38th Foot

From Project Seven Years War
Jump to navigationJump to search

Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> British Army >> 38th Foot

Origin and History

The regiment was raised at Lichfield on 2 June 1705 as the “Luke Lillingston's Regiment of Foot”.

In 1716, the regiment was sent to the Leeward Islands in the Caribbean where it was stationed till 1765.

On July 1 1751, when a Royal warrant reorganised the British infantry, the regiment was designated as the "38th Regiment of Foot".

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

  • from May 26, 1756: Major-General Sir James Ross
  • from October 12, 1760: Major-General David Watson
  • from November 11, 1761: Major-General Andrew Robinson
  • from April 12, 1762 to November 24, 1766: Major-General Hon. Sharrington Talbot

Service during the War

At the outbreak of the war, the regiment was still garrisoning the Leeward Islands in the Caribbean.

At the beginning of 1759, the regiment took part in the expedition against Martinique and Guadeloupe. After the surrender of Guadeloupe (May 1st), the regiment, who had suffered heavy losses during this difficult campaign, returned to its old quarters in the Leeward Islands.

In January and February 1762, the regiment took part in 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 Havana suffering heavy losses from sickness during the following months.



Uniform in 1758, showing turnbacks of brown linen - Copyright Kronoskaf
Uniform Details
Musketeer black tricorne laced white with a black cockade (left side)
38th Foot Grenadier Mitre Cap - Source: Digby Smith and rf-figuren
British mitre with: a bright yellow front edged white and embroidered with white scroll work a royal blue King's cypher surmounted by a crown (yellow with red cushions, white pearls and ermine headband); a small red front flap with the white horse of Hanover surmounted by the motto "Nec aspera terrent" and with a royal blue and yellow bottom strip; red back; a bright yellow headband edged white probably wearing the number 38 in the middle part behind; a bright yellow within white pompom
Neckstock white
Coat brick red lined with brown linen (for the Leeward Islands station) and laced and edged white (white braid with one yellow central stripe and edged with 2 green stripes) with 3 white buttonholes under the lapels (same lace as above)
Collar none
Shoulder Straps red ornamented with the regimental lace (same lace as above) and fastened with a white button (left shoulder)
Lapels bright yellow 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 bright 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 the cuff
Turnbacks yellow (probably brown linen during this period since the coat was lined with this fabric)
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 natural leather
Waistbelt natural leather
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 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.


According to the Royal Clothing Warrant of 1751:

The drummers of the regiment were clothed in bright 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 fore part of the drums was painted bright yellow, with the king's cypher and crown, and the number “XXXVIII” under it. The rims were red.


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

Regimental Colour: bright yellow field; centre device consisting of a rose and thistle wreath around the regiment number "XXXVIII" in gold Roman numerals. The Union in the upper left corner.

King's Colour - Copyright: Kronoskaf
Regimental Colour - Copyright: Kronoskaf


Aylor, Ron, British Regimental Drums and Colours

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. 90-103

Mills, T. F., Land Forces of Britain the Empire and Commonwealth through the Way Back Machine

Wikipedia 38th Foot

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