on the ‘contact us’ page.
Where are ‘The Diehards’ based ?
We do not have a single base. Membership of ‘The Diehard’ company is spread across the UK, from the Midlands to the South Coast.
How do I join ‘The Diehard’ company
We are always on the look out for new recruits! To find out more about what is involved and what commitment you can expect as a private in the Victorian army contact us. Contact details are on the ‘contact us’ page.