3rd Foot Guards

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Origin and History

The first companies were raised in January 1661 by King Charles II, immediately after the Restoration to garrison the Castle of Edinburgh and the Castle of Dumbarton. In 1662, new companies were raised and a regiment comprising six companies of 100 men each was created. In 1666, the regiment, now known as the “Scottish Regiment of Foot Guards” was increased to 13 companies under the command of the Earl of Linlithgow.

In 1666, during the Scottish Covenanters Wars, the regiment took part in the Battle of Rullion Green in the Pentland Hills. In 1679, it took part in the defence of Glasgow. On June 22, at the Battle of Bothwell Bridge, it was charged with the attack upon the bridge which they carried, thus deciding the result of the battle. The regiment then assumed garrison duties at the Bass Rock and guarded the coast of Fife against the Dutch.

In 1682, grenadiers were added to the regiment.

In 1686, the “Scottish Regiment of Foot Guards” was placed on to the establishment of the English Army. In April, seven companies of the regiment embarked at Leith and sailed to Gravesend . They then marched to the training camp on Hounslow Heath where they joined the [1st Foot Guards]] and the 2nd Foot Guards. At the end of the year, they sailed back to Scotland.

In 1688, as James II feared an invasion of England by the Prince of Orange (future King William III), he assembled in London the whole reliable forces of the kingdom. Accordingly, the “Scottish Regiment of Foot Guards”, under its colonel, Lieutenant-General Douglas, marched with the Scottish army southward. At the end of October, the regiment, then counting 1,251 men, arrived in London where it was quartered in the vicinity of Holborn. It then followed the Royal Army to Reading where a battalion deserted to the Prince of Orange. After the flight of the king and the establishment of the House of Orange under William and Mary, in 1689, the regiment was reunited under the name of “Scots Fusilier” or “3rd Regiment of Guards”. The regiment now consisted of 14 companies, including a grenadier company.

In 1689, during the Nine Years' War (1688–97), the first battalion of the regiment was sent to the Low Countries where it took part in the Battle of Walcourt. Meanwhile, in 1690, a battalion of the regiment took part in the Battle of the Boyne in Ireland. In 1691, the second battalion joined the first in the Spanish Netherlands where they took part in the Battle of Steenkerque. In 1693, they fought in the Battle of Landen. In 1695, the first battalion took part in the siege and capture of Namur. After the signature of the Treaty of Ryswick, the regiment returned to England.

At the beginning of the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment assumed garrison duties in Scotland. In 1704, it was increased to 18 companies. One of these companies was appointed for the security of the Highlands. This Highland Company (disbanded in 1714) consisted of 1 captain, 2 lieutenants, 2 sergeants, 2 corporals, 1 piper and 50 men and was clothed as Highlanders and armed with broadswords, targets, guns, pistols and dirks. In 1709, the first battalion was sent to Spain. On 20 August 1710, this battalion took part in the Battle of Saragossa. On 8 December, it fought in the Combat of Brihuega, where the entire British contingent was surrounded and forced to surrender. In 1712, Queen Anne renamed the regiment as the “Third Regiment of Foot Guards” and attributed a badge to each of the 16 companies:

  1. The Royal Crest of Scotland, with the motto “Nemo me impune lacessit”
  2. A Bombshell, with the motto “Terrorem affero”
  3. A Lion erect, with the motto “Intrepidus”
  4. The Badge and Motto of the Order of the Thistle
  5. The Red Lion rampant of Scotland, with collar and chain of gold, and the motto “Timiere nescius”
  6. A Blue Griffin, with the motto “Belloque ferox”
  7. A Phœnix in flames, with the motto “Per funera vitam”
  8. A Thunderbolt, with the motto “Horror ubique”
  9. A Cannon firing, with the motto “Concussæ cadent urbes”
  10. A Salamander, with the motto “Pascua nota mihi”
  11. St. Andrew's Cross, with the motto “In hoc signo vinces”
  12. A Trophy, with the motto “Honores præfero”
  13. A Dog, with the motto “Intaminata fide”
  14. The Label of the Duke of Connaught, with the motto “Te duce vincimus”
  15. The Galley of Lorne, with the motto “Ne obliviscaris”
  16. The Rose and Thistle, with the motto “Fecit cos en gentem unam”

In 1715, the regiment assumed garrison duties in Portsmouth and Plymouth.

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

  • from April 29 1752 to December 16 1767: John Leslie, Earl of Rothes

Service during the War

Throughout the Seven Years' War, a battalion was stationed around London and Windsor.

In May 1758, the 1st battalion was sent to the Isle of Wight in preparation for a raid on the French Coasts. It then embarked on the fleet and took part to 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. On August 7, this battalion landed in the Bay of Saint-Marais near Cherbourg and gained possession of the rising ground in front of its position. On September 11, after the failed attempt against Saint-Malo, it suffered heavy losses during the re-embarkment at Saint-Cast.

As of May 30 1759, the regiment was stationed in England and counted 2 battalions for a total of 1,260 men.

In the Summer of 1760, the 2nd Battalion was sent to Germany to reinforce the Allied Army of Ferdinand of Brunswick. On August 25, it arrived at Ferdinand's headquarters near Bühne. It was immediately integrated into Ferdinand's Reserve deployed along the Diemel.

In 1761, the 2nd Battalion was part of Conway's Corps in Germany. On July 16, it took part in the Battle of Vellinghausen.

In 1762, the 2nd Battalion was part of Granby's Corps in Germany. On June 24, it took part in the Battle of Wilhelmsthal. The corps fought stubbornly against the flower of the French infantry until Ferdinand managed to turn the rear of the French position with additional troops. A French corps was nearly annihilated. On September 21, the battalion took part in the Combat of Amöneburg. Late in the afternoon, the British Corps came to the relief of the Hanoverians guarding the bridge and repulsed several French attacks, saving the day for the Allies. The battalion suffered more heavily than any other unit engaged.



Uniform in 1757 - Copyright Kronoskaf
Uniform Details
Musketeer black tricorne laced white with a black cockade (left side)
Grenadier British mitre with: a blue front embroidered with the "Garter Star" and a crown over it; a small red front flap with the white horse of Hanover surmounted by the motto "Nec aspera terrent"; red backing; a blue headband
Neckstock white
Coat brick red lined blue and laced white (unknown pattern)
Collar none
Shoulder Straps red fastened with a white button (left shoulder)
Lapels blue 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), each with pewter buttons
Cuffs blue (slashed in the British pattern) laced white (same lace as above)
Turnbacks blue
Waistcoat brick red laced white (same lace as above)
Breeches blue
Gaiters white with black buttons
brown, grey or black during campaigns (black after 1759)
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt natural leather
Waistbelt natural leather
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 of the regiment wore the same uniforms as the private soldiers but with the following differences

  • gold 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 with a heavily laced (royal lace) red coat and wore blue breeches.
The front or forepart of the drums were painted blue, with the royal arms.


King's Colour: none, only the 1st Foot Guards carried a King's colour.

The 3rd Foot Guards carried three crimson colours: the colonel's, the lieutenant-colonel's and the major's. Finally, each of its 13 companies carried a company colours in the form of the Union flag with differing devices.

As per Lawson and others, company colours were not carried by each company after circa 1751. Thereafter the time-honored practice of rotational use as a regimental colour became routine.

Colonel's Colour: crimson field; centre device consisting of golden escutcheon carrying a red lion rampant within a red circle, surmounted by a crown (yellow with red cushions, white pearls and ermine headband), with a golden scroll carrying the motto “En Ferus Hostis” beneath the centre device.

Lieutenant-Colonel's Colour: crimson field; centre device consisting of a rose and thistle on the same stalk, surmounted by a crown (yellow with red cushions, white pearls and ermine headband), with a golden scroll carrying the motto “Unita Fortior” beneath the centre device. The Union in the upper left corner.

Major's Colour: crimson field; centre device consisting of a star of the Order of the Thistle (silver with St. Andrew's saltire and clusters of rays; in the centre is a green circle bearing the motto “Nemo me impune lacessit ” in gold, inside the circle is a thistle on a gold background), the whole surmounted by a crown (yellow with red cushions, white pearls and ermine headband), with a golden scroll carrying the motto “Semper Paratus” beneath the centre device.. The Union in the upper left corner; a golden flame emerging from the Union.

Colonel Colour - Copyright Kronoskaf
Lieutenant-Colonel Colour - Copyright Kronoskaf
Major Colour - Copyright Kronoskaf

Colours of the 13 companies:

1st Company Colour - Copyright Kronoskaf
2nd Company Colour - Copyright Kronoskaf
3rd Company Colour - Copyright Kronoskaf
4th Company Colour - Copyright Kronoskaf
5th Company Colour - Copyright Kronoskaf
6th Company Colour - Copyright Kronoskaf
7th Company Colour - Copyright Kronoskaf
8th Company Colour - Copyright Kronoskaf
9th Company Colour - Copyright Kronoskaf
10th Company Colour - Copyright Kronoskaf
11th Company Colour - Copyright Kronoskaf
12th Company Colour - Copyright Kronoskaf
13th Company Colour - Copyright Kronoskaf


This article is mainly a condensed and abridged version of the following book which is the public domain:

  • Murray, Archibald K.: History of the Scottish Regiments in the British Army, Glasgow: Thomas Murray and Son, 1862, chap. V

Other sources

Aylor, Ron, British Regimental Drums and Colours

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

Scottish Military Historical Society

Wikipedia - 3rd Foot Guards

N.B.: the section Service during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.


Tim Reese for additional information on the use of colours during the Seven Years' War and on the campaign of 1758