Origin and History
The unit was originally raised at Chatham as per a resolution of September 20 1756 as a second battalion of the 3rd Foot. However, this second battalion was detached from its parent regiment on June 15 1758 to form the “61st Regiment of Foot”.
During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was under the command of:
- since June 15 1758: Granville Elliott
- from July 19 1759 to May 9 1768: George Gray
Service during the War
In November 1758, the regiment was under orders for foreign service in the West Indies as part of major-general Peregrine Hopson force destined to the expedition against Martinique and Guadeloupe. On November 12, it was aboard the convoy who sailed from Spithead for the Leeward Islands.
On January 3 1759, the convoy reached Carlisle Bay in Barbados. On January 13, the whole British force sailed for Martinique Island. On January 16, the British infantry landed near Fort Royal. On January 17, the grenadiers of the regiment joined those of the other units and together dislodged a French force entrenched near the British camp. Unable to make any significant progress, Hopson re-embarked. The expeditionary force then redirected its efforts against Guadeloupe Island. On January 23, the British fleet bombarded and almost completely destroyed the town of Basse-Terre. On January 24, the regiment was landed and occupied the town. From then on, it actively took part in the numerous actions which led to the conquest of the island which finally capitulated on May 1. The campaign had been very difficult and the regiment suffered heavy losses, among which captain William Gunning and ensign Samuel Horner. On June 25, Barrington sailed for Great Britain with the remnant of the regiment along with 3rd Foot and 64th Foot, under convoy of the Roebuck (44).
From 1763 to 1771, the regiment was stationed in Ireland.
|brick red lined buff and laced and edged white (white braid with blue stripe) with 3 white buttonholes under the lapels (same lace as above)
|brick red laced white (same lace as above)
|white with black buttons
brown, grey or black during campaigns (black after 1759)
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
- silver 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 in buff, 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 fore part of the drums was painted buff, with the king's cypher and crown, and the number “LXI” under it. The rims were red.
King's Colour: Union with its centre decorated with a rose and thistle wreath around the regiment number "LXI" in gold Roman numerals on crimson.
Regimental Colour: buff field; centre device consisting of a rose and thistle wreath around the regiment number "LXI" in gold Roman numerals on crimson. The Union in the upper left corner.
Fortescue, J. W., A History of the British Army Vol. II, MacMillan, London, 1899
Lawson, Cecil C. P., A History of the Uniforms of the British Army - from the Beginnings to 1760, vol. II, p. 90-103
Mills, T. F., Land Forces of Britain the Empire and Commonwealth through the Way Back Machine
Wikipedia 61st Foot
N.B.: the section Service during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.