The King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry was a regiment of the British Army. It officially existed from 1881 to 1968, but its predecessors go back to 1755. The regiment's traditions and history are now maintained by The Rifles.
The Childers reforms also combined militia and rifle volunteer units into the regiments formed in 1881. Accordingly the 1st West Yorks Rifles Miltia became the 3rd Militia Battalion, while the 3rd Administrative Battalion West Riding of Yorkshire Rifle Volunteer Corps became the 1st Volunteer Battalion.
In 1897 the regimental title was changed to the The King's Own (Yorkshire Light Infantry), and in 1921 to The King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry.
With the creation of the Territorial Force in 1908, the 1st Volunteer Battalion was reorganised as the 4th and 5th Battalions (TF), while the 3rd Battalion was transferred to the Special Reserve.
In 1948, 1 KOYLI was disbanded and 2 KOYLI was renamed 1 KOYLI. In 1968, 1 KOYLI became the 2nd Battalion of The Light Infantry (2LI). In 2007 the LI merged with the Royal Green Jackets to form a new regiment, The Rifles. The former 1 KOYLI battalion (now 1LI) became '5 RIFLES'.
The 51st first saw action during the Seven Years' War, gaining a reputation at Minden, its first battle honour. The regiment embarked for the Peninsula in 1807, serving with distinction. The regiment served on the extreme right at Waterloo, and was engaged at Hougoumont Farm.
In WWII the regiment's nine battalions represented the new age of warfare. 5 and 8 KOYLI were anti-aircraft units, 7 KOLYI were armoured, and 9 KOYLI (formerly the Queens Own Yorkshire Dragoons) was motorised. The Second battalion served in Europe and the Mediterranean, the First fought as a rearguard in the retreat through Burma. The 1/4 battalion participated in the Battle of Normandy in 1944 and subsequently in the Netherlands.
The badge of the KOYLI is unique amongst English light infantry regiments as the horn is of the 'French' type (with a twist). The origins of this are obscure. It appears to have been adopted after Waterloo, however prior to this the 105th had an 'English' style Bugle horn with a loop. In its centre is the White Rose of York, linking to the regiment's home in Yorkshire. Unusual amongst British Army regiments, the badge lacks a crown. It was also the smallest cap badge used in the British Army.
Commissioned into the 51st in 1777, Moore went on to command the battalion in 1790. A forward thinking tactician, he was the father of the British light infantry, and is a significant figure to all light infantry and rifle regiments.
Originally commissioned into the KOYLI and serving in WWI, Liddell Hart went on to become a military writer. He is most noted for his highly influential work on the theory of armoured warfare in the inter-war period.
Hayes joined the KOYLI in 1916 and was awarded three Military Medals in 1918 for acts of bravery at the Western Front in France.