Origin and History
The regiment was raised on August 29 1702 as the "Richard Coote's Regiment of Foot". Until 1751, it was also known by the names of ten other colonels.
On July 1 1751, the regiment officially became the "39th Regiment of Foot".
In 1754, the regiment and a detachment of Royal Artillery were sent to India to protect the settlements of the East India Company. Before leaving Great Britain, the regiment was brought to full strength with drafts from other regiments.
During the Seven Years's War, the regiment was commanded by:
- from at least 1754 to at least 1759: colonel John Aldercron
Service during the War
In 1756, two companies of the regiment, recently raised in the Midlands, sailed from England to India. One of these companies was under the command of sir Eyre Coote. In August, 250 soldiers of the regiment, already stationed in India, were assigned to Robert Clive, along with 1,500 Sepoys, for his expedition against Calcutta which had been taken in June by the nawab Siraj Ud Daulah. On October 15, the expedition sailed from Madras. Upon arrival, in November, the 2 newly raised companies were also assigned to Clive's force. On December 30, these two companies occupied Fort William near Calcutta.
On January 12 1757, 350 men of the regiment along with Sepoys stormed Hooghly. They returned to Calcutta a week later. On February 4, companies of the regiment also took part in the combat of Calcutta against the army of the nawab Siraj Ud Daulah. By April, the part of the regiment encamped at Chinsurah counted 3 captains, 4 lieutenants, 5 ensigns, 8 sergeants, 10 corporals, 7 drummers and 213 privates for a total of 250 men. The same month, part of the regiment under lieutenant-colonel Forde was sent against Nellore on the river Pennar to collect revenues from the nawab Mohammed Ali. The enterprise was unsuccessful. In June, about 250 men of the regiment took part in Clive's campaign in Bengal. On June 23, they were at the battle of Plassey which subjected Bengal to the British crown.
In 1758, the detachment of the regiment operating in India was ordered to return to Great Britain. However, nearly all the detachment volunteered for the Bengal European Regiment.
As of May 30 1759, the regiment was stationed in England and counted 1 battalion for a total of 900 men.
To do: other campaigns from 1760 to 1763
|Coat||brick red lined grass green and laced white (white braid with a thick green grass waved line) with 3 pewter buttons and 3 white buttonholes (same lace as above) under the lapel
|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.
N.B.: It is very likely that the companies who served in India adopted lighter clothing when their regulation uniforms had worn out.
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For all colours, cords and tassels were crimson and gold.
King's Colour: Union with its centre decorated with a rose wreath around the regiment number "XXXIX" in gold Roman numerals.
Regimental Colour: grass green field, Union in the upper left canton, centre decorated with a rose wreath around the regiment number "XXXIX" in gold Roman numerals.
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
Harrington, P.; Plassey 1757 - Clive of India's Finest Hour, Osprey, 1994
Mills, T. F., Land Forces of Britain the Empire and Commonwealth
N.B.: the section Service during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.