Origin and History
The regiment was created on June 20 1685 by Henry Somerset, Duke of Beaufort. It was one of the nine new regiments of foot, raised to meet the Monmouth rebellion. It was raised in the disturbed districts of Devonshire, Somersetshire and Dorsetshire where defection to Monmouth prevailed. It was originally designated as the “Duke of Beaufort's Musketeers”. It assembled at Bristol and initially consisted of 10 companies. Soon after the overthrow of the rebel army at Sedgemoor, the regiment was ordered to march to the training camp on Hounslow Heath where it encamped in the beginning of August. It then marched into cantonments at Yarmouth and other towns in Norfolk, and the Duke of Beaufort, being advanced in years, resigned the colonelcy in favour of his son Charles, Marquis of Worcester, whose appointment was dated the 26 October, 1685.
Until 1751, the regiment would be known by the names of its successive colonels.
In April 1686, the regiment marched from Yarmouth for London. In May, it once more took part in the training camp on Hounslow Heath. It then marched to Chester.
In February 1687, the regiment proceeded to Scotland. The Marquis of Worcester relinquished his military duties and the King, having resolved to attempt the introduction of papacy and arbitrary government, took this opportunity of placing at the head of the regiment an officer devoted to the interests of the court, William, Viscount Montgomery, whose commission of colonel was dated May 8. Soon after this event, the regiment had an independent company of grenadiers attached to it from the garrison of Hull.
In 1688, the regiment left Scotland, and in the autumn it was stationed in garrison at Hull. At this period the Prince of Orange was preparing an armament for England to aid the Protestants in their resistance to the measures of the court. Many of the officers and soldiers of the regiment being staunch Protestants, they viewed the arbitrary proceedings of their sovereign and his predilections for papacy with alarm. On November 5, the Prince of Orange landed and marched to Exeter. King James assembled his army at Salisbury, but found his soldiers unwilling to fight in the cause of papacy and arbitrary government, and he ordered the troops to retreat towards London, at the same time many noblemen, officers, and soldiers joined the Prince of Orange. All was, however, quiet at Hull; the Governor and Viscount Montgomery were known to be in the Roman Catholic interest, and they were supported by several Roman Catholic gentlemen, who took up their residence in Hull as a safe retreat during the commotion. However, the Lieutenant-Governor Colonel Copeley and Lieutenant-Colonel Sir John Hanmer, of the regiment, were both warm advocates for the Protestant cause. They put into custody Marmaduke Lord Langdale, Viscount and the Roman Catholic officers and gentlemen; and declared for the Prince of Orange. Similar events occurred in other parts of the country and King James fled to France. The Prince of Orange promoted Lieutenant-Colonel Sir John Hanmer, Baronet, to the colonelcy of the regiment, by commission dated December 31.
In May 1689, during the Williamite War, the regiment went to Chester and embarked on board of transports at Highlake. On May 30, it sailed for Ireland, together with the Queen Dowager's Foot and William Stewart's Foot, under Major-General Kirke, for the relief of Londonderry. On June 15, after suffering much from severe weather and contrary winds at sea, the fleet arrived in the Lough of Derry but the banks of the river were found guarded by troops with entrenchments and batteries, sunken boats filled with stones obstructed the passage, which was rendered more difficult by a boom of chains, cables, and timber stretched across the river, and the cannon of the castle were manned and prepared to open upon any vessel. which should attempt to sail towards the town. A body of men landed and fortified themselves on the island of Inch. They were joined by many Protestants from the adjacent country, who were armed and formed into companies, and five companies were incorporated in the present regiment. The garrison of Londonderry becoming distressed for provisions, preparations were made to send them a supply and a detachment of the regiment was put on board of the vessels to be employed in this enterprise. On July 28, the wind becoming favourable, the Dartmouth frigate sailed up the river and opened a heavy cannonade on the castle. Under the cover of this fire the ship Mountjoy sailed up to the boom and broke it. The garrison being thus relieved. King James's army raised the siege and retired .From Londonderry the regiment traversed the country to Dundalk. On September 8, it joined the army which had arrived from England under the veteran Duke of Schomberg. Being encamped in low marshy ground in wet weather, the soldiers contracted diseases which occasioned much loss of life. In November the regiment marched towards Armagh, and it occupied one of the frontier garrisons during the winter. In January 1690, the losses sustained by the regiment were replaced by armed tenants and labourers of the estates of Sir Thomas Newcomb in the County of Longford. In June, William III arrived in Ireland and the regiment served in his army. On July 12, it took part in the Battle of the Boyne where it was posted on the left wing. The regiment was afterwards detached under Lieutenant-General Douglass against Athlone, but that fortress proving too strong and too well provided to be taken by so small a force, the troops rejoined the main army on the march to besiege Limerick. The regiment was engaged in this siege, and after King William withdrew his army from before the place, it took part in driving a body of Irish troops from Birr, where it was quartered during the winter. In December a small detachment of the regiment joined a corps commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Bristow, of the regiment, marched from Birr to co-operate in driving a body of King James's troops from Lanesborough and clashed with the enemy on the march. After a fight of five hours' duration the British forced their way through their numerous enemies, and continued their march to Mountmellick. In the spring of 1691, when the army took the field field, the regiment was left in the County of Cork. When the main army moved towards Limerick, the regiment was withdrawn from its quarters to engage in the siege of that fortress. On August 16, the regiment joined the army and took its turn of duty before Limerick, until the capitulation of that place, which terminated the war in Ireland.
In 1692, after taking part in delivering Ireland from the power of King James, the regiment was stationed in that country several years.
In 1699, the regiment was placed on the peace establishment.
In 1702, at the outbreak of the War of the Spanish Succession (1702-1713), the colonelcy of the regiment was conferred on Colonel James Stanhope. In 1703, the regiment was sent to the Dutch Republic where it took part in the sieges and capture of Huy and Limbourg. At the end of the campaign, the regiment was selected to accompany Archduke Charles of Austria to Portugal, for the purpose of engaging in an attempt to place him on the throne of Spain by force of arms. The regiment sailed from the Dutch Republic to Portsmouth. In 1704, the regiment was transported to Lisbon and placed in garrison in Portalegre which was later invested by a Franco-Spanish army. When the place surrendered, the regiment was delivered as prisoners of war. In 1705, the regiment was exchanged and returned to England where it was speedily brought into a state of discipline and efficiency. In 1706, it was selected to form part of an expedition against the coast of France, under General the Earl Rivers. The armament was, however, so long delayed by contrary winds and other causes, that the enterprise was abandoned, and the troops sailed for Portugal. The regiment landed at Lisbon. In 1707, the regiment re-embarked at Lisbon and sailed for the Province of Valencia in Spain. It landed at Alicante and joined the British, Spanish, Portuguese, and Dutch forces commanded by the Marquis das Minas and the Earl of Galway. The Allied army captured the town of Villena and commenced the siege of the castle. The regiment then took part in the Battle of Almansa where it suffered heavy casualties and was finally surrounded and forced to surrender prisoners of war. A few officers and men of the regiment escaped from the field of battle and joined the cavalry with which the Earl of Galway had made good his retreat at Alzira. They were then removed to Tarragona. In 1708, the regiment returned to England to recruit and then proceeded to the Netherlands, to reinforce Marlborough's Army. In 1709, it was initially in garrison but joined the army at the end of September and took part in the siege of Mons. In 1710, it was also with the covering army during the siege of Douai. In 1711, the regiment initially formed part of the garrison of Bruges. It was then withdrawn from Flanders to take part in the expedition against Québec. As the fleet was proceeding up the river Saint-Laurent, it encountered a severe gale of wind and eight transports crowded with troops were dashed upon the rocks. The regiment did not, however, sustain any loss. After this lamentable disaster, the regiment returned to England, and landed at Portsmouth in October. In 1712, the regiment was selected to form part of the force sent to take possession of Dunkerque where it was stationed until the Spring of 1714, when it returned to England. The regiment proceeded to Ireland and was placed upon the establishment of that country.
In 1715, the regiment was involved against the Jacobite Risings and, on November 13 of the same year, took part in the inconclusive Battle of Sheriffmuir. On June 10 1719, it fought at the Battle of Glen Shiel.
During the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment was at the battles of Dettingen (June 27 1743), Fontenoy (May 11 1745) and Rocoux (October 11 1746).
On July 1 1751, the regiment officially became the “11th Regiment of Foot”.
As per a resolution of September 20 1756, a second battalion was exceptionally added to the regiment, thus bringing its total strength to 20 companies. Two years later, on April 21 1758, this second battalion was made a distinct regiment as the 64th Regiment of Foot.
During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was commanded by:
- from December 1, 1747 to August 1765: Colonel Maurice Bocland
After the Seven Years War, the regiment garrisoned the island of Minorca.
Service during the War
In 1755, the regiment was stationed in the Channel Islands.
As of May 30 1759, the regiment was garrisoning Jersey island and counted 1 battalion for a total of 900 men. In June, it was relieved by the 68th Foot. During the Summer, it was encamped at Chatham under Lieutenant-Colonel Campbell.
In May 1760, the regiment was part of a reinforcement of six battalions and two regiments of Highlanders, promised to Ferdinand of Brunswick. On May 12, it embarked at Gravesend. On May 22, it arrived at Bremen on the Weser instead of, as heretofore, to Emden, and seem to have been despatched with commendable promptitude; for the six regiments of foot, though only warned for service on May 1, were actually reviewed by Ferdinand in his camp at Fritzlar on June 17, and were declared by him to be in a most satisfactory condition. The grenadiers of the regiment were then detached to form a converged grenadier battalion. The regiment was commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Cholmeley Scott. On June 24, it left Fritzlar and took part in the operations of the army. On October 2, it was detached, under Major-General Howard, towards the Lower Rhine to join the corps under the Hereditary Prince of Brunswick, who had invested Wesel, a town in the Duchy of Cleves. The regiment passed the Rhine on a bridge of boats about 3 km below Wesel, and joined the Hereditary Prince about 7:00 on October 15. On October 16 1760, it was present at the Battle of Clostercamp where it was part of the fourth division under Howard, kept in reserve. On the morning of the October l7, the regiment moved towards Genderick, and the advance-guard of this portion of the Allied army was attacked by the French. It was found necessary to remove the bridge across the Rhine lower down; this was completed on October 18 and the corps passed the river. The regiment were afterwards encamped near Brunnen. Towards the end of October, it left that station and, after several marches, arrived at Klein Reckum, from whence the Hereditary Prince sent out detachments to harass the enemy's posts on the river Lippe.
In February 1761, the regiment took part in an expedition through a deep snow into Hesse-Cassel, driving the French troops out of their winter-quarters and capturing several strong towns, with extensive magazines of provision and forage; but afterwards withdrew to its former quarters. The regiment then returned to its winter-quarters where it remained until until June. It was then brigaded with the 23rd Foot and the 51st Foot, under Brigadier-General Lord Frederick Cavendish. In July the army took post with its left on the river Lippe, the left centre, under the Marquis of Granby, at Kirch-Denkern, and the right extending towards Werle. On July 15, the French attacked the troops under the Marquis of Granby in the Battle of Vellinghausen and gained a momentary advantage, when the brigade to which the regiment belonged was ordered forward and the French were repulsed. The regiment was one of the corps directed to proceed to Kirch-Denkern to fortify and barricade the village. The fire of the skirmishers was continued during the night, and on the following day the enemy renewed the attack with additional forces, but was again repulsed with severe loss. On November 5, the regiment dislodged French troops from Capelnhagen and then took post at Wickensen, to block up the defile leading to Eimbeck. It took up its winter-quarters in the Bishopric of Osnabrück.
For the campaign of 1762, the regiment was brigaded with the 23rd Foot, 33rd Foot and 51st Foot, under Lieutenant-Colonel Edward S. Pole, of the Welsh Fusileers. By June 18, it was encamped at Brakel. On the morning of June 24, it took part in the 1762-06-24 - Battle of Wilhelmsthal. After this success, the regiment formed part of the covering army during the siege of Cassel, which place surrendered in the beginning of November. A suspension of hostilities took place soon afterwards, and the regiment went into quarters.
In February 1763, the regiment marched through the Dutch Republic to Willemstad where it embarked for England. It mustered according to the embarkation return, 28 officers, 728 NCOs and soldiers. On arriving in England, it did not land but was immediately redirected to the Island of Minorca and was stationed on that island for seven years.
|Coat||brick red lined full green and laced and edged white (white braid bordered wit 1 red stripe on each edge and with 2 full green inner stripes) with 3 white buttonholes under the lapels (same lace as above)
|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 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
- gold gorget around the neck
- an aiguilette on the right shoulder
- gold 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.
Exceptionally, the drummers of the regiment were clothed in brick red, lined, faced, and lapelled on the breast with full green, and laced with a mixture of white, red and green laces.
According to the Royal Clothing Warrant of 1751:
- The front or fore part of the drums was painted full green, with the king's cypher and crown, and the number “XI” under it. The rims were red.
King's Colour: Union with its centre decorated with a rose and thistle wreath around the regiment number "XI" in gold Roman numerals.
Regimental Colour: full green field; centre device consisting of a rose and thistle wreath around the regiment number "XI" in gold Roman numerals. The Union in the upper left corner.
N.B.: since this regiment exceptionally counted 2 battalions, the colours of the 2nd Battalion were distinguished by a flaming ray superposed to the upper left branch of the saltire.
This article is essentially and abridged and adapted version of the following book which is in the public domain:
- Cannon, Richard: Historical record of the Eleventh, or The North Devon Regiment of Foot, London: Parker, Furnivall and Parker, 1845
Anonymous: Particular description of the several descents on the coast of France last war; with an entertaining account of the islands of Guadeloupe, Dominique, etc., E. & C. Dilly, London, 1770
Funcken, Liliane and Fred: Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle
George II: The Royal Clothing Warrant, 1751
Mills, T. F.: Land Forces of Britain the Empire and Commonwealth (an excellent website which unfortunately seems to have disappeared from the web)
Wikipedia - 11th Foot