Origin and History
In the winter of 1755, King George II resolved to augment the strength of his regular army, and a letter of service was addressed to William Whitmore, major in the 3rd Foot Guards, authorising him to raise, form and discipline a regiment of foot, of ten companies. The colonelcy was conferred on Colonel William Whitmore; the lieutenant-colonelcy, to Major George Craufurd; and Captain William Arnot was nominated major.
The regiment was raised in Bridgnorth in the South of England on December 21 1755. It initially ranked as the "55th Regiment of Foot" but two colonial corps having soon afterwards been disbanded (Shirley’s 50th Foot and Pepperell’s 51st Foot), the "55th" officially became the "53rd Regiment of Foot".
During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was commanded by:
- from December 21, 1755: Colonel William Whitmore (removed to the 9th Foot in October 1758)
- from April 5, 1759 to February 5, 1770: Colonel John Toovey
Service during the War
Early in 1756, the formation of the regiment was completed. In May 1756, it was transported to Gibraltar aboard the fleet sent to the relief of Fort St. Philip on the Island of Minorca.
The regiment remained in the Fortress of Gibraltar for the entire war assuming garrison duty. It would be stationed there until 1768.
|Coat||brick red lined red (lined yellow as per Cannon) and laced white (unknown lace pattern, yellow lace as per Cannon) 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.
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.
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King's Colour: Union with its centre decorated with the regiment number "LIII" in gold Roman numerals within a wreath of roses and thistles on the same stalk.
Regimental Colour: White field with a red cross, Union in the upper left canton, centre decorated with the regiment number "LIII" in gold Roman numerals within a wreath of roses and thistles on the same stalk.
The section “Origin and History” of 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 Fifty Third Regiment, or the Shropshire Regiment of Foot, London: Parker, Furnivall & Parker, 1849
Fortescue, J. W.: A History of the British Army Vol. II, MacMillan, London, 1899
George II: The Royal Clothing Warrant, 1751
Mills, T. F., Land Forces of Britain the Empire and Commonwealth through the Way Back Machine