Origin and History
This regiment has its origin in the four regiments of foot that formed the original garrison of Tangier in 1661, after that city had become an English possession as part of the marriage treaty between Charles II of England and Catherine of Braganza of Portugal. Two regiments were English (“The Earl of Peterborough’s Regiment” and “Sir Robert Harley’s Regiment”) consisted each of 1,000 men in ten companies. The two other regiments (“John Fitzgerald’s Regiment” and “Lewis Farrell’s Regiment”) were Irish and consisted each of 500 men, also in ten companies.
- “The Earl of Peterborough’s Regiment” was raised in and around London in September and October 1661 by Henry Mordaunt, second Earl of Peterborough, the English governor and captain-general in Tangier. It held its first muster on 14 October 1661. The regiment consisted of 1,000 men in ten companies, and was chiefly formed with disbanded soldiers of the Protectorate Army. The regiment arrived in Tangier in January 1662.
- “Sir Robert Harley’s Regiment” was raised during the Protectorate in April and May 1657 for service in Flanders alongside the French Army. The regiment was in Dunkirk at the Restoration, and was retained as part of the (now) Royal garrison. In October 1661 the regiment was established with 1,000 men in ten companies, and was shipped to Tangier in January 1662.
- “John Fitzgerald’s Regiment” was an Irish regiment that had its origins in the Royalist Army in exile in the Spanish Netherlands. It was part of the Mardyck garrison in March 1661, and sailed for Tangier in November 1661. The regiment was established with 500 men in ten companies.
- “Lewis Farrell’s Regiment” can probably be traced back to 1585, when it was raised by Sir William Stanley for service against the Spaniards. In the Low Countries, the regiment defected to the Spanish. In 1653 the regiment, now serving in France, defected again and in 1657 joined the Royalist Army in exile and was considered an Irish regiment. In 1661 it was part of the Dunkirk garrison. By the end of the year the regiment was established with 500 men in ten companies, and was shipped to Tangier.
In April 1663 the two English regiments were merged as the “English or Governor’s Regiment” (15 companies) and later evolved into the Tangier Regiment. Elements from two regiments (Lord Rutherford’s and Roger Alsop’s) hitherto part of the Dunkirk garrison were also absorbed. For their part, the two Irish regiments were merged as the “Irish Regiment” (5 companies), also known as the Deputy-Governor’s or Lieutenant Governor’s Regiment.
After the great ambuscade of May 1664, the English and Irish distinction were abolished. The “Governor’s Regiment” was reorganised in nine companies and the “Lieutenant-Governor’s Regiment,” in eight companies.
In early 1668, the “Governor’s Regiment” and the “Lieutenant-Governor’s Regiment” were merged into a single regiment of twelve companies. Each company had three sergeants, three corporals, two drummers and 120 men, besides officers. In September 1668 400 men from the English regiments in Portugal were absorbed.
By 1680, the regiment still garrisoned Tangier and counted 12 companies for a total of 600 men. During the year, the establishment was increased to sixteen companies, and the regiment organised in two battalions – each company was established with fifty men. In February 1684, when Tangier was evacuated, the regiment returned to England. On its return in April, it was renamed “Our Most Dear Consort the Queen's Regiment of Foot” and was placed on the English Establishment where it took rank as 2nd Foot. On 1 May 1684 the regiment was redesignated as the Queen’s Regiment (named after Queen Catherine, consort of Charles II), and the designation Tangier Regiment dates from 1684 as well. The regiment was also re-organised into a single battalion of eleven companies, each of fifty men, whereof one were grenadiers (of the five remaining companies, four were transferred to the Irish Establishment, and one was reduced).
In 1685, the regiment was renamed the "Queen Dowager's Regiment of Foot," in honour of Queen Catherine, the widow of Charles II. It retained its crest of a Paschal Lamb, a national emblem of Portugal (Queen Catherine was of the Portuguese House of Braganza).
During the Monmouth Rebellion, in July 1685, five companies of the regiment took part in the Battle of Sedgemoor where they executed captured rebels. Kirke, the colonel of the regiment, then allowed his men to hang 20 rebel prisoners and to plunder Taunton.
In November 1687 the regiment was established with thirteen companies.
At the outbreak of the Williamite War in Ireland in 1689, the regiment was sent there. It took part in the relief of Londonderry. On 11 July 1690, it fought in the Battle of the Boyne. In June 1691, it was present at the Siege of Athlone. Then, from August to October, it took part in the Siege of Limerick. At the beginning of 1692, the regiment returned to England where it guarded Portsmouth. On 22 August 1692, England being engaged in the Nine Years' War (1688–97) on the continent, the regiment disembarked at Ostend in Flanders and proceeded to fortify Furnes and Dixmude. On July 29 1693, it took part in the Battle of Landen. In July and August 1695, it was present at the Siege of Namur. In 1696, it temporarily returned to England and remained on the English Establishment.
In 1699, the regiment was established with 10 companies for a total of 34 officers and 411 men.
In February 1701 one company was detached to garrison Bermuda. Though this company was replaced during 1702, the company at Bermuda was considered part of the regiment for some time until it appeared as an independent company from 1703 on.
At the beginning of the War of Spanish Succession, in 1702 the regiment took part in the expedition against Cádiz and, on October 23, in the Battle of Vigo Bay. It then returned to Portsmouth. In April 1703, the regiment was sent to Flanders to serve under the command of the Duke of Marlborough. The same year, it was renamed the "Queen's Royal Regiment of Foot". In 1704, it was transferred to Spain and Portugal. On April 25, 1707, it took part in the Battle of Almansa where it suffered very heavy casualties. In 1708, the regiment re-raised in England. In 1711, it joined the amphibious expedition sent to Canada. In 1712, it returned to Great Britain.
After 1713, the regiment remained on the English (now British) Establishment, with ten companies. In August 1714, it was made a Royal regiment for its services during the War of the Spanish Succession, and was redesignated as “Princess of Wales's Own Regiment of Foot” (after the future Queen Caroline, consort of the future King George II).
In 1727, the regiment became known once more as the "Queen's Own Regiment of Foot".
Until 1730, the regiment was stationed in England.
In 1747, the regiment became known as the "Queen's Own Royal Regiment of Foot"
On July 1, 1751, when a Royal warrant reorganised the British infantry, the regiment was designated as the "2nd (The Queen's Royal) Regiment of Foot".
During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was under the command of:
- from November 12, 1755: General Honourable John Fitzwilliam
- from November 27, 1760 to August 7, 1777: Lieutenant-General Sir Charles Montagu
Service during the War
Throughout the Seven Years' War, the regiment was stationed in Ireland and did not take part in any campaign. As of May 30, 1759, it counted 1 battalion for a total of 700 men.
An independent company served in Bermuda from 1701 till 1763.
|Coat||brick red lined sea green and laced white (white braid decorated with oblique sea green stripes)
|Waistcoat||brick red laced white (same lace as above)|
|Gaiters||white with black buttons|
brown, grey or black during campaigns (black after 1759)
Troopers were armed 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 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.
According to the Royal Clothing Warrant of 1751:
- The drummers of the regiment were clothed in sea green, 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 sea green, decorated with the regimental badge (the Queen's Cypher “CRA” on a red ground within the Garter surmounted by a crown), and the number “II” under it. The rims were red.
King's Colour: Union with its centre decorated with the regimental badge (the Queen's Cypher "CRA" on a red ground within the Garter surmounted by a crown; the motto "PRISTINAE VIRTUTIS MEMOR" underneath); the number "II" in Roman numeral in a branch of the Union.
Regimental Colour: sea green field with its centre decorated with the regimental badge (the Queen's Cypher "CRA" on a red ground within the Garter surmounted by a crown; the motto "PRISTINAE VIRTUTIS MEMOR" underneath); the Union in the upper left corner with the number "II" in Roman numeral; the Lamb (ancient badge of the regiment) in the three other corners.
This article incorporates texts of the following source:
- Wikipedia Queen's Royal Regiment (West Surrey)
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)
Queen's Royal Surrey Regimental Association: History of The Queen’s Royal Regiment 2nd Foot (West Surrey)
Schirmer, Friedrich: Die Heere der kriegführenden Staaten 1756 - 1763. Edited and published by KLIO-Landesgruppe Baden-Württemberg e.V., Magstadt, 1989
The Spanish Succession Bellasis regiment of foot
Wienand Drenth for additional information on the lineage and history of the regiment