6th Foot

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Origin and History

The regiment was raised from Irish troops for Dutch service in 1673 as the "Sir Walter Vane's Regiment". In 1685, James II requested their services during the Duke of Monmouth's rebellion and organised them into two units, given the precedence as the 5th and 6th Regiments of Foot. After Monmouth's defeat the regiment returned to the Netherlands, but when William III became king of England in 1688, it accompanied him. The regiment was nicknamed "The Dutch Guards". The same year, it was transferred to English Establishment.

During the Williamite War in Ireland, on July 11 1690, the regiment took part in the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. On July 22 1691, it was present at the Battle of Aughrim in 1691.

During the Nine Years War, the regiment served in Flanders from 1692 to 1695. On August 3 1692, it took part in the Battle of Steenkerque. In July and August 1695, it was present at the Siege of Namur and took part in the storming of the Brussels Gate.

During the War of Spanish Succession, the regiment served in Spain and Portugal. In April 1706, the regiment was at the Siege of Barcelona. On April 25 1707, it took part in the Battle of Almansa where it suffered heavy casualties. On July 27 1710, the regiment distinguished itself at the Battle of Almenar. On August 20, it was at the Battle of Saragossa where it captured Moorish standards, one of which having an antelope as centre device. On December 8 and 9, the regiment fought in the Battle of Brihuega.

In 1743, the regiment received the privilege to carry a badge representing an Antelope in recognition of its service at the Battle of Saragossa ( August 20 1710).

During the Jacobite Rising of 1745, the regiment was sent to secure the highland forts between Inverness and Fort William. On September 21, two companies took part in the Battle of Prestonpans where they were among the few who stood their ground. The regiment repulsed numerous attacks on Fort William.

On July 1 1751, when a Royal warrant reorganised the British infantry, the regiment was designated as the "6th Regiment of Foot".

In 1753, the regiment was sent to Gibraltar to assume garrison duty.

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was under the command of:

  • since November 1 1738 till June 14 1765: Lieutenant-general John Guise

Service during the War

Throughout the Seven Years' War, the regiment was stationed at Gibraltar and did not take part in any campaign.

In 1763, the regiment returned to England.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1756 (regimental lace not illustrated) - Source: Richard Couture from a template by Frédéric Aubert
Uniform Details
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced white with a black cockade (left side)
Grenadier British mitre with: a deep yellow front edged white embroidered with white scroll work with bright red leaves and decorated with the regimental badge (a white Antelope with silver collar and chain standing on a yellow ground); 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 3 yellow stripes; red back; a deep yellow headband edged white probably wearing the number 6 in the middle part behind; a white pompom with deep yellow threads in the centre
Neck-stock white
Coat brick red lined deep yellow and laced white (white braid decorated with 2 intertwined red zigzags)
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) with 4 pewter buttons and 4 white buttonholes (same lace as above) on the sleeve above each cuff
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
Cross-belt white
Waist-belt white
Cartridge Box black
Bayonet Scabbard black
Scabbard black
Foot gear black shoes


Troopers were armed 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

  • 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.

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, decorated with the Antelope, the ancient badge of the regiment, and the number “VI” under it. The rims were red.

Colours

King's Colour: Union with its centre decorated with the Antelope, the ancient badge of the regiment. The regiment number "VI" in Roman gold numerals in the upper left corner.

Regimental Colour: deep yellow field with its centre decorated with the Antelope, the ancient badge of the regiment. The Union in the upper left corner with the number "VI" in Roman gold numerals in its centre; A crown with a rose in the three other corners.

King's Colour - Source: Frédéric Aubert
Regimental Colour - Source: Frédéric Aubert

References

This article incorporates texts of the following source:

  • Cannon, Richard: Historical record of the Sixth, or Royal First Warwickshire Regiment of Foot, London: Cloews and sons, 1839
  • Wikipedia Royal Warwickshire Regiment

Other sources

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