72nd Foot

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Origin and History

The unit was originally raised on September 20 1756 as a second battalion of the 33rd Foot. However, this second battalion was detached from its parent regiment in April 1758 to form the “72th Duke of Richmond's Regiment of Foot”.

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

  • from April 1758 to 1763: Charles Lennox, duke of Richmond

The regiment was disbanded in 1763 at the end of the Seven Years' War.

Service during the War

In May 1758, the regiment was at the Isle of Wight in preparation for a raid on the French Coasts. It then embarked on the fleet and took part in the first expedition from June 1 to July 1. It also took part in a second expedition on the French Coasts from August to September of the same year. On September 11, its grenadiers suffered heavy losses during the re-embarkment at Saint-Cast.

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

In 1762, the regiment was sent to join the invasion force in the West Indies. Then from March to August, it took part in the siege and capture of Havanna suffering heavy losses from sickness during the following months.

To do: more details on the campaigns from 1760 to 1762

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1758 - Source: Frédéric Aubert
Uniform Details
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced white with a black cockade (left side)
Grenadier British mitre with: a red front embroidered with the King's cypher and 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 wearing a white grenade in the middle part behind
Neckstock white
Coat brick red lined white and laced white (white braid with 2 red and 1 black stripes) with 3 white buttonholes under the lapels (same lace as above)
Collar none
Shoulder Straps red fastened with a white button (left shoulder)
Lapels brick red laced white (same lace as above) with 7 pewter buttons and 6 white buttonholes (same lace as above)
Pockets horizontal pockets with white laces (same lace as above), each with pewter buttons
Cuffs brick red (slashed in the British pattern) laced white (same lace as above)
Turnbacks white
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 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

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.

Musicians

According to the Royal Clothing Warrant of 1751:

The drummers of the regiment were clothed in red, 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 forepart of the drums were painted red, with the king's cypher and crown, and the number “LXXII” under it. The rims were red.

Colours

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

Regimental Colour: red cross of St. George in a white field with its centre decorated with a rose and thistle wreath around the regiment number "LXXII" in gold Roman numerals. The Union in the upper left corner.

King's Colour - Source: PMPdeL
Regimental Colour - Source: PMPdeL

References

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

George II, The Royal Clothing Warrant, 1751

Lawson, Cecil C. P., A History of the Uniforms of the British Army - from the Beginnings to 1760, vol. II, p. 95

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.