Origin and History
The regiment was raised on 9 October 1688, in the southern counties of England, as the "Archibald Douglas' Regiment of Foot" to defend England against threat posed by Prince William of Orange (the future William III). Until 1751, this regiment would be known by the names of its successive colonels.
In October 1688, the regiment assembled at Reading in Berkshire and counted 927 men, including officers. Early in November, the regiment was ordered to march to London. However, the regiment refused to fight against William. When William seized power, Colonel Douglas, a supporter of James II, was replaced on 31 December by Robert Hodges and the regiment was allowed to continue in existence as part of William's army, being quartered at Stony Stratford in Buckinghamshire.
In April 1689, during the Nine Years' War, the regiment was sent to the Netherlands. It fought at the battles of Walcourt (1689) where it help up the entire French force while falling back on the main body, Steenkerque (1692) and Landen (1693). In 1695, it took part in the siege and capture of Namur. It remained in Flanders until the Treaty of Ryswick ended the war in 1697.
From 1697 to 1701, the regiment was stationed in Carrickfergus in Ireland. In 1698, it counted one battalion of ten companies for a total of 34 officers and 411 men.
On 7 June 1701, on the eve of the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-13), the regiment was sent to the Dutch Republic. In 1702, it took part in the rearguard action near Nijmegen, in the covering the sieges of Venlo, Roermond and Stevensweert and in the capture of Liège; in 1703, in the sieges and capture of Huy and Limbourg; in 1704,in the Battle of the Schellenberg, in the Battle of Blenheim and in the covering the siege of Landau; in 1705, in the unsuccessful expedition up the Moselle and in the forcing of the Lines of Brabant at Elixheim; in 1706, in the Battle of Ramillies and in the conquest of Brabant. In 1708, the regiment was ordered to return to Great Britain to repel a potential French invasion but was soon sent back to Flanders where it participated in the Battle of Oudenarde and in the siege and capture of Lille. In 1709, it took part in the siege of Tournai, in the sanguinary Battle of Malplaquetand in the covering of the siege of Mons; in 1710, in the forcing of the Lines at Pont-à-Vendin, and in the covering the sieges of Douai and Béthune; in 1711, in the forcing of the Lines near Arleux and in the siege and capture of Bouchain; in 1712, in the covering of the siege of Le Quesnoy. Soon afterwards, a suspension of arms was proclaimed and the regiment withdrew to the vicinity of Ghent. The regiment was then sent to occupy Dunkerque which had been delivered into the hands of the British as a pledge during the negotiations for peace.
In 1714, the regiment was recalled to Great Britain to quench the Jacobite Rising, sailing from Dunkerque to Leith in Scotland. It was initially stationed in Stirling before moving to garrison Fort William in 1715.
The regiment then remained on home service duties at various locations in Great Britain.
Pdf p. 46 bot 1739
In 1739, at the outbreak of the War of Jenkins' Ear, the establishment of the regiment was augmented. In 1740, it briefly served as marines. In the autumn, it furnished a detachment to accompany the expedition to the West Indies. In January 1741, this detachment arrived in Jamaica. In May of the same year, it took part in the unsuccessful attack on Cartagena de Indias in present-day Colombia. The assault took place in torrential rain and the troops were nearly wiped out by disease.
During the War of the Austrian Succession, in 1742, the regiment remained in England. In 1746, it was sent to Scotland to curb a Second Jacobite Rising. However, by the time it reached Edinburgh, the rebellion had been defeated. Nevertheless, the regiment assumed garrison duty at various Scottish locations until 1749.
In 1749, the regiment was sent to Ireland where it would remain till 1767.
On July 1 1751, when a Royal warrant reorganised the British infantry, the regiment was designated as the "16th Regiment of Foot".
During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was under the command of:
- from 1730 until 1763: Colonel Roger Handasyd
Service during the War
The regiment remained in Ireland throughout the war. As of May 30 1759, the regiment counted 1 battalion for a total of 700 men.
In 1760, a plan was formed for attacking the French island of Belle-Isle and the regiment (700 men), under Lieutenant-Colonel Gabbet, embarked on board the fleet. However, the enterprise was laid aside in consequence of the death of King George II and the regiment returned to Ireland.
|Coat||brick red lined yellow and laced white (white braid with a yellow zigzag within 2 red stripes) with brick red shoulder wing laced white (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
- 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 yellow, 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 yellow, with the king's cypher and crown, and the number “XVI” under it. The rims were red.
King's Colour: Union with its centre decorated with a rose and thistle wreath surrounding the rank of the regiment "XVI" in gold Roman numerals.
Regimental Colour: yellow field with its centre decorated with a rose and thistle on the same stalk surrounding the rank of the regiment "XVI" in gold Roman numerals. The Union in the upper left corner.
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 Sixteenth or, The Bedfordshire Regiment of Foot, London: Parker, Furnivall and Parker, 1848
This article also incorporates texts of the following source:
- Wikipedia 16th Foot
Aylor, Ron, British Regimental Drums and Colours
Funcken, Liliane and Fred: Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle
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. 90-103
Mills, T. F., Land Forces of Britain the Empire and Commonwealth (an excellent website which unfortunately does not seem to be online any more)
Schirmer, Friedrich: Die Heere der kriegführenden Staaten 1756 - 1763. Edited and published by KLIO-Landesgruppe Baden-Württemberg e.V., Magstadt, 1989