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29th (Worcestershire) Regiment of Foot

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Active  1694–1698 1702–1881
Type  Regiment
Allegiance  Great Britain
Role  Infantry
29th (Worcestershire) Regiment of Foot
Country  Kingdom of England  Kingdom of Great Britain  United Kingdom
Branch  English Army  British Army

The 29th (Worcestershire) Regiment of Foot was an infantry regiment of the British Army raised in 1694. It amalgamated with the 36th (Herefordshire) Regiment of Foot to become the 1st Battalion, the Worcestershire Regiment on 1 July 1881.



The regiment was first raised by Colonel Thomas Farrington as Thomas Farrington's Regiment of Foot on 16 February 1694. It was disbanded after the Treaty of Ryswick in December 1698 and reformed for the War of the Spanish Succession in 1702. The regiment served under John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough at the victory at the Battle of Ramillies in May 1706 against the French and in the siege of Ostend in June 1706. In June 1727 the regiment saw action defending Gibraltar from a Spanish attack.

Nova Scotia

In October 1745, the Regiment was sent to Fortress Louisbourg on Cape Breton Island. The following year, the regiment was in the Port-la-Joye Massacre during King George's War. The Canadiens and Mi'kmaq warriors massacred a significant portion of the regiment, in part, because they were unarmed. The battle led to an order that all officers in the regiment must always be armed, thus earning their first nickname as the Ever Sworded due to the swords the officers were required to wear even when off-duty.

In 1749, the regiment was at the site of Halifax, Nova Scotia, where the soldiers cleared the land for the new town during Father Le Loutre's War.

Until the middle of the eighteenth century British Army regiments were known by their colonel's name. This led to frequent changes of title. In 1747 regiments were required to establish their precedence, with each unit taking a numerical "rank". The process was completed in 1751 when a royal warrant formally substituted numbers for the names of colonels. Accordingly, Colonel Peregrine Hopson's Regiment became the 29th Regiment of Foot.

In 1759 Admiral Edward Boscawen gave to his brother Colonel George Boscawen 10 black youths he acquired in the capture of Guadeloupe from the French in the same year. These young men were released from slavery and joined the regiment as drummers, a tradition the regiment continued until 1843.

Boston Massacre

In 1768 the regiment along with the 14th Regiment of Foot were sent to Boston, where on the evening of 5 March 1770, men of the regiment's Grenadier Company under the command of Captain Thomas Preston took part in the Boston Massacre: five colonists died during the riot in front of the Boston customs house. Due to the incident, the regiment earned the nickname the Vein Openers for drawing first blood in the American Revolution. The soldiers involved were tried for murder and were defended by John Adams (who later became President of the United States). Two men of the regiment, Hugh Montgomery and Matthew Kilroy, were found guilty of manslaughter and branded on the thumb. Captain Thomas Preston and the other men involved were found not guilty. The regiment left Boston in 1771 for British controlled Florida before returning to England in 1773.

American Revolution

Early in the spring of 1776 at the start of the second year of the American Revolutionary War, the regiment under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Patrick Gordon was sent with other British regiments to relieve the siege of Quebec City by an American army. On 25 July 1776 Gordon was shot and mortally wounded by Benjamin Whitcomb of Whitcomb's Rangers; Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Carleton of the 20th Regiment of Foot was then promoted to command the regiment. After pushing the American army down the Saint Lawrence River at the Battle of Trois-Rivières, men from the battalion companies served on board the ships of General Guy Carleton in the Battle of Valcour Island on Lake Champlain on 11 October 1776. In 1777, the Light Infantry Company and the Grenadier Company were with Lieutenant General John Burgoyne as he headed down from Montreal to Saratoga. Both the Light Infantry Company and Grenadier Company saw action at the Battle of Hubbardton under the command of Brigadier Simon Fraser, as part of his Advance Corps on 7 July 1777. Both companies surrendered with the rest of Burgoyne's Army after the defeats at Battle of Freeman's Farm and Battle of Bemis Heights in September and October 1777. The other eight Battalion Companies remained in Canada and took part in raids and small battles along the Vermont and New York frontiers during the rest of the American Revolution led by Major Christopher Carleton and Lieutenant John Enys.

On 31 August 1782 a royal warrant was issued conferring county titles on all regiments of foot that did not already have a special title. The regiment was retitled as the 29th (Worcestershire) Regiment of Foot. The change was an attempt to improve recruitment, but no depot was established in the county, and Worcestershire recruits were liable to serve in any regiment. The regiment returned to England in 1787.

During the winter of 1791 Princess Augusta presented the regiment with the music of a march of her own composing, which received the name of 'The Royal Windsor'. The march, with its impressive drum cadence recalling later American marches, appears to have been composed by Princess Augusta at Windsor Castle under the tutelage of Lord William Cathcart. It appears that the Princess used material of Russian origin.

Napoleonic Wars

On 1 June 1794, the regiment served as marines aboard the Royal Navy ships HMS Brunswick and HMS Ramillies during the naval battle known as the Glorious First of June under Admiral Richard Howe against a French Fleet in the North Atlantic Ocean. During the fight HMS Brunswick sunk the French Ship of the Line Le Vengeur du Peuple and disabled the Achille. The regiment was awarded a naval crown dated 1 June 1794 for its participation in the engagement. The regiment went on to serve under the Duke of York ay the Battle of Alkmaar in October 1799 during Anglo-Russian Invasion of Holland.

The regiment joined the Sir Arthur Wellesley's Army in Spain and Portugal in January 1808. At the Battle of Roliça on 17 August 1808 the regiment along with the 9th Regiment of Foot assaulted a French position on the heights for over two hours until the French lines broke. Colonel Lake was killed, eight other officers were wounded and 144 men were killed or wounded. At the Battle of Vimeiro on 21 August 1808, the regiment held off a French attack giving time for the 71st Regiment of Foot time to regroup and rejoin the battle. The regiment also took part in the Battle of Grijó on 10 and 11 May 1809.

At the Battle of Talavera, the regiment and the 48th Regiment of Foot together with a composite battalion attacked three French regiments (24th Line, 96th Line and the 9th Light) on the hill called Cerro de Medellin. After the composite battalion broke, the 29th — with a single volley and a bayonet charge — drove the French from the hill on the evening of 27 July 1809, the French 9th Light Regiment receiving the brunt of the assault. On the morning of 28 July 1809, massed French artillery fire hit the hill followed by an assault by the French 24th Line and 96th Line Regiments. The French regiments (6 battalions total) advanced in column and the British defended the hill in a line formation. The firepower of the line where all members could shoot soon overwhelmed the French attack. The regiment captured two French colours in the bayonet charge then drove the French regiments off the field.

The regiment saw action again, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Daniel White, at the Battle of Albuera on 16 May 1811 when Ensigns Edward Furnace and Richard Vance gave their lives to save the regiment's colours. Lieutenant Colonel White died in Elvas, Portugal on 3 June 1811 of wounds received in the battle. Having suffered heavy losses, the regiment was sent back to England to recruit more men.

War of 1812

In 1814 the regiment was dispatched back to Nova Scotia, Canada during the War of 1812. The regiment did not see any major action while stationed in North America and were quickly recalled back to Europe in 1815 to face Napoleon during the Hundred Days campaign but arrived shortly after the Battle of Waterloo.


In April 1842 the regiment was sent to Bengal. The regiment saw action in the Punjab area of India at the Battle of Ferozeshah in December 1845 and again at the Battle of Sobraon on 10 February 1846 during the First Anglo-Sikh War. At Sobraon two battalions of Indian Sepoys twice unsuccessfully assaulted the sikh earthworks before finally breaking through on the third assault: the regiment's commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Charles Taylor was killed in the assault.

The regiment fought at the Battle of Chillianwala in January 1849 and the Battle of Gujrat in February 1849 during the Second Anglo-Sikh War. A large detachment from the regiment helped to keep the Grand Trunk Road open between Kabul and Bangladesh during the Indian Rebellion.


In 1873 a practical system of recruiting areas based on counties was instituted. The 29th Sub-District, consisting of the counties of Herefordshire and Worcestershire was created, with headquarters at Norton Barracks, three miles from the city of Worcester. The barracks became the depot for the regiment along with the 36th (Herefordshire) Regiment of Foot and the militia of the two counties. On 1 July 1881 the Childers Reforms came into effect and the regiment became the 1st Battalion, the Worcestershire Regiment, while the 36th became the 2nd battalion.

Garter Star badge

The regimental badge of the regiment and later of the Worcestershire Regiment show the influence of the Coldstream Guards on the regiment. The Coldstream Guards and the 29th are the only two regiments to have the elongated star and garter of the Order of the Garter as their regimental badge with its motto "Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense" translated "Shame be to him who evil thinks" earning a third nickname The Guards of the Line.

Battle honours

Battle honours won by the regiment were:

  • Peninsula War: Roliça, Vimeiro, Talavera, Albuhera, Peninsula
  • First Anglo-Sikh War: Ferozeshah, Sobraon
  • Second Anglo-Sikh War: Chillianwala, Goojerat, Punjab
  • Ramillies (awarded to successor regiment, 1882)
  • Ushant (awarded to successor regiment, 1909)
  • Regimental Colonels

    Colonels of the Regiment were:

  • 1694–1698: Lt-Gen. Thomas Farrington
  • regiment disbanded 1698
  • regiment reformed 1702
  • 1702–1712: Lt-Gen. Thomas Farrington
  • 1712–1725: Gen. Lord Mark Kerr
  • 1725–1731: Col. Henry Disney
  • 1731–1733: Gen. William Anne Keppel, 2nd Earl of Albemarle, KG, KB
  • 1733–1739: Lt-Gen. George Reade
  • 1739–1748: Maj-Gen. Francis Fuller
  • 1748–1752: Maj-Gen. Peregrine Thomas Hopson
  • 29th Regiment of Foot - (1751)
  • 1752–1761: Lt-Gen. Hon. George Boscawen
  • 1761–1769: Lt-Gen. George Forbes, 4th Earl of Granard (Viscount Forbes)
  • 1769–1783: Lt-Gen. William Evelyn
  • 29th (Worcestershire) Regiment of Foot
  • 1783–1788: Lt-Gen. William Tryon
  • 1788–1792: Gen. Charles Stanhope, 3rd Earl of Harrington, GCH
  • 1792–1797: Gen. William Cathcart, 1st Earl Cathcart, KT
  • 1797–1828: Gen. Gordon Forbes
  • 1828–1850: F.M. Sir John Byng, 1st Earl of Strafford, GCB, GCH
  • 1850–1863: Gen. Sir Ulysses Burgh, 2nd Baron Downes, GCB
  • 1863–1868: Gen. Sir James Simpson, GCB
  • 1868–1881: Gen. John Longfield, CB
  • References

    29th (Worcestershire) Regiment of Foot Wikipedia