16th Foot

From Project Seven Years War
Jump to: navigation, search

Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> British Army >> 16th Foot

Origin and History

The regiment was raised on 9 October 1688, in the southern counties of England, as the "Archibald Douglas' Regiment of Foot" to defend England against threat posed by Prince William of Orange (the future William III). Until 1751, this regiment would be known by the names of its successive colonels.

In October 1688, the regiment assembled at Reading in Berkshire and counted 927 men, including officers. Early in November, the regiment was ordered to march to London. However, the regiment refused to fight against William. When William seized power, Colonel Douglas, a supporter of James II, was replaced on 31 December by Robert Hodges and the regiment was allowed to continue in existence as part of William's army, being quartered at Stony Stratford in Buckinghamshire.

In April 1689, during the Nine Years' War, the regiment was sent to the Netherlands. It fought at the battles of Walcourt (1689) where it help up the entire French force while falling back on the main body, Steenkerque (1692) and Landen (1693). In 1695, it took part in the siege and capture of Namur. It remained in Flanders until the Treaty of Ryswick ended the war in 1697.

From 1697 to 1701, the regiment was stationed in Carrickfergus in Ireland. In 1698, it counted one battalion of ten companies for a total of 34 officers and 411 men.

On 7 June 1701, on the eve of the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-13), the regiment was sent to the Dutch Republic. In 1702, it took part in the rearguard action near Nijmegen, in the covering the sieges of Venlo, Roermond and Stevensweert and in the capture of Liège; in 1703, in the sieges and capture of Huy and Limbourg; in 1704,in the Battle of the Schellenberg, in the Battle of Blenheim and in the covering the siege of Landau; in 1705, in the unsuccessful expedition up the Moselle and in the forcing of the Lines of Brabant at Elixheim; in 1706, in the Battle of Ramillies and in the conquest of Brabant. In 1708, the regiment was ordered to return to Great Britain to repel a potential French invasion but was soon sent back to Flanders where it participated in the Battle of Oudenarde and in the siege and capture of Lille. In 1709, it took part in the siege of Tournai, in the sanguinary Battle of Malplaquetand in the covering of the siege of Mons; in 1710, in the forcing of the Lines at Pont-à-Vendin, and in the covering the sieges of Douai and Béthune; in 1711, in the forcing of the Lines near Arleux and in the siege and capture of Bouchain; in 1712, in the covering of the siege of Le Quesnoy. Soon afterwards, a suspension of arms was proclaimed and the regiment withdrew to the vicinity of Ghent. The regiment was then sent to occupy Dunkerque which had been delivered into the hands of the British as a pledge during the negotiations for peace.

In 1714, the regiment was recalled to Great Britain to quench the Jacobite Rising, sailing from Dunkerque to Leith in Scotland. It was initially stationed in Stirling before moving to garrison Fort William in 1715.

The regiment then remained on home service duties at various locations in Great Britain.

Pdf p. 46 bot 1739

In 1739, at the outbreak of the War of Jenkins' Ear, the establishment of the regiment was augmented. In 1740, it briefly served as marines. In the autumn, it furnished a detachment to accompany the expedition to the West Indies. In January 1741, this detachment arrived in Jamaica. In May of the same year, it took part in the unsuccessful attack on Cartagena de Indias in present-day Colombia. The assault took place in torrential rain and the troops were nearly wiped out by disease.

During the War of the Austrian Succession, in 1742, the regiment remained in England. In 1746, it was sent to Scotland to curb a Second Jacobite Rising. However, by the time it reached Edinburgh, the rebellion had been defeated. Nevertheless, the regiment assumed garrison duty at various Scottish locations until 1749.

In 1749, the regiment was sent to Ireland where it would remain till 1767.

On July 1 1751, when a Royal warrant reorganised the British infantry, the regiment was designated as the "16th Regiment of Foot".

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was under the command of:

  • from 1730 until 1763: Colonel Roger Handasyd

Service during the War

The regiment remained in Ireland throughout the war. As of May 30 1759, the regiment counted 1 battalion for a total of 700 men.

In 1760, a plan was formed for attacking the French island of Belle-Isle and the regiment (700 men), under Lieutenant-Colonel Gabbet, embarked on board the fleet. However, the enterprise was laid aside in consequence of the death of King George II and the regiment returned to Ireland.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1756 (regimental lace not illustrated) - Source: Richard Couture from a template by Frédéric Aubert
Uniform Details
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced white with a black cockade (left side)
Grenadier British mitre with: a yellow front edged white embroidered with white scroll work and with a red King's cipher surmounted by a crown (yellow with red cushions, white pearls and ermine headband); 4 black within white dots on either side of the top of the front flap; a small red front flap edged white with the white horse of Hanover surmounted by the white motto "Nec aspera terrent" and with a dark green bottom strip with 3 yellow stripes; red back; a yellow headband edged white probably wearing the number 16 in the middle part behind; a yellow within white pompom
Neck-stock white
Coat brick red lined yellow and laced white (white braid with a yellow zigzag within 2 red stripes) with brick red shoulder wing laced white (same lace as above)
Collar none
Shoulder Straps red fastened with a white button (left shoulder)
Lapels yellow laced white (same lace as above) with 7 pewter buttons and 6 white buttonholes (same lace as above)
Pockets vertical pockets with white fish-bone laces (same lace as above), each with pewter buttons
Cuffs yellow (slashed in the British pattern) laced white (same lace as above) with white fish-bone laces (same lace as above) and 4 pewter buttons on the sleeve above each cuff
Turnbacks yellow
Waistcoat brick red laced white (same lace as above)
Breeches brick red
Gaiters white with black buttons
brown, grey or black during campaigns (black after 1759)
Leather Equipment
Cross-belt buff
Waist-belt buff
Cartridge Box black
Bayonet Scabbard black
Scabbard black
Foot gear black shoes


Troopers were armed with with a "Brown Bess" muskets, a bayonet and a sword. They also carried a dark brown haversack with a metal canteen on the left hip.

Officers

Officers of the regiment wore the same uniforms as the private soldiers but with the following differences

  • silver gorget around the neck
  • an aiguilette on the right shoulder
  • silver lace instead of normal lace
  • a crimson sash

Officers wore the same headgear as the private soldiers under their command; however, officers of the grenadier company wore a more decorated mitre cap.

Officers generally carried a spontoon, however, in battle some carried muskets instead.

Musicians

According to the Royal Clothing Warrant of 1751:

The drummers of the regiment were clothed in yellow, lined, faced, and lapelled on the breast with red, and laced in such manner as the colonel shall think fit for distinction sake, the lace, however, was of the colours of that on the soldiers' coats.
The front or forepart of the drums were painted yellow, with the king's cypher and crown, and the number “XVI” under it. The rims were red.

Colours

King's Colour: Union with its centre decorated with a rose and thistle wreath surrounding the rank of the regiment "XVI" in gold Roman numerals.

Regimental Colour: yellow field with its centre decorated with a rose and thistle on the same stalk surrounding the rank of the regiment "XVI" in gold Roman numerals. The Union in the upper left corner.

King's Colour - Source: Frédéric Aubert
Regimental Colour - Source: Frédéric Aubert

References

This article is essentially an abridged and adapted version of the following book which is in the public domain:

  • Cannon, Richard: Historical record of the Sixteenth or, The Bedfordshire Regiment of Foot, London: Parker, Furnivall and Parker, 1848

This article also incorporates texts of the following source:

Other sources

Aylor, Ron, British Regimental Drums and Colours

Fuller, Steven: The Bedfordshire Regiment in the Great War - A brief history of the Regiment between 1688 and 2009

Funcken, Liliane and Fred: Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle

George II, The Royal Clothing Warrant, 1751

Lawson, Cecil C. P., A History of the Uniforms of the British Army - from the Beginnings to 1760, vol. II, p. 90-103

Mills, T. F., Land Forces of Britain the Empire and Commonwealth (an excellent website which unfortunately does not seem to be online any more)

Schirmer, Friedrich: Die Heere der kriegführenden Staaten 1756 - 1763. Edited and published by KLIO-Landesgruppe Baden-Württemberg e.V., Magstadt, 1989