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Origin and History
On June 11 1685, a new regiment of 12 companies of fusiliers and 1 company of miners (no company of grenadiers) was created by George Legge, 1st Baron Dartmouth to escort the artillery train. It was formed of two companies of the garrison of the Tower of London and of ten new companies of fusiliers raised in London. The company of miners was raised on 15 June. Because of their role as artillery escort, soldiers of this regiment were all armed with flintlock muskets. This regiment was initially named “The Tower Guards” or the “Ordnance Regiment”.
Each company comprised:
- 3 officers
- 3 sergeants
- 3 corporals
- 2 drummers
- 100 privates
In September 1685, three companies of the regiment were sent to Sheerness where they remained until October. Before the end of the year, the regiment was reduced to 11 companies of fusiliers, each company being reduced to:
- 3 officers
- 3 sergeants
- 3 corporals
- 2 drummers
- 50 privates
The company of miners was also reduced to:
- 2 officers
- 1 sergeant
- 2 corporals
- 1 drummer
- 40 privates
In 1686, the regiment took part in the training camp on Hounslow Heath. In 1687, a twelfth company of fusiliers was added to the unit which once more took part in a training camp on Hounslow Heath.
In 1688 a company of grenadiers was added to the regiment. At the end of September, Lord Dartmouth was ordered to send a lieutenant, with 40 fusiliers and some NCOs to serve as marines on board the fleet, against the anticipated invasion of William Prince of Orange (the future William III). In November and December, the regiment remained in London during the crisis which lead to the exile of King James II. At the end of December, some officers and soldiers of the regiment were dismissed from service because of their “Papist” sympathies and the unit sent to Barnet and then to Norwich (7 coys) and Yarmouth (6 coys).
In 1689, during the Nine Years' War (1688–97), the regiment embarked at Harwich for the Dutch Republic.
In the spring of 1690, the regiment was recalled to England. It was renamed the “7th Regiment of Foot, Royal Fusiliers”, retaining only its companies of fusiliers. At the end of August, it embarked for Ireland where it took part in the sieges and capture of Cork and Kinsale. It was then placed in garrison in Kinsale.
On January 11 1691, the regiment embarked at Kinsale to return to Flanders, arriving in Ostend in early April. In 1692, it took part in the unsuccessful defence of Namur and in the Battle of Steenkerque; in 1693, in the Battle of Landen. By 1695, the troopers already had the privilege to wear the mitre cap. Exceptionally, the regiment had no grenadier company. The same year, the regiment took part in the siege and capture of Namur. In 1696, it was sent back to England to resist a possible French invasion. However on its way, it received new orders to return to Flanders. In 1697, after the Treaty of Ryswick, it returned to England.
N.B.: from 1696 to 1713, the regiment was also known as “Tyrawley's Foot”.
In 1698, the regiment was sent to the Channel Islands: Guernsey (6 coys) and Jersey (7 coys).
In 1700, three companies were removed from the regiment and sent to New York where they would serve as independent companies.
In 1702, during the War of the Spanish Succession (1702–13), seven companies of the regiment took part in the unsuccessful expedition against Cádiz and in the Battle of Vigo Bay. In 1703, it successively stationed at Portsmouth and Reading. In 1704 and 1705, it remained in England. In 1706, it was sent to Spain where it participated in the relief of Barcelona and occupied Girona. In 1707, the regiment took part in the unsuccessful defence of Lérida. The remnants of the regiment were allowed to rejoin the Allied army. For the campaign of 1708, the remaining men were drafted into other regiments. In the early summer, officers and staff were sent back to Great Britain to recruit. On August 18 1709, the newly recruited regiment sailed for Spain. From 1710 to 1712, it served in Spain.
From 1713 to 1718, the regiment was in garrison at Minorca.
In 1718, during the War of the Quadruple Alliance (1717-1720), the regiment garrisoned Messina in Sicily. On July 13, the regiment was transferred from the English to the Irish Establishment. On August 11, it may have taken part in the Battle of Cape Passaro. In 1719, it was recalled to Great Britain and was sent to Ireland.
From 1719 to 1726, the regiment remained in Ireland.
In 1727, the regiment returned to England where it remained until 1732.
In 1732, the regiment was sent to garrison Gibraltar where it remained until 1749.
In 1747, the regiment was renamed the "Royal English Fuziliers".
In 1749, the regiment was sent to Ireland where it served until 1755.
On July 1 1751, when a Royal warrant reorganised the British infantry, the regiment was designated as the "7th Regiment of Foot (Royal Fusiliers)".
During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was commanded by:
- from August 20 1754 to November 12 1776: General Lord Robert Bertie
Service during the War
In 1755, the regiment consisted of 3 field officers, 7 captains, 11 lieutenants, 9 ensigns, 4 staff, 20 sergeants, 20 corporals, 10 drummers and 350 privates. On March 31, it embarked at Cork for England. On April 9, it arrived at Bristol. During the summer, the regiment was augmented from 29 men per company to 70. Two companies were also added. At the end of the year, it was sent to Dover Castle.
On March 2 1756, the regiment was reviewed in Dover Castle by the Duke of Cumberland. It then proceeded to Portsmouth. On March 30, it embarked on board Admiral Byng's squadron. On April 5, this squadron sailed from Portmouth. On April 17, it reached Lisbon. Byng's squadron was sailing to Minorca to relieve the British force besieged in Fort St. Philip since three weeks. The fleet was so slenderly manned that Byng required the regiment for duty on board ship. However, a French fleet under M. de la Galissonière prevented Byng from reaching Minorca and the British fleet retired towards Gibraltar.
From 1757 to 1763, the regiment remained at Gibraltar.
In 1763, the regiment returned to Great Britain and was quartered at Chatham.
|Coat||brick red lined blue and laced white (white braid with a blue line) with 3 pewter buttons and 3 white buttonholes (same lace as above) under the lapel
|Waistcoat||brick red laced white (same lace as above)|
|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 coat as the private soldiers but with the following differences:
- silver gorget around the neck
- a silver aiguilette on the right shoulder
- silver lace instead of the normal lace
- a crimson sash
Officers eore the same headgear as the private sldirs 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 a musket instead.
According to the Royal Clothing Warrant of 1751:
- The drummers of the regiment wore the royal livery. They were clothed in red, lined, faced, and lapelled on the breast with blue, and laced with the royal lace (golden braid with two thin purple central stripes).
The drum body was blue decorated with the regimental badge (the rose within the garter), surmounted by a crown. The rank of the regiment was painted underneath.
King's Colour: Union with its centre decorated with a rose within the garter and crown over it. The regiment number "VII" in Roman gold numerals in the upper left corner.
Regimental Colour: Dark blue field with its centre decorated with a rose within the garter and crown over it. The Union in the upper left corner with the regiment number "VII" in Roman gold numerals in its centre. The white horse of Hanover in the three other corners.
This article incorporates texts of the following source which is now in the public domain:
- Wheater, W.: Historical Record of the Seventh of Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, 1875
Aylor, Ron: British Regimental Drums and Colours
Farmer, John S.: The Regimental Records of the British Army, London: Grant Richards, 1901
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
Lawson, Cecil C. P.: A History of the Uniforms of the British Army - from the Beginnings to 1760, vol. II, p. 101
Mills, T. F.: Land Forces of Britain the Empire and Commonwealth (an excellent website which unfortunately seems to have disappeared from the web)
Walton, Clifford: History of the British Standing Army A.D. 1660 to 1700, London, 1894, pp. 44-45, 854
N.B.: the section Service during the War is partly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.