Princess Anne of Denmark's Foot
Origin and History
The regiment was raised as the “Princess Anne of Denmark's Regiment of Foot” during the Monmouth Rebellion according to a warrant issued on 20 June 1685. The first company was raised by Lord Ferrars, in Hertfordshire; the second by John Beaumont, Esq., in Derbyshire; the third by John Innis, Esq., near London; and the other seven by Rowland Okeover, Charles Chudd, Thomas Paston, William Cook, Simon Packe, Walter Burdet, and Thomas Orme, in Derbyshire. The general rendezvous of the regiment being at Derby. Each company was directed to consist of:
- 3 officers
- 3 sergeants
- 3 corporals
- 2 drummers
- 100 privates
The captains were armed with pikes; the lieutenants with partisans; the ensigns with half-pikes; the sergeants with halberds; 30 privates of each company with pikes; and 73 privates of each company with muskets. All were also armed with swords.
The formation of the regiment was in rapid progress, when Monmouth was defeated and captured in the Battle of Sedgemoor, on 6 July 1685. Each company of the regiment was immediately reduced to sixty privates. On 25 July, each company was further reduced to:
- 3 officers
- 2 sergeants
- 3 corporals
- 2 drummers
- 50 privates
In 1686, the eight companies of the regiment was sent to Northumberland. In 1687, it returned to the neighbourhood of London and received a grenadier company. The regiment then consisted of 10 companies of pikemen and musketeers, and one of grenadiers. It took part in the training camp on Hounslow Heath and then marched into garrison at Portsmouth, its grenadier company being detached to York.
In 1688, the Duke of Berwick, the current colonel of the regiment, gave orders for a number of Irish Catholics to be incorporated in the regiment. The Lieutenant-Colonel, John Beaumont, and Captains Simon Packe, Thomas Orme, John Port, William Cook, and Thomas Paston remonstrated against receiving Irishmen into their companies and concluded with a declaration of their determination to resign their commissions rather than receive Irish Catholic recruits into their companies. James II was so incensed by their declaration that he immediately sent 20 cuirassiers of the Queen Dowager's Regiment to Portsmouth to arrest these officers who were later dismissed from the service. A number of men of the regiment then deserted rather than serve with the Irish Catholic recruits, who had been forced into the regiment. At the end of the year, the Prince of Orange landed with a powerful force to support the Protestant interest. James II and the Duke of Berwick fled to France. On 31 December, the Prince of Orange, having assumed the powers of the government, promoted the patriotic Lieutenant-Colonel Beaumont to the colonelcy of the regiment.
In 1689, when some resistance to King William's authority was experienced in Scotland, the regiment was ordered from its quarters at Southampton to the north. It halted at Carlisle and, on 13 June, was inspected by the commissioners appointed to re-model the army. Edinburgh Castle having surrendered to the forces of King William, the regiment did not continue its march to Scotland. It was one of the units selected to proceed to Ireland with the army commanded by the Duke Schomberg. After encamping a short time near Chester, the several regiments embarked at Highlake. On 13 August, they anchored in the Bay of Carrickfergus, landed immediately and pitched their tents in the fields, near the shore. The regiment then took part in the siege and capture of Carrickfergus. Schomberg's Army then advanced to Dundalk where it entrenched. After losing a number of men at the unhealthy camp at Dundalk, the regiment marched into winter-quarters, and was stationed at the frontier garrisons of Green Castle and Rostrever. In the spring of 1690, the regiment was stationed at Londonderry. In July, it took part in the Battle of the Boyne and in the capture of Dublin. On 7 July, it was reviewed by King William at Finglass. It then counted 526 rank and file, exclusive of officers and non-commissioned officers. The regiment then took part in the unsuccessful siege of Limerick. In September and October, it took part in the sieges and capture of Cork and Kinsale. It then garrisoned Kinsale and then Cork. In 1691, the regiment was initially left in the County of Cork to assume garrison duty. It then joined the field army and took part in the siege and capture of Limerick.
In February 1692, the regiment returned to England. Shortly after its return from Ireland, it embarked for the Netherlands, to serve with the army commanded by King William in person, against the forces of Louis XIV. However, the order was countermanded, the shipping returned to port, and the regiment landed at Gravesend. Once the threat of a French invasion had been eliminated, the regiment marched to Portsmouth, where it embarked for an expedition against the coasts of France. Landing was found impracticable, and the fleet sailing to Ostend, the troops disembarked in the beginning of September. They were subsequently joined by a detachment from the Allied army, commanded by Lieutenant-General Talmash, and having taken possession of Fumes, fortified it against any sudden attack, for a winter cantonment. They afterwards repaired the works of Dixmude. The regiment returned to England during the winter, and was employed in garrison duty at Portsmouth. In April 1693, the regiment was removed to Canterbury and Dover. It sent a draft of 100 men to reinforce the English regiments stationed in the Netherlands. In 1694, the regiment was stationed in Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire. In December, 1695, Colonel Beaumont was succeeded in the command of the regiment by Colonel John Richmond Webb. In February 1696, the regiment was sent to Flanders and was placed in garrison at Dendermonde. In June, it joined the troops under the Duke of Württemberg encamped on the banks of the Scheldt, from whence it proceeded to the main army, commanded by King William in person. On its arrival at the camp at Gemblours, the regiment was brigaded the Royal Fusiliers and the regiments of Mackay, Stanley, and Seymour. In August, it was sent to Ghent where it passed the winter. In the spring of 1697, it marched to Brabant.
In 1698, the regiment returned to England and soon after wards proceeded to Ireland. It then consisted of 1 battalion formed from 10 companies for a total of 34 officers and 411 men.
During the War of the Spanish Succession, the successive proprietors of the regiment were:
- since 19 June 1685 until 1716: Princess Ann of Denmark (became Queen Anne in 1702)
Colonel-commanders during the War of the Spanish Succession:
- since 26 December 1695 until 5 August 1715: John Richmond Webb
Service during the War
On 15 June 1701, the regiment embarked at the Cove of Cork on board of ships of war and sailed to Helvoetsluys, in South Holland, where the officers and men were removed on board of Dutch vessels, and proceeded up the river Meuse to Gertruydenberg. Leaving this station in the middle of September, the regiment pitched its tents on Breda heath. On 21 September, it was reviewed by King William and subsequently returned to its former quarters.
In March 1702, the regiment left its winter-quarters and, traversing the country to Rosendael, encamped on the west bank of the Demer, beyond that town. On 8 March, information was received of the decease of King William and the accession of Queen Anne. The elevation of the Princess Anne of Denmark to the throne, was followed by the royal authority for this regiment to be designated “The Queen's Regiment”, though it was also known after its colonel, John Richmond Webb. On the morning of the 24 April, the regiment struck its tents, and traversing the country to the Duchy of Cleves, encamped at Cranenburg; forming part of the covering army during the siege of Kayserswerth, on the Lower Rhine, by the Allies. On 10 June, while the regiment lay at this camp near Cranenburg, a French force of very superior numbers, commanded by the Duc de Bourgogne and Maréchal Boufflers, attempted, by a forced march, to cut off the communication of the small army at Cranenburg with Grave and Nijmegen. The Allies struck their tents a little before sunset and, marching all night, arrived about 8:00 a.m. on the following day within sight of Nijmegen; at the same time the French columns appeared on both flanks, marching with all possible expedition to surround the allies. The main body of the army continued its retreat, and went into position under the walls of Nijmegen. The leading French corps were assailed with a sharp fire of musketry, and the regiment was one of the corps which displayed signal intrepidity and firmness on this occasion, holding the enemy in check until the army was safe under the walls of Nijmegen without much loss. At the end of August, the regiment was detached with a considerable body of troops from the main army to besiege Venlo, a strong fortress in the Duchy of Guelderland, situate on the east side of the Meuse River. The regiment formed part of the force under Lieutenant-General Lord Cutts, which besieged Fort St. Michael, situate on the west side of the Meuse, and connected with the town by a bridge of boats. On 7 September, the trenches were opened. On 16 September, the batteries commenced firing. On 18 September, the grenadier company, with a small detachment from the battalion companies of the regiment, formed part of a storming party designed to make a lodgment on the top of the glacis of Fort St. Michael. The storming party was commanded by Colonel Hamilton, and consisted of the Royal Irish Foot and the Dutch Hukelom Infantry with the grenadiers of the regiment and several other corps, a detachment of musketeers, and 320 workmen, under Colonel Blood. About 4:00 p.m., the batteries fired a volley, and the grenadiers and musketeers sprang forward with a shout, and rushing up the covered way, sword in hand, carried it in gallant style. The enemy gave one scattering fire, and fled; Lord Cutts ordered the soldiers to pursue, let the consequence be what it might; and, they leaped into the covered way, and chased their opponents to a ravelin, which they carried with astonishing resolution, notwithstanding the explosion of a mine. The garrison fled to the rampart, from whence a tremendous fire of musketry was opened on the storming party; but the undaunted British threw forward a shower of hand-grenades, and rushing to a bridge which connected the ravelin with the interior works, they were opposed by ranks of pikemen and a storm of musketry, which they speedily overcame, and forced the bridge before the enemy had time to cut or break it down. Part of the garrison tried to escape across the Meuse. Thus was Fort St. Michael captured with the loss of 136 officers and soldiers killed, and 161 wounded. On 23 September, Venlo capitulated. On 29 September, the regiment crossed the Meuse, and advancing up the river to Roermond, was employed in the siege of that fortress which was captured in the early part of October. After the capture of Roermond, the regiment rejoined the main army, under the Earl of Marlborough, and advanced against the city of Liège . The French retired into the Citadel and Chartreuse, which fortresses were besieged. On 23 October, the grenadiers of the regiment were engaged in storming the citadel of Liège , and highly distinguished themselves. The Chartreuse surrendered a few days afterwards. These important conquests having been achieved, the regiment marched back to Holland, where it passed the winter.
In the spring of 1703 a body of recruits arrived from England; the establishment at this period was twelve musketeer companies, of 60 privates each, and one company of grenadiers, of 70 men. In April, when the Duke of Marlborough visited the quarters and reviewed the regiment, he complimented the officers on the efficient and soldier-like appearance of the several companies.. On 30 April, the regiment quitted its cantonments. On 7 May, it pitched its tents at Maeswyck, where a division of the army was assembled, while the Duke of Marlborough was carrying on the siege of Bonn, with the Dutch and Germans. On the evening of 8 May, soon after sunset, the camp was alarmed with the news, that the French army under Maréchal Villeroy and Maréchal Boufflers was advancing to attack the allies in their dispersed quarters; the soldiers instantly struck their tents, and, marching all night, arrived at Maastricht about noon on the following day. The French marshals were delayed by the steady valour of the British regiments (present Second Foot, and Elst's Foot), which held Tongres twenty-four hours against the French army, and gave time for the Allies to assemble at Maastricht, where a line of battle was formed, and the regiment was stationed at Lonakin, a village of great strength, situated on a height which commanded the whole plain. From this summit the soldiers looked down on the plain beneath, and espying the French army approach, in order of battle, they stood to their arms and prepared for action. However, after a short cannonade, the enemy withdrew to Tongres. Bonn having surrendered, the allied army was united, and the regiment was formed in brigade with Barrymore's (13th), Bridge's (17th), Hamilton's (18th), and Leigh's (afterwards disbanded), under the command of Brigadier-General Frederick Hamilton. The British commander advanced against his opponents, who withdrew behind their fortified lines, and the Duke being unable to bring on a general engagement, detached a body of troops to besiege Huy, a strong fortress situate in the valley of the Meuse, above the city of Liège. The regiment was employed on this service, and took part in the attacks against Fort Picard. The town and forts were speedily reduced. On 25 August, while ladders were being raised against the Castle of Huy, the garrison beat a parley, and, after some delay, surrendered prisoners of war. After this success the city of Limhourg, in the Spanish Netherlands, was besieged and captured, and the regiment subsequently marched to Breda, where it was stationed during the winter.
In the spring of 1704, the regiment detached 30 men to Maastricht, where extensive works were forming on the heights of Petersburg. In the early part of May, the regiment traversed the country towards the Rhine, and was joined at Bedburg by the detachment from Maastricht. From Bedburg the troops moved along the course of the Rhine; crossed that river, and also the Moselle, at Koblenz, and proceeding towards the Main River, arrived at the suburbs of Mainz. At the beginning of June, the route was continued, and before the end of the month the British were at the seat of war in Germany. On 2 July, the regiment took part in the Battle of the Schellenberg. At about 6:00 p.m., a body of troops, of which a detachment of the regiment formed part, moved forward under a heavy and destructive fire, to storm the enemy's work. This was one of the numerous occasions in which the valour and patient endurance of the British soldier was put to a severe test. The struggle was firm and determined; the result was for some time doubtful; but, the protracted contest having shaken the strength and weakened the resistance of the enemy, at the same time a body of Imperialists arrived to co-operate; the entrenchments were forced, the French and Bavarians were overpowered, and 16 pieces of cannon, with a number of standards and colours, and the tents and camp-equipage of the enemy, including the Count d'Arco's plate, were the trophies of this victors. In this battle, the regiment lost Ensign Savage and 5 privates killed; Ensigns Bezier and Mason, 2 sergeants and 31 privates wounded. The conduct of the several corps engaged was highly commended; Emperor Leopold I, in a letter to the British commander, spoke in the warmest terms of " the wonderful bravery and constancy of the troops. The regiment then crossed the Danube and was engaged in operations in Bavaria where many towns and villages were reduced to ashes. On 13 August, the regiment took part in the Battle of Blenheim where it was first engaged, under Lieutenant-General Lord Cutts, in supporting the attack on the village of Blenheim where the enemy had stationed a considerable body of troops, and it took part in the capture of two water-mills on the little river Nebel. Afterwards crossing the river, the regiment opened fire on the French line with such perseverance and effect that their opponents gave way and fell back in confusion. In this battle, the regiment lost Major Frederick Cornwallis, killed; and Captain Leonard Lloyd and Lieutenant Bezier wounded. The British contingent, including the regiment, then marched back to the Rhine to support the siege of Landau which surrendered in November. The regiment then sailed down the Rhine to Nijmegen from whence it marched to Breda, to form part of the garrison of that fortress during the winter.
At the beginning of 1705, 140 recruits reinforced the regiment. The regiment later proceeded to the Province of Limbourg, and pitched its tents on the left bank of the Meuse. In the early part of May, the regiment was reviewed by the Duke of Marlborough. On 15 May, it proceeded to Juliers, from whence it continued its route through a barren and mountainous country, to Trier on the Moselle. The regiment subsequently crossed the Moselle and the Sarre, and was employed in the movements made with a design to carry on the war in Alsace. When the British commander found his views frustrated by the tardiness of the Germans, he marched back to the Netherlands. While the troops were employed up the Moselle, the French had captured Huy. On 4 July, the regiment was detached from the main army, with several other corps, to retake this fortress, which was accomplished before the middle of the month. After remaining a few days at Huy, the regiment was directed to rejoin the army, in order to take part in the difficult enterprise of forcing a stupendous line of entrenchments and forts which the enemy had constructed to cover the Spanish Netherlands. On this occasion, the regiment constituted part of the leading column and was formed in brigade with Prince George of Denmark's Foot and a Dutch battalion, commanded by Brigadier-General Welderen. Having menaced the lines on the south of the Mehaigne to draw the French troops from the point designed to be attacked, the Allies advanced, during the night of l7 July, with great secrecy, in the direction of Neer-Hespen and Helixem, and about 4:00 a.m. on the following morning, the regiment, and other corps in advance, approached the lines, at the moment when the French army was assembled to resist an expected assault many km from the real point of attack. Being favoured by a thick fog, one column speedily cleared the villages of Neer- Winden and Neer-Hespen, another gained the bridge and village of Helixem, and the third carried the Castle of Wange, which covered the passage of the Little Ghete. The British and Dutch soldiers rushed through the enclosures and marshy grounds; forded the river, and, crowding with enthusiastic ardour over the works, surprised and overpowered the French guards, and drove a detachment of dragoons from its post in a panic. The lines were thus forced; and while the British pioneers were levelling a passage for the cavalry, the Marquis d'Allegre hurried to the spot with 20 battalions and 50 squadrons of French and Bavarian cavalry. Some sharp fighting took place, and the enemy was repulsed with the loss of many standards, colours, and cannon, and of officers and soldiers taken prisoners. The Queen's Regiment was afterwards engaged in several movements; but the enemy, having taken a strong position behind the Dyle, near Louvain, the Dutch generals refused to co-operate in forcing the passage of the river, and the plans of the British commander were frustrated. In October the fortress of Sandvliet was besieged and captured. In the early part of November, the British infantry marched back to Holland, and were stationed at Breda, Warcum, Gorcum, etc.
In the early part of May 1706, the regiment left Breda. On 23 May, the regiment took part in the Battle of Ramillies where it was initially posted on an eminence, near the right of the front line of infantry. Descending from this height, the British infantry made a demonstration of attacking the enemy's left at the villages of Offuz and Autre-Église. During the main attack against the centre, the regiment, and several other corps, advanced against the enemy's left, which was speedily broken and routed; and a decisive victory was gained. The pursuit was continued during the night. Afterwards, the regiment was detached under Lieutenant-General Lumley, Major-General the Earl of Orkney, and Brigadier-General the Duke of Argyle, from the main army, to engage in the siege of Menin; a fortress of great strength, and considered the key of the French conquests in the Netherlands. Some sharp fighting took place at the opening of the trenches, and at the storming of the counterscarp, in which the British soldiers evinced their native courage and intrepidity. Before the end of August the garrison surrendered. The regiment then occupied quarters in Ghent.
On 16 May 1707, the regiment marched out of Ghent; and, proceeding to the vicinity of Bruxelles, where the army was assembled, it was united in brigade with the second battalion of the 1st Royal Foot, Ingoldsby's Foot (18th), Tatton's Foot (24th) and Temple's Foot (afterwards disbanded), under the orders of Brigadier-General Sir Richard Temple. The campaign was, however, passed without any engagement of importance; and in the autumn the regiment returned to Ghent.
On 26 March 1708, the regiment was one of the corps ordered to return to England, to repel a potential invasion; it embarked at Ostend. At the beginning of April, it arrived at Tynemouth. Meanwhile, the French fleet, with the Pretender on board, had been chased from the British coast, by the English men-of-war, and forced back to Dunkerque; the regiment was, consequently, ordered back to Flanders, and landing at Ostend, proceeded in boats along the canal to Ghent. In the early part of May, the regiment was reviewed at Ghent, by the Duke of Marlborough. On 22 May, it commenced its march for the rendezvous of the army near Bruxelles. Shortly afterwards the French obtained possession of Ghent and Bruges, by treachery; and these acquisitions were preparatory to an attempt on Oudenarde, which fortress, being situated on the Scheldt, and at the verge of the frontier, was a connecting link for the alternate defence of Flanders or Brabant.
In 1708, the regiment took part in the Battle of Oudenarde, capturing some colours from Swiss battalions in the French service. Later during the year, the regiment was at the sieges of Ghent, Bruges and Lille. On 9 July, the French invested Oudenarde. By a forced march, the Duke of Marlborough gained the position at Lessines before the French, and disconcerted their plans. Being thus foiled, they relinquished their designs on Oudenarde, and proceeded in the direction of Gavre, where they had prepared bridges for passing the Scheldt. In order to meet the enemy on the march, and bring on a general engagement, the regiment was detached, with a number of other corps, under Major-General Cadogan, to throw bridges over the Scheldt near Oudenarde, for the army to pass. On 11 July at dawn, the regiment corps set off from its camp and arrived at the right bank of the Scheldt, at 10:30 a.m.; the bridges were completed by mid-day, the detachment passed the stream, and the regiment, with eleven other regiments, formed line on the high ground, between the villages of Eyne and Bevere. The regiment then took part in the Battle of Oudenarde where, as part of Cadogan's Corps, it attacked 7 Swiss battalions posted at Eyne. The regiment, being on the right of the brigade, led the attack in gallant style; plunging into the village, they assailed the Swiss battalions with a destructive fire of musketry, and pressed upon their opponents with the characteristic energy and firmness of British soldiers; while a few squadrons of Hanoverian cavalry made a short detour to gain the rear of the village. The conflict was of short duration; the Swiss were unable to withstand the fury of the British soldiers, and Brigadier-General Pfeffer, and three entire battalions, were taken prisoners: the officers and men of the other four battalions were either killed, or intercepted and made prisoners, in their attempt to escape. The regiment stood triumphant in the village of Eyne, its commanding officer received the colours of the Swiss battalions; the captive soldiers were disarmed, and placed in charge of a guard; and thus an important body of the enemy's infantry was put hors de combat. After this gallant exploit, the regiment halted a short time in the village: it was afterwards ordered to reinforce four battalions, which had taken post behind the hedges near Groenevelde, where the first attack of the enemy was expected; and the officers and soldiers,being elated with their previous success, hurried to the aid of their companions in arms. The attack had commenced before they could gain their station; the four battalions boldly disputed the edge of the streamlet, and the regiment, and other corps ordered to this point, threw themselves into the hedges near Herlehem, and opened a heavy fire against the enemy's centre. The Duke of Argyle brought forward 20 battalions of infantry, and prolonged the line, and the combat of musketry became tremendous: each regiment being engaged separately in the enclosures which border the rivulet. The regiment was engaged with the elite of the French infantry, and occupying a kind of focus in the centre of the hostile position, they were assailed by very superior numbers, and forced to withdraw, fighting, out of the coverts and avenues near Herlehem, into the plain. Being reinforced, they renewed the conflict, and gained some advantage; the fighting was continued until the shades of evening gathered over the scene, and the combatants could only be discerned by the flashes of musketry. The French were driven from hedge to hedge; their right wing was nearly surrounded; and the streams of fire, indicating the attack of the allies, were seen gathering round the French units whose destruction appeared inevitable. Darkness having rendered it impossible to distinguish friends from foes, the troops were ordered to cease firing. During the ensuing siege of Lille, the regiment formed part of the covering army under the Duke of Marlborough. The regiment was repeatedly employed in escorting supplies to the besieging army, and its grenadier company was eventually employed in the siege. The colonel of the regiment, Major-General John Richmond Webb, was detached from the main army, with several regiments of foot and a troop of cavalry to escort an immense quantity of military stores from Ostend to the besieging army. On 28 September, Webb's Corps was attacked in an engagement near Wijnendale by a very superior body of the enemy, under Comte de la Mothe, he made so excellent a disposition of his troops, and displayed so much skill and valour in repulsing the assaults of the enemy, that he brought off the convoy in safety, and received the thanks of parliament for his distinguished conduct. When the Elector of Bavaria besieged Bruxelles, the regiment was employed in forcing the enemy's strong positions behind the Scheldt, and in compelling the elector to raise the siege and make a precipitate retreat. After the surrender of the citadel of Lille, the siege of Ghent was undertaken, and this place was captured in a few days. Bruges was afterwards delivered up; and the regiment passed the remainder of the winter in quarters at Ghent.
In the early part of 1709, the regiment received new clothing and 150 recruits. It took the field in June. The French were commanded by Maréchal Villars, who took post behind a line of entrenchments; but he was unable to cope with the British commander, who menaced his lines, which induced him to weaken the garrison of Tournai. Marlborough then invested that fortress. The regiment formed part of the covering army, while the siege of the town of Tournai was in progress; and when the siege of the citadel was commenced, the regiment left the covering army to engage in this service. In carrying the attacks against the citadel of Tournai, the troops had to encounter dangers of a character to which they were not accustomed, from the multiplicity of the subterraneous works, which were more numerous than those above ground. The approaches were carried on by sinking pits several meters deep, and working from thence underground, until the soldiers came to the enemy's casemates and mines, which extended a great distance from the body of the citadel; several mines were discovered, and the powder removed. The British and French soldiers frequently met underground, where they fought with sword, pistol, and bayonet. On several occasions the allies were suffocated with smoke in these dismal labyrinths; and the troops, mistaking friends for foes, sometimes killed their fellow-soldiers. The enemy sprang several mines, which blew up some of the besiegers' batteries, guns, and many men. On 26 August, 400 allied officers and men were blown into the air, and their limbs scattered to a distance. The working parties underground, with the guards which attended them, were sometimes inundated with water; many men were buried alive in the cavities by explosions; and a number of veterans of the regiment, who had triumphed at Blenheim, Ramilies, and Oudenarde, lost their lives in these subterraneous attacks. The siege was prosecuted with vigour. On 31 August, some of the works having been demolished by the batteries, the garrison hoisted a white flag, and agreed to surrender. Marlborough then resolved to undertake the siege of Mons, the capital of the Province of Hainault. As the Allied army traversed the country in the direction of Mons, it was brought into contact with an army commanded by Maréchal Villars and Maréchal Boufflers. On 11 September, the regiment took part in the sanguinary Battle of Malplaquet where it was brigaded with Lalo's Foot and Primrose's Foot under Brigadier-General Lalo. The regiment was commanded, on this occasion, by Lieutenant-Colonel Louis de Ramsey, an officer of distinguished merit, who had served with the regiment several years, and had given repeated proofs of his valour and ability. The regiment was engaged in the attack of the enemy's entrenchments, in the woods of Taisniere, and when the French were driven from their works, a sharp fire of musketry was kept up among the trees. Several French brigades, fluctuating through the marshy grounds and the thickest parts of the wood, became mingled together in considerable disorder; the British, dashing forward among the trees, kept up a sharp fire, and the conflict was maintained among the thick foliage with varied success. The commanding officer of the regiment, Lieutenant-Colonel de Ramsey, was killed; and its Colonel, Lieutenant-General Webb, was dangerously wounded. After this victory, where it suffered heavy casualties, the regiment formed part of the covering army during the siege of Mons, and on the surrender of this fortress, it returned to its former winter station at Ghent, from whence several officers and NCOsNCOs were sent to England to procure recruits.
On 14 April 1710, the regiment left Ghent. It was engaged in the movements by which the French lines were forced at Pont-à-Vendin on 21 April. The regiment was also engaged in covering the siege of Douai. After the surrender of Douai, on 27 June, the siege of Béthune was undertaken. The regiment formed part of the army encamped at Villers-Brulin, and a detachment was employed in draining the inundations near the town. Béthune surrendered in August; the French army kept behind a series of entrenchments, to avoid a general engagement, and the Allies invested Aire and Saint-Venant, which were both captured before the army retired into winter quarters.
In 1711, the regiment took part in the passing of the Ne Plus Ultra lines at Arleux and in the siege of Bouchain, a fortified town of Hainault, situate on the Scheldt. The siege of Bouchain proved a most difficult undertaking; but by extraordinary efforts of skill, valour, and perseverance, this fortress was reduced.
In 1712, soon after the regiment had taken the field to serve under the Duke of Ormond, a suspension of arms was proclaimed, which was followed by a treaty of peace. The regiment retired from the frontiers of France, and after encamping a short time near Ghent, went into quarters in that city.
In 1713, when the treaty of Utrecht was signed, the British regiments were withdrawn from Flanders excepting the regiment and the Royal Regiment of Ireland which were selected to garrison the citadel of Ghent, until the barrier treaty was concluded.
There were still no regulation concerning uniforms and colonels were responsible for the clothing of their soldiers. Therefore, there were wide variations from one regiment to another.
Hairs were worn long in a “long bob”. They were sometimes tied at the back of the neck. The hair bag was also already in use.
Men as well as officers were clean-shaven. Officers sometimes wore small moustaches.
At the creation of the regiment in 1685, the uniform is described as scarlet, lined and turned up with yellow; yellow waistcoat and breeches, white stockings, and white cravats, with broad-brimmed hats, having the brim turned up on one side, and ornamented with yellow ribands.
|Neck stock||knotted white linen neck-cloth with ends hanging or tucked into the top of the coat|
|Coat||red lined yellow with pewter buttons along the full length of the right side and 1 pewter button on each side in the small of the back
N.B.: the coats of grenadiers had tufted laced loops ornamenting the buttonholes down to the waist
|Waistcoat||long yellow waistcoat with pewter buttons|
|Stockings||during campaigns, a first pair of finer stockings was pulled up under the breeches at the knees while a coarser pair of white stockings was worn over them, pulled over the knees and fastened with a leather strap and buckle|
|Gaiters||gaiters were gradually adopted during the campaigns in the Low Countries|
Musketeers were armed with a musket without sling, a bayonet and a sword. Grenadiers were armed with a firelock with a sling, a hatchet, a bayonet and grenades.
NCOs wore uniforms almost identical to those of privates with the following differences:
- tricorne laced silver
- silver braids on the seams of the coat
Sergeants initially carried a halberd and corporals a musket. Gradually, all NCOs were equipped with musket.
Officers wore beaver tricornes laced gold (probably reserved to superior officers) or silver (probably reserved to subaltern officers). They also wore the fashionable full flowing curled wigs. On service they usually plaited their wig.
A large gorget was worn around the neck tied with ribbons. The gorget was gilt for captains, black studded with gold for lieutenants and silver for ensigns.
Officers usually wore uniforms somewhat similar to those of privates (even though there were not yet any regulation compelling them to do so), made of finer material. Their coats were decorated with gold or silver braids down the seams and on the sleeves; and with gold or silver embroidered buttonholes. Cuffs were usually of the same colour as the coat instead of the distinctive colour of the regiment.
The waistcoats of officers were often decorated with gold or silver fringes.
A crimson sash (often interwoven with gold or silver and fringed similarly) was worn around the waist.
Breeches were tied with rosettes below the knee.
Officers wore gloves, often decorated with gold or silver fringes.
Officers carried a sword and a half pike or a spontoon.
The cartouche box of officers were often covered in velvet and decorated with gold or silver embroideries.
In 1708, the Duke of Marlborough ordered all officers serving in Flanders to have, in sign of mourning, red coats with black buttons and black buttonholes for that year.
Drummers and hautboys usually wore coat of the facing colour of the regiment, decorated with lace on the seams of sleeves and back and on the buttonholes. Their coat was decorated with the crowned King's cypher or the Colonel's crest embroidered on the breast and back. Sometimes their coat had hanging sleeves.
As per the MS Colour Book at Windsor
Colonel's Colour: dark pinkish crimson field; centre device consisting of the the cypher of the Princess of Denmark (PAD) with a coronet in gold
Lieutenant-Colonel's Colour: dark pinkish crimson field with a red cross of St. George bordered white; centre device consisting of the the cypher of the Princess of Denmark (PAD) with a coronet in gold
Major's Colour: dark pinkish crimson field with a red cross of St. George bordered white; a white pile wavy; centre device consisting of the the cypher of the Princess of Denmark (PAD) with a coronet in gold
1st Captain's Colours: dark pinkish crimson field with a red cross of St. George bordered white; numeral I in the centre of the first canton; centre device consisting of the the cypher of the Princess of Denmark (PAD) with a coronet in gold
Later during the war
Colonel Colour: white with a red cross
Companies Colours: yellow field; the red cross of St. George on a white background in the first canton
This article incorporates texts of the following source:
- Cannon, Richard: Historical record of the Eighth, or The King's Regiment of Foot, London: Parker, Furnivall and Parker, 1844
Farmer, John S.: The Regimental Records of the British Army, London: Grant Richards, 1901
Lawson, Cecil C. P.: A History of the Uniforms of the British Army, Vol. 1 From the beginning to 1760, London: Kaye & Ward, pp. 12-54, 77
Mills, T. F., Land Forces of Britain the Empire and Commonwealth (an excellent website which unfortunately seems to have disappeared from the web)
Walton, Clifford: History of the British Standing Army A.D. 1660 to 1700, London, 1894
Wikipedia - 8th (The King's) Regiment of Foot
N.B.: the section Service during the War is partly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.