In Collaboration With Charles Griffin

Raising of the Regiment, 1755
The regiment was raised as the 57th in Stirling by Colonel George Perry. The warrant was dated 31st December 1755 so recruiting did not take place until 1756. Despite it's position north of the Edinburgh to Glasgow line it was never designated a Highland regiment. When the 50th and 51st were disbanded, the 57th was re-numbered 55th.
Ticonderoga 1758
The 55th were sent to North America at the outbreak of the Seven Years War. They formed part of General Abercromby's force which proceeded towards Fort Ticonderoga on the southern tip of Lake Champlain. The British were aided by American Provincials and led by the energetic Brigadier Howe. Unfortunately he was killed and the attack was organised by his inept superior, Abercromby. The French had only 3,600 men compared to the British/American army of 15,000. Montcalm, the French commander had strong abbatis built in front of the fort, in effect an inpenetrable wall of bushes and thorns. Abercromby should have used his well armed artillery but ordered an infantry assault on 8th July 1758. This failed badly and the reserves, made up of the 42nd Highlanders and the 55th went in with great bravery. The 42nd suffered the most casualties and the 55th lost 150 men. The attack was called off and Abercromby was replaced by General Amherst.
Niagara 1759
When the regiment had recovered from it's losses, it resumed the campaign in Canada and America. They garrisoned Fort Niagara after it was taken in 1759 and repulsed an attack by 1,800 French and 500 Indians. They stayed in North America for some years after the war and in 1765 went to Ireland for 10 years.
The War of American Independence 1775-8
The 55th were sent out to America on 5th August 1775 and arrived in Boston in late December. This time they were fighting Americans, people who had been their allies in the Seven Years War against the French. The grenadier and light companies were detached and formed into battalions with flank companies from 18 other regiments. Colonel Meadows of the 55th commanded the 1st Grenadier Battalion but the grenadier company of the 55th were in the second battalion under Colonel Monckton of the 45th Foot. The Light Company were in the 2nd Light battalion. The remaining companies of the 55th were in IVth Brigade under Major-General Grant. The British Army was commanded by Sir Henry Clinton and Lord William Howe, brother of Lord George Augustus Howe who had been Colonel of the 55th in 1758.

New York 1776

55th Foot New York
New York 1776
In the New York campaign the regiment were at the Battle of Brooklyn (Long Island) on 27th August 1776. The brunt of the action fell on the grenadier and light battalions (167 casualties) and the IVth brigade (38 casualties), so the whole regiment was involved. Another battle at Haarlem on 16th Sept involved the Light Battalion and the 42nd Foot (100 casualties) and the regiment fought at White Plains on 28th October. New York 1776 A French print of the British landing at New York in July 1776, the month that the American Colonies declared their independence.

Philadelphia 1777

For the Philadelphia campaign the Grenadier Company was in the 1st Grenadier Battalion and the Light Company in the 2nd Light Battalion. The remaining companies, numbering 16 NCOs and 244 men, were in the 2nd Division (Lord Cornwallis), 3rd Brigade (Brigadier Grey). The regiment were at Brandywine on 11th Sept and Germantown on 4th October where the British gained victories.

St Lucia 1778

In November 1778 the 55th were sent to St Lucia, one of the Windward Isles, along with 9 other regiments, a force of 5,147 effectives which included their flank companies. Sir Henry Clinton who commanded the British and German troops on North America complained about the decision to send them away, calling it a severe dismemberment. He regarded the British troops as the very nerves of the Army, the German units as less zealous and less inured to service. The regiments landed on 13th December and the flank companies again formed into battalions numbering 1,300 commanded by Colonel Meadows of the 55th. These men faced a French army of 12,000 and defeated them. They were running low on ammunition so stood staunchly waiting as the French advanced. Their final volley unnerved the enemy who retreated. Within 2 weeks the French had quit the island.

French Revolutionary War 1793-1802
The regiment managed to serve in two theatres of the war at once since the light company went to the West Indies, and the grenadier and battalion companies were sent to the continent to fight in Flanders under the Hanoverian General Hamerstein. Later they served under Count Walmoden at Nieguen and in the winter retreat along the Waal to Bremen. The light company fought at Martinique, St Lucia and Guadeloupe, later being reinforced by the remainder of the 55th who were sent out to help recapture St Lucia for the third time.

Holland 1799 and West Indies

After returning from the West Indies in 1799 the regiment took part in the invasion of Holland which was under the French controlled Batavian Republic. After this they were quartered on the Channel Islands then, in 1802, sent back to the West Indies to serve in Jamaica for 10 years. Whilst there they took part in an attack on St Domingo in 1809 to relieve the Spanish.

Bergen op Zoom 1814

The British under the command of Sir Thomas Graham made an abortive attack on French-held Bergen op Zoom, 21 miles north of Antwerp. The defenses had been constructed by the great Dutch engineer Coehorn and were considered impregnable. The 55th were with the 33rd, 69th and the Guards, marching from Santvliet in the early hours of 8th March 1814. As they approached the fortifications they were exposed to a very intense volley from the ramparts. Major Hog, commanding the 55th ordered them to follow him over two pallisades and up a bank to take cover on an icy surface. The situation was impossible and messages were sent back to ask for orders. Finally a retreat was ordered by Col Morice of the 69th but as they exposed themselves to renewed enemy fire many casualties were sustained.

The disorganised regiments reformed and managed to gain access into a bastion but were in a state of confusion and were required to withdraw. The force surrendered to the French, but not before the Colours had been taken from their poles and concealed under the coats of the two ensigns who had carried them into battle, Ensign Edward Ring and Ensign George Goodall. They were all taken prisoner but soon released, the hidden Colours being successfully brought back and thus saved from capture.

Corps of Drums and Musicians
The Two Fives
1755 - 1881
1755 - 1881
Commanding Officers
1855 - 1881
1755 - 1881
Battle Honours
War of American Independence 1775-78

Crimean War 1854-5

1755 57th Regiment of Foot
1757 55th Regiment of Foot
1783 55th (or Westmoreland) Regiment of Foot
1881 The Border Regiment (Amalgamated with the 34th Foot)
Further Reading
Tried and Valiant: The History of the Border Regiment 1755 - 1959
by Douglas Sutherland
Recollections of the Peninsula: An Officer of the 55th Regiment of Foot-'The Cumberland Gentlemen'
by Moyle Sherer
Ensign Bell in the Peninsular War - The Experiences of a Young British Soldier with the 55th Regiment of Foot in the Peninsular Campaign of the Napoleonic Wars
by George Bell
Shoulder-Belt Plates and Buttons
by Maj H G Parkyn OBE (Gale & Polden 1956) Regiment (Magazine) June/July 1995 (Nexus)
Like Hungry Wolves - Culloden Moor 16 April 1746
by Stuart Reid (Windrow and Greene 1994)

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