19th Foot

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Origin and History

Independent companies of infantry were raised in Devonshire in November 1688 by the adherents of the Prince of Orange (afterwards William III) while he was advancing from Torbay. In November 1689, these companies were assembled in a regiment designated as the “Francis Lutterell's Regiment of Foot”. Nevertheless, the regiment seniority was calculated from November 1688. From then on, it was then named as per its successive colonels until 1751.

In the Summer of 1689, the regiment marched to Portsmouth and was afterwards stationed in the Isle of Wight. In September, it embarked on board the fleet to serve as marines but landed at Plymouth in the winter.

In March 1690, during the Williamite War in Ireland, the regiment received orders to embark 520 men for Ireland. Meanwhile, another detachment was sent to the West Indies where nearly all men died. On July 11, the regiment took part in the Battle of the Boyne. In mid-July, when reviewed by King William III outside Dublin, it counted 693 privates. In August, it formed part of the vanguard when the army marched on Limerick. In the Spring of 1691, detachments of the regiment took part in several small raids. In June, it was at the capture of Ballymore and Athlone. On July 22, it fought in the Battle of Aughrim where it lost 4 officers and 87 men killed, and 9 officers (including Colonel Erle) and 70 men wounded. From September 4, the regiment took part in the second siege of Limerick. Early in 1692, the regiment returned to England where it was brought back to full strength.

During the Nine Years' War (1688–97), in the Spring of 1692, the regiment was sent to Flanders. On August 3, it took part in the Battle of Steenkerque. In May 1693, it joined a corps assembled near Louvain. On July 29, the regiment fought in the Battle of Landen and later took its winter-quarters at Malines. At the beginning of May 1694, the regiment quitted its quarters, and pitched its tents near the cloister of Terbanck; it took part in the operations of the campaign, and performed many long marches in Flanders and Brabant. In the autumn, it returned to Malines where it passed another winter in garrison. Early in the spring of 1695, the regiment marched to the vicinity of Ghent and was encamped near Marykirk until the army took the field. King William undertook the siege of the strong fortress of Namur and the regiment formed part of the covering army under the Prince of Vaudémont. After Vaudémont's retreat, the regiment was employed in several operations for the protection of the maritime and other towns of Flanders, and to cover the troops carrying on the siege of Namur which was finally captured. The regiment passed the winter at Dendermonde. In 1696, the regiment was recalled to England to protect the island against the planned French invasion. In March, it embarked from Sas-van-Ghent and sailed to Gravesend, where it landed. However, five companies were captured by French privateers while at sea. The regiment remained in England until the summer 1697 when it again proceeded to Flanders. On July 14, it joined the army encamped near Bruxelles. After the signature of peace in September, the regiment returned to England in November.

In 1698, the regiment was stationed in Ireland, where it remained until 1702.

In June 1702, during the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment was recalled from Ireland and proceeded to the Isle of Wight to take part in an unsuccessful expedition against Cádiz. It embarked on board ships of the lines where its soldiers served as marines. In October, after the failure of this expedition, the regiment was one of the units selected to proceed to Jamaica. In 1703, it served as marines in the West Indies and took part in the unsuccessful expedition against Guadeloupe. The regiment was then redirected towards Newfoundland in an ill planned expedition against the French settlement of Placentia. Bad weather made landing impossible and illness spread aboard the transports. The regiment was almost entirely annihilated. In 1704, it returned to Ireland. In 1705, it embarked for England and, in October, landed near Chester. From 1706 to 1708, the regiment was employed on home service. In 1708, it was sent to Flanders to join Marlborough's Army and took part in the Battle of Oudenarde. On September 11 1709, the regiment was present at the Battle of Malplaquet, probably in the Reserve. In 1710, it took part in the movements by which the French lines were forced at Pont-à-Vendin, in the siege and capture of Douai. During the siege of Béthune, it formed part of the covering army. In 1711, it took part in the operations by which the enemy's fortified lines were passed at Arleux and was afterwards engaged in the siege and capture of Bouchain. In 1712, when a suspension of hostilities was proclaimed, the British troops retired to the vicinity of Ghent. In 1713, the regiment was stationed in Flanders.

In August 1714, the regiment was ordered to return to England where it was placed in garrison at Tilbury fort, Landguard fort, and Hull, with a detachment at Sheerness.

During the War of the Austrian Succession, in 1744, the regiment served again in Flanders. There were in fact two “Howard's Regiment of Foot” serving together: the present one who had green facings and another one with buff facings. Thus "Green Howards" designated the present regiment which had green facings. On May 11 1745, the regiment took part in the Battle of Fontenoy. On October 11 1746, it was at the Battle of Raucoux; on July 2 1747, at the Battle of Lauffeld.

On July 1 1751, the regiment officially became the "19th Regiment of Foot".

As per a resolution of September 20 1756, a second battalion was exceptionally added to the regiment. Two years later, in 1758, this second battalion was made a distinct regiment as the 66th Regiment of Foot.

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

  • since March 15 1748 until May 25 1768: Colonel Lord George Beauclerk

Service during the War

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

In 1761, the regiment took part to the expedition against the French Island of Belle-Isle. On April 22, the grenadiers of the regiment were the first troops to successfully disembark on the island. They were contrived to scramble up the rocks and to hold their own on the summit until reinforced, when the men charged with the bayonet, drove back the enemy and captured three guns. On June 7, the island surrendered.



Uniform in 1756 - Copyright Kronoskaf
Uniform Details
Musketeer black tricorne laced white with a black cockade (left side)
Grenadier British mitre with: a yellowish green front edged white embroidered with white scroll work and with a white King's cipher surmounted by a crown (yellow with red cushions, white pearls and ermine headband); a small red front flap edged white with the white horse of Hanover surmounted by the white motto "Nec aspera terrent" and with a dark green bottom strip with yellow stripes; red back; a yellowish green headband edged white probably wearing the number 19 in the middle part behind; a yellowish green within white pompom
Neckstock white
Coat brick red lined yellowish green and laced white (white braid with a blue/red central stripe) with brick red shoulder wing laced white (same lace as above)
Collar none
Shoulder Straps red fastened with a white button (left shoulder)
Lapels yellowish green laced white (same lace as above) with 7 pewter buttons and 6 white buttonholes (same lace as above)
Pockets vertical pockets with white fish-bone laces (same lace as above), each with pewter buttons
Cuffs yellowish green (slashed in the British pattern) laced white (same lace as above) with white fish-bone laces (same lace as above) and 4 pewter buttons on the sleeve above each cuff
Turnbacks yellowish green
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
Cross-belt white
Waist-belt white
Cartridge Box black
Bayonet Scabbard black
Scabbard black
Foot gear 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 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 yellowish green, 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 yellowish green, with the king's cypher and crown, and the number “XIX” 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 "XIX" in gold Roman numerals.

Regimental Colour: yellowish green field with its centre decorated with a rose and thistle on the same stalk surrounding the rank of the regiment "XIX" 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.

King's Colour - Copyright: Kronoskaf
Regimental Colour - Copyright: Kronoskaf


This article incorporates texts of the following source:

  • Cannon, Richard: Historical Record of the Nineteenth or The First Yorkshire North Riding Regiment of Foot, London: Parker, Furnivall & Parker, 1848
  • Wikipedia 19th Foot

Other sources

Aylor, Ron, British Regimental Drums and Colours

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

Funcken, Liliane and Fred: Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle

George II, The Royal Clothing Warrant, 1751

The friends of the Green Howards Home Page]

Her Majesty's 19th Regiment of Foot (1st Yorks. North Riding) The Green Howards

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

Schirmer, Friedrich: Die Heere der kriegführenden Staaten 1756 - 1763. Edited and published by KLIO-Landesgruppe Baden-Württemberg e.V., Magstadt, 1989