50th Foot

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> British Army >> 50th Foot

Origin and History

The first regiment known as "50th Regiment of Foot" was raised in North America in 1755 by William Shirley, the British governor of Massachusets. It counted about 1,000 men.

This regiment was disbanded on December 22 1756.

In December 1755, a new regiment originally ranking as "52nd" was raised by Abercromby.

In 1757, when the original "50th" and "51st" regiments of foot were disbanded. The "52nd" officially became the "50th Regiment of Foot".

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was under the command of:

  • from 1755 to December 22 1756: colonel William Shirley (this was the initial North American regiment)
  • from December 25 1755: James Abercromby (this was the British regiment)
  • May 30 1756: Studholme Hodgson
  • October 24 1759: John Griffin Griffin (Whitwell), 4th Lord Howard de Walden
  • May 5 1760 to September 5 1764: Edward Carr

Service during the War

In 1755, the initial regiment joined Shirley's expedition against Fort Niagara. The expedition departed from Albany and slowly advanced towards Fort Niagara along the Mohawk River. By mid September, Shirley realised that Fort Niagara was too strongly defended and abandoned his project. He retreated to New England, leaving the regiment behind to garrison Fort Oswego.

In 1756, while wintering at Fort Oswego, the North American regiment lost half its effective. Early in the Summer, Shirley replenished the ranks of the regiment. In August, it was besieged at Fort Oswego by a French expeditionary force led by Montcalm. On August 14, when Oswego surrendered, the entire regiment became prisoner of war and was brought back to Montreal. Thus ended the career of the North American regiment known as 50th.

In September 1757, the new British regiment was stationed on the Isle of Wight and embarked on the fleet for the aborted raid on Rochefort.

As of May 30 1759, the regiment was stationed in England and counted 1 battalion for a total of 900 men.

In May 1760, the regiment was part of the British reinforcements (6 bns and 2 Highlanders regiments) sent to Ferdinand of Brunswick. By June 17 the regiment had joined Ferdinand at Fritzlar. On July 10 of the same year, the regiment was with the Hereditary Prince at the combat of Corbach where it covered the retreat of the Allied army.

In July 1761, the regiment was with Conway's Corps in Germany and, on July 16, took part to the battle of Vellinghausen.

Uniform

North American Regiment (1755-1756)

Privates

Uniform in 1755- Source: Frédéric Aubert
Uniform Details
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced white and a black cockade (left side)
Grenadier British mitre with: a red front embroidered with the King's cypher with a crown over it; a small red front flap with the white horse of Hanover surmounted by the motto "Nec aspera terrent"; red back; a red headband probably wearing the number 50 in the middle part behind
Neckstock white
Coat brick red lined brick red and laced white (simple white braid) with 3 pewter buttons and 3 white buttonholes (same lace as above) under the lapel
Collar none
Shoulder Straps brick red (left shoulder only)
Lapels brick red 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 brick red 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 brick red
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 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

The body of the drums was painted red, with the King's cypher and crown, and the number of the regiment underneath.

British Regiment

Privates

Uniform Details
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced white and a black cockade (left side)
Grenadier British mitre with: a black front embroidered with the King's cypher with a crown over it; a small red front flap with the white horse of Hanover surmounted by the motto "Nec aspera terrent"; red back; a black headband probably wearing the number 50 in the middle part behind
Neckstock white
Coat brick red lined black and laced white (unknown pattern) with 3 pewter buttons and 3 white buttonholes (same lace as above) under the lapel
Collar none
Shoulder Straps brick red (left shoulder only)
Lapels black 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 black 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 black
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 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

not yet available

Colours

North American Regiment

King's Colour: Union with its centre decorated with a rose wreath around the regiment number "L" in gold Roman numerals.

Regimental Colour: White field with red cross, Union in the upper left canton, centre decorated with a rose wreath around the regiment number "L" in gold Roman numerals.

King's Colour - Source: Frédéric Aubert
Regimental Colour - Source: Frédéric Aubert

British Regiment

King's Colour: Union with its centre decorated with a rose wreath around the regiment number "L" in gold Roman numerals.

Regimental Colour: Black field with red cross, Union in the upper left canton, centre decorated with a rose wreath around the regiment number "L" in gold Roman numerals.

King's Colour - Source: Frédéric Aubert
Regimental Colour - Source: Frédéric Aubert

References

Aylor, Ron, British Regimental Drums and Colours

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

George II, The Royal Clothing Warrant, 1751

Kendal, Colin, Military Answers - The British Army in Germany, 18th Century Military Notes & Queries No. 5

Mills, T. F., Land Forces of Britain the Empire and Commonwealth