Origin and History
The regiment was created on August 25 1717 by Richard Philips, governor of Nova Scotia, from 8 independent companies garrisoning Annapolis Royal (Nova Scotia) and Placentia (Newfoundland).
In 1720, the “Richard Philips' Regiment of Foot” sent a detachment to garrison Canso and to protect the town from Indian raids. In 1722, this detachment took part in an expedition against the Indians. In July 1724, the detachment garrisoning Annapolis defended the colony attacked by a party of 60 Indians but could not stop them from pillaging the village.
During the War of the Austrian Succession, four companies of the regiment were captured by the French in May 1744 when they attacked and destroyed Canso. These companies were brought to Louisbourg as prisoners of war. Another detachment of the regiment successfully defended Annapolis, resisting to two successive sieges conducted by the French from July to September 1744 and in May 1745. Then a detachment from St. John's garrison served as marines during a raid on French vessels anchored in Fishotte Bay, capturing 5 ships and 332 men. Until the end of the conflict, the regiment then served as garrison at Annapolis and St. John's.
In 1749, when Halifax (Nova Scotia) was founded, it was garrisoned by the grenadier company of the regiment under Captain Handfield.
In August 1750, part of the regiment, under Lieutenant-Colonel Lawrence, made an expedition against an Indian party established on the Missaguash River. During Fall, the British then built Fort Lawrence.
On July 1 1751, the regiment officially became the "40th Regiment of Foot".
During the Seven Years's War, the regiment was commanded by:
- 1752: Colonel Peregrine Hopson (effective command assumed by Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Lawrence from 1755)
- 1759: Colonel John Barrington
- December 1760: Colonel Robert Armiger
Service during the War
In 1755, the regiment was stationed in Nova Scotia where it garrisoned Fort Lawrence. In June, a detachment of 270 men took part in the expedition against Fort Beauséjour. The fort surrendered on June 16. From August to October, the regiment took part in the operations leading to the deportation of the Acadians.
In 1756, the regiment remained in Nova Scotia and did not take part to any major action.
In 1757, the regiment was selected for the planned campaign against Louisbourg or Québec. However, three French Naval Squadrons reinforced Louisbourg that summer and the British expedition was cancelled. When the expedition was abandoned, the various companies of the regiment were assigned to garrison duty in Halifax and Newfoundland. The 40th Foot spent the Winter 1757/1758 at Halifax, Nova Scotia.
In 1758, the regiment took part in a new expedition against Louisbourg. On May 28, the British Fleet departed Halifax. On June 8, when Lord Jeffrey Amherst's Army landed in Garbarus Bay near Louisbourg, the regiment was part of the right brigade under Whitmore. In June and July, the regiment played an active role in the Siege of Louisbourg. On June 13, elements of the regiment repulsed a French sortie. After the capitulation of Louisbourg on July 27, the light troops of the regiment were detached to take part in the capture of Isle Saint-Jean (present-day Prince Edward Island). The regiment was among the British troops left to garrison Louisbourg during the next winter.
In 1759, the grenadiers of the regiment were part of the British expedition against Québec. They formed a converged battalion known as "Louisbourg Grenadiers" with the grenadiers of the 22nd Foot and 45th Foot. On July 31, these grenadiers took part in the failed attack on the shores of Beauport, suffering heavy losses in the fight. On September 13, at the victorious Battle of the Plains of Abraham, they were on the right flank. Québec finally surrendered on September 18. At the end of October, Vice-Admiral Saunders fired his farewell salute and dropped down the Saint-Laurent River with his fleet. The grenadiers of the regiment, who had formed part of the “Louisbourg Grenadiers” during this campaign, embarked aboard the fleet and returned to Louisbourg where they wintered.
In 1760, 2 companies of the regiment were left in Newfoundland to garrison St. John's and Placentia while the remaining 8 companies sailed from Louisbourg up the Saint-Laurent River towards Montréal. After the capitulation of Montréal, these 8 companies assumed garrison duty in the town.
In the summer of 1761, the 8 companies of the regiment garrisoning Montréal were ordered to Staten Island. They were then sent to the West Indies where they arrived in Carlisle Bay in Barbados on December 24.
In January 1762, these 8 companies took part in the expedition against Martinique Island which capitulated on February 3. The same year, the regiment also participated in the Siege of Havanna which lasted from June 7 to August 13, ending with the capitulation of the city. The regiment then assumed garrison duty in Havanna.
In June 1762, the company garrisoning St-John's in Newfoundland surrendered to a French expeditionary force sent against the island.
In 1763, 8 companies of the regiment continued to garrison Havana until summer. They then returned to Halifax.
|Coat||brick red lined pale buff and laced white (white braid decorated with one thin dark blue line inside two thin pale buff lines) with 3 pewter buttons and 3 white buttonholes (same lace as above) under the lapel
|Waistcoat||brick red laced white (same lace as above) with pewter buttons and white buttonholes|
|Gaiters||white with black buttons|
brown, grey or black during campaigns (black after 1759)
Troopers were armed with a “Brown Bess” muskets, a bayonet and a sword.
Officers of the regiment wore the same as uniforms as the private soldiers but with the following differences:
- gold gorget around the neck
- a silver aiguilette on the right shoulder
- silver lace instead of the normal lace
- a crimson sash
Officers wore the same headgear as the private soldiers under thier command, however, officers of the Grenadier companies wore a more decorated mitre cap.
Officers were generally armed with a spontoon, though in battle some carried muskets instead.
The body of the drums was painted buff, with the King's cypher and crown, and the number of the regiment underneath.
For all colours, cords and tassels were crimson and gold.
King's Colour: Union with its centre decorated with a rose wreath around the regiment number "XL" in gold Roman numerals.
Regimental Colour: buff field, Union in the upper left canton, centre decorated with a rose wreath around the regiment number "XL" in gold Roman numerals.
Aylor, Ron: British Regimental Drums and Colours
Boscawen, Hugh: The Capture of Louisbourg, 1758, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, 2011
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
May R. and Embleton G. A.: Wolfe's Army, Osprey Publishing, London, 1974
Mills, T. F.: Land Forces of Britain the Empire and Commonwealth (a great website which has unfortunately disappeared from the web)
N.B.: the section Service during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.