26th Foot

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Origin and History

The regiment was raised in 1688 by authority of the Lords of the Convention as the “Cameronian Guards” after the followers of the Presbyterian leader Richard Cameron. It consisted principally of inhabitants of Glasgow. In March 1689, three Scots regiments in the service of William III arrived in Edinburgh, and the ad-hoc forces raised to protect the Convention were dismissed. However, on May 14, a regiment was raised near Douglas by James, Earl of Angus, drawn from among the Cameronians, and placed under the service of William III. Some 1,200 men (20 companies of 60 men each) are said to have been enlisted in a single day, without the need for “the beat of drum” (active recruiting) or any bounty money being paid. The unusual religious background of the regiment was reflected in the regulation that each company was to have an elder, as well as the regimental chaplain being a Cameronian. On August 21, the new regiment defeated a Jacobite force at the Battle of Dunkeld, a turning point in the Jacobite rising of that year.

Until 1751, the regiment would be known by the names of its successive colonels.

In 1690, the regiment was reorganised in 13 companies of 60 men each, including a grenadier company. It continued to serve in the Highlands.

In February 1691, during the Nine Years' War (1688-97), the regiment embarked in the Firth of Forth for the Dutch Republic. In 1692, it took part in the Battle of Steenkerque; in 1693, in the Battle of Landen; in 1695, in the attack of Fort Kenoque and in the capture of Namur

In 1697, the regiment was placed in the Dutch establishment. In 1700, it was taken back into English pay and was sent to Scotland.

In March 1702, during the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment was sent to Flanders where it joined the army covering the siege of Kaiserwerth and took part in an engagement near Nijmegen. In 1703, it participated in the sieges of Bonn and Limbourg. In 1704, it accompanied Marlborough in his famous march to the Danube and fought in the battles of the Schellenberg and Blenheim and took part in the covering of the siege of Landau. In 1705, it took part in the relief of Liège, in the Passage of the Lines of Brabant at Elixheim and in the capture of Louvain; in 1706, in the Battle of Ramillies, in the sieges of Dendermonde and Ath; in 1708, in the Battle of Oudenarde, in an enterprise against Leuwe, in the covering of the siege of Lille, in the engagement of Wijnendale, in the siege of the Citadel of Lille and in the siege and capture of Ghent; in 1709, in the covering of the siege of Tournai, in the siege of Mons, in the sanguinary Battle of Malplaquet; in 1710, in the siege of Douai and in the covering of the siege of Béthune. In August 1712, the regiment occupied Dunkerque. In May 1713, it occupied Nieuport. On August 20 of the same year, it embarked for Ireland.

During the First Jacobite Rising, in late 1715, the regiment was transferred from Ireland to Scotland . In November, it was to Preston, along with six regiments of cavalry. They found a strong Jacobite force in possession of the town. On November 12, it launched a frontal attack into the town but was driven back with heavy losses. On November 13, three additional regiments joined the British force and the Jacobites, now surrounded, surrendered unconditionally. In 1716, the regiment returned to Ireland.

The regiment remained in Ireland from 1716 to 1726.

In 1726, the regiment left Ireland to serve as marines on board the fleet. In 1727, it was sent to reinforce the garrison at Gibraltar which was besieged by a Spanish army. The regiment remained at Gibraltar until June 13 1738, when it was transferred to Minorca.

In 1748, the regiment was transferred from Minorca to Ireland.

On July 1 1751, when a Royal warrant reorganised the British infantry, the regiment was designated as the "26th Regiment of Foot".

In 1754, the regiment returned to Scotland.

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was commanded by:

  • since May 3 1720: Lieutenant-General Philip Anstruther
  • from November 27 1760 to January 14 1763: Lieutenant-general Edward Sandford

Service during the War

In 1756, at the outbreak of the Seven years' War, the regiment was stationed in Scotland.

In 1757, the regiment was transferred to Ireland.

As of May 30 1759, the regiment was still stationed in Ireland where it remained until 1767. It counted 1 battalion for a total of 700 men.

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 pale yellow front edged white embroidered with white scroll work (the leaves on the scroll work are a darker yellow than the front) and with a white King's cipher surmounted by a crown (yellow with red cushions, white pearls and ermine headband); a small red front flap edged white with the white horse of Hanover surmounted by the motto "Nec aspera terrent" and with a dark green bottom strip with yellow stripes; red back; a pale yellow headband edged white probably wearing the number 26 in the middle part behind; a white pompom
Neckstock white
Coat brick red lined pale yellow and laced white (white braid with two yellow 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 pale yellow laced white (same lace as above) with 7 pewter buttons and 6 white buttonholes (same lace as above)
Pockets horizontal pockets with white laces (same lace as above), each with pewter buttons
Cuffs pale yellow (slashed in the British pattern) laced white (same lace as above)
Turnbacks pale 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
Crossbelt white
Waistbelt white
Cartridge Box black
Bayonet Scabbard black
Scabbard black
Footgear 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 pale 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 pale yellow, with the king's cypher and crown, and the number “XXVI” under it. The rims were red.

Colours

According to the Royal Clothing Warrant of 1751:

King's Colour: Union with its centre decorated with a rose and thistle wreath surrounding the rank of the regiment "XXVI" in gold Roman numerals.
Regimental Colour: pale yellow field with its centre decorated with a rose and thistle on the same stalk surrounding the rank of the regiment "XXVI" in gold Roman numerals. The Union in the upper left corner.
King's Colour - Source: Richard Couture from a template by PMPdeL
Regimental Colour - Source: Richard Couture from a template by PMPdeL

References

This article incorporates texts of the following sources:

  • Carter, Thomas: Historical Record of the Twenty-Sixth or Cameronian Regiment, London: W. O. Mitchell, 1867
  • Wikipedia 26th Foot

Other sources

Aylor, Ron: British Regimental Drums and Colours

British Empire - 26th Regiment of Foot

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