34th Foot

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> British Army >> 34th Foot

Origin and History

The regiment was raised in Norfolk, Essex and the adjoining counties on 12 February 1702 as the "Lord Lucas's Regiment of Foot". It initially consisted of 12 companies, each of 3 officers and 66 NCOs and soldiers. One wing of the regiment had its rendezvous at Colchester, and the other at Norwich. Until 1751, it would be known by the names of its successive colonels.

In May 1702, at the outbreak of the War of the Spanish Succession (1702-13), the new regiment had to send five companies to Landguard Fort, Sheerness and Tilbury; ans seven companies to the Tower of London. The entire regiment was later quartered in the Tower before proceeding to Essex for recruitment. In 1703 and 1704, it was stationed in Hull, Berwick and Carlisle. In May 1705, it embarked for the Iberian Peninsula where it took part in the siege and capture of Barcelona and then garrisoned Tortosa. In 1706,it participated in the successful defence of Barcelona and in the advance on Madrid before retiring to Valencia and Murcia. In the spring of 1707, after transferring its fit privates to other units, the regiment returned to England to recruit. In 1708, it took part in the expedition on the coast of France and was then sent to Flanders. In 1709, it was employed on garrison duty in Flanders. In 1710, it took part in the passage of the French lines at Pont-à-Vendin and in the sieges and capture of Douai and Béthune and in the covering of the sieges of Aire and Saint-Venant; in 1711, in the passage of the French lines at Arleux and in the siege of Bouchain; in 1712, in the invasion of Picardie. A suspension of arm was proclaimed between the British and the French and the regiment was sent to occupy Dunkerque. In 1713, it proceeded to Great Britain where it was disbanded and its officers placed on half-pay.

In the summer of 1715, the regiment was re-established without loss of precedence. In 1717, it received orders to proceed to Ireland where it remained until the early part of 1719.

In 1719, the regiment took part in the expedition against Vigo. On its return, it was once more stationed in Ireland.

In 1727, the regiment was sent from Ireland to take part in the defence of Gibraltar. On its way, it lost several companies by shipwreck and only six companies finally reached Gibraltar. In 1728, the regiment was sent back to Ireland.

In 1739, the regiment was transferred from Ireland to England.

In 1740, at the outbreak of the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48), a detachment of the regiment served on board the fleet as marines. In 1744, the entire regiment embarked for Flanders. In 1745, it took part in the Battle of Fontenoy and was later recalled to Great Britain to quench a new Jacobite Rising in Scotland. In 1746, it took part in the battles of Falkirk and Culloden, before returning to England.

On July 1 1751, when a Royal warrant reorganised the British infantry, the regiment was designated as the "34th Regiment of Foot".

Early in 1752, the regiment embarked for Minorca

As per a resolution of September 20 1756, a second battalion was exceptionally added to the regiment. On April 4 1758, this second battalion was made a distinct regiment as the 73rd Regiment of Foot.

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

  • from December 2 1754: Major-General Thomas Howard, second Earl of Effingham
  • from October 30 1760 to July 13 1797: Lord Frederick Cavendish

Service during the War

In 1756, when the French launched an amphibious expedition against Minorca, the regiment (26 officers, 29 sergeants, 19 drummers, 665 rank and file under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel John Reed) which was stationed there retired to Mahon and took part in the defence of Fort St. Philip. After the capitulation of the British force defending the fortress of St. Philip on June 28, the regiment was sent to Gibraltar. During the siege the regiment had lost Captain Hobby, Lieutenant Armstrong and 12 soldiers killed; Captain Sir Hugh Williams and 77 NCOs and soldiers wounded. Later, it was sent back to Great Britain.

In the summer of 1757, the regiment, now augmented to two battalions, was encamped on Barham Downs.

On April 4 1758, the second battalion was made a distinct regiment as the 73rd Foot. In May, the remaining battalion of the regiment was at the Isle of Wight in preparation for an expedition against the French Coasts. It then embarked on the fleet and took part in the expedition from June 1 to July 1. It also participated in a second expedition on the French Coasts from August to September of the same year. Its grenadiers suffered heavy losses during the re-embarkment at Saint-Cast. The regiment then returned to England and landed at Portsmouth towards the end of September.

As of May 30 1759, the regiment was stationed in England and counted 1 battalion for a total of 900 men. In the summer, it was encamped at Sandheath with the 5th Foot, 8th Foot 33rd Foot under the Earl of Ancram.

In the summer of 1760, the regiment pitched its tents at Winchester where five battalions of militia were also encamped, the whole under the colonel of the regiment, Thomas Earl of Effingham.

In 1761, the regiment took part in the expedition against Belle-Isle which was besieged and captured. During the summer, the regiment was encamped at Sandheath with the 72nd Foot under Lieutenant-General Cornwallis.

In 1762, the regiment, mustering some 1,000 men under Lieutenant-Colonel John Reed, was sent to join the invasion force in the West Indies. Then from March to August, it took part in the siege and capture of Havana suffering heavy losses from sickness during the following months. It garrisoned Havana until peace with Spain was declared in 1763 and Cuba was exchanged for the mainland colonies of Florida and Louisiana.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1757 - Source: Frédéric Aubert
Uniform Details
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced white and a black cockade (left side)
Grenadier
34th Foot Grenadier Mitre Cap (as per Morier in 1751) - Source: Digby Smith and rf-figuren
British mitre with: a bright yellow front edged white embroidered with white scroll work and with the bright blue 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 blue and yellow bottom strip; red back; a bright yellow headband edged white probably wearing the number 34 in the middle part behind; a white pompom with yellow inner threads
Neckstock white
Coat brick red lined bright yellow and laced white (white braid with a thin yellow line on one side and a blue waved line) with 3 pewter buttons and 3 white buttonholes (same lace as above) under the lapel and brick red shoulder wings laced white (same lace as above)
Collar none
Shoulder Straps brick red swallow nests laced white (same lace as above) since 1751
Lapels bright yellow laced white (same lace as above) with 7 pewter buttons and 6 white buttonholes (same lace as above)
Pockets horizontal pockets laced white (same lace as above)
Cuffs bright yellow slashed cuffs laced white (same lace as above) with 4 pewter buttons and 4 white buttonholes (same lace as above) on the sleeve above each the cuff
Turnbacks bright yellow laced white (plain white braid)
Waistcoat brick red laced white (same lace as on the coat) with pewter buttons and white buttonholes
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 a “Brown Bess” muskets, a bayonet and a sword.

Officers

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

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

Officers wore the same headgear as the private soldiers under their command. However, officers of grenadiers wore a more decorated mitre than the privates.

Officers were usually armed with a spontoon. However, in action, some carried a musket rather than the usual spontoon.

Musicians

According to the Royal Clothing Warrant of 1751:

The drummers of the regiment were clothed in bright 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 bright yellow, with the king's cypher and crown, and the number “XXV” under it.

Colours

According to the Royal Clothing Warrant of 1751:

King's Colour: Union with its centre decorated with a rose wreath around the regiment number "XXXIV" in gold Roman numerals.
Regimental Colour: bright yellow field with the Union in the upper left corner. In the centre of the colour was painted, or embroidered, in gold Roman characters, the number "XXXIV" within a wreath of roses and thistles on the same stalk.
King's Colour - Source: PMPdeL
Regimental Colour - Source: PMPdeL

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 Thirty-Fourth or, The Cumberland Regiment of Foot, London: Parker, Furnivall and Parker, 1844

Other sources

Fortescue, J. W.: A History of the British Army Vol. II, MacMillan, London, 1899

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

George II, The Royal Clothing Warrant, 1751

Mills, T. F.: Land Forces of Britain the Empire and Commonwealth (an excellent website which unfortunately seems to have disappeared from the web)

Wikipedia - 34th (Cumberland) Regiment of Foot