4th Foot

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> British Army >> 4th Foot

Origin and History

During the summer of 1680, a regiment of 16 companies (about 1,040 troopers) was raised by major Charles Trelawney in London and in the West Country. It was initially known as "Earl of Plymouth's Regiment of Foot". It served in Tangier from its creation until February 1684 when it returned to England.

In 1684, the regiment was renamed "Duchess of York and Albany's Regiment of Foot". In February 1685, it was renamed once more to "Queen Consort's Regiment of Foot".

In 1703, the regiment became the "Queen's Own Regiment of Marines".

In 1710, the regiment became the "Queen's Own Regiment of Foot".

In 1715, the regiment became the "King's Own Regiment of Foot".

On July 1 1751, when a Royal warrant reorganised the British infantry, the regiment was designated as the "4th (King's Own) Regiment of Foot".

As per a resolution of September 20 1756, a second battalion was exceptionally added to the regiment. Two years later, on April 21 1758, this second battalion was made a distinct regiment as the 62nd Regiment of Foot.

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

  • in 1756: colonel Rich
  • from December 5 1756 to January 23 1765: lieutenant-general Alexander Duroure

Service during the War

In 1756, the regiment was stationed in Minorca. After the capitulation of the British defending the fortress of Saint. Philip on June 28 1756, it was sent to Gibraltar.

In November 1758, the regiment was under orders for foreign service in the West Indies as part of major-general Peregrine Hopson force destined to the expedition against Martinique and Guadeloupe. On November 12, it was aboard the convoy who sailed from Spithead for the Leeward Islands.

On January 3 1759, the convoy reached Carlisle Bay in Barbados. On January 13, the whole British force sailed for Martinique Island. On January 16, the British infantry landed near Fort Royal. On January 17, the grenadiers of the regiment joined those of the other units and together dislodged a French force entrenched near the British camp. Unable to make any significant progress, Hopson re-embarked. The expeditionary force then redirected its efforts against Guadeloupe Island. On January 23, the British fleet bombarded and almost completely destroyed the town of Basse-Terre. On January 24, the regiment was landed and occupied the town. From then on, it actively took part in the numerous actions of this campaign. On April 12 at Mahault Bay near Arnouville, the regiment, along with the II./42nd Royal Highland Foot, attacked the left of the French positions, driving them out of a redoubt at the point of the bayonet. The island finally capitulated on May 1. The campaign had been very difficult and the losses were heavy. Crump was installed as governor. The regiment along with the 63rd Foot and 65th Foot was left with him to garrison the island.

In mid May 1760, 200 men of the 68th Foot, which had been sent from Great Britain as reinforcements, landed at Petitbourg, opposite Grande-Terre. These men were drafted into the 4th Foot which was garrisoning Petitbourg. This regiment had lost nearly 300 men since the capitulation of the island. Before the arrival of reinforcements, the regiment had scarcely 50 men fit for duty. In June, the 4th Foot was relieved by the 63rd Foot arriving from Fort Royal.

In June 1761, a detachment of the regiment, which was garrisoning Guadeloupe Island, took part in the expedition against Dominica. The detachment then returned to Guadeloupe. In mid November, the garrison was once more ordered to send men to Barbados where they would wait for the arrival of an amphibious force destined to an expedition against the Martinique island. At about this time, the 100th Campbell's Highlanders arrived at Guadeloupe along with drafts of the 102nd Queen's Royal Volunteers and an independent company. All of which, along with the 4 independent companies previously arrived at the end of 1760, were ordered to be reduced and drafted into the 3 regiments of the garrison (4th Foot, 63rd Foot, and 65th Foot).

In January and February 1762, the regiment took part to the siege of Fort Royal and to the conquest of Martinique Island. Then from March to August, it participated to the siege and capture of Havanna suffering heavy losses from sickness during the following months.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1756 - Source: Frédéric Aubert
Uniform Details
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced white and a black cockade (left side)
Grenadier
4th Foot Grenadier Mitre Cap (as per Morier in 1751) - Source: Digby Smith and rf-figuren
British mitre with: a dark blue front edged white embroidered with white floral twigs and with the regimental badge (a yellow "GR" on a red field within a dark blue Garter belt edged in yellow wearing the motto "Honi soit qui mal y pense" in yellow) 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" in white and with a yellow on green bottom strip; red back; a dark blue headband edged white probably wearing the number 4 in the middle part behind; a white pompom with dark blue inner threads
Neckstock white
Coat brick red lined blue and laced white (white braid with a blue zigzag) with 3 pewter buttons and 3 white buttonholes (same lace as above) under the lapel and brick red shoulder wing laced white (same lace as above)
Collar none
Shoulder Straps brick red (left shoulder only) fastened with a pewter button
Lapels blue laced white (same lace as above) with 7 pewter buttons and 6 white buttonholes (same lace as above)
Pockets horizontal pockets laced white (same lace as above)
Cuffs blue slashed cuffs laced white (same lace as above) with 4 pewter buttons and 4 white buttonholes (same lace as above) on the sleeve above each cuff
Turnbacks blue
Waistcoat brick red laced white (same lace as above)
Breeches blue
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 a “Brown Bess” muskets, a bayonet and a sword.

Officers

Officers of the regiment wore the same uniforms as the private soldiers but with the following differences

  • silver gorget around the neck
  • a silver aiguilette on the rigt 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

Drummers wore the standard uniform of the musicians of the Royal regiments.

The drum body was blue with the King's cypher surmounted by a crown and with the number of the regiment under the cypher.

Colours

King's Colour: Union with its centre decorated with the King's cypher on a red ground within a blue garter surmounted by a gold crown lined red, the whole pattern within a rose and thistle wreath. The regiment number "IV" in roman gold numerals in the upper left corner.

Regimental Colour: Blue field with its centre decorated with the King's cypher on a red ground within a blue garter surmounted by a gold crown lined red, the whole pattern within a rose and thistle wreath. The Union in the upper left corner with the regiment number "IV" in roman gold numerals in its centre. The gold crowned lions of England on a green mound in the three other corners. During the period when the regiment counted two battalions (September 1756 to 1758), the colours of first battalions had one flame and those of the second two flames descending from the upper left corner of the flag towards its centre.

King's Colour - Source: PMPdeL
Regimental Colour - Source: PMPdeL

References

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, pp. 70-73

Aylor, Ron, British Regimental Drums and Colours

Ede-Barrett, Stephen, The Early Colours of the Regiment of Foot Numbered the 4th, 18th Century Military Notes & Queries No. 5

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

Mills, T. F., Land Forces of Britain the Empire and Commonwealth

N.B.: the section Service during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.