25th Foot

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> British Army >> 25th Foot

Origin and History

The regiment was raised in Edinburgh on March 19 1689 by the earl of Leven. It originally counted some 1,000 men and was designated as "Earl of Leven's Regiment of Foot". A few months later, on July 27, the regiment first saw action at the battle of Killiecrankie where a British force was defeated by Highlanders.

The regiment was then transferred to Ireland where it took part to the Williamite War. In 1690, it saw action at the siege of Athlone. In 1691, it was at the sieges of Galway and Limerick.

During the war of the League of Augsburg, the regiment served in Flanders, taking part to the battles of Steenkerque (August 3 1692) and Landen (July 29 1693) and at the siege of Namur (1695) where it suffered very heavy losses (20 officers and 500 men) when a mine exploded nearby.

During the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment remained in Great Britain.

In 1715, the regiment was sent to Scotland to fight Jacobite uprising and took part to the battle of Sheriffmuiron November 13.

From February to June 1727, the regiment was part of the British force defending Gibraltar besieged by a Spanish army which finally retired.

During the War of the Austrian Succession, in 1745 the regiment fought at the battle of Fontenoy where it suffered heavy losses (206 officers and men). Later the same year, it was at Ath where it was forced to surrender. In 1746, the regiment was hastily brought back to Great Britain and sent to Scotland to fight the Jacobite Rising. On April 16, it took part to the battle of Culloden which put an end to the uprising. After the battle, the regiment was soon transported to the continent where it served in Flanders. In 1747, it was among the defenders of the fortress of Bergen-op-Zoom.

On July 1 1751, when a Royal warrant reorganised the British infantry, the regiment was designated as the “25th (Edinburgh) Regiment of Foot”.

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

  • April 29 1752: William Home, 8th earl of Home
  • May 29 1761 to December 29 1762: Henry Erskine

Service during the War

In September 1757, the regiment was stationed on the Isle of Wight and embarked aboard the fleet and took part in the unsuccessful and wasteful raid on Rochefort.

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, returning to the Isle of Wight after the expedition. While encamped on the island, the regiment was ordered to embark for Germany. It was among the first British contingent (6,000 men) sent to reinforce the Allied army of Ferdinand of Brunswick in Germany. The contingent embarked at Gravesend on July 19 and disembarked on August 3 at Emden. It then left for Coesfeld where it arrived on August 17 after marching through a very heavy rain.

In June 1759, the regiment was part of the main Allied army under the command of the duke Ferdinand of Brunswick. The grenadiers of the regiment were converged with those of the 12th Foot, 20th Foot, 23rd Foot and 51st Foot to form Maxwell's Grenadiers Battalion. On August 1, the regiment took part in the battle of Minden where it was deployed in the second line of the 3rd column from the right under major-general Waldegrave. Misinterpreting orders, Waldegrave advanced with extraordinary bravery straight upon the cavalry deployed on the left of the French centre. The first line of French cavalry (11 sqns) charged Waldegrave first line but was thrown back. The second line of French cavalry was equally repulsed though with more difficulty. Now the French reserve, consisting of the Gendarmerie de France and the Carabiniers, attempted a third attack upon the 9 brave battalions. It charged and broke through the first line of Allied infantry. However, the second line received them with a deadly fire and forced them to retire. The astonishing attack of the British infantry had virtually gained the day.

On October 16 1760, the regiment took part in the battle of Clostercamp where it was attached to the 3rd division under Waldegrave.

In July 1761, the regiment operated in Conway's corps in Germany and, on July 16, took part in the battle of Vellinghausen.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1757 - Source: Frédéric Aubert
Uniform Details
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced white with a black cockade (left side)
Grenadier
25th Foot Grenadier Mitre Cap (as per Morier in 1751) - Source: Digby Smith and rf-figuren
British mitre with: a deep yellow 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 motto "Nec aspera terrent" and with a dark green bottom strip with yellow stripes; red back; a deep yellow headband edged white probably wearing the number 25 in the middle part behind; a white pompom
Neckstock white
Coat brick red lined deep yellow and laced white (white braid bordered on each side with thin dark blue/yellow/red lines) with brick red shoulder wing laced white (same lace as above)
Collar none
Shoulder Straps red fastened with a white button (left shoulder)
Lapels deep yellow 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 deep yellow (slashed in the British pattern) laced white (same lace as above)
Turnbacks deep yellow
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

  • gold 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 deep 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 deep yellow, with the king's cypher and crown, and the number “XXV” under it.

Colours

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

Regimental Colour: deep yellow field with its centre decorated with a rose wreath around the regiment number "XXV" 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

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

George II, The Royal Clothing Warrant, 1751

Knowles, L.; Minden and the Seven Years' War, Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton & Co. Ltd, London, 1914

McKay, James, Scottish Military History

Mills, T. F., Land Forces of Britain the Empire and Commonwealth (a very interesting site who, unfortunately, seems to have disappeared from the web)

Morier, David, Paintings of the British Grenadiers in 1751

Wikipedia - King's Own Scottish Borderers