In Collaboration With Charles Griffin

Origins of the Regiment, 1st May 1572
The Netherlands were originally a group of sovereignties that had once been part of the empire of Charlemagne. But by marriage, inheritance and conquest within the French, German and Spanish monarchies the region came under the control of Philip II of Spain. The Protestant Flemish and Dutch people were disunited and oppressed by their Catholic Spanish overlords, so they sought the help of their fellow Protestants in England.

Queen Elizabeth was concerned that Spain had a foothold in northern Europe and gave orders for the raising of a regiment of 3,000 men from various militia and trained band units. They were mustered on a rainy day, 1st May 1572, at Greenwich in the presence of the Queen. Amongst this gathering was a company of 300 raised by Captain Thomas Morgan, one hundred of which were 'gentlemen of property'. This unit was partly financed by the people of Flushing on the Island of Walcheren who had rebelled against their Spanish governor. Over the years this company grew in size and became 4 English regiments and 3 Scottish. However, when the Peace of Munster was declared in 1648 there were four regiments and they were recalled to England after they refused to withdraw their allegiance to the King of England. They arrived back in England and formed into one regiment for service under the British crown so that their date of raising as an infantry regiment of the line is 1665.

The Eighty Years War 1568-1648
The struggle between the Protestant Low Countries of Holland and Flanders, the Habsburg Netherlands, and their Catholic overlords in Spain lasted many years and involved soldiers from several European countries. The men who formed Thomas Morgan's company in 1572 were the forefathers of the unit that was officially incorporated into the English Army in 1665. This account is a short version of Richard Cannon's book Historical Record of the Third Regiment of Foot or The Buffs published in 1839.

Walcheren 1572

When the newly formed company arrived at Flushing the town was under siege by the Spanish under the Duke of Alva but the arrival of the English troops deterred them. Flushing attracted more English troops under the command of Sir Humphry Gilbert and there were now enough men to relieve Mons from Spanish occupation. But enemy reinforcements caused the English to retreat to the coast and back to the island of Walcheren. There they fought against the Spanish who made a sortie from Middleburg at night, bringing with them enough rope to hang all English prisoners. But the Spanish lost the battle and when it was discovered what the rope was intended for the survivors of the 2,000 strong Spanish garrison were all hanged by their own nooses.

Ter-Goes and Harlem 1572-3

Sir Humphrey then laid siege to Ter-Goes in which action Morgan's Company distinguished themselves. The siege failed, however, because a force of Spanish and Wolloons marched 7 miles through water from Bergen-op-Zoom to relieve the town. The Duke of Alva advanced on Holland and besieged Harlem which was garrisoned by 3,000 men including 200 English and Scots. Reinforcements arrived in the form of 10 newly raised companies from England now commanded by Sir Thomas Morgan. But Harlem was forced, through hunger, to surrender in August 1573 and the Spaniards executed 2,000 inhabitants. Morgan's men were also engaged at Delft.

Middleburg 1574

In 1574 Captain Morgan's regiment was sent to Walcheren to capture Middleburg. However, a Spanish Fleet arrived and took the town back from the English. When the fleet withdrew Morgan's men were allowed to embark on Dutch Ships to pursue the Spanish. They succeeded in capturing the main ships and destroying 30 others.

Ireland 1574

Colonel Morgan, as he is referred to at this point of the history, was recalled to England with 700 men of his regiment. They were reviewed by Queen Elizabeth at St James's Palace and then 400 of them were sent to Ireland to deal with Popish insurgents. They were 'the first good harquebusiers seen in England, and their activity and dextrous use of fire-arms brought the musket and harquebus into more general use in Her Majesty's dominions.'

Battle at Reminant (Rijmenam), 2nd Aug 1578

Don John of Austria was sent to govern the Low Countries in 1577, supplied with money and troops from Spain. Hostilites had ceased for some time but in the summer of 1578 they began again and the English regiments camped at Reminant near Malines. They were commanded by Colonels Norris, Morgan, Cavendish and Cotton. The Spanish vanguard approached from Louvain but were driven back across several fields to a large heath where the main army was drawn up. The Spanish attacked the left of the English line where they faced Scotsmen in shirtsleeves who were forced to retire, although fighting valiantly. Cavendish's harquebusiers managed to hold the enemy back for some time but needed help from Norris's 11 companies. Another company of English under Capt Bingham also kept the enemy in check on a small hill but they were driven off. One account tells of 'Lt William Markham a Nottinghamshire man, stern of countenance, strong of hands and courageous heart, like a lion, casting down, overthrowing and overmatching whomsoever he met with, made great havoc among the ranks of his foes.' Colonel Norris was seen 'like another Hector, cutting down his adversaries with dreadful carnage.' One small band of Englishmen were surrounded but fought hard to the last man. The battle swung back and forth, for and against both sides but in the end the Spanish were driven back and retreated. The Dutch States sent letters to England praising the English soldiers and especially mentioning Colonel John Norris and Lt Markham.

The Siege of Steenwick 1579-80

Sir John Norris
The Prince of Parma was now in command of the Spanish after Don John was poisoned. The English and Scots troops were at this point commanded by Colonel John Norris and he and his men were engaged in several skirmishes in Brabant and Holland. In October 1579 the enemy, under General Lelain besieged Steenwick, a town of Overyssel. Colonel Norris, at Brabant, was sent to relieve the garrison and took with him 2,000 men and a Troop of cuirassiers. He had been given the rank of General. He encountered a force of Spanish which he defeated on 15th Dec, and another battle took place near the River Aa. This action was hard fought but ended in victory for Norris's men and the retreat of the Spanish across the ice-bound river. Many threw away their armour when they saw others falling through the ice. The English and Scots retrieved enough armament to equip another 500 men. They went on to attack the enemy entrenchments around Steenwick and managed to get some men into the town. Norris set up camp nearby and a challenge was sent out by Thomas of Alba for single combat with lance and sword. An officer named Williams offered to take up the challenge but Norris insisted on entering the lists himself. They were completely encased in armour and had several fierce encounters but had to be separated.

The English were greatly outnumbered and were surrounded by the Spanish. Norris managed to put more men into the town but the Spanish could not engage them in open battle so decided to starve them out of their encampment. This lasted until 23rd Feb 1580 when relief came from Friesland and the Spanish lifted the siege. Another siege took place at Malines when General Norris attacked the town on 9th April 1580. Another single combat took place here in which Norris killed a tall stout Spanish friar who was wearing armour.

Northorn, 30th Sep 1580

Sir Thomas Morgan was still commanding his regiment as part of a mixed force of English and Flemish under General Norris. They marched into Friesland to confront the Spanish General Verdugo. At the battle of Northorn some English cuirassiers routed the enemy's vanguard and Morgan's men 'behaved well'. But the Flemish infantry were broken by a Spanish cavalry charge and Norris's army was forced to flee with severe loss in killed wounded and captured.

Ghent, Aug 1583

The French under the Duke of Anjou were now aiding the Flemish, and he and the Prince of Orange were in Ghent when Parma's large army approached. An allied force of 5,000 English, Scots, French and Dutch were camped a few miles away and fought a rearguard action as they withdrew towards the city. Norris was heavily involved in this fight with his thousand men and 3 squadrons of horse. The Duke of Anjou had created a powerful position for himself, and the Flemish rebelled with the result that fighting broke out against the French soldiers in Antwerp. Anjou fled to Dendermond where he was besieged by Norris's men. They forced the French to surrender the towns they had seized and drove them back to France. This was, of course, a distraction from the main focus of the struggle; the Spanish.

The Raising of Further English Troops 1585

The Spanish made moves towards Antwerp, the main city of the Provinces, capturing many other towns in the process. At the same time they sent assassins to kill the Prince of Orange, and in 1585 there was a successful attempt and the Flemish reached a low point in long war. They at first asked for help from Henry III of France, then approached Elizabeth. They offered her sovereignty over the United provinces, but she declined this responsibility and offered a further increase in military support. 5,000 infantry and 1,000 cavalry were to be raised on condition that three of her generals be admitted onto their council and the expenses be repaid at the end of the war.

Nimeguen, 15th Nov 1585

Norris's first success was on 15th Oct with the taking of a fort on the junction of the River Yssel and the Rhine, near Arnhem. This was followed up by the capture of another fortress in the vicinity of Nimeguen. Although it was now almost winter, a time when armies usually went into quarters, Norris put his men to work building a huge mound outside the city, on which he could place his artillery. They pounded the city and roused the Spanish occupants to action. They came out and offered battle to the English army on 15th Nov. Norris gave a rousing speech and the English surged forward and after a brief fight put the enemy to flight. He placed men in Nimeguen and proceeded to Brill where Elizabeth had appointed him governor.

Grave, 5th April 1586

More troops were sent to the Netherlands during the winter so that the the English force now numbered 8,000, now to be commanded by Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. He left the business of fighting to Norris, however, so that in 1586 a detachment of 300 was led to Grave which was under siege by Parma. A flotilla was also sent to the relief of the town. On 5th April they fought against 3,000 Spanish who forced them to retreat. But reinforcements arrived and they renewed their efforts with great success, killing 700 Spaniards. There was a counter attack by a fresh enemy force which ended the battle and caused Norris to withdraw. The town was captured a week later but the Spanish had regained it within two months.

Parma also captured Venloo and Nuys and proceeded to besiege Rhineberg which was garrisoned by 1,200 men under Colonel Thomas Morgan. To deflect the Spanish from this, Leicester ordered the siege of Doesburg. Two English regiments and one Dutch regiment were selected to storm the place. The regiments present at Doesburg included one Scots and six English regiments of foot. The English regiments were those of Sir Thomas Shirley, Sir William Stanley, Sir William Pelham, Lord Audley, H Digby, and Sir John Norris. But then the focus of English attack was switched to Zutphen and this had the effect of diverting the Spanish away from Rhineberg.

Warresfeldt, 22nd Sep 1586

The advancing Spanish army consisted of 2,200 musketeers, 800 pikemen and 15 Troops of cavalry. They were confronted by the regiments of Stanley, Audley and Norris. Volleys were fired and the English pikemen drove the enemy back but the Spanish cavalry came forward and charged at them. The English cavalry soon arrived, commanded by the Earl of Essex, Lord Willoughby and Sir William Russell. Sir Philip Sidney was also involved but received a fatal wound. The battle lasted 45 minutes. The siege of Zutphen continued until the end of the year but had to be abandoned.

Sluys 1587

The Duke of Parma was reinforced with troops from Germany and laid siege to Sluys in the spring of 1587. Around 800 English troops were able to get into the town to help defend it. The Spanish forced a breach 250 paces wide and stormed it several times. The defence of the breach was a desperate and heroic struggle, led by Sir Roger Williams and Captain Francis de Vere. When the garrison had been reduced from 1,600 to 700 men the officers held a consultation and agreed to surrender, but on the condition that they be permitted to march out with their baggage, drums beating and Colours flying, to embark for Zealand. They took an oath that if this was not allowed they would fight to the death. Parma saw how determined they were and let them march out of Sluys on 4th Aug 1587.

Elizabeth's Coat of Arms
England's Preparation for War 1588

In anticipation of war between Spain and England, Elizabeth made preparations and allowed Sir Francis Drake to attack the Spanish West Indies and make a raid on Cadiz. Philip of Spain had had his beard singed and put all his resources into preparing a huge Armada of ships to invade England with the avowed intention of wiping out the Protestants. England's response to this threat was to stiffen resolve, and a nationwide effort was made to build ships and train soldiers. Experienced officers like Sir John Norris and Sir Thomas Morgan were recalled from the Netherlands to help in these preparations. Thousands of men were posted along the south coast of England to watch for and repel the Armada, or lay waste to the countryside if they had to retreat inland. The main camp, at Tilbury contained 22,000 infantry and 1,022 cavalry, supplied by eleven counties. Kent contributed 5,000 infantry and 150 cavalry.

The Spanish Armada 1588

The Queen at Tilbury
The Duke of Medina set sail from Lisbon at the end of May 1588 with 100 galleons of greater size than any ever before used in Europe, plus 30 other vessels. It did not start well because a storm caused them to take shelter in Corunna. When they did set sail again they met the English fleet under Lord Howard the Lord High Admiral on 21st July. The English ships harried the Armada for several days until they reached Calais where they waited to be reinforced by the Duke of Parma. Howard sent fire-ships into the harbour on the night of the 6th Aug, causing the Spanish to cut their cables and take flight. There was much confusion and several Spanish ships were sunk or captured. The Duke of Parma's ships were of little use to the Armada as they were troops ships rather than fighting vessels. Medina decided to return home but the wind was not favourable so he had to head for the North Sea and hope to circumnavigate the British Isles. However, after passing the Orkneys a violent storm destroyed half the remaining Armada.

Bergen-op-Zoom, Nov 1588

Meanwhile, in the Netherlands, The Duke of Parma attacked Bergen-op-Zoom which was garrisoned by 12 companies of English Foot and some Flemish cavalry, under the command of Sir William Drury. But Sir Thomas Morgan hastened from England to take over and gained great credit for his conduct of the defence of the town. In one sortie from the town on 11th November Morgan's men were aided by 600 Scots and Flemish troops under Colonel Balfour. Parma set fire to his camp and retreated while the English and Scots pursued them. In this pursuit Sir Francis Vere distinguished himself and in 1589 was placed in command of the English troops in the Netherlands, a post he held for 20 years. His first success as Commander-in-Chief was the defence of the Island of Voorn in 1589. Parma had an army of 20,000 to capture the island but Vere managed to beat them off with only 800 men, of which 600 were English.

Rhineberg, 1589

The commander of the English troops was sent to Rhineberg which was under siege by the Spanish commander the Marquis of Warrenbon. They managed to get men and provisions into the town but more help was needed. Sir Francis Vere was sent to reinforce the garrison but was confronted by Spanish harquebusiers in a wood two miles from the town. Vere's pikemen charged and were backed up by English harqubusiers. The English were heavily outnumbered but managed to force the enemy to retreat. Vere wrote in his 'Commentaries' of this battle and claims that the Spanish threw away their armour, also that the cavalry left their horses and fled into the bush. The Marquis of Warrenbon was captured and his army of 14,000 foot soldiers and 1,200 horsemen were vanquished by 400 English. Vere had two English units of 400 each, only one of which was used in the battle. The other was commanded by Sir Oliver Lambert. The Dutch remained on the plain with the cavalry, and Count Overstein. Richard Cannon comments that this victory 'appears almost incredible, was the narrative not supported by collateral evidence.'

Zutphen, May 1591

The English contingent were employed for further sieges, notably the castle of Litkenhooven and the fortress of Wesel in the duchy of Cleves which was stormed only by the English troops. In 1591 English and Scots troops under Sir John Norris were sent by Elizabeth from the Netherlands to France to help the protestant King of Navarre accede to the French throne. Meanwhile there were enough English soldiers remaining in the Netherlands to besiege Zutphen a strong town on the river Yssel. A fort which was situated on the bank of the river was captured on 24th May 1591. Sir Francis Vere relates how he tricked the defenders by disguising his men as women and country men with concealed weapons, waiting for the ferry over the river. The assault on the fort was successful and the rest of the town surrendered on 30th May. The force involved in this siege contained 900 English and 600 Scottish infantry, the latter commanded by Colonel Balfour. This success was repeated with the same men when they captured Deventer.

Knodsenburg, Sep 1591

More forts were captured in Friesland but the Duke of Parma crossed the river Waal to besiege Knodsenburg opposite Nimeguen. The Spanish army vastly outnumbered the English and Flemish force so that the Prince of Orange and his Flemish cavalry were routed and pursued. However, Sir Francis Vere waylaid the Spanish and halted the pursuit so that the Flemish regained their courage and the combined English and Netherlands troops defeated Parma's men and forced the raising of the siege and a full retreat. They followed up this success by capturing Hulst on 24th Sep 1591 and Nimeguen on 22nd Oct.

Gertruydenberg, June 1593

In 1592 there was a successful siege of Steenwick in which Vere's English troops were in the second attack on 3rd July. The following year saw a new Spanish commander, Verdugo, since the Duke of Parma had died. In 1593 there was a determined siege of Gertruydenberg near the sea of Biesbosch. The English and Scots again distinguished themselves but the Scots suffered heavy casualties and remained in the town from June until the autumn during which time they were able to recruit more men.

Sir Francis Vere
Sir Francis Vere's Regiment 1594

During the winter of 1593/94 Sir Francis Vere raised additional companies of Foot in England for service in the Netherlands and 15 companies of 200 men each were formed into a regiment, of which Vere was appointed Colonel. They saw action when Verdugo besieged Coverden in the spring of 1594 but the Spanish were repulsed on 6th May by the Prince Maurice and his Anglo-Dutch force who in turn attacked the Spanish held garrison of Groningen on the River Hunes where the English distinguished themselves, causing the town's surrender on 22nd July.

The English Force Established

In 1595 Queen Elizabeth the States (the Low Countries) to repay the money expended by England on military aid. The States pleaded poverty and offered to fund the English troops in the Netherlands and repay what they owed by instalments. Her majesty acquiesced and the number of English troops in the pay of the States was fixed at 4,000 men. Sir Francis Vere's regiment had a strength of 2,200 English soldiers at this time.

Attack on Cadiz, 20th May 1596

There was a call to arms in England when Calais was threatened by Cardinal Albert, Archduke of Austria, operating on behalf of the Spanish king. But this threat was contained and Vere's regiment was diverted to Plymouth to be part of a 1,000 strong force sent to Cadiz commanded by Admiral Lord Charles Howard and the Earl of Essex. Vere was second in command to Essex and appointed Lord Marshal of the Field. They left England at the beginning of May 1596 and arrived at Cadiz on the south coast of Spain on the 20th. They captured or destroyed several key ships and Vere's regiment plus one other regiment, and 250 'gentleman volunteers' were landed without opposition. They proceeded to a place where camp could be set up and preparations made for a siege but the Spanish came out and faced them. Sir John Winkfield took 200 musketeers from Vere's regiment to combat the enemy skirmishers. The main body of the opposition advanced and forced them back so that the English supporting column came to their help. Essex brought up the rest of his force and the Spanish were driven back 'with great slaughter'. Those that remained alive retreated back to the town and defended the walls. Captain Usher with a few of Vere's men found a weak point and forced an entrance. This enabled the rest of the English to pour into the town, force the inner gates and crowd into the streets where they were pelted with stones. They captured the main buildings and pursued the Spanish who fled to Fort St Philip and the Abbey of St Francis. But by the following morning it was all over. Sir Francis Vere's regiment had played a major part in this important victory, and 60 of the gentleman volunteers were knighted. And as Cannon says: 'It was considered a distinguishing feature of the virtue of the English army that 3,000 Spanish ladies and merchants' wives were permitted to retire from Cadiz without being molested.' The reason that these ladies needed to leave Cadiz was because it was decided that the town should be destroyed and the walls and forts dismantled. The English then sailed to Faro on the Algarve and destroyed that as well, before returning to England.

Turnhout, 23rd Jan 1597

The English were urgently required back in the Netherlands and went there directly. During the winter of 1596/7 the Spanish army of 4,600 were camped at Turnhout 24 miles from Antwerp. Vere's regiment formed part of the force sent from Gertruydenburg on 23rd Jan 1597. The enemy withdrew as Prince Maurice and his army approached. The English carabineers and musketeers were sent forward to engage the enemy's rearguard and a skirmish ensued which continued for 5 miles. Both armies confronted each other on an area of heathland and the Spanish and Neapolitans were 'cut down with terrible slaughter'. 3,000 were killed or captured and 40 of their Colours taken. The English under Sir Francis Vere and Sir Robert Sidney greatly distinguished themselves.

The Azores, 1597

The English were again removed from the Netherlands for an attack on Ferrol and Corunna where the Spanish fleet was preparing to go to Ireland. Essex and his army set sail but were shattered and dispersed by a violent storm. The plan was changed so that, with a reduced army now only containing the Holland veterans, they headed for the Azores to intercept the Spanish West Indian Fleet. Fayal was captured along with 3 ships, and they went on to St Michael where the Spanish descended on the landed troops. Vere sent 30 of his men to hold them in check while the remainder re-embarked to return to England. During Sir Francis Vere's absence the English contingent in the Netherlands was commanded by his brother, Horace. The Scots troops succeeded in besieging Rhineberg, Meurs, Groll, Breevort, Enschede, Oldenzael and Ootmarsum between August and October. English and Scots troops captured Lingen on 12th Nov 1597. In this year also Sir Francis was appointed Governor of Brill.

Bommelwaert, 22nd May 1598

The Spanish planned a large invasion of the Netherlands in 1598 commanded by Don Francis Mendoza. In preparation for this Prince Maurice formed a defensive line in which the English, Scots, French, Germans, Swiss and Dutch were each assigned a sector of 24 miles. Mendoza concentrated his attack on the island of Bommelwaert between the Waal and the Maese rivers. However, a party of English and French attacked the enemy entrenchments on the night of the 22nd May, killing up to 600 of the enemy. More allied troops were brought to the area and the Spanish withdrew.

Ireland 1599

The Irish were encouraged by the Catholic Spanish king in their rebellion against England, and the Earl of Tyrone and other chiefs became enough of a threat to alarm Elizabeth. She sent the Earl of Essex, with hardy veterans from the war in the Netherlands, to 'reduce the insurgents to obedience'. Their place in the Low Countries was taken by new recruits from London and the Home Counties.

The Battle of Nieuwpoort, 2nd July 1600

The Battle of Nieuwpoort
The new troops were first engaged in the siege of Fort St Andre on the island of Bommelwaert which surrendered on 6th May. Meanwhile Archduke Albert had blockaded Ostend and the States dispatched a fleet, but this was prevented from landing at Ostend by contrary winds. Instead they sailed up the Scheldt and landed near a small fort called the Philippine on 22nd June. They proceeded via Ghent and Bruges to the vicinity of Ostend where they undertook the siege of Nieuwpoort. The Spanish countered by securing three forts to prevent the States communicating with Ostend. Prince Maurice sent a force to confront the Spanish who now threatened to advance on Nieuwpoort. But this force was defeated and the Scots regiment of 800 men was wiped out. By 2nd July the enemy had reached the steep and rugged sandhills overlooking Nieuwpoort. The hills were occupied by Sir Francis Vere's division which was formed up and ready for battle. Vere had at his disposal 10 squadrons of cavalry, 1,600 English pikemen and musketeers and 2,500 Frieslanders. As the battle began there was at first no support from the rest of prince Maurice's army so a hard fight took place against superior forces of Spaniards and Italians.

The English fought with great heroism and Sir Francis urged them on from the thick of the battle. He was wounded in several places, and as his men pulled back his horse was killed and fell on top of him. He was saved by Sir John Ogle and some others who carried him to the rear. One squadron of the cavalry, together with about 300 English foot soldiers rallied and made a desperate charge against the enemy but were defeated and cut down. Some musketeers remained to hold the Spanish back long enough for Prince Maurice to bring the main part of the army into the battle. This turned the tide and Archduke Albert ordered a retreat. They were pursued and lost most of their foot soldiers in the rout. The casualties on the English-Dutch side were sustained almost entirely by the English; 800 killed or wounded, 8 captains killed and all but two officers wounded.

The Siege of Ostend 1601-04

Sir Francis, although suffering from a head wound, was given the task of defending Ostend and supplied with 12 companies of English and 7 Dutch companies. They sailed to Ostend, landing on 11th July and began strengthening the defences. On 23rd July reinforcements arrived; 1,500 fresh troops from England. Vere, however was still unwell and had to be taken to Zealand to recover. During his absence the Spanish began the siege with a non-stop bombardment. The garrison replied with their own artillery but had to gather themselves into two plots of ground within the town where they worked incessantly to dig themselves in and build defensive mounds around the perimeters. The Spanish fired arrows to which were attached letters offering money to the soldiers to change sides and fight for Archduke Albert, but this offer was treated with contempt. On 20th August there was a further reinforcement of 2,000 English troops which managed to get into Ostend. Prince Maurice, meanwhile, had been occupied with the siege of Rhineberg but this was captured and he was able to send 20 companies of Scots, French, Walloons and Frieslanders. These arrived on 23rd Aug and the defenders felt confident enough to make sorties against the besiegers.

Sir Francis Vere had recovered from his wounds and returned to Ostend on 19th Sept, and although his appearance raised morale the defenders faced a harsh winter with scarce provisions and lack of shelter. On 4th Dec there was a scare when the Spanish stormed a breach in the defences and were only beaten off after a desperate struggle which left 500 dead. Two weeks later there was a parley between Sir Francis and the Archduke which turned out to be ruse to keep the Spanish distracted while supplies could be brought into the town. Albert was enraged and ordered the storming of the town with a force of 10,000. This was defeated by the defenders who now numbered 1,200 including the sick. The enemy losses were said to be 2,000 and the garrison casualties were 40 killed and 100 wounded.

Death of Elizabeth 1603

The siege dragged on over 1602 and 1603 during which time Queen Elizabeth died at the age of 69 on 24th March 1603. She was succeeded by King James who although a Protestant was tolerant of Catholics and he concluded a peace treaty with Spain. The English troops remained in the Netherlands as they were not recalled. The siege of Ostend continued and on 13th April there was another storming of the walls which was repelled with the loss of 1,000 lives.

The Siege of Ostend Continues

Amrogio Spinola
During the summer of 1603 the Spanish army gained the services of the Marquis Ambrosia Spinola 'a man of extraordinary genius and ability in military affairs'. He arrived to join the Archduke's besieging army, bringing with him the best siege engineers in Europe who were paid out of his own immense fortune. An high mobile tower was built, called Pompey's Chariot, and brought towards the town walls. By good fortune the defenders managed to break one of the wheels with an artillery shell, rendering it useless. Other devices were constructed throughout the remainder of 1603. In the spring of 1604 Prince Maurice took the island of Cadsand and raided Flanders in the hope that the Spanish would draw off their army from Ostend but the Archduke would not be moved and more assaults were carried out on 17th June and the 16th July. The defenders built ramparts within ramparts to foil the attackers, but the Spanish dug mines and erected forts and batteries.

Prince Maurice besieged Sluys and captured it with a force that included 6 companies of English and 7 of Scots. But at Ostend the town was in ruins and the war there had cost 120,000 lives. An assembly of the of the States of the United Provinces reluctantly decided to give it up and at the beginning of September 1604 the 4,000 defenders marched out with drums beating and Colours flying. The inhabitants also quit the town except for one old man and two women.

Friesland 1605

Spinola had driven Maurice and his army to the sea in Friesland and the States force was in retreat. Their rearguard was attacked and Sir Horace Vere took some of his English troops to go on the offensive. They forded a river and charged the pursuing Spanish, driving them back with some success. But a counter attack was met by Sir Horace and 60 men in a heroic battle in which these men were nearly all killed. Their conduct had saved the retreating army from disaster. Sir Horace survived the fight but his horse was killed.

Sluys 1606

The Spanish attempted to recapture Sluys in 1606. In a night raid the attackers managed to force an entrance but were beaten off by the half-dressed English soldiers. The English captain and 16 men sallied out from the gate followed by the guards and others. Their blood was up and they hurled themselves on the enemy so that they fled throwing off their armour and weapons in the process. The men and officers they caught and killed also had money and valuables which the English siezed along with the arms and equipment.

Rhineberg 1606

Spinola switched his attention to Rhineberg which was defended by an English regiment under Sir Edward Cecil and a Scots regiment commanded by Sir William Edmonds, an officer who had risen from the ranks and was a well respected leader. He, unfortunately was killed in the siege. Prince Maurice was unable to reach Rhineberg in time and they were forced to surrender on 1st Oct 1606.

Death of Sir Francis Vere 1608

Peace talks were in process during 1607 and 1608 but during that time Sir Francis Vere died on 28th Aug 1608 and was succeeded in his command by his brother Sir Horace who later became Lord Vere of Tilbury. The articles for a 12 year truce were ratified on 25th July 1609.

Juliers 1610

In 1610 Archduke Leopold siezed the city of Juliers in a dispute over the duchies of Cleves and Juliers. The Marquis of Brandenburg laid claim to the territories and was supported by the States. An army of 4,000 English and Scots under Sir Edward Cecil took part in the siege of Juliers along with Dutch and French troops. The English were the first to force a breach in the walls and the Archduke surrendered in early September.

The Genesis of the Royal Scots Regiment 1613

The services of several of the Scots companies were dispensed with in 1613 and they went to Sweden to fight for King Gustavus Adolphus. This became the nucleus of the Royal Scots.

Aix-la-Chapelle 1614

The truce was in danger of ending as a result of trouble between Catholics and Protestants in Aix-la-Chapelle. Jesuits and Catholics were expelled from this city and The Marquis Spinola was sent from the Netherlands with and army of 30,000 to restore Catholic authority. Prince Maurice and his army were once again on the move, and Sir Horace Vere's English contingent were part of the army. They took possession of Emmerick and other places then proceeded to Rees.

New English Regiment Raised 1620

Religious turmoil was causing another European split, with the Protestant Bohemian States (now northern Czech Republic) and Frederic the Elector of Palatine on one side and the Emperor Ferdinand II of Germany backed by Spain on the other. England supported the Palatinate and a new regiment of around 2,500 was raised in 1620 by Sir Horace Vere and the young Earls of Oxford and Essex. The new conflict was so popular that the regiment 'was composed principally of men of property, and it is said to have made the most splendid appearance of any corps which had been seen for many years.' This regiment marched into Germany alongside Prince Maurice's army which included, of course, the English veterans already serving the States. A few men from each of the old companies were placed under the command of prince Henry of Nassau to accompany Sir Horace's new regiment.

The Battle of Prague
The Battle of Prague 1620

Frederick V of Palatine and his allies were up against The Marquis Spinola whose forces vastly outnumbered the Protestants. The decisive battle of Prague resulted in the defeat of Frederick and Prince Maurice and Spinola's reduction of the Palatinate. 'The English, under Sir Horace Vere had the mortification to find that, owing to the apathy and divisions among the princes of the union, their efforts were unavailing.' This battle, referred to latterly as the Battle of White Mountain, was an early conflict in the Thirty Years War

The Siege of Juliers 1621

The Eighty Years War continued when the Spanish raided towns in the duchy of Juliers. Count Henry Vanderberg led an army of Spanish, Burgundians, Germans and Italians numbering 14,000, and with the aid of a battering train besieged the city of Juliers which was garrisoned by English, French and Dutch troops. Prince Maurice moved to the banks of the Rhine to intervene but was prevented by Spinola with another Spanish army. In September and in October the defenders of Juliers sallied out and attacked the defence works of the besiegers on the river Ruhr. At one point an English captain, John Haydon, and a Dutch officer challenged the enemy to personal combat. Two Burgundians took up the challenge and the result was that John Haydon defeated and killed his opposite number, but the Dutch officer was killed by his opponent. The town eventually surrendered in Jan 1922 being given honorable terms. They were even supplied with 600 wagons by the Spanish for their baggage.

Bergen-op-Zoom 1622

In 1622 the town of Bergen-op-Zoom was under siege from Spinola's army. The garrison was made up of 49 companies of infantry and some cavalry. 14 companies of English and Scots were under the command of Colonel Henderson and they were allotted the south walls of the town to defend. On 22nd July a sortie was made against a hill outside the town which was defended by Spanish troops. Spinola himself arrived on 28th July and the siege commenced 'with vigour'. This siege was distinguished from others in this war by the appearance, on 2nd August, of English soldiers in the ranks of the Spanish besiegers. This strange occurrence came about because James I of England had negotiated a marriage between Charles, Prince of Wales and the Infanta of Spain. Part of the deal was that 2,000 English troops be placed at the service of Spain. However, many of these men deserted the Spanish and entered Bergen-op-Zoom claiming that they had been deceived and told that they would be fighting for the Netherlands.

The Half-Moon

On the evening of the 16th Aug 1622 a 40-strong party of English and Scots sallied forth from Bergen to take possession of a wooded hill near the town, and built a 'half-moon' defensive position. The Spanish attacked this several times in the night and increased the number of attackers each time. Colonel Henderson was commanding this defense and was severely wounded but continued to urge his men on until the fighting finished at 3am. Henderson was taken to the Hague but died of his wounds. On 20th Aug a company of 200 Swiss troops arrived to reinforce this small half-moon. Another furious battle took place during a night of fury in which so many hand-grenades were used that 'the earth seemed to tremble and the firmament be on fire.' When daylight came the hill was covered in bodies 'one upon another'. The approach by water to Bergen was opened and reinforcements arrived along with many aristocrats who had been dazzled by the stories of heroism that had spread around Europe. On 26th Sir Charles Morgan took command of the English troops and brought with him the Count of Moeurs, Lord Mountjoy (later the Earl of Devonshire), Sir Robert Oxenbridge and his two brothers, also W Wentworth Esq, T Reynolds Esq and others.

Bergen Relieved, 6th Oct 1622

At the beginning of September 3,000 of the enemy made a concerted attack which was repulsed with great loss and a few days later Sir Charles Morgan tricked the Spanish in a night attack. The firelock muskets were discharged by means of a lighted rope match which could be seen in the dark. Morgan arranged for a number of these matches to be attached to a long cord to give the impression of the approach of musketeers. The enemy came out of their camp to engage the advancing troops and were diverted from the real attack which drove the Spanish from their trenches. The enemy were reinforced the next day but the pressure from the defenders was increased. After this the siege developed into one of mines and counter-mines, and on 1st Oct the Spanish exploded a mine in a tunnel below the walls causing a breach. A sharp fight ensued which ended in victory for Morgan's men. The approach of Prince Maurice with a fresh army prompted Spinola to call off the siege on 6th October 1622. Amongst Maurice's relieving army was a 15-year old musketeer by the name of Michiel de Ruyter who later achieved fame as Holland's greatest admiral in the Anglo-Dutch Wars.

Heidelberg and Manheim 1623

In the Palatinate the Catholic forces were at liberty to complete their conquest. Count Tilly who had commanded the German troops at Prague, besieged Heidelberg where several English companies of Sir Horace Vere's regiment were garrisoned but they were overpowered in September 1623 after a desperate defence. General Tilly then turned his attention to Manheim where Sir Horace commanded the garrison of 9 English companies and 12 Dutch. The town was formerly a village but had been increased in size to house Protestants who had fled the war in the Netherlands. The fortifications were incomplete when the Catholics laid siege in October but the defenders fought valiantly and caused Tilly to change tactics and merely blockade the town. When provisions ran out the town capitulated and the garrison marched out with honours.

Frankenthal 1623

The last town of the Palatinate to withstand the Catholic League was Frankenthal which was defended by a few English and Dutch companies and 200 cavalry all under Sir John Burrows. Another blockade was organised by General Tilly but Burrows led several sorties to attack the besiegers and seize provisions. The siege ended in a compromise whereby the town was placed in the hands of the Archduchess until the dispute between the Elector Palatine and Emperor Ferdinand II was settled.

Four English Regiments Raised 1624

The negotiations between the courts of England and Spain respecting the marriage of Prince Charles to the Infanta were broken off in early 1624 and the States were able to obtain fresh troops from England. That summer 4 regiments of 1,500 men each were raised and sent to Holland under the command of the Earls of Oxford, Essex and Southampton, and Lord Willoughby.

Map of Breda 1624
Breda 1624

Perhaps the most famous of all the sieges in the 80 Years War was that of Breda, a large and important town of northern Brabante on the river Merck. The garrison was made up of Dutch, English, Scots, and French soldiers under the command of Justin of Nassau. The English were commanded by Sir Charles Morgan, responsible for the Bosgate area. The besiegers were commanded by Spinola who had been ordered to take the city but was expected to fail. Jealous rivals in the Spanish court intrigued against him and persuaded King Philip IV to send him there. Ambrogio Spinola was aware of the difficulties but worked his army hard to construct deep entrenchments, redoubts and forts to combat sorties and defend themselves against any relieving force.(65.89)

Count Mansfeldt's Relieving Army

In England more recruiting of troops took place, and 12,000 infantry with 200 cavalry were placed under the command of Count Mansfeldt who was charged with the task of relieving Breda. During the harsh winter of 1624/5 the English relief force embarked six regiments of infantry and two squadrons of cavalry. The regiments were commanded by the Earl of Lincoln, Viscount Doncaster, Lord Cromwell, Sir Charles Rich, Sir John Burrows and Thomas Gray Esquire. This expedition which started out with high hopes ended disastrously. They were at first refused disembarkation at Calais, then Zealand, then Flushing and finally Gertruydenberg by which time the rivers were frozen. The men had been confined to the narrow boats for much longer than expected and disease as well as lack of provisions had reduced their numbers. The account claims that half their number died before reaching dry land and the remainder marched up country looking like skeletons. The force was reduced to 500 men by the time the siege ended, and they were disbanded.

The Surrender of Breda, 5th June 1625

Surrender of Breda 1625
The Dutch, meanwhile were busy building a dam in the river to flood the land where the Spanish were camped. Deep pits had to be dug to drain the water but an unhealthy environment had been created which brought sickness to the Spanish and to Spinola himself. On top of these troubles a Dutch infiltrator had set fire to a large food store in the church of Ginneken. In the spring of 1625 King James of England died, on 27th March, and Maurice Prince of Orange died on 23rd April so that his brother Prince Henry Frederick became Prince of Orange and commander-in-chief of the army of the United Provinces. There was a concerted effort to relieve Breda on 17th May when 70 companies under Sir Horace Vere attacked the enemy's defences at the village of Terheyden. Two forts were captured but they failed to take a third. The generals of the States army agreed that Spinola's fortifications were too strong and that Breda would have to surrender. The English and French were reluctant to comply with this but the new Prince of Orange sent an express order that the city must surrender. The garrison marched out with honours on 5th June 1625.

Twelve English Regiments 1626

The war was stepped up after Breda and the Spanish increased their activity in Flanders as well as Spain and Italy. The States of the United Provinces raised the size of their army to 5,853 cavalry and 61,670 infantry. The English troops numbered 19,970 in total: 400 cavalry, 14,140 English infantry, and 5,430 Scottish infantry. There were 7 English regiments of infantry and 5 Scottish. The largest regiment was Lord Vere's Regiment of Foot with 4,090. The other 6 English regiments were commanded by Viscount Wimbleton, Sir Charles Morgan, Sir Edward Harewood, Sir James Leveson, Earl of Essex and Lord Willoughby, numbering between 1,500 and 2,000 each.

Reduction of the 1624 Regiments

In 1628 Charles I ordered the 4 English regiments that were raised in 1624 should be reduced to one, to be commanded by Sir Charles Morgan and the number fixed at 1,535 men. No alteration was made in the old regiments which had been in the Netherlands since the time of Queen Elizabeth.

The Siege of Bois-le-Duc 1629

The strong fortress of Bois-le-Duc, occupied by the Catholic forces, was situated at the confluence of the rivers Dommel and Aa. The English regiments of Vere, Wimbleton, Morgan and Harewood were part of the Prince of Orange's army. There were also Scots troops, and English cuirassiers and harquebusiers. The siege lasted 5 months and surrendered on 15th Sep 1629. Sir Edward Vere and 4 captains lost their lives in the fighting. Several more forts were recaptured from the Spanish that autumn and the duchies of Cleves, Berg and the country of Mark were reclaimed. But the States had run out of money and failed to pay their soldiers. The Prince of Orange remonstrated with his government and claimed that some units had not been paid since 1614. Subsequently the army pay was regularised.

The Siege of Maastricht 1632

Maastricht 1632
In the year 1630 King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden aided the Protestant cause by invading Germany and capturing Leipzig on 7th Sep 1631. This raised morale in the States army which carried on with more sieges, first Venloo and Ruremonde, then on to a rather tougher nut to crack: Maastricht. The siege fortifications were under way when two relieving forces approached, a Spanish army under the Marquis of Santa Croix and the Emperor's army commanded by the Count of Papenheim. There were attacks on the city made on 1st July in which Robert the Earl of Oxford greatly distinguished himself, and on 29th July a company of English under Captain Courtney performed very well until Courtney was killed by a grenade. On 16th Aug the Spanish sallied out and attacked the Scots troops under Colonel Balfour, but were driven back. The following night 400 Spanish came out in a thick fog and captured some English trenches. Major Williams was mortally wounded in this fight. There was a counter-attack made by English and Scots under the Earl of Oxford which forced the Spanish back. However, while Oxford was supervising the strengthening of the trenches he was killed by a musket ball. The approaching armies were repulsed after a desperate battle and the siege continued until 22nd Aug when the Spanish garrison surrendered. Besides the Earl of Oxford, there was also the loss of Colonel Sir Edward Harewood which was much regretted by the army. There is a black marble tablet on the east wall of the Cloister Church in the Hague whish eulogizes Sir Edward and lists his military achievements, saying that he was pierced by 3 successive bullets.

Rhineberg 1633-4

English troops took part in the siege of Rhineberg, attacking the north side. The town surrendered on 1633 but the Spanish responded by sending an army in the spring of 1634 to take it back. The Prince of Orange then invested Breda to divert this force from Rhineberg. The diversion worked and the siege of Breda was called off and left in the hands of the Spanish, for now.

Shifting of Alliances

The Catholic forces had been heartened by the death of Gustavus Adolphus who had been killed at the battle of Lutzen in November 1632. The King of England was now preoccupied after dissolving Parliament in 1629, so the States were losing allies. This gave encouragement to the Spanish and Catholic Germans, but the French king sent his army into the war to aid the Protestant cause and they crossed the Rhine in the spring of 1635 under the command of Marshals Chatillon and Breze to link up with the Dutch. The sieges of Louvain, Tirlemont and Schinck took place in 1635, the latter town surrendered to the Prince of Orange on 30th April 1636.

The Recapture of Breda 1637

The States forces were determined to recapture Breda which had been in Spanish hands since 1625. The English troops were posted at Ginneken and ensured that the defences around the village were effective because they were threatened by a Spanish relieving force. The attacks were replused and the troops were able to concentrate on the siege. On 21st August they made a night attack on the Ginneken Gate in which Sir Charles Morgan was wounded in the arm by a musket ball. They repulsed several sallies from the town and were warmly praised by the Prince of Orange for their hard work and heroism. On 7th Oct the town beat a parley and the Spanish surrendered. The capture of Breda ensured the States' access to Waal and Maese river navigation, and the mouth of the Scheldt.

The Siege of Gennep 1641

Gennep, on the confluence of the rivers Niers and Maese in the province of Limburg, was defended by a garrison of Irishmen, commanded by Thomas Preston, in the pay of the Spanish. The English troops were posted on the banks of the Maese opposite the town. The siege ended on 27th July when the town surrendered on honourable terms.

The English Civil War 1642-49

In the summer on 1642 the Queen of England, Henrietta-Maria accompanied her daughter Mary to Holland. Mary had recently married Prince William of Nassau (father of King William III of England). Her Majesty inspected the English and Scots regiments at a review in early June. A little while later the Civil War broke out and the States observed strict neutrality although they were disposed to favour Parliament over the Royalists. The English troops were not ordered to return to England but many officers and men did go back to fight, mostly for the Royal cause.

Sas-van-Ghent 1644

The four English regiments in the service of the States at this time were commanded by Colonels Craven, Herbert, Goring and Cromwell. In May 1644 they assembled at Voorn for an expedition into Flanders. The Prince of Orange had chosen Sas-van-Ghent as the next town to besiege. The Spanish garrison under Don Andrea de Parado put up a resolute defence while another Spanish force attempted to relieve them. But the relief failed and the town surrendered after 6 weeks. The Prince occupied the town and garrisoned it with 19 companies of English troops. This was followed, in 1645 by a siege of Hulst which ended on 4th Nov.

The End of the 80 Years War

Peace Celebration 1648
The final siege was planned by the Prince of Orange with his ally the French General Louis de Bourbon, Duc d'Enghien, later known as the Great Conde. In 1646 they wanted to take Antwerp from Spanish control. But the merchants of Amsterdam and other towns in Holland and Zealand put obstacles in the way because they feared the mercantile ascendancy of a free Antwerp. Soon afterwards the Prince of Orange fell ill and died on 14th March 1647. With his death the States lost the will to continue the war and sought to end it. At the same time the Spanish had lost a great deal of their power and influence so were ready to engage in peace talks. In 1648 the Peace of Munster was agreed upon and the United Netherlands of the Low Countries gained their independence from Spanish Catholic rule. The Treaty was part of the Peace of Westphalia which ended both the Thirty Years War and the Eighty Years War.

It is difficult to understand why the English regiments remained in the Low Countries for 16 years after the end of the long war against Spain. The Civil War was still ongoing in England and the regiments were, on the face of it, pro-Royalist. In Jan 1649 when Parliament took control of the country and executed the king the general feeling in the Netherlands was one of shock and horror especially as William, Prince of Orange was the king's son-in-law. When the ruling Commonwealth in England sent Chief Justice St John to the Hague to forge a confederacy between the two republics he was abused by the public and failed to achieve his objective. There followed a war between the English and Dutch, placing the English regiments in a difficult position. But they were regarded as being supporters of the Royal family and therefore not loyal to Oliver Cromwell. The Colonel of one of the regiments was John Cromwell, related to Oliver but a staunch royalist, so much so that he changed his name to Williams. Fortunately for the officers and men the war was carried on at sea and not involving land forces.

The Restoration 1660

When Oliver Cromwell died in September 1658 the nation invited Charles II to return to England and take the throne. Before leaving the continent in 1660 Charles spent a short time in the Hague and was met by the English regiments. But a few years after the King's return there was, in 1664, an outbreak of hostilities between England and the Netherlands.

The Companies in Dutch Service 1664

After 80 years of cooperation between the English and the United Provinces in the fight against the Hapsburgs the two countries now found themselves on opposite sides. 'It was alleged that the Dutch had been guilty of encroachments and depredations on English commerce and on the English settlements across the seas.' In 1664 the English and Scots companies in the service of the States were mostly in the pay of the state of Holland with some maintained by Friesland, Utrecht and Zealand. Altogether there were 32 English companies and 21 Scottish. In December 1664 the records show that these 53 companies were distributed in 31 different towns with no more than two companies stationed together, except at Maastricht where there were six. However, on paper the companies were allotted to 4 English regiments and 3 Scots.

The Four English Regiments 1665

From various documents the regimental history was able to compile a list of English officers who served in the Dutch service in 1665 and they are listed under four regiments named after their Colonels:

Lord William Craven's Regiment ( Lt-Col Sir Walter Vane )
Colonel Thomas Dolman's Regiment (Lt-Col John Cromwell aka Williams)
Colonel William Killegrew's Regiment (Lt-Col Humphrey Peyton)
Colonel Robert Sidney's Regiment (Lt-Col Sir William Sayers)

The Oath of Allegiance

Letters from Sir George Downing, the envoy at the Hague, to Sir Henry Bennet in England give details of the choice facing the English soldiers. The Dutch did not want potentially hostile troops in their country while there was a state of war between England and Holland so the choice was to swear an oath of allegiance to Holland or be disbanded. The oath was to include a renunciation of allegiance to the English King. Many of the soldiers had been born in the Low Countries and had strong ties with the country, and others, especially the Scots had no love for the English King, Charles II. For some reason, Charles did not exercise his prerogative to recall the English troops although urged to do so.

The Disbandment of the Regiments 1665

The Dutch authorities decided to honourably discharge the English and Scots troops serving in the regiments and replace them with Netherlanders. Those Englishmen and Scotsmen who were prepared to swear the oath of allegiance to The Dutch republic would be re-admitted into the regiments. The discharged officers and men were given no assistance from the English government for their repatriation, so the English envoy Sir George Downing paid for their passage to England and gave them letters of recommendation.

The Transformed Regiments 1665
The 3 Scots regiments were converted into 3 nominally Dutch regiments and the 4 English regiments were replaced by only one Dutch regiment. Those English officers who remained in Holland were placed in the 3 former Scots regiments. 'The States General, on 14th April, ordered that the transformed English and Scottish companies, being now Netherlands companies, the drums were to beat the Holland March on guard mounting, and on all other occasions, and that the sashes and badges of the officers were to be orange-coloured, similar to those worn by the Dutch officers.'

The King's Change of Heart

In early 1665 the discharged officers and men began to arrive back in England and the King reconsidered the question of taking them back into his service. A list was compiled, dated 11th April 1665, of 17 subalterns who had arrived or who were expected. On 20th April a warrant was issued taking them into his pay at a reduced rate, 3 shillings a day for lieutenants and 2 shillings and sixpence for ensigns. Captains were given 5 shillings a day.

The Appointment of Col Robert Sidney, 31st May 1665

The King finally decided to form the officers and men into a regiment and issued a commission to Colonel Robert Sidney to be 'Colonell of Our Holland Regiment of Foot, raised or to be raised, for Our service.' Robert Sidney, who had commanded one of the English regiments in the Dutch service, was the 3rd son of Robert 2nd Earl of Leicester. He was born in 1626 and died suddenly in 1668, buried in Penshurst. He was a handsome man and many thought he was the real father of the Duke of Monmouth. The reasons for this assumption were that Robert's mistress at one time was one of the King's mistresses, Lucy Waters (Mrs Barlow), also that the resemblance was so strong that many remarked on it.

The Holland Regiment, 23rd June 1665

The official date of the raising of the Holland Regiment for His Majesty's service was the 31st May 1665 the day of the Colonel's commission but the other officers received their commissions 3 weeks later on 23rd June. These 21 officers included Major Alexander Bruce who was the only officer of the Scots regiments to refuse the oath of allegiance to the Netherlands. The establishment was fixed at 6 companies of 106 NCOs and men each. The field officers acted as captains to the first 3 companies so that, as an example of the organisation the 1st Company had Colonel Sidney as captain, a lieutenant, an ensign, 2 sergeants, 3 corporals, one drummer and 100 private soldiers.
The 2nd Company was commanded by Lt-Col Thomas Howard,
The 3rd Company by Major Alexander Bruce,
The 4th Company by Capt Sir Thomas Ogle
The 5th Company by Capt Henry Pomeroy
The 6th Company by Capt Baptist Alcock

All the officers in the regiment had served in the English-Dutch regiments except the surgeon. It should be noted that when the officers and men refused to take the oath in Holland they faced a very uncertain future so their loyalty to the English crown had been proved. Another regiment, the Duke of York and Albany's Maritime Regiment of Foot (The Lord High Admiral's Regiment), had been raised the previous autumn. This, and the Holland Regiment, were primarily intended for service at sea. On the 11th July the cost of these two regiments was ordered to be charged to the Navy. The Holland Regiment remained on the naval establishment until May 1667.

A Marine Regiment

The infantry regiments at that period armed one third of the men with pikes but because the Holland Regiment was a marine regiment they were, at first, all armed with firearms. Later, in June 1666, there was an order to arm 36 men per company with pikes. The firearms were mostly matchlock muskets, 60 per company, and 13 firelocks. The regiment was first stationed on the south coast but there is no record to show exactly where.


In June 1666 a great sea battle took place in the English Channel between the English fleets and the combined fleets of the Dutch, Danish and French, the latter having entered the war during the reign of Louis XIV. The English sustained the loss of 600 killed, 1,100 wounded and 2,000 prisoners. This loss, and the fact that France was now at war with England, prompted the raising of more troops, and the Holland Regiment was ordered to raise four more companies. There was a more successful sea battle in July 1666 but this period was a bad one for England. The plague had struck in 1665 and the great fire of London in 1666. King Charles was not militarily ambitious so he sought peace with the French and Dutch. But the Dutch were happy to continue the war, and James Duke of York urged a more aggressive stance.

The Barbados Regiment 1667

In February a new regiment, to be called the Barbados Regiment, was raised for service in the West Indies and one of the companies from the Holland Regiment was transferred to it. This left a vacancy for one more company which was filled when a commission dated 13th May was issued to Capt Sir Herbert Lunsford to raise a 100 strong company. Lunsford's name does not appear on the list of officers discharged from Dutch service so it must be assumed that none, or few, of the officers and men of this new company, or the 4 new companies raised in the previous year, came from the Netherlands. The company that was transferred was commanded by Captain Cotter and took part in an unsuccessful attack on the island of St Kitts in which the Barbados Regiment suffered many losses. Cotter along with others was taken prisoner and suffered 8 months of captivity and misery.

Placed on the Army Establishment 1667

The Dutch made a naval incursion into the Thames Estuary and River Medway. The guards regiments were augmented by companies from other regiments including two from the Holland Regiment. The rest of the regiment was stationed at Portsmouth and told to recruit two new companies, one of which was to be commanded by Henry Sidney, younger brother of Robert. However, when peace was concluded between England and Holland at the Treaty of Breda in July 1667 the extra companies recruited for the war were disbanded. On 10th May 1667 both the Admiral's and the Holland Regiment passed from the Navy to the Army establishment. In Sept the strength of the regiment was ordered to be 600 soldiers, besides officers, and organised into 10 companies.

Distribution of Companies 1670

Robert Sidney died in 1668 and was replaced by another ex-Dutch service officer, Sir Walter Vane, who had recently held a commission in a guards regiment. The regiment was not stationed in one place but distributed by company in various locations:

Drums and Fife 1670
Colonel Sir Walter Vane's Company, at Windsor
Lt-Col Sir Thomas Howard's Company, at Plymouth
Major Sir Thomas Ogle's Company, at Plymouth
Capt Sir Thomas Woodcock's Company, at Windsor
Capt Sir Henry Lunsford's Company, at Berwick
Capt Henry Pomeroy's Company. At Plymouth
Capt Baptist Alcock's Company, at Berwick
Capt Henry Sidney's Company, at Carlisle
Capt William Crownley's Company, at Berwick
Capt Manley's Company, at Jersey

Beating of Drums in the City of London

The Buffs are proud of their freedom to march through the city of London with drums beating. This dates back to 1670 when a warrant was issued to a recruiting sergeant, by his Majesty's command, signed Arlington: 'Wee doe hereby authorise you John Mowat one of the Sergeants of Captaine Manleys company now in guarrison in our Isle of Jersey by beat of drum to raise thirty two volunteers to bee entertained & listed as soldiers for the recruiting of the said company, Provided that in case you beat ye Drums within Our City of London or ye liberties thereof, you are (before you beat the drums there) to show this Our Warrant to Our right trusty and welbeloved the Lord Mayor of ye City of London.'

The Third Dutch War 1672-74

Solebay, 28th May 1672

Three companies of the Holland Regiment were drafted into a composite regiment of 3,000 that also included the Guards and the Lord Admiral's. The companies were posted to various ships to fight as marines. In those days the captain of a warship was a soldier; there was a sailing master and sea-crew to sail the ship but everything else, manning of guns etc was done by the soldiers. The English fleet of 123 ships, commanded by The Duke of York and the Earl of Sandwich, met the Dutch who had 148 commanded by Michiel de Ruyter who as a young musketeer fought on the same side as the English and Scots when Bergen-op-Zoom was relieved in 1622. The battle took place at Solebay, which is near Southwold, off the Suffolk coast, starting at 7am and went on all day. There was a resumption the next day but the Dutch withdrew. The English lost 700 men including the Earl of Sandwich but there were no apparent casualties amongst the 300 men of the Holland regiment.

Texel, 21st Aug 1673

Battle of Texel
The army was commanded by the Duke of Schomberg while the fleet was under Prince Rupert. A sea battle took place at Texel the most westerly of the Frisian Islands bordering the Wadden Zee. The battle involved the British and French against the Dutch. The French fleet remained inactive and as a result the battle was inconclusive. The Holland regiment had contributed 320 men to the force of 5,860. Documents of the period mention John Wagget of Captain Cownley's company serving on the 'Hampshire'. This soldier was severely injured in the lower leg by a cannon ball. Roger Foster also on the 'Hampshire' had his arm shot off.

Reductions after the War
The war against the Dutch was unpopular and a peace was negotiated resulting in the signing of a treaty on 9th Feb 1674. The King notified the Commons that he was going to disband all the regiments except the Guards, the Duke of York's Regiment (The Lord Admiral's), the Holland Regiment and 39 garrison companies that existed before the war. There was pressure from Parliament to disband the Duke of York's also but it was resisted. There were 8 companies recently incorporated into the Holland Regiment that were disbanded on 19th March while the old companies were reduced to 50 men each. They were posted variously to Portsmouth, Plymouth, Gravesend, Berwick, Hull and Jersey. Many of the disbanded soldiers from the regiment took up service with the Dutch who had expressed a wish to see the British in their army once more. These men were the nucleus of a force of British troops commanded by Major-General Sir Walter Vane, the late colonel of the Holland Regiment (until he was killed at the battle of Seneffe in 1674). The 4 units raised were engaged in a war between Holland and France, another country that also employed British troops. They came back to England with William of Orange in 1688 and became the 6th Regiment of Foot.
Reductions after the War
Virginia 1676 A composite regiment of 1,000 men was ordered to be formed from the Guards, Lord Admiral's and Holland Regiments, in 1676, for an expedition to deal with disturbances in the colony of Virginia. Seven men from each of the companies in Hull, Plymouth and Gravesend were to march to London where they embarked for America. The disturbances were caused by a confrontation between Nathaniel Bacon and Governor William Berkeley who was accused of being too lenient with native Americans who had raided settlements. However, the rebellion had been suppressed by the time they arrived and they were ordered home, unless any man declared that he wished to stay and settle in the New World. On 23rd March 1678 the regiment arrived back at Gravesend, numbering 370, with 66 being from the Holland Regiment. On 13th May they embarked for Flanders.
Impending War Against France 1678
King Charles had arranged the marriage of Mary, daughter of James, Duke of York, to William of Orange. This move angered Louis XIV and pushed England nearer to a war with France. Parliament had been urging the King to take sides with the Protestant Dutch against the Catholic French for some time so were ready to vote an increase in defence expenditure. The strength of companies was raised to 100 private soldiers plus 6 NCOs, 3 officers and 2 drummers. Additionally new companies were raised and formed into a second battalion. This battalion formed part of a force 3,000 that was sent to Ostend under the command of the Duke of Monmouth and was quartered at Nieuwpoort. By the end of the year they had been sent back to England and disbanded.
The First Grenadier Company
In 1676 selected men from the Guards regiments had been experimenting with hand grenades and on 28th March 1678 warrants were issued directing each of the 8 senior regiments to form a company of grenadiers. Each man was to carry a fusil or flintlock musket with a sling, a cartridge box and girdle, and a pouch containing 3 hand grenades, each weighing 3 to 4 pounds. The sergeants had halberds and the lieutenants partisans or short pikes. Officers also carried a fusil. This initial introduction to grenadiers was short-lived because the expected war with France fizzled out and the grenadier company, as such, ceased to exist.
Tangier 1680
Tangier 1680
The garrison of Tangier, having been granted to the crown as a dowry on the occasion of Charles's marriage to Catherine of Braganza in 1662, was to be defended against the hostile Moors with another composite regiment. The Holland Regiment contributed a company of 120 men commanded by Captain Philip Kirk. The composite regiment had a total strength of 600 and was initially commanded by the Earl of Mulgrave who was also Colonel of the Holland Regiment. There was a battle on 20th Sep 1680 and again the following day, in which Captain Kirk distinguished himself. On 26th Sep the British attacked the enemy in force and after desperate fighting the Moors were routed and driven from their defensive positions with great loss. The British losses were 14 officers killed, 82 wounded; 98 NCOs and men killed, 334 wounded. In 1683 the King decided that he did not like his wedding present very much and had the placed demolished.
The Reign of James II 1685-88
When Charles II died and his brother James, Duke of York acceded to the throne. There were other claimants, namely the Earl of Argyle and the Duke of Monmouth. The latter staged a rebellion which was defeated at Sedgemoor on 5th July 1685. The Holland Regiment took no part in suppressing the rebellions as their companies were posted either in the north of England or Jersey. In 1685 King James II raised, in the months of June July and August, 12 regiments of cavalry and 9 infantry. The new order of precedence for the infantry placed the Holland Regiment 4th in line (not counting the two Guards regiments).

Camp at Hounslow May-Aug 1686

In the autumn the various companies of the Holland Regiment were ordered to concentrate at Southwark. They had been dispersed at Berwick, Hull, Scarborough and Portsmouth (formerly in Jersey). There were 4 companies in Berwick and they took less than a month to march to Southwark. The records show that there was a grenadier company in the regiment in this year, numbering 3 officers, 6 NCOs, 2 drummers and 50 men. On 25th May 1686 the whole regiment marched to Hounslow to set up camp and take part in a grand review of 14 infantry regiments and 32 squadrons of cavalry, totalling 13,000, staging mock battles over a period of several weeks, to overawe the populace. This camp at Hounslow was repeated every summer. James II was unpopular for forcing the Catholic religion onto the people and filling the establishment with his supporters. Protestant officers were replaced by Catholics and Lt-Col Sir Thomas Ogle the CO of the Holland Regiment was replaced by the Catholic Sir Robert Carey (Lord Hudson) on 27th Oct 1686. Following the displays at Hounslow the regiment, along with 6 other infantry regiments, were issued with two small 3-pounder brass cannons to be used by the grenadier company.

The Glorious Revolution 1688
James's second wife, Mary of Modena, gave birth to a son and heir on 10th June 1688, named James Edward and who later became the Old Pretender. (There was a rumour that Mary's child was still-born and replaced by the new-born son of Sir Theophilus Oglethorpe, Colonel of the Holland Regiment.) The prospect of a Catholic prince to continue James's plans of returning England to the old religion gave heart to the king but prompted William of Orange to take an army to England and gather support from the king's many enemies to dethrone him. The Holland Regiment was mostly posted around Kent at the time when William landed at Brixham on 5th Nov 1688. He entered Exeter without opposition and by December was in London. James after a bungled attempt to leave the country, finally embarked for France towards the end of December. As a precautionary measure, William posted the British regiments outside London and only allowed his Dutch troops and the English troops in his service to guard the capital. The Holland Regiment were stationed at Chesham and Amersham.
Prince George of Denmark's Regiment 1689
Prince George's Regiment
With the restoration of a Protestant monarch on the English throne the Catholics who had been placed in positions of authority were deposed. The Holland Regiment therefore lost their Colonel, Sir Theophilus Oglethorpe, a staunch supporter of King James, and their CO, Lord Hudson. They were replaced respectively by General Charles Churchill, brother of the future Duke of Marlborough, and Edward FitzPatrick. The other important change to the regiment was the change of title. They had been known as the Holland Regiment because of their service in the Netherlands during the 80 Years War, but now William of Orange was King of England and he had brought with him not only his Dutch Guards but also the second wave of English troops that had gone out to Holland to fight in his service there. To avoid confusion the regiment was now called Prince George of Denmark's Regiment. Prince George was the husband of Anne, daughter of James and his first wife. She became Queen Anne in 1702 and Prince George was her consort. He had previously been Colonel-in-Chief of the Lord High Admiral's Regiment which was now disbanded because of it's association with James. The new title came with an upgrade in the order of precedence; they had previously been the 4th regiment of the line, now they were 3rd.
War of the League of Augsburg 1689-97

Battle of Walcourt, August 1689

Louis XIV declared war on Britain and Holland, and Europe was once again in turmoil. The Duke of Marlborough was sent to the continent with an army that contained his brother's regiment, officially titled Prince George of Denmark's but also known as Churchill's. The French attacked the Allies at the village of Walcourt on the River Sambre but were heavily bombarded by artillery fire which created 2,000 killed and wounded. They had to retreat but were not pursued. The allied casualties were slight, 2 officers and 30 men killed. There was much sickness amongst the British troops and the season was near it's end so they went into winter quarters, Churchill's Regiment being posted to Bruges. In 1690 there was trouble in both Ireland and Scotland with Jacobite sympathisers threatening Protestant England. King William III feared a French invasion and found that he was short of troops to guard the coast. In June he recalled 5 infantry regiments from Flanders. one of which was Churchill's, to be stationed at Blackheath. Four of these 5 regiments were taken to Ireland to finish off ex-King James at Cork and Kinsale but Churchill's remained in England and were moved to Newbury.

Steinkirk, 3 Aug 1692

Map of Steinkirk 1692
Having defeated James in Ireland King William now had a large force with which to advance on Louis' army in Flanders. Unfortunately the Duke of Marlborough was out of favour and did not have command in this campaign. The French had captured Namur and William was anxious to get it back, but before that a battle was fought at Steinkirk, a village on the River Senne. The Duc de Luxembourg led a force of 80,000 against an equal number in the allied army, one of the infantry brigades being commanded by Charles Churchill. The ground was very muddy after several days heavy rain, this made it unsuitable for cavalry. Having forced one of Luxembourg's spies to send back false information 12 British infantry regiments were ordered to be ready to act as vanguard to the army with 17 men from each battalion of Churchill's brigade acting as pioneers to clear away obstacles. When battle began on 3rd Aug, Count Solms made the terrible decision to send in cavalry ahead of the infantry. They became stuck in the thick mud and blocked the advance of the infantry but managed to work their way forward. They made progress against the French but the Duc de Luxembourg pouring in reinforcements while the allies were left to suffer exhaustion and heavy casualties. They were being driven back and pursued while Count Solms was holding back the reserve infantry out of bloody-mindedness. But Sir Beville Granville defied him by hurrying two regiments forward, Colonel Bath's (10th Foot) and Churchill's:

'These two regiments....advanced coolly down the slope under a hail of fire, without returning a shot until within point blank range of the victorious French, when they delivered a murderous volley which effectually stopped the pursuit for the time being. They then took up a position along the sunken road skirting the wood, which they held for an hour against repeated attacks of the enemy until the retreat of the Lunenbergers and of the shattered remains of Wirtemberg's division had been made good.' They slowly fell back, and although some Danish and Dutch infantry had limited success, King William ordered a retreat. The withdrawal was covered by the Guards, Royal Fusiliers and Hodge's (16th Foot) who suffered heavily from French artillery. The casualties on the British side were 4,713 killed and 3,545 wounded, as well as 1,300 taken prisoner, many of whom were severely wounded. The Allied army as a whole had 15,000 casualties and the French lost 2,460 killed and 4,507 wounded. There are no figures for Churchill's Regiment. As for the Dutch Count Solms, he was blamed for the allied defeat that day. He was reported to have said "Damn the English, Damn the English, if they are so fond of fighting, let them have a bellyful."

Landen, 29th July 1693

Map of Landen
Charles Churchill was in command of a brigade once more in the 1693 campaign. This contained his own regiment and 5 others in an infantry division of 38,000. As well as that, William had 23,000 cavalry. The French army was split in two so that Boufflers and 30,000 men were sent to Germany while Luxembourg and 80,000 remained in the vicinity of the allied army which was at Parck Camp not far from Tirlemont. Throughout June the armies remained inert because the allied Camp was in a strong defensive position and because the weather, after a bad winter, was still terrible. Luxembourg managed to trick William into leaving his position and moving to an unfavourable site near the town of Landen. The weakest area of William's defence was between the villages of Neerwinden and Neerlanden so the night before the battle entrenchments were dug in the 3 mile long gap between the villages. Churchill's Regiment were placed close to Neerlanden.

Things did not go well for the French at first because on the morning of the 29th July they were surprised to see the entrenchment and lost many men trying to storm it. They then concentrated their attack on Neerwinden, and after desperate fighting the British were forced to fall back. But they rallied and managed to turn the tide so that Luxembourg's generals considered retreating. The battle had raged for 8 hours in hot weather with the Scots Guards and Dutch Guards in the thick of the fight. Both army leaders, William and Luxembourg also fought in the battle. But fresh troops from the French reserves were brought in and William responded by calling in 9 battalions who had been guarding Neerlanden. While they were on their way over to the other end of the line, the entrenchments at Neerlanden were attacked by a force under de Feuquieres and easily penetrated.

There was an unwelcome reinforcement of the French army when a large force of cavalry under the Marquis d'Harcourt joined the already strong squadrons on the field. Luxembourg ordered a general advance on the allies and the Hanoverian and British cavalry had to retreat leaving the infantry to form squares to make last stands and cover the general withdrawal. Churchill's and Trelawney's (4th Foot) having been caught in the open whilst moving towards Neerwinden, were forced to make a gallant stand at Laer. But the French cavalry were free to attack any part of the allied rear and these regiments were ordered to retreat. However, it was too late and they faced heavy odds from both enemy infantry and cavalry who cut them to pieces and scattered them. The three Colours of Churchill's were seized at the cost of the lives of two of the ensigns and the capture of the third. The army was now in full retreat across the river Geete which had too few bridges. The deaths from drowning and cavalry swords were many, in and around the river. William himself was almost taken prisoner.

The casualties amongst Churchill's officers were 4 killed, 4 wounded and 5 taken prisoner. The numbers for the other ranks are not given. Macaulay's history says of the battle of Landen that only Waterloo and Malplaquet exceeded it in numbers of dead: "During many months the ground was strewn with skulls and bones of men and horses and with fragments of hats, shoes, saddles and holsters. The next summer, the soil, fertilised by 20,000 corpses, broke forth into millions of poppies." The Allied losses in fact, were 19,000. The French lost 9,000 and were too exhausted to pursue William's retreating army.

Knocke, 19th June 1695

Churchill's were not in action in 1694, and in 1695 they took part in an operation to threaten Knocke (Quenoque) along with 7 other battalions, on 19th June. This was a diversionary move commanded by Major-General Charles Churchill, but turned into a siege which cost 600 killed and wounded. Tiffin's brigade, which contained Churchill's regiment, lost 372 men. The movements of the regiment are not known beyond this, although their Colonel, Churchill, narrowly avoided capture by the French when he and his staff were left behind after the army had moved on during the night. His staff were captured and stripped but he managed to dodge the guard and caught up with the army on foot.

Namur, July-Aug 1695

Churchill's Regiment did not take part in the successful siege of Namur. They were in a column under The Duke of Wirtemburg operating in the area of Ostend and Nieuwpoort. The French by this time were commanded by Villeroy who decided to bombard Brussels, an act of vandalism that lasted for 5 days, the intention being to draw William away from Namur. The regiment were not engaged for the rest of the war and after the Peace of Ryswick on 20th Sep 1697 plans were made to send the troops home. Churchill's embarked at Ostend and arrived at Gravesend on 16th Nov 1697.

The War of Spanish Succession 1701-15
This war came about when Charles II of Spain died without an heir on 31st Oct 1700. He had nominated Philip of Anjou to be his successor, the grandson of King Louis XIV. The other contender for the throne was Archduke Charles, second son of the Emperor of Germany, recognised in treaties of 1698 and 1700 which were signed by King William III, the Emperor of Germany...and King Louis XIV. Louis therefore was in violation of the treaties and went ahead with his acceptance of the Spanish crown on behalf of his grandson who was second son of the Dauphin. The Emperor of Germany immediately prepared for war but Britain was reluctant to be embroiled again, especially since there had been wrangling between parliament and the crown over the drastic reduction of the army and the refusal of parliament to authorise the back-payment of soldiers who had been owed their money since 1692.

The First Expeditinary Force 1701

Louis made the first move by invading the Spanish Nederlands and occupying Nieuwpoort, Oudenarde, Ath, Mons, Charleroi and Namur which were garrisoned by the Dutch. Britain was persuaded by the Dutch to become involved and an expedition was prepared, commanded by the Duke of Marlborough, now restored to favour. Churchill's Regiment (The Buffs) was earmarked to go on this expedition but at the last minute King William decided to go and needed a battalion of Guards to accompany him. The Buffs were chosen to remain in England in place of the Guards. Marlborough and William set off on 28th June 1701 with 15 infantry battalions. The general feeling in England was still lukewarm to the idea of war but when the deposed and exiled King James II died in France on 16th Sep 1701, the capricious King Louis proclaimed James's son to be King James III of England, in violation of the treaty of Ryswick.

The Expedition to Cadiz 1702

Cadiz 1702
Two expeditions were planned for 1702, the continuation of the war in the Netherlands, and an attack on the fortress and harbour of Cadiz in southern Spain. King William III died at the age of 51 on 8th March 1702 and was succeeded by Anne, the second daughter of James II's first marriage. The Buffs were at first ordered to embark for Goree on the Dutch coast but on 25th April 1702 they were redirected partly to the Isle of Wight and partly to Portsmouth where the Cadiz expedition was prepared. A fleet of 30 British men-of-war, 20 Dutch ships and 110 transports, stores and fire-ships under the command of Admiral Sir George Rooke. The troops were commanded by the Duke of Ormond. The Buffs under Lt-Col Henry Peyton, had a strength of 834 and formed part of a force of 11,000 reviewed on the Isle of Wight on 2nd June. They finally sailed on 12th July with instructions to capture Cadiz, and if that failed, "to attack Vigo, Ponte Vedra, Corunna or any other place belonging to Spain or France."

The Plunder of Port St Mary, 31st Aug 1702

The fleet anchored in the Bay of Bulls and sent in a composite force of 1,200 grenadiers from each regiment followed by 3 lines of boats. The Buffs were in the first line but the heavy surf caused difficulty. 20 men were drowned and 54 firearms were lost. The grenadiers repulsed an attack by Spanish cavalry and the landing was accomplished. Rota was taken without trouble and Port St Mary was next. The inhabitants had left the town deserted which prompted the men to plunder the place. What could not be taken was destroyed, and far from trying to prevent this vandalism the officers joined in the scramble for booty. The city was one of the best built, best furnished and wealthiest in Spain and the actions of the British soldiers and sailors horrified the people of Spain. If there had been any doubt about which side to support in this war it was swept away so that the Spanish now firmly sided with the French.

Matagorda, Sep 1702

The next objective was Fort Santa Catalina which surrendered quickly, then on to the fort on Matagorda Point which had to be secured before the fleet could attack the French ships behind the chain boom of Cadiz harbour. The French sunk 3 ships to further block the harbour so the taking of the fort was now not needed. Ormond continued to besiege it, however, and bombarded the fort from two batteries. These started to subside and there was a bombardment to contend with from the French ships. So after 3 days the siege was abandoned. Admiral Rooke wanted to bombard Cadiz but there was general agreement to withdraw.

Vigo, 23rd Oct 1702

Information of a French squadron under Admiral Chateau-Renault escorting Spanish galleons laden with silver from the West Indies was received by Admiral Rooke. It was said that they were heading for one of the ports on the Atlantic and Rooke headed for Vigo in northwest Spain following another message received. The French and Spanish ships had dropped anchor in Vigo and stretched a chain boom across the harbour. The bulk of the silver cargo had been offloaded and shipped inland. A force of 5,000 men was landed with the intention of capturing a fort at the mouth of the harbour while the fleet burst the boom and attacked the enemy fleet. 7 companies of the Buffs were amongst the troops that were landed. They overcame the Spanish batteries and sent grenadiers into a stone tower where the garrison had thought themselves more secure. But they captured 400 prisoners after a short exchange of fire. The British fleet broke into the harbour and caused such a commotion among the enemy ships that Chateau-Renault ordered the captains to set fire to their own ships and abandon them. As Captain Joshua Churchill, an officer of the Buffs wrote in a letter home: "Admll Hopson led them in, and made himself towards Monsr Cheauterenaeu ye ffrench Admll but they seeing of us so resolute, sett their ships on ffire. It was the most glorious sight I ever saw & continued burning all day and night." Six men-of-war were captured, 7 sunk and 8 burned. 13 Spanish galleons were secured with cargoes valued at a million pounds which were later sold, for much less, and the money distributed amongst the officers and men.

Marlborough's Campaigns

Marlborough started his Flanders campaign from the Hague on 2nd July 1702 while the raid on Cadiz was keeping the Buffs occupied. He was accompanied by two Dutch officials who for some reason not properly explained, had the power to veto Marlborough's military decisions. This hindrance first became downright dangerous when they prevented the Commander-in-Chief from engaging the French army under Boufflers, first at Lonovur on 2nd Aug when there was a good chance of destroying the enemy, and next on 22nd August. Another opportunity was prevented at Liege in October. Notwithstanding, the 1702 campaign was regarded as a success.

The March to the Danube, May-June 1704

The Buffs along with 3 other regiments were ordered to join Marlborough's army in Holland in April 1703. They had 13 companies containing 56 privates, 3 officers, 6 NCOs and 2 drummers; a total strength of 876 men. There was little activity in 1703 apart from the siege of Hey. But 1704 was a significant year in the annals of military history, during which the Schellenberg was stormed and the Battle of Blenheim was fought. Charles Churchill, brother of the Duke of Marlborough had now reached the rank of General and led a column of infantry which moved independently of Marlborough during the famous march to the Danube which was carried out with meticulous planning and succeeded in deceiving the Elector of Bavaria as to his true intentions. The object was to reach and capture Donauworth at the junction of the Rivers Wernitz and Danube so that a base could be established for the invasion of Bavaria. During the march, the Duke had met and formed a strong partnership with Prince Eugene of Savoy, but he had a very difficult relationship with Prince Louis, Margrave of Baden, his joint commander. Throughout the march, the Buffs, along with the Household troops, accompanied the Duke and his HQ.

Schellenberg, 2nd July 1704

Marlborough had command of the army on alternate days with the Margrave of Baden and knew that on his day he would have to move his men into position, a day's march, and attack the Schellenburg while the Franco-Bavarian defenders were still in the process of building defences. The Schellenburg was the fortified hill overlooking Donauworth. The Buffs and the Guards were placed in the line of battle, the Buffs being brigaded with the Royal Scots, the 8th and 37th Foot all under the command of Maj-General Withers. At 4pm, after an artillery barrage, the advance up the hill began even though the remainder of the army had not reached the area. Every officer and soldier carried a fascine to throw into the enemy's defensive ditches. Unfortunately many of the units threw their fascines into a ravine by mistake so that they had no way of crossing the prepared ditches. There had been many deaths and injuries caused by canister fired from enemy cannons, and rapid musket fire. When the infantry were held up at the ditches the Bavarians rushed out to engage them in hand-to-hand combat. The bloody struggle that ensued resulted in heaps of bodies on the hillside and the troops were forced back. However, Marlborough and his staff urged them back and a similar hand-to-hand fight ensued. At this point the remainder of the allied army arrived and caused the enemy to lose confidence. With great difficulty the infantry and cavalry pushed their way up and forced the defenders to flee to the town and across the river. The Franco-Bavarians suffered heavy losses, the numbers of which vary greatly according to the source. The allies lost 86 officers and 1,329 men killed, the British regiments lost 32 officers and 420 men killed. The buffs casualties were 2 officers and 3 men killed, 37 wounded. The capture of the town reaped great rewards in provisions, booty and ammunition.

Battle of Blenheim, 13th Aug 1704

The French commanders Tallard and Marshal Marsin had set up camp at Blenheim and was joined by the Elector of Bavaria on 12th Aug. Marlborough's and Eugene's armies had linked up from different directions and were poised to engage the Franco-Bavarians. Marlborough's army had a roughly equal number of British, Dutch and Hanoverians with fewer numbers of Hessians and Danes. As always, the Duke was eager to attack the enemy camp despite their superiority in numbers and their strong defence. The opposing armies were drawn up either side of the Nebel, a river that ran into the Danube. The Buffs, one of 14 British infantry regiments, were in Major-General John Webb's brigade along with the 8th, 37th and Royal Scots. There was much preparation to do before the battle began on the 13th Aug, including building pontoon bridges across the Nebel and placing artillery batteries. The French artillery were able to fire at the allies as they moved into position but many regiments remained in a state of readiness for some hours and suffered heavy casualties from cannon fire. Prince Eugene's progress was especially slow because of the difficult nature of the ground which was either marshy, wooded or intersected by rivulets. They were not ready until 12.30pm after which time Lord Cutts, on the extreme left, was ordered to advance with the infantry on Blenheim village which was defended by 26 French battalions under the Marquis of Clerambault, and 12 squadrons of dragoons behind it. The Buffs were on the left of the second line. The first units to attack the village were in Colonel Archibald Row's brigade which included his own regiment, the 21st Scots Fusiliers, also the 10th, 15th, 23rd an 24th Foot. It was a courageous and suicidal charge that killed Colonel Row and one third of the brigade. The French dragoons charged into the retreating brigade but were fired on by Hessian infantry. Another attempt was made by James Ferguson's brigade, the Guards, Royal Scots, 16th, 18th and 26th Foot but they were forced back with heavy casualties.

Marlborough held back from further attempts on Blenheim and concentrated on the enemy centre which was based around the village of Oberglau. This turned into an epic struggle involving mostly cavalry. Also on the right of the allied line there was a battle raging around the village of Lutzingen. The Buffs meantime were in support of a cavalry advance on Blenheim, this time covered by artillery fire under the command of Colonel Blood who had managed to bring guns over the pontoons. The French bravely withstood fire from the guns and muskets of the infantry but had to pull back. The allied cavalry also made good progress in the centre of the enemy line and Marsin's flank was exposed so that he ordered a retreat of his wing. It was now around 5pm and up until then neither side could claim to be winning but Marlborough sensed victory and himself led the bulk of the allied cavalry forward. This was a defining moment in the battle and the French began to run in all directions. Hompesch and 30 squadrons pursued those heading towards Hochstedt and Marlborough's cavalry pushed the retreating French into the Danube where hundreds of men drowned. Comte Tallard, the arrogant and obstinate commander-in-Chief of the Franco-Bavarians was captured at Sonderheim.

The battle of Blenheim village was still in progress and the Buffs were involved at this stage. The garrison of 24 battalions was cut off from the rest of the French army and were putting up a stout resistance. The Buffs were covering any breakout attempt in the direction of the Danube. At around 7.30pm the French were offered a chance to surrender and would not do so until one of their officers was taken to a vantage point where he could see that the battle was lost. They capitulated at 8pm. The losses were heavy on both sides. The figure for the Franco-Bavarians was put at 40,000, but other sources say around 18,000 is more likely, in the battle and subsequent pursuit. Marlborough's wing lost 2,818 killed and 5,442 wounded, while Eugene's had 1,724 killed and 2,500 wounded. The British contingent of 14 battalions and 18 squadrons of cavalry sustained a loss of 60 officers and 610 rank and file killed. The wounded figures were 144 officers and 1,564 other ranks. The Buffs lost 3 officers killed and 7 wounded. No figures are given for the rank and file.

The next objective was to drive the French out of Germany. There were also the prisoners to take care of. It was decided to take them to the Hague, escorted by the five weakest battalions. These battalions had suffered the greatest loss in the recent conflict: The Royal Scots, the Buffs, the Lincolnshires, The Royal Scots Fusiliers and the Hampshires. Even though the regimental history gives only brief details of the Buffs' role in the battle of Blenheim, it seems that they had sustained heavy casualties. The brief details were taken from the eyewitness account of Dr Hare, chaplain to the Duke of Marlborough. The route taken by the escorts was from Langencandel to Maintz where they embarked the prisoners and took them down the Rhine to arrive at the Hague on 10th Oct 1704. The regiments went into winter quarters there and officers returned to England to recruit more men.

The narrative up to this point has been a distillation of the 'Historical Records of the Buffs East Kent Regiment , Formerly Designated The Holland Regiment and Prince George of Denmark's Regiment. Vol I 1572-1704 by Captain H R Knight psc, Late the Buffs. (Gale & Polden Ltd 1905). From this point on the history will be taken from Gregory Blaxland's The Buffs (Leo Cooper 1972)

Ramillies, 23rd May 1706

There was another victory in 1705 when the Buffs were in the vanguard of a dawn attack at Helixham, after an all night march. But Marshal Villeroi advanced towards the Dutch border in 1706 to avenge the defeat at Blenheim. His and Marlborough's army met by chance at Ramillies, north of Namur, on 23rd May at 1am. The Duke's allied army was extended in a convex frontage which made it easier for troops to be moved from one side to another. The French were thrown off balance when Marlborough made a feint on the right, using the British regiments. The attack on the village of Ramillies was made by the Dutch troops helped by the 21st Foot and the Buffs. The two regiments distinguished themselves by driving 3 French regiments into the marsh. However, an account given by an Irish officer whose regiment was fighting for the French claimed that the Irish got the better of the Buffs and captured their Colours. However, the battle of Ramillies was a stunning victory for the allies and the French were driven out of the main cities of the Netherlands.

Oudenarde, 11th July 1708

The French were more successful in 1707 where they gained victories at Almanza in Spain, and Stollhofen. But Marlborough had a bad year with divisiveness among the allies and the erosion of his and his wife's favour with Queen Anne. The Buffs spent the year with many marches to and fro and a month cooped up afloat during an invasion scare. They landed at Ostend in May 1708 in better shape than could be expected and in July made a 50 mile march with Marlborough's army which caught the French unawares at Oudenarde. The army went straight into action as was the Duke's custom and attempted to surround the French army under Vendome. Troops were still arriving at the battlefield and the Buffs were just in time to prevent the enemy breaking through the envelopment. They fought into the night at close quarters amongst a maze of hedges and in heavy rain so that the French were able to make a disorderly escape. The army went on to besiege Lille, a task taken on by Prince Eugene's force while Marlborough's men provided the covering screen to prevent its relief. Vendome's army made an attempt but they were repulsed.

Malplaquet, 11th Sep 1709

Malplaquet has been described as the biggest and bloodiest battle of the 18th century. Marlborough had reduced Tournai after a 70 day siege and marched his men to where the French commander Villars had dug his Franco-Bavarian army of 75,000 into a ridge flanked with woods. The Buffs entered the battle at an early stage positioned on the right. They had to fight their way through the trees causing Villars to take reserves from his centre to cope with the advance on the allied right wing led by General Withers. The weakened centre was penetrated by allied cavalry and a long and hard cavalry battle ensued aided by infantry musket fire. Out of all the regiments the Buffs sustained the heaviest casualties, losing 15 officers killed or wounded. Again, the figures for the rank and file are not available. The allies suffered 21,000 in killed and wounded while the French, who lost the battle, had 11,000 killed and wounded. It was a Pyrrhic victory for Marlborough and Eugene and the French were able to withdraw in good order and remained a threat to the allies. Villars remarked that a few more French defeats like that would destroy the allied armies.

Bouchain 1711

The Buffs distinguished themselves in 1711 when the French sprung a surprise night attack on the camp where the British and Dutch troops were sleeping. The Buffs ran out in their shirts and saved many horses and camp followers from falling into enemy hands. One month later they took part in a hectic march of 40 miles in 18 hours to penetrate Villar's famous Non Plus Ultra lines. The French town of Bouchain was reduced after a siege, Marlborough's last victory before he was dismissed and replaced by the Duke of Ormonde. The Buffs did not return home until August 1714 and found that there was no hero's welcome. They did not even have battle honours to proclaim their achievements, at least not for 168 years. In 1882 they were awarded BLENHEIM RAMILLIES OUDENARDE and MALPLAQUET to be emblazoned on their Colours.

Sheriffmuir 1715
The Buffs were posted to Scotland following their return from Flanders. Their former Colonel the Duke of Argyll led an army of 3,000 against the Jacobite supporters of the Old Pretender. The Buffs Colonel Archibald Douglas, Earl of Forfar ordered the cavalry to charge the rebels and the Buffs followed up at the head of two other battalions. This was a successful charge but Forfar was captured and badly mutilated by the highlanders when they realised they had no time to take him prisoner. He died of his wounds a week later. The battle was inconclusive so James Edward the Pretender had to turn around and go back to France.
Vigo 1719
After a few months on occupational duty in Scotland the Buffs moved gradually south until they were in the Isle of Wight in July 1719. There was an expedition to Vigo with 10 battalions that was tasked with destroying the preparations for a Jacobite invasion. They encountered little opposition and returned with a large haul of weapons and plunder.
War of the Austrian Succession 1740-48

Dettingen, 27th June 1743

The regiment had their longest home tour in their history from 1720 to 1742, a period of 22 years mostly spent marching all over Britain. But on 27th April 1742 they were reviewed at Blackheath by George II and then sailed to Ostend. Very little happened for a year then they crossed the Rhine and marched towards the French army on the banks of the Main. There at Dettingen in June 1743 they were placed in reserve and did not face any more danger than occasional cannonballs which caused 6 casualties. The most memorable moment was when one of their officers, Captain Trapaud managed to grab the reins of the King's runaway horse. The bad-tempered King was unable to make it go in the direction of the enemy. After it was halted His Majesty dismounted and returned to the action on foot.

Fontenoy, 11th May 1745

In 1745 the army was commanded by the Duke of Cumberland and the British and Hanoverian infantry were sent forward on the right of the line while the Austrians were on the left and the Dutch in the centre. The British and Hanoverians had to cover the ground between Fontenoy and the Bois de Barry but they failed to realise that it was protected by the Redoubt d'Eu, a fortified battery which the French under Maurice de Saxe had laboriously constructed along with other strong defences. The Buffs were on the right of the second line, commanded by Lt-Col George Howard, and came under heavy fire from artillery, but they carried on until the enemy entrenchments were reached but had to turn about and retire the way they came. They may well have succeeded in storming the defences if the Dutch had not let them down and if Brigadier James Ingoldsby had not failed to attack the Redoubt d'Eu. The Buffs and the Black Watch took up rearguard positions and covered the retreat by alternating every 100 yards. Although some accounts of the battle say that it was the 19th Foot not the Buffs in the rearguard. At that time the two regiments were known by their Colonels' names as the Buff Howards and the Green Howards which may have caused confusion. In any event the Buffs suffered 54 casualties, all from cannon shot.

Second Jacobite Rebellion 1745-46

Falkirk, 17th Jan 1746

On 25th July 1745 Bonnie Prince Charlie, the Young Pretender, landed in Scotland to raise the Jacobite standard and claim the throne of England. The Jacobites gained a victory at Prestonpans in September 1745 which alarmed the English and caused them to hastily recall 17 regiments from the Continent. While the Jacobites were marching to Derbyshire, the Buffs and the other regiments were sailing to Newcastle where they landed on 25th Oct 1745. But it was not until 17th Jan the following year that the English troops met the Highlanders at Falkirk 20 miles west of Edinburgh. The English were commanded by General Henry Hawley with 3 regiments of cavalry and 12 battalions of infantry. The infantry formed up in two lines with the Buffs in reserve. The battle was fought in late evening, on a dark and stormy night. The highlanders charged the English with the wind behind them so that the rain blew in the faces of the soldiers and the rain dampened their powder. Most of the infantry fled from the onrush of Scotsmen and it was difficult for the officers to keep order. But Brigadier General James Cholmondley still had control over two battalions, 4th and 59th which stood fast. They fired into the enemy's flank and checked them. He was joined by General Huske who had rallied the 14th, 26th and the Buffs who had also stood fast. There was another charge by the Irish Picquets which caused Huske's men to retreat and the English abandoned their camp retiring to Linlithgow. The weather became worse as the night drew on so the rebels did not pursue the retreating Englishmen. The casualties were low in number because the men had run away early on. 12 officers and 55 men were killed and 280 missing although 170 turned up later. The Buffs casualties were slight but they were one of the battalions that came out of the affair with any honour.

Culloden Moor, 16th April 1746

Highlanders 1746
The Duke of Cumberland arrived in Scotland at the end of January to command the English troops at the Battle of Culloden Moor, just east of Inverness. He had 14 battalions of infantry and three regiments of dragoons. The Buffs were on the right of the second line of infantry which meant that they were less involved in the hand-to-hand fighting. The initial exchange of artillery fire killed one and injured 2 of the Buffs, one of whom died later. The highlanders' subsequent charge 'like hungry wolves' was directed towards the left of the British line so that the 4th and 37th Foot sustained the most casualties. The battle is best (or worst) remembered for the aftermath when it is generally accepted that the English soldiers took no prisoners, and simply slaughtered any rebels they caught. But there is evidence to prove that prisoners were taken. However there was certainly bad feeling between the redcoats and Jacobites, especially as the highlanders' preferred weapon was the broadsword rather than the musket, so that the wounds received by soldiers were more gory than usual.

The Barber's Boy Incident

In the punitive operations that followed the defeat of the Jacobites, the Buffs gained a reputation for harshness to which the memory of The Earl or Forfar's death in 1715 may have made its contribution. Having scoured the wilds of the Highlands they moved to Stirling, and it was here that the whipping of a barber's boy created a great furore, causing the Buffs name to be listed in history 'as among the blood-thirstiest of all the human wolves'. The boy had been rude to an officer who refused to accept the wig delivered to him, and was sentenced by a regimental court to 2,000 lashes. The diary of a newly joined officer named Nicholson describes how the task of chastisement was entrusted as usual to a junior drummer, and performed with such gusto that it was stopped within 30 strokes, the boy being in such a fever that he 'was near being killed by it'. The Buffs were promptly moved from Stirling to Carlisle, there to keep order during the execution of 30 prisoners, and judging from the damages Lt-General Thomas Howard had to pay for windows smashed by his officers in the over-zealous performance of their duties, they made themselves no more popular there.

War of the Austrian Succession 1740-48 (cont.)

Lauffeld, 2nd July 1747

The Buffs had to return to Flanders for the battle of Lauffeld near Maastricht which was almost a repeat of Fontenoy, fought between the French under Marshal Saxe, and the Pragmatic Army under the Prince of Orange with the British and Hanoverians commanded once more by the Duke of Cumberland. It was predominantly a cavalry battle and again the Dutch let them down, especially when their cavalry retreated by riding through the allied infantry. The British, Hanoverians and Hessians fought bravely but were driven out of the village of Lauffeld and would have been annihilated but for the intervention of General John Ligonier who led the cavalry and rescued Cumberland from being captured, and was himself captured in the process. The Buffs lost many officers and men, perhaps more than 165, although there were no exact figures.

Second Battalion Raised, 1756

The regiment returned to England in Nov 1747 for a two year spell in Kent and Sussex before going to Scotland for 5 years. In 1755 they went south again and were increased in strength to 12 companies, but two were removed to be the basis of a new regiment, the 57th Foot. The regiments were now numbered, as from 1751, so that the Buffs were the 3rd (or Buffs) Regiment of Foot. With another war against France looming the 3rd Foot were ordered to raise a second battalion, recruited at Lichfield in August 1756. The two battalions came together at Plymouth but after two years the second battalion was detached to become the 61st Foot.

The Seven Years War 1756-63

Rochefort, Sep 1757

The abortive raid on the town of Rochefort, situated in the middle of the French west coast in the Bay of Biscay was the brainchild of William Pitt to divert French forces from threatening Germany. The raid was led by Sir John Morduant who was blamed for its failure and court-marshaled. The Ile d'Aix was captured but the raid had to be cancelled for many reasons. James Wolfe had been appointed Quartermaster General and his good advice was largely disregarded. The Buffs remained on board ship and inactive throughout September. The raid had cost the country one million pounds and was derided by opposition leader Henry Fox who famously remarked that the enterprise was "breaking windows with guineas".

West Indies 1759

On 19th Oct 1758 the Buffs embarked for the West Indies and reached Barbados on 3rd Jan 1759. They invaded Martinique almost immediately with 6 other regiments including their old other half, the 61st. But after a safe landing it was decided to abort the attack and go back the same night. The Buffs formed the rearguard of the withdrawal. Next was Guadeloupe and again they landed unopposed after the bombardment of Basse Terre. They had to fight against black guerillas, a different kind of warfare than they were used to. The most deadly aspect of their posting was disease which killed 450 of the Buffs as well as the commander of the expedition, Major-General Hopson. His successor transferred the force to a healthier part and organised raids on the French who capitulated on 1st May 1759. They returned to the UK in late June.

Belle Ile, 1761

Having failed to capture Rochefort in 1757 the British had another attempt at raiding the French coast in 1761, this time further north. Belle-Ile-en-Mer is an offshore island about 8 miles from Quiberon at the end of a point of land on the south coast of Brittany. It is a natural fortress described by one officer, "encircled by a chain of rock forming irregular precipices and exhibiting steep rising ground from the tops of the cliffs... Small bays and narrow valleys or ravines with sides very steep and difficult of access penetrate deep into the heart of the island." The expedition to capture this fortress was led by Maj-Gen Studholme Hodgson who had at his disposal the 9th 19th 21st 30th 67th 69th 76th 85th 90th 97th and 98th Regiments. The first landing was of the grenadier companies on 8th April which failed and caused 76 killed, 72 wounded and 246 taken prisoner. A more successful landing took place on 22nd April which established the force on the island but there was still the main town of Le Palais to capture. This was heavily fortified and improved by Vauban so that there were redoubts and the citadel to overcome. The redoubts were captured on 13th May and the town entered. On 31st May the Buffs arrived, along with the 75th and some extra companies of the 85th. Mining was carried out and the walls began to crumble so that by 6th June the French garrison capitulated and were allowed to march out with weapons and ammunition intact. The British prisoners were also released from the citadel, including John Crauford who later became Colonel of the Buffs. The total British casualties were 282 killed and 533 wounded. The island was occupied until the treaty of Paris in 1763.

Portugal, 1762

Spain entered the war on the side of France, and Portugal called upon Britain for aid. The Buffs were still at Belle Ile and well placed to be sent to Portugal with three other battalions, arriving in July 1762, although their numbers were depleted and had to be made up with recruitment. The regiment was commanded by John Biddulph. Colonel John Crauford who became Colonel of the Buffs in May 1763 was given the local rank of Major-General to command Portuguese troops. The regiment went up to the Coimbra area with the other British troops at the end of August and was engaged in the Alvito but otherwise spent most of the time under the Commander, Count Lippe, in the Alentejo and Estremadura. The new recruits suffered terribly from the constant marching and counter-marching. The grenadiers were the only ones to see action under Burgoyne's detachment.

Minorca, 1763-1771
The Spaniards sued for peace in November 1762 and in June 1763 the Buffs sailed to Minorca which had been returned to the British. The French had occupied the island since 1756 when it was taken from the British and Admiral Byng was executed for failing to prevent it. The Buffs remained there for 8 years during which time they absorbed the men from the disbanded 91st Regiment. The Military Commandant of Minorca was John Crauford who governed in the absence of Governor Sir Richard Lyttelton. Crauford had become Colonel of the regiment in May 1763. The regiment returned to England in 1771 spending 4 years in the West Country.
War of American Independence 1775-83

Eutaw Springs, 8th Sep 1781

The Buffs were posted for 6 years in Ireland from 1775 to 1781 during which time they recruited many young men from Cork and Tipperary. From there they were sent to America to fight the rebels led by Nathanael Greene in South Carolina. The Buffs' commanding officer, Lt-Col Alexander Stewart, was placed in charge of a 2,000 strong force which consisted of the Buffs, 63rd and 64th Foot as well as a composite battalion of grenadiers from the 3rd, 19th and 30th. He also had at his disposal Loyalist units including cavalry and artillery. They were camped at Eutaw Creek near the Santee River on 8th Sep 1781 and had sent out a large (mostly unarmed) foraging party to dig up sweet potatoes. Henry Lee's 2nd Partisan Corps came across them and captured 400. Greene's force of 2,200 then advanced on the camp and formed up to attack but the forewarned British charged them first and were successful until the Carolina rebels were reinforced by men from Virginia and Maryland. The Americans drove the British back and reached the camp which was then ransacked. However, there was a counter-attack by the grenadier battalion which routed the enemy and allowed them to claim a victory. The American casualties were heavier than the British. 120 Americans killed and 400 wounded while the British lost 85 killed and 350 wounded. The Americans captured around 500 prisoners and the British caught around 60. Both armies remained in the vicinity for a day then withdrew. Soon afterwards the British surrendered at Yorktown but the Buffs remained in the south and were one of the last to leave America, sailing from Charleston to Jamaica in Dec 1782 with a huge fleet carrying 15,000 Carolina Loyalists and their slaves.

The East Kent Regiment 1782

In May 1782, while the Buffs were preparing to leave South Carolina, the Adjutant-General put into effect the plan to affiliate each infantry regiment to a county for recruitment purposes. The Colonels of the regiments were invited to nominate the county of their choice so that the regiments would retain their seniority number but add a county name to their title. The 3rd Buffs owe their affiliation to Kent to the Colonel at that time, Lt-General William Style. Little is known about him except that he lived in Wateringbury, southwest of Maidstone. This is in fact in West Kent but perhaps the Colonel of the 50th (West Kent) Regiment got in first.

Home Service 1790-93
The 3rd East Kent Regiment of Foot (The Buffs) returned to the UK from Jamaica in April 1790 in surprisingly good health after 8 years in a notoriously unhealthy posting. Their first duty was as marines on ships from Portsmouth and Chatham, and then guard duty at Windsor and the Tower of London. The latter duty gave them the opportunity to exercise their privilege of marching through the City of London, armed and with drums and Colours.
French Revolutionary Wars 1793-1802

Flanders and Germany 1793-95

The new war with France broke out in 1793, against the Revolutionary government, and the Buffs were embarked on two unnecessary trips to Ostend spending 4 months afloat in the Channel which caused an outbreak of typhus. They were removed first to Hampshire, then Jersey, from where they made another voyage to Flanders in July 1794. The Duke of York's campaign ended in catastrophe. Their allies left the British to suffer a forced retreat in the middle of the worst winter for 50 years. They had dragged themselves deep into Germany and then back to Bremen leaving a long trail of corpses. They were shipped back to Yarmouth where they mustered only 302 fit men out of around 900. Only 2 of their many casualties had been killed in action.

West Indies 1795-1802

The Buffs were next sent to the West Indies, leaving Portsmouth in October 1795 in two ships, part of a large expedition under Sir Ralph Abercromby. One ship reached Barbados in late January 1796 and from there were sent to St Vincent to fight insurgent Caribs encouraged by the French. The other ship returned to England for repairs but set off for Grenada where they landed on the night of 24th March. Four companies of the regiment, who had been cooped up in a crowded ship, were part of a brigade attack on a rebel stronghold on the morning of the 25th Mar. They had to climb up via a path and penetrate a gap in the enemy defences where they were shot at as they came through. The leading officer was killed along with 3 other officers and several men. There was a bush fire and the men made a massed descent. Another attempt was made using grenadiers who succeeded in driving the rebels down the other side where cavalry was waiting to cut them up. The Buffs lost 13 killed and 53 wounded in this battle.

Saba & St Eustatia, April 1801

The two halves of the regiment were reunited on St Vincent where the rebels were not subdued until mid-June. They were split up again to attack other islands held by French, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish or Danish. One such raid was on the Dutch held islands of Saba and St Eustatia in 1801. Lt-Col Richard Blunt took 100 men of the Buffs on the 'Arab' and an armed schooner. They attacked the islands which surrendered on 21st April 1801, and occupied them until the Peace of Amiens, with Colonel Blunt as governor of the islands. The return from the West Indies came in September 1802 and they first went to Jersey leaving 312 men behind as reinforcements for other regiments. Due to yellow fever they were now reduced to 270.

Napoleonic Wars 1803-1815


The Peace of Amiens gave a short respite but in 1803 their numbers were increased to such a level that a second battalion was raised to defend Kent from Napoleonic invasion. The 1st Battalion went to Ireland and then in Nov 1805 to Bremen as part of Wellesley's brigade. They marched to the Weser to link up with the Germans but had to march back again having suffered hardship but little action. Their next posting was in Oct 1807 to the island of Madiera where they stayed until August 1808.

Retreat to Corunna 1808-9

The Buffs arrived in Portugal on 1st Sep 1808 and sailed up the Tagus. Sir Arthur Wellesley had returned to England leaving Sir John Moore to advance into Spain with two thirds of the British army. The Buffs brought up the rear, escorting supply wagons, so that when Moore beat a hasty retreat towards Corunna the Buffs were left behind. The grenadier company, however, were with Moore and suffered the horror of the winter schlep over the mountains to Corunna. They fought with the rearguard, attached to the 20th Foot, and were evacuated to England where they arrived 'some 70 barefoot scarecrows' to join the 2nd Battalion. The remaining 9 companies of the Buffs stayed behind, guarding a large amount of money destined for Moore's troops. Lt-Col Richard Blunt managed to keep his regiment, and the money, safe from Napoleon and his marauding soldiers.

Crossing the Douro, 12th May 1809

Crossing the Douro
Arthur Wellesley returned to Portugal in April 1809 with 20 battalions, and the Buffs were placed in Rowland Hill's 1st brigade together with the 48th and 66th. At Ovar, 23 miles south of Oporto they clashed with the French under Soult but the enemy withdrew over the river Douro, destroying the bridge as they went. But four wine barges were requisitioned by a staff officer with the help of a prior and some peasants. Three companies of The Buffs were the first troops to cross the 300 yard wide Douro on 12th May, and occupied a walled seminary overlooking the landing site, before the French in Oporto were alerted. Soult dispatched a regiment under General Foy, and the Buffs successfully defended the seminary so that reinforcements were sent in by both armies. Those French troops that were guarding the riverbank were brought in for the battle of the seminary, giving the Portuguese people the chance to row and sail all their boats to the south banks to ferry more British troops over. The French were caught on the back foot and Soult ordered a retreat. They had lost around 1,000 men in the battle of Oporto. The British lost 120 men of which 50 were Buffs. The battle honour DOURO was the regiment's first, awarded on 10th Sep 1813. The only other regiments to have this honour were the 48th and the 66th which were in Hill's 1st Brigade, and the 14th Light Dragoons.

Talavera, 28th July 1809

At Talavera the Anglo-Portuguese army under Wellesley fought against a 50,000 strong French army commanded by Marshal Victor. On the evening of 27th July the Buffs were in Rowland Hill's two brigades on the extreme left of the line which was ranged on the heights above Talavera. Hill heard firing and later wrote, "I said to myself that I was sure it was the old Buffs, as usual, making some blunder." This short sentence indicates that there was a perception of the regiment at that time as being composed of below average intelligence soldiers. Also that the term 'Old Buffs' was still the popular nickname for the regiment. However, it transpired that the firing was from the enemy and Hill was lucky to avoid capture by the French.

The following day revealed the awesome array of Victor's army and a bombardment from the French guns that was wreaking havoc with Hill's men until Wellesley ordered them to lie down behind the brow of the ridge. As the enemy infantry advanced up the hill the British infantry stood up and fired a withering volley into their ranks, a tactic similar to that used later at Waterloo. The infantry then charged down on the enemy but the Guards and King's German Legion advanced too far and were saved by the cool action of the 48th Foot (Northamptons) who were brigaded with the Buffs and 66th. The battle seemed to be won by 8am but another attack in the afternoon had to be repulsed. The Buffs had 152 casualties, although this figure does not indicate how many were wounded and how many killed. Sir Arthur Wellesley was elevated to become Lord Wellington and the Buffs were awarded the honour TALAVERA on 4th Jan 1823.

Captain Fenwick

Wellington's army then withdrew to the lines of Torres Verdras via Badajoz and Busaco without any action. But one Buffs officer, Captain Joseph Fenwick, saw more action, launching over 20 raids from the coastal region against French foraging parties. But at Chamusca in Nov 1810 he was fatally wounded and wrote a note to Colonel Richard Blunt, CO of the Buffs. This was written in his own blood and can be seen at the National Army Museum. It reads: 'I am shot thro the body & arms for God's sake send me a Surgeon English if possible - if I do not recover God bless you all. JF' He died soon afterwards. Wellington, when he received the news wrote, 'We have thus sustained a great loss.'

Albuhera, 16th May 1811

The battle of Albuhera was catastrophic for the Buffs and for other regiments, including the 57th (Middlesex) which earned the name 'Die-Hards'. Both regiments subsequently celebrated 16th May as Albuhera Day.

Marshal Beresford, the English general who was commander-in-chief of the Portuguese army led an army which contained Hill's and Lowry-Cole's Divisions to relieve Spanish-held Badajoz but it was now occupied by the French and they had to lay siege to the city. When he heard that Soult's army was approaching Beresford took his men off to confront them. They met at Albuhera, 12 miles away, where, on 15th May, the Buffs led Hill's 2nd Division onto the ridge above the village. There were Spanish troops on the right-hand part of the ridge and when day dawned on the 16th May it seemed that the village was under attack and the Buffs were rushed down the hill. Then it became clear that Soult's main attack was coming round the right flank to envelop the Spanish. The Buffs had to run obliquely up the hill followed by the 3 battalions of Colborne's Brigade. They ran around behind the Spaniards who were stretched over nearly a mile of ridge and trying to adjust their position to meet the flanking attack.

When the Buffs formed up on the right of the Spaniards they came under heavy artillery fire. They then led an attack on the approaching French and halted to fire 2 volleys which caused their attackers to waver. The French soldiers had to be beaten by their officers who were using the flat of their swords to keep them in line. At that point a storm broke and hail came down in sheets. Visibility was very restricted and powder dampened so that when the Polish Lancers burst upon them they did not have time to form a defensive square. The lancers were joined by hussars and the British infantry stood little chance against them.

Silver Centrepiece
Ensign Thomas, aged 16, carried the Regimental Colours and yelled "Rally on me men, I will be your pivot!" The Colour Sergeants were unable to prevent him being cut down and the Colour seized, as Thomas shouted defiantly, "Only with my life!" They took his life and the Colour with it. The King's Colour was carried by Ensign Walsh but he too was killed and the Colour taken up by Lieutenant Matthew Latham. He put up a brave fight but was badly cut when a sword blow sliced half his face away. He clung on to the Colour but his right arm was cut off and he fell under the hooves of the swarming enemy cavalry. The lancers cruelly spiked the wounded infantrymen lying on the ground but the mutilated Latham survived. The 4th Light Dragoons interrupted the lancers, and other men from the 2nd Division forced the enemy back. But the French were not thrown into a confused retreat until the Fusilier Brigade of the 4th Division made a successful attack from the right flank. A sergeant of the Royal Fusiliers regained the Regimental Colour of the Buffs and returned it to the survivors of the regiment.

There were only 85 men left unharmed out of a strength of more than 500 when day broke on 17th May. One hundred lay dead on the hillside, mostly stripped by looters. Among the 12 officers and 229 wounded soldiers picked up was the unconscious and unrecognisable Lt Latham. Inside his tunic was the King's Colour, heavily stained with blood. The Prince of Wales later paid for surgery to repair his injured face and the officers awarded him a special gold medal which he wore on his uniform as he continued to serve, with one arm and a scarred face.

Vittoria, 21st June 1813

The Buffs were reconstituted so quickly that they were referred to as the Resurrectionists. They were operating around Badajoz with the 2nd Division for much of the time but also suffered great hardship in a retreat towards Ciudad Rodrigo. After Napoleon's disaster in Russia in 1812 Wellington's force was numerically stronger and the army advanced towards France. 70 miles from the frontier they fought the battle of Vittoria against Napoleon's brother, King Joseph of Spain. The Buffs were in Sir John Byng's brigade and had an easy task which they accomplished without serious casualties.

The Pyrenees, July 1813

Pamplona was besieged while Byng's Brigade probed ahead into the Pyrenees. The light companies made a brief entry into France but the brigade had to fall back on Altobisca which was held with the Spanish troops under Morillo. The Buffs were in the centre of the line with the composite regiment 31st/66th on their left. On 25th July they were attacked by a large French force under Soult. The enemy were kept at bay and suffered heavy losses, however, the determination of the British and Spanish was such that a French officer approached the Buffs with a bottle of cognac to express admiration for his brave adversaries and asking them to drink a toast with him. They accepted and there was a brief respite from the fighting which turned against the Anglo-Spanish after a fog descended.

For two days Byng's brigade withdrew under dangerous circumstances but Wellington arrived with the rest of the army and Soult was at last repulsed. During a critical part of the battle Byng's men ran to the rescue of the Fusilier brigade, returning the favour after Albuhera where the Fusiliers rescued the survivors of the attack by the Polish Lancers. The counter-offensive was launched next day, with the Buffs pushing on through the village of Sorauren in fighting that brought their casualties to 101 for the seven days of the battle, and brought them back almost to the French frontier.

Nivelle, 10th Nov 1813

After spending the autumn in the snowy Pyrenees Wellington's army moved forward in November, with the 2nd Division on the right, to the Nivelle where they drove the French from beyond the river and established themselves on the far bank. For the Buffs it was an easy battle honour.

Nive, 9th-13th Dec 1813

On 9th Dec 1813 they waded through the icy waters of the Nive to find the opposition easier than expected. But after 3 days the Division on the 2nd's left flank had been driven back. This left Hill's Division isolated and outnumbered. The Buffs were on the extreme right, holding the village of Vieux Mouguerre when 3 French columns approached. The CO ordered a withdrawal but this was countermanded by Sir John Byng. The men let out a great cheer and charged the columns which were veering to the right and who assumed that they were pursuing routed troops. Byng himself led the 3 battalions of the Buffs, 31st/66th and the 57th. A French division clashed with them but they still managed to intrude into the enemy line. This was the example that gave the rest of the army the impetus to surge forward and win the battle. The Buffs had suffered 99 casualties including 12 officers.

Orthez and Toulouse Feb-April 1814

The advance eastwards resulted in the battle of Orthes on 27th Feb where the Buffs suffered more losses when they performed an outflanking move. Then on to Toulouse which was fought on 10th April with little loss for the regiment. The Buffs did, however, gain the battle honours both for ORTHES and TOULOUSE for these actions. This was the end of the war for Napoleon until he returned from captivity in Elba the following year.

North America 1814-15
With Napoleon captured and safely locked away the Buffs, along with 9 other battalions were sent to Canada in June 1814 to fight the Americans. They were sent to Plattsburg on Lake Champlain in New York State and were involved in several skirmishes in September before being ordered back. They suffered 43 casualties including 3 officers killed, the heaviest sufferers out of all the battalions. They spent the next 6 months in Montreal before being rushed back to Europe to deal with the return of Old Boney.
Paris 1815-18
The regiment left Canada in June 1815 and reached Ostend a month later, thus missing the Battle of Waterloo which took place on 18th June. They marched to Paris and spent 3 years there in the army of occupation which was organised by a General Order of 30th Nov 1815 so that the Buffs were in the 3rd Brigade of Maj-Gen O'Callaghan with the 39th and 91st. This was in the 2nd Division which was commanded by their new Colonel, Lieut-Gen Sir Henry Clinton. In 1818 they returned to the UK and spent another 3 years in Ireland.
Australia 1821-27
After Ireland they assembled at Woolwich from where they marched through the City of London in full splendour, but were then given the unglamorous task of escorting convicts on the long voyage to the other side of the world. They left in detachments one after the other until the whole battalion was in Australia by August 1823. They were mostly in New South Wales, not only guarding prisoners but hunting escapees and other outlaws. Their CO William Stewart was the Governor of the state briefly in December 1825. The dispersed detachments came together in 1827 and those who chose to were then shipped off to India. Some chose to stay as settlers including Major Archibald Innes who founded the town of Glen Innes.
India 1827-45
The initiation into life in India proved fatal for many of the Buffs. After the arrival in February 1828 of the main body of the regiment, Cholera spread through the ranks, killing men and officers alike. Lt-Col Charles Cameron was the most senior officer to be killed by the disease. He had survived all the battles and rigours of the Peninsula campaign, and set up himself and his Portuguese wife with their 7 children for a life in Australia, but was obliged to leave them and go to India. The men spent periods of 18 months in one station before moving on to another so that by 1835 they were at Meerut having built up their numbers with drafts from other battalions that had returned to Britain.

These men were not of high quality and during a period of 7 months in that year there were 113 court marshals with sentences amounting to 7,000 lashes given out. But in 1836 an inspection reported that the Buffs were 'in a most excellent state of discipline'.

Punniar, 29th Dec 1843

The Buffs were spared the debacle of Afghanistan in 1842 because of sickness at their camp at Kurnaul. In 1843 they marched 600 miles Ferozepore to Allahabad and in the autumn of that year were sent to Gwalior to subdue the Mahratta Rani. There were two columns. One commanded by Sir Hugh Gough and the other by Major-General Grey. The Buffs were in the latter column with the 50th Queen's Own and 4 regiments of Native Infantry. The column stretched for 10 miles on the march and they arrived in Gwalior on 24th Dec 1843. The two columns were to meet up at Punniar and Grey's column started to pitch camp there on 29th Dec when they were fired on by enemy cannons from a nearby ridge.

Lt-Col James Oliphant Clunie (1795-1851) of the Buffs gathered his men and led them towards the guns and drove the Mahrattas back to the ridge where they were confronted by a horde of men. Under cover of artillery fire they pressed on in the teeth of cannon fire and made a bayonet charge as they met their adversaries. Some of the enemy retreated but others fought bravely and many lives were lost including a brave Mahratta youngster holding a standard. The 50th and Indian battalions came up later to help the Buffs finish the job and the enemy were put to flight. The battle had lasted an hour and resulted in 17 men of the regiment lying dead, including a captain and 3 colour-sergeants. 54 were wounded, and a further 7 killed by an explosion set off by themselves during the destruction of an enemy ammunition wagon. The men returned to their camp to find it looted. Grey had not been involved in the action as Clunie had acted on his own initiative. The actual CO at the time was James Dennis but he was commanding a division of Gough's column at that time so the second Lt-Col Clemil was acting CO, and for his brave action awarded the CB.

India 1827-45

The Crimean War 1854-56

The Buffs had been abroad for 23 consecutive years, but their return to England turned into a brief 18 month stay before going to Ireland for four and a half years. In 1851 they were posted to Malta, and then in Nov 1854 they were sent to Athens while many units were on their way to the Crimea. It was not until April 1855 that they embarked for Balaklava harbour and a spell in the trenches in front of Sebastopol. They had missed the harsh winter that caused so much suffering to the lightly clothed and under-fed troops, but they still had to cope with dysentery and cholera. Initially there were two main actions, one a successful attack on the Quarries and another unsuccessful attack on the Great Redan in early summer. Another attempt was made a few months later

The Great Redan, 8th Sep 1855

The next important battle that involved the Buffs was the last major action of the Crimean War. The regiment was now down to 400 men after the ravages of cholera and Russian artillery. They had been placed in the 2nd Division, as in the Peninsula, and were picked to supply a scaling party of 160 men, commanded by Major Frederick Maude to storm the Great Redan. Another party was to be supplied by the 97th Regiment. A further 100 from the Buffs were to provide covering fire while the scaling parties rushed at the walls of the Redan with their ladders. The 97th were supposed to go first but they were held up for some reason and Major Maude ordered his party to leave the trench and run towards the enemy rampart. They had 20 ladders but only 7 reached the wall of the defence ditch. The survivors clambered up and attacked the Russians at the top. They were astonished to find that the big guns had men chained to them to prevent them running away, and these had to be killed.

The rest of the scaling parties joined them on the parapets but there was a determined counter-attack by the Russians so that the fighting became extremely fierce, 'turning the tiered redoubts into a jumble of grappling, gasping men.' Major Maude was in the thick of the fight using a rifle to fight off swarms of Russians, but the sheer weight of numbers forced them back so that there were men falling back they way they had come. Maude managed to bring most of his surviving men out of the struggle even though he was badly wounded. Private Joe Connors rescued an officer of the 30th by fighting his way through a ring of enemy soldiers. Both he and Maude were awarded the Victoria Cross for their bravery, amongst the first recipients of this new medal. The Russians had beaten them off but decided to evacuate Sebastopol, after setting it on fire. The Buffs went in to put out the fire, and raised their Colours on the ramparts, the only British Colours to fly there. The occupation of the city was brief because the enemy were still able to fire their guns into the city from the harbour. The Buffs' casualties for this action were 32 killed and 106 wounded. Amongst the dead were a groom and a bandsman, non-combatants who had felt the urge to share the glory of their fighting comrades. A memorial window for the Crimean dead of the Buffs was installed in Bell Harry the tower of Canterbury Cathedral.

Second China War 1857-60

Taku Forts, 12th August 1860

The Buffs left the Crimea in May 1856 and sailed to Corfu for a more pleasant posting which lasted more than 2 years, although it was there that Joe Connors VC lost his life when he accidentally fell off an ancient rampart. In Dec 1858 they went to India for the tail end of the Mutiny and in Oct 1859 embarked for China. There were 12 British and Indian battalions organised into 2 divisions. They spent the winter months in Canton preparing for the attack on Taku at the mouth of the river Pei-ho. A landing was made on 12th Aug 1860 and they marched south, with the Buffs leading a column commanded by Sir Robert Napier. On reaching the two forts guarding Taku the Buffs did not have much to do apart from rounding up 2,000 prisoners in one fort while there was a furious and bloody fight at the other. The regiment missed out on the journey to Peking and the subsequent pillaging of the Emperor's Palace. They did receive as their consolation prize, the Peking Vase which has since then been the most famous treasure of the regiment.

Private Moyse

One celebrated casualty of the Buffs in this war was Private John Moyse who was with a sergeant of the 44th and some Indian sappers detailed to bring up the division's grog carts, wagons loaded with rum. Some Tartars captured them and took them before a Tartar Prince. They were ordered to kow-tow but Moyse, being of an insubordinate disposition, refused. He was told that he would be executed if he did not comply but he stubbornly stood his ground, with the fatal consequence that he was beaten up and beheaded.

'Steady The Buffs'
This phrase which has been been in common usage until recent times originates with the 2nd Battalion while they were posted to Malta from 1858 to 1861. The battalion had been recently raised in Ireland and now shared Florian Barracks there with the 21st Royal Scots Fusiliers. The adjutant of the 2nd Buffs at that time was an officer named Cotter who happened to have held the rank of sergeant-major in the 21st. As they were not seasoned troops they were likely to have been less competent at drill so needed a strong word of command. Cotter was conscious of the comparison with his old regiment and would shout 'Steady The Buffs, the Fusiliers are watching you.' This greatly amused the Scotsmen who would repeat the shout 'Steady the Buffs' at any opportune moment. The Buffs and Fusiliers met again in Dublin a few years later and the Fusiliers did not hold back from taunting their Irish colleagues. Kipling used the phrase in 'The Story of the Gladsbys' published in 1907. It has also put into the minds of most people that the Buffs can be relied upon to be steady and steadfast.
India 1866-1874
India 1874
In September 1866 the 1st Buffs sailed to India where, on arrival in Meerut, they were yet again struck down by cholera, causing the deaths of 131 officers and men, and 59 of their wives and children. Whilst there they were issued with breech-loading Snider rifles with which they won the Magdala Shooting Cup where they were up against 30 battalions.
Perak Expedition 1875-6
In Nov 1875 the 1st Battalion sailed to Malaya as part of an expedition to avenge the murder of the British Resident in Perak, James Birch. They had been issued with white tropical drill uniforms which were dyed khaki for the campaign. The 1st Gurkhas and the Buffs formed the vanguard of the force which cut their way through jungle and swamps, and travelled up the River Perak. They attacked fortified villages and drove out Malay warriors. At the end of the campaign they had installed a new British Resident, Sir Frank Swettenham, and sailed back to India in 1876, having lost one man killed in action and 15 having died of disease.
Wreck of the St Lawrence, 7th Nov 1876
The 2nd Battalion, under the command of Colonel Charles Pearson, embarked at Dublin for a posting to South Africa in Sep 1876, sailing on a second-rate steamer the St Lawrence which, on 7th Nov came to grief on some rocks called the Great Paternosters Reef off a deserted part of the coast of South Africa. The battalion with their families, numbering 400, were eventually evacuated in a calm and orderly fashion, and landed safely on shore while the crew unloaded stores and tried to re-float the ship. They had to throw 100 tons of coal overboard to lighten it. The shipwrecked soldiers and their families made tents out of sails while one of the officers Capt A H Wylde rode off for help. He took 18 and a half hours to reach Cape Town, and two ships, the Spartan and the Spitfire were sent to pick them up and convey them to Cape Town.
The Zulu War 1879
Colonel Pearson was promoted to command the first of the 3 columns that were spaced along the Buffalo River to invade Zululand. The 2nd Buffs were part of Pearson's force that was, on 12th Jan, to cross the river at its widest part, the Lower Drift, near the mouth, along with the 99th, the Naval Brigade, several colonial units and artillery. It took five days to ferry them all across. The force was split into two divisions with 5 companies of the Buffs in Pearson's division going first and 3 companies going in Colonel Welman's division a day later.

Inyezane, 22nd Jan 1879

The first encounter with the Zulus was on the morning of the 22nd Jan after they had crossed the river Inyezane. On a ridge with 3 spurs projecting towards the river, some Zulus were spotted and a company of Natal Native Infantry was sent up to investigate. But this disturbed a mass of 6,000 Zulus who swarmed down the right-hand spur. The Native Infantry retreated and the Naval Brigade took up a position with their Gatling Gun on the central spur, supported by 2 companies of the Buffs and fired on the enemy. The artillery gave them covering fire and they reached the top of the ridge to fire into the thick mass of Zulus and drive them back. The mounted troops pursued the fleeing Zulus who left behind 350 dead. The British/Colonial casualties were 10 killed and 16 wounded.


Pearson's objective was to reach the mission station at Eshowe and establish a fortified base there prior to an advance on Ulundi. His division reached Eshowe on 23rd Jan and Welman's division arrived on 24th without having encountered any Zulus. On 25th a convoy of empty wagons was sent back to Lower Drift to fetch supplies. The convoy was escorted by 2 companies each of the Buffs and the 99th. This left 6 companies of the Buffs to help garrison Eshowe which was strongly fortified by the hard work of the whole force. The wagons returned with the much-needed supplies but the 2 companies of the Buffs remained at Lower Drift. The 6 companies in Eshowe were allotted the north and west walls to guard. The whole garrison numbered 1,300 soldiers and sailors, plus 400 wagoners. A large horde of Zulus threatened the fort but were scared off by artillery fire. From then on they confined themselves to sniping and avoided mass attacks. However, it was not safe to leave the fort so the garrison was confined. Messages were able to reach them via heliograph so they knew about the disaster at Isandhlwana on 21st Jan and realised that there was little chance of help arriving. As a result they were obliged to stay there, suffering shortages of food and the ravages of disease, until the beginning of April.

Gingindhlovu, 2nd April 1879

Lord Chelmsford, the commander of the invasion force, had managed to gather a force to relieve Pearson's beleaguered column at Eshowe. Most of these troops had arrived recently in South Africa, the 91st Highlanders and the 60th Rifles. The 2 companies of the Buffs that remained at Lower Drift were added to the force. They set off on 29th March and proceeded unopposed until they reached the river Inyezane where they built a fortified laager to camp for the night. His was near a Zulu kraal at Gingindhlovu which had been burned by Pearson's men. On 2nd April Chelmsford wanted to provoke the Zulus to attack his position which he felt was strongly defended. When the Zulu impi appeared they obligingly attacked in their usual style which was to encircle their enemy. The British were better prepared than they had been at Isandhlwana and fired rockets and Gatling Guns at long range. The Zulus could not get close enough to use their stabbing spears and were being mowed down by the rapid fire and discipline of the red-coated soldiers. After 20 minutes they lost heart and retreated, pursued by colonial cavalry. The casualties were light amongst the British; 12 killed, including one private of the Buffs, and 48 wounded. Chelmsford's force was able to proceed to the relief of Eshowe.

Second Invasion of Zululand, May-July 1879

The Buffs in Zululand
The Zulu king Cetchwayo was still winning the war and enjoying the safety of his kraal at Ulundi, so Lord Chelmsford organised his second invasion with fresh troops as well as those that had survived the first invasion. The 2nd Battalion of the Buffs was in the 1st Brigade of the 1st Division commanded by Major-General Henry Crealock. Colonel Pearson commanded the Brigade which consisted of the Buffs, the 88th and the 99th Regiments. They commenced their operation from the Lower Drift of the Buffalo River at the end of May but progress was slow due to Crealock's lack of wagons so that there was much shuttling to and fro with the wagons. The government in England had decided to replace Chelmsford with Sir Garnet Wolseley but Wolseley had trouble reaching Chelmsford's column and instead attached himself to Crealock's. In the event this column saw little action so that the Buffs played no part in the final defeat of the Zulus at the battle of Ulundi in July. At the end of operations the battalion was shipped off to Singapore in October 1879.

Reorganisation 1881
The Cardwell army reforms took effect as early as 1873 when battalions were paired for alternate tours overseas and at home, with regular exchanges of drafts. Another outcome of the changes was the allocation of of fixed depots and permanent recruiting areas. This meant that the Buffs depot was established in Canterbury, at first at barracks built in the Napoleonic wars near the Catherdral. In 1881 the numbering of regiments ceased and they were designated by their territorial title. The first 25 regiments of the line still stayed intact but the more junior regiments had to be amalgamated to make two battalions plus militia battalions. The 3rd Buffs were earmarked for the title 'The Kentish Regiment (The Buffs)' but following vigorous protest it was changed to 'The Buffs (East Kent Regiment)'. The biggest disappointment was the imposition of white facings to their uniform and Regimental Colour to replace the buff. Also the collar badge was ordered to be changed to the Invicta white horse of Kent. In 1886 they were presented with their new Colour which was white with the red cross of St George. In 1887 Lord Wolseley allowed the regiment to use buff pipeclay on their collars and cuffs, and in 1894 the uniforms were issued with proper buff facings and the dragon badge was restored.
3rd Battalion 1881
The East Kent Militia, as with other militias, was transformed into the 3rd and 4th Battalions The Buffs, at the same time as the regimental reorganisation. The 4th Battalion, however, was short-lived. The East Kent Militia dated from 1760 and had served overseas in the Mediterranean during the Crimean War. For this they were permitted to carry the battle honour MEDITERRANEAN on their Colour. At first their Regimental Colour was of Kentish Grey, to match their facings. They were not permitted to emblazon the honours gained by the regular battalions. Besides the 2 extra battalions added from the militia there were 2 Volunteer Battalions which were Kent Rifle Volunteers. In 1883 they became 1st VB, Canterbury, and 2nd VB Cranbrook (the Weald of Kent). All these extra battalions served in the Boer War and received battle honours for SOUTH AFRICA 1900-02.
Egypt 1885
The 1st Buffs were mobilised to join Wolseley's Egyptian expedition but it was all over by the time they reached Malta and they went to Ireland instead. In 1885 they were sent to Singapore while the 2nd Buffs were returning from Hong Kong. The 2nd were sent to Egypt for the Nile Expedition. They went up river to Aswan but the Dervishes had been defeated at Ginnis so after two debilitating months in the desert they returned to England, in April 1886.
Relief of Chitral 1895
From Singapore the 1st Buffs went to India, in Jan 1887 but it was not until March 1895 that they went on campaign on the Northwest Frontier with Sir Robert Low's 1st Division. The aim of the expedition was to relieve Chitral, a fort that was garrisoned by Sikhs and Kashmiri levies, besieged by Pathan tribesmen. The Buffs went by train to Nowshera and faced a march of 120 miles to Chitral. In the event they were beaten to it by a column of Sikhs who approached from the east but they suffered a gruelling trudge through hostile mountains in freezing temperatures with only a greatcoat to sleep in at night. They were accompanied by a company of Seaforths and 4 companies of Gurkhas and reached the fort with much-needed supplies after a 26 day march.
The Malakand Field Force
Following their great effort on the road to Chitral they languished in Peshawar for 2 years, fighting against malaria and enteric fever, but in July 1897 they were placed in Brigadier-General P D Jeffrey's 2nd Brigade as part of Bindon Blood's Malakand Field Force. The brigade was ordered to subdue the Mohmand tribe northwest of Malakand and on 16th Sep set out on a punitive sweep up the Mohmand valley. The tribesmen at first took to the hills, then attacked the 35th Sikhs who were helped out by the Buffs firing on the enemy. Several villages were burned and they then withdrew to camp, the withdrawal being covered by constant rearguard action. It was an exhausting day for the men and the newer recruits often collapsed with fatigue or the after effects of fever.

Corporal Smith VC

The mud and stone village of Bilot lies beneath the Hindu Kush and it is where Corporal James Smith of the Buffs earned the VC. He and his section had gone out in the evening of the exhausting day in the Mohmand valley, to look for a wounded officer. They found Brigadier-General Jeffreys with a badly gashed head who with a few sappers and 4 mountain guns, was surrounded by a large force of tribesmen near the village. Their chances of survival were negligible until the arrival of the Buffs. There were two officers of the Royal Engineers, Lieutenants Watson and Colvin with the sappers and they led the newly arrived infantrymen in a desperate bayonet charge. The officers were both wounded and Corporal Smith had to take command. He was also shot and wounded later on, but remained in command and held the position. They remained under attack until they were relieved at 2am that night by a squadron of cavalry that included the young Winston Churchill. There were 4 DCMs awarded to men in Smith's section as well as VCs for Smith and the two RE officers.

The Anglo-Boer War 1899-1902

Relief of Kimberley and Paardeberg, Feb 1900

The 2nd Battalion were mobilised as part of Kelly-Kenny's 6th Division on 11th Nov 1899 but did not sail to South Africa until 22nd Dec, after the setbacks of Black Week. They reached Cape Town on 14th Jan and were taken 400 miles by train to join the force for the relief of Kimberley which was under the command of General Kekewich. The Mounted Infantry company of the Buffs had the first action, on 15th Feb, as part of General French's mounted troops who reached Kimberley first. The 6th Division were with Lord Roberts' force that forced Cronje to entrench his Boers at the Modder River southeast of Kimberley. The Buffs, commanded by Col Hickson, provided covering fire, on 16th Feb, for three brigades who advanced under heavy fire from enemy marksmen. The battalion also foiled an attempt by a relief column of Boers. The casualties for the Buffs were light but one officer, Captain Godfrey-Faussett was accidentally shot and died a few days later on 21st Feb. On the 27th the Boers surrendered and The battalion escorted Cronje and his wife from their mud-hole, along with 4,000 captives of all ages.

Driefontein, 10th Mar 1900

Lord Roberts headed east towards Bloemfontein the capital of the Orange Free State and there was a brief but costly battle at Driefontein which involved the infantry. Kenny-Kelly's division had to make a 20 mile march across the hot veldt arriving at De Wet's defences at 1pm. The enemy were well armed with a Vickers-Maxim and artillery and thinned the ranks of the advancing battalions. The Welsh Regiment bore the brunt of the fire with the Essex and Gloucester Regiments in support. The Yorkshires, with the Buffs in support, also advanced on their right and crawled up the hillside to the stone sangars of the Boers. There was a white flag raised by the enemy at one point which was a ruse, causing several officers and men of the Welsh to be shot. Then in the words of a sergeant of the Buffs, 'Whistles blew and up we all rose, and yelling, shrieking, stumbling, we fairly tore across like madmen to the Boer position. They fired an irregular burst and then funked it.' They were some of the best of the Boer troops, known as the Zarps, and they lost more than 100 killed. The Buffs casualties were heavy, also more than 100. The CO,Colonel Robert Hickson was badly wounded and had to be sent back to England. He went on half pay in December 1900. Captain Eustace was killed and Lieut Ronald was wounded.

Militia and Volunteers

Four days later, the infantry marched into Bloemfontein which had surrendered. The battalion was now commanded by Lt-Col Backhouse who had been second in command. It was there that more men were lost to enteric fever and typhoid. The 3rd Battalion, the former militia arrived in South Africa in April 1900, intended for static duty but had to make a fighting march to Lindley, helping to free Major-General Arthur Paget from encirclement. One of the 3rd's companies fought so well that it received mention in Lord Roberts' dispatches for having 'behaved with conspicuous gallantry'. The volunteer battalions were also represented in the war, forming a company that was attached to the 2nd Battalion. When the war was formally finished the guerilla war took over and the 2nd and 3rd Buffs spent a year manning blockhouses and providing escorts. There were small battles, mostly at night and one platoon from the 2nd Buffs was captured but later released in an exchange of prisoners.

Benson's Column

In Oct 1901 the 2nd Battalion joined a column commanded by Colonel Benson RA. Whilst crossing a drift they were attacked by two Boer commandos under Louis Botha. Two companies of the Buffs were unwisely withdrawn from a hill allowing the enemy to capture 2 guns. Benson himself was mortally wounded and the Buffs had 51 casualties out of a total of 263 for the whole column. The rest of the war saw little action for the regiment. The 3rd Battalion went to St Helena to guard prisoners then sailed home to be disembodied. The Buffs had lost 72 men from enemy action in the war and 135 from disease. A memorial was constructed at Dane John for the fallen.

Aden 1903
Officers 1905
While the 2nd Buffs were in South Africa, the 1st Battalion remained in India but were sent to Aden in October 1903 where they made some fatiguing marches deep into the Protectorate to pursue rebellious tribesmen. They maintained a detachment of 2 companies at Dhala, a place with which the Buffs became acquainted again in 1958. They returned to England in Nov 1904 and met up with the second battalion at Dover. In 1906 they were granted the honour of having the HM King Frederik VIII of Denmark as their Colonel-in-Chief. From 1910 to 1914 they were in Ireland, first Dublin and then Fermoy where there was some trouble with Irish Republicans.
World War One 1914-18

1st Battalion

The outbreak of war in August 1914 brought an influx of recruits to Canterbury which together with more than 500 reservists were shipped over to Fermoy to join the 1st Battalion. They then went to Cambridge to be part of the 6th Division and were one of the last regular battalions to go to France, having been held back to defend the east coast. But on 11th Sep they landed at Nazaire and entered the trenches on the Aisne on 21st. Their first action was an attack on the village of Radinghem, near Armentieres on 18th Oct. They gained the village under the leadership of their CO Julian Hasler, but lost the chateau after some fierce fighting. They had to make a withdrawal and held a line which came under attack during 34 days continuous fighting. On Christmas day 1914 there were friendly greetings with the Germans but a private who attempted to approach them was shot as was a corporal who tried to rescue him.

Off to the Front 1914
In 1915 they fought at Hooge and in 1916 were at the Somme. They were in the attack on Flers on 15th Sep 1916 and suffered heavily along with the newly introduced tanks. But on 25th Sep they had more success in a surprise attack which hastened the fall of Morval. At Cambrai during the mass tank attack the 1st Buffs were in Byng's 3rd Army with the 6th Battalion. There was initial success with a 4 mile advance through the Hindenburg line but the Germans counter-attacked on 30th Nov 1916 in which the battalion made a fighting withdrawal.

In the Spring of 1918 when the Germans made their great offensive the 1st Battalion were in brigade reserve on the Third Army sector. On 22nd march they bore the brunt of a German thrust causing them to withdraw through the village of Vraucourt, under pressure on all sides. They suffered 219 casualties but inflicted heavy losses on the enemy. They had a long stint at Ypres where they suffered much from gas attacks but later joined the 4th Army and on the 18th Sep 1918 took part in the battle of Epehy, on the right of the line. They endured 10 days of hard graft in reducing the Quadrilateral. On 8th Oct they succeeded in an attack on the Hindengurg Line, and another attack on 17th in dense fog. This brought them beyond Selle still on the right of the 4th Army.

2nd Battalion

The 2nd Buffs had been in India since Jan 1913 but came back to England and then on to France where they were directed to the Ypres sector on 6th Feb 1915. They were at once thrown into an attack in freezing conditions, thick mud and pitch dark, with shells dropping around them, and across ground they had never seen. Three battalions were decimated and only 70 Buffs reached their objective. Two months later, on 22nd April a gap formed in the line when French troops retreated from a gas attack. This gap left the Canadians' flank exposed and Lt-Col Geddes of the Buffs was ordered to plug the gap. He had at his disposal the remnants of his own and 3 other battalions, known as the Geddes Detachment. On 23rd April they advanced in daylight by platoon bounds under heavy fire and gained some trenches alongside the Canadians. On the 24th, B Company was placed under Canadian command but after a prolonged resistance was overwhelmed by the Germans. The Geddes Detachment accomplished the task allotted to them but Gussie Geddes was killed by a chance shell.

Later in the battle of Ypres the 2nd Buffs were back in the 85th Brigade. They lost another company during the heavy bombardment and intense pressure from the enemy offensive. There was a reinforcement of new recruits at the end of April which were thrown straight in without being distributed amongst the companies. On 4th May 1915 they were relieved by another battalion after having suffered the loss of 719 men in the battle. They were to lose another 373 men on 27th Sep in front of the Hohenzollern Redoubt fighting with bayonet and grenade. In the 8 months that they had been fighting in France and Flanders they had lost 1,868 men. After this they were sent to Salonika in Oct 1915 with the 28th Division and many of them contracted malaria. They set out from Doiran against the Bulgars but there was little resistance and it was all over by the 30th Sep 1918. In Nov 1918 they were sent to Turkey and spent the first 6 months of peace in Istanbul.

4th Battalion

The 4th Battalion was made up of men from the 1st Volunteer Battalion which had been changed to Territorials in 1908. They served in Aden from August 1915 to Feb 1916. One of their companies formed part of a composite Kent Battalion at Gallipoli. They then went to Egypt.

5th Battalion

The 5th Battalion, also a Territorial Battalion, left India in Dec 1915 to go to Mesopotamia with the 35th Indian Brigade. There they were sent in to relieve Kut from the Turkish siege but lost 251 officers and men in their first action at Sheikh Saad on 7th Jan 1916. There was an attempt to attack through floodwater which depleted the battalion but a large draft of men brought them up to strength. A flanking movement caused them to pull back, all desperately thirsty, and further demoralised at the news of the fall of Kut. In December there was an advance under the command of Sir Stanley Maude, son of the first Buffs VC. There were tough encounters on the banks of the Tigris before the 5th Battalion approached the Dahra Bend. On 15th Feb 1917 they launched an attack alongside the 37th Dogras which defeated the Turks and brought 1,000 prisoners at a cost of 80 Buffs casualties. They went on to Baghdad which was reached on 11th March and the battalion was chosen to lead the army across the river in a variety of boats. They hauled down the Turkish flag on the citadel and hoisted the Union Flag which is now on display in Canterbury Cathedral. The war against the Turkish army was not over because they pursued them for another 9 months until Dec 1917 when their duties became more mundane. This Territorial battalion had sustained 689 casualties in Mesopotamia.

6th Battalion

The 6th Battalion was raised and placed in the 12th Division, reaching France in the summer of 1915. In October they lost 400 men after their division went over the top and attacked Hulluch where the 8th Battalion had fared so disastrously. They went on later to fight at the Hohenzollern Redoubt. On 6th March 1916, C Company made an attack on a crater during which Corporal William Cotter, a one-eyed reservist, had most of his right leg blown off and both arms injured. In this condition he somehow reached his section 50 yards on, and for 2 hours inspired his men to withstand a series of counter-attacks, even hurling grenades himself. After 14 hours he was taken to hospital but he died a week later. General Gough described him as a 'marvellous man' and he was posthumously awarded the VC.

On 3rd July 1916 the 6th Battalion went into the battle of the Somme and suffered heavily, but went on to capture a strong point in the attack on Pozieres. At the Somme they took part in a failed attack on Le Transloy Ridge. In 1917, on 9th April, the Arras offensive opened and the 6th went up to the parapets by the River Scarpe, and lost men around Monchy. At Cambrai they took part in the great 4-mile advance but lost heavily in the German counter-attack. By 1918 they were switched from the 1st to the 3rd Army and rushed to the River Ancre to prevent the probing German units breaking through. In September they were on the extreme left of the 4th Army having a tough fight for Epehy. They had 7 weeks of non-stop fighting which ended with success, capturing their objective when the main assault on the Hindenburg Line opened on 29th Sep.

7th Battalion

The 7th Battalion contained many time-expired regulars and was in the 18th Division. They went into action later than most, at the battle of the Somme on 1st July 1916. They lost 205 in casualties even though they were in a supporting role on the right wing of the 4th Army. At Thiepval in Oct 1916 they fought a desperate grenade battle for the Schwaben Redoubt, and in November they lost men in driving sleet when they fell victim to machine-guns on the banks of the Ancre. But they achieved their objective. They were next fighting in the Arras offensive in April 1917, suffering more losses at Monchy.

In the Third battle of Ypres the 7th trudged through a quagmire towards Poelcapelle and on to Passchendaele where they gained a few houses at the cost of nearly 400 men. In the Spring of 1918 the Germans launched a big offensive. The brunt of the attack came at St Quentin and the 7th were holding 2 miles of the forward zone by the Oise marshes on the right of the 5th Army. By nightfall theirs was the only operative HQ and the CO needed to confirm orders to withdraw but could not bring out his forward companies. A company in Fort Vendeuil, which had been constructed by Vauban, and a platoon near the Oise inflicted great damage on the Germans but were forced to surrender at dusk on 22nd March after a heroic fight. Others of the battalion had four days of marching and fighting, especially fierce in Rouez Wood. In the end they took refuge behind the French lines, after losing 552 officers and men.

One British Corps was involved in the counter blow on 8th Aug, and the 6th and 7th Battalions fought on the left of the Australians and Canadians. They drove the Germans out of Albert and hounded them across the old Somme battlefields. They encountered stiff opposition in late September and were not relieved until 2nd Oct. They were back in the fight beyond Selle on 23rd Oct, and on 5th Nov they came out of the Mormal Forest after crossing the Sambre.

8th Battalion

The 8th Battalion contained officers who were members of Boodle's Club and some of the men were club waiters. It was assigned to the 24th Division and sent straight into the battle of Loos after it arrived in France in September 1915. They marched to the battle area on the 21st Sep and continued on to Bethune where their 64 year-old CO Colonel Romer, a keen Boodle's clubman, led his men into the attack after a night march of 22 miles. He was hit in the shoulder but picked himself up and was promptly shot through the heart. Twelve of his officers were also killed as they ran towards Hulluch village, and 11 others wounded as they grappled with barbed wire. Of the men, many were killed and others were captured as they lay wounded, making a loss of 614.

They were next in action at Delville Wood. When the Arras offensive opened in April 1917 the 8th gained the summit of Messines Ridge with small loss, and a week later attacked a hill by the Ypres-Comines Canal which afterwards was known as The Buffs Bank. They were disbanded in early 1918 at a time when brigades were reduced from 4 to 3 battalions each.

10th Battalion

Man of Kent
The two Kent Yeomanry regiments, the Royal East Kent and the Queen's Own West Kent were amalgamated and converted to infantry in Feb 1917, making the 10th battalion of the Buffs. They were in the 74th Division fighting in Gaza from 23rd April. In October they took part in Allenby's famous right hook which involved long night marches to bring about the fall of Beersheba and Gaza. On 8th Dec they had a hard fight up a muddy slope to gain the ridge beyond Nebi Samwil from the Turks. There was heavy rain on the route to Jerusalem and many camels died causing supply difficulties. After the Turks had been dealt a severe blow to their offensive the battalion spent 2 months in road-building.

However, in April 1918 the Division went to France and were put in the Lys valley, and on the 2nd Sep they helped enlarge the gains made by the 7th Battalion beyond Morval. Later in the month they fought on the right of the 6th and 7th Battalions with the Australians on their right. They progressed better than all of them on 18th Sep but suffered after that and were returned to the 5th Army. However they marched into a suburb of Tournai with the band at their head. This was spoiled by a burst of machine-gun fire, causing a rush to battle formations and a night of fighting. The Buffs, as a regiment, had lost 5,688 men killed in World War One.

Ireland 1919-22
The 1st Battalion returned to Fermoy in Sep 1919 to be faced with the prospect of fighting against Sinn Fein militants. It was not simply a matter of peace keeping, and the violence escalated. By the time they left the country in Jan 1922 two soldiers had been killed.
Iraq 1920-23
The 2nd Battalion had been in Istanbul since the end of the war but went to India in Nov 1919. In 1920 they were sent to Iraq which had been known as Mesopotamia, part of the Ottoman Empire, until 11th Nov 1920 when it became a League of Nations Mandate under British control and known as the State of Iraq. The Buffs were given the task of dealing with a Kurdish revolt. They were stationed in Kirkuk, 200 miles north of Baghdad but had to march huge distances over the desert persuading the rebels to remain peaceful. From Iraq they went to Aden for a year and then returned to the UK in April 1923.
Turkey 1922-23
After 3 months in Shorncliffe, the 1st Buffs joined the 28th Division in Turkey, in April 1922, to police the neutralised zone astride the Bosphorus. Having helped dissuade the Greeks from entering it from the west, they crossed the Straits to join the meagre force deployed around Chanak by General Harington, who was the one allied general with orders to waylay the powerful Turkish force that had routed the Greeks in Anatolia, and was now determined to re-occupy its own capital. The British somehow managed to defuse the situation and kept a wary lookout for the Turkish army. In Sep 1923 they were sent off to Gibraltar.
Bareilly and Burma 1927
The 4th Buffs had spent most of the war in Bareilly, northern India, and in March 1927 the 1st Battalion were stationed there for more than 3 years. There are a number of houses in Kent with the name 'Bareilly' as a result of this pleasant posting. In Oct 1930 they went to Burma, stationed at Maymyo, to help deal with a rebellion but there was little action involved. However, they remained in Burma until 1935 when they returned to India.
The Buffs (The Royal East Kent Regiment) 1935
Borden Camp 1935
In June 1935 King George V celebrated his Silver Jubilee and as one of the honours conferred, The Buffs became Royal. They did not call themselves the Royal Buffs and they didn't change the colour of their facings (if they had worn dress uniform at that time) to dark blue. So the Regimental Colour remained the same buff colour. The 2nd Battalion were at Borden Camp when a Brigadier visited them to announce the news of their Royal status. While he was there he had his medals stolen, and the next day he spoke to the men, "Buffs, I am proud of you," and aside to the CO said "Who stole my bloody medals?"
Palestine 1936
In October 1936 the 2nd Buffs were sent to the Middle East to help deal with Arab riots and attacks on Jewish settlements. The Arabs attacked British Army patrols because they believed that Britain, the Mandatory power, was allowing too many Jewish immigrants, refugees from Nazi persecution, into the country. The Arabs hid themselves and their weapons among the local villagers making it almost impossible to find them. A Military Cross was won by Second Lieutenant Henry Howard when the battalion were engaged in patrolling the roads and clearing the Arabs from strategic points on a hillside near Tarshiba. A small party, commanded by Howard came under fire from a large group of rebels and he was shot through both thighs. But he picked himself up and led the platoon to the top of the hill which he held for 4 hours until the enemy dispersed. As the rebellion subsided the battalion were returned to Borden Camp, Hampshire in December. However, the trouble did not disappear and the 1st Battalion were sent in from Lucknow to help with the dangerous task of railway protection, operating from Sarafand. Four men were killed in an ambushed truck and the Buffs were even less inclined to treat the rebels with kid gloves. By May 1939 the rebellion appeared to be over so the battalion was transferred to Egypt, to prepare the frontier defences of Mersa Matruh.
World War Two 1939-45

Petegem, May 1940

General Fedor von Bock's German armoured advance through Belgium was met by the Buffs at Petegem where the 2nd Battalion were allotted a 2,500 yard frontage astride the village. The enemy tanks appeared on 20th May and overran two companies. The reserve company attempted a counter-attack but without success and another attempt was made at daybreak on the 21st under Major Bruce who was badly wounded and captured. They fought house to house to weed out infiltrators but in the afternoon the main body of von Bock's Army Group B came around their right flank and the Buffs had to fight their way out. The 5th Battalion had been thoroughly crushed under a panzer onslaught in the approach to Doullens on the 20th May. They only had one anti-tank weapon which was used by Private Dexter to knock out 2 tanks. According to a German war diary the 5th Buffs 'fought tenaciously... In spite of the use of numerous tanks it was only possible to break down their resistance after about two-and-a-half hours.' Private Lungley the last survivor used the bren-gun to good effect. The local people buried his body in their village but the Germans dug it up and removed it, but it was retrieved and secretly brought back.

St Omer-La Bassee Line, May-June 1940

The 2nd Buffs were next ordered to defend the exposed BEF's right flank on the St Omer-La Bassee line. They were split into 3 detachments, one of which was commanded by Lt-Col Hamilton who did not receive the order to withdraw on 28th May. They fought bravely but were overwhelmed by the Germans, and there were few survivors. The battalion were 200 strong when they arrived at Dunkirk for evacuation. The 4th Battalion, after a patrol clash on the German side of the River Bresle on 8th June, was also evacuated but went from Le Havre on 11th June. Two of their companies, with their CO Lt-Col Douglas Iggulden, became lost and some of them left from Brest on 17th June. On that date also the Lancastria was sunk off St Nazaire; 200 reinforcements for the Buffs were drowned.

Malta 1940

On 29th Oct 1940 the 4th Battalion set sail from Liverpool on the SS Pasteur for Gibraltar, and then on to Malta aboard the battleship HMS Barham. There they endured the Italian air raids and food shortages, filled in holes in the airfields, constructed blast pens to protect aircraft, unloaded bomb-damaged ships etc. On 6th Sep 1943 they sailed for Alexandria but in October they sailed to Leros.

Fort Capuzzo, June 1941

The 1st Buffs had, at the close of 1939 returned to Palestine and Egypt. They were brought back to Egypt in 1941 and in June set off on their first operation. The Halfaya Pass had to be stormed in order to relieve Tobruk, and the Buffs were to enter the fight further inland as part of the 22nd Guards brigade. After being driven 60 miles across the desert, they advanced on the white-walled Fort Capuzzo, with their carriers and 6 tanks at their head. They burst in and took 121 Italian and 27 German prisoners without loss to themselves. After this they withstood heavy shelling and two counter attacks. The shelling killed their CO Lt-Col Sandilands 'a man of mountainous dimensions in physique and character.' The battalion retreated after this and sustained no losses in the process.

Alem Hamza, Dec 1941

The 1st Buffs made a desert pursuit on the 10th Dec 1941 when they took 250 prisoners, and on the 13th Dec they seized point 204 overlooking Alem Hamza. A strong German force was heading towards them and they had to dig in as well as they could in the rocky ground. Other battalions had not managed to gain the adjacent features so they were isolated and in great danger. However they made a heroic stand to save the brigade from being overrun. The brigade was part of the 4th Indian Infantry Division. According to a report published in The Evening News (a military newspaper), the last news of the action, when a column of 25 Afrika Corps tanks and troops attacked the position, came from the wounded Lieut-Colonel King who said, "I'm afraid this is the last time I shall speak to you. They are right on top of my headquarters now." Then came the voice of a Sikh signaller, who said, "This is the last message, sahib. I am breaking the instrument."

Those listening at Brigade headquarters could do nothing to help. They heard only the distant rat-a-tat-tat of machineguns gradually dying away. The stand of the Buffs, however, paved the way for the advance of the division. The battalion was in advance of two other battalions, in an exposed position. The first warning of a major attack came from a captured German of the panzer division. "You are going to be attacked this afternoon by 150 tanks."

It seemed impossible that the Germans still had such a number of tanks available. The unit took all possible precautions by bringing forward twenty-five pounders and all available anti-tank guns with some tank supports and four-point-fives to lay down covering fire. The German was not lying. The enemy had prepared an attack intended to crush not only the battalion but the whole brigade preparatory to a major break-through of the line. They opened with a barrage of heavy artillery, more intense than anything they had previously experienced. Then they came, 25 of them, not the 100 reported, but they were of the heaviest type with infantry on their backs armed with sub-machine guns and supported by a German regiment brought forward in lorries. Making a two-pronged attack, the tanks were followed by heavy mobile guns. The Buffs and their supporting artillery knocked out eleven tanks beyond hope of recovery; some estimates put the number at fourteen. The defenders stopped the western attack cold, but four tanks from the northern prong penetrated the position and desperate fighting followed before the position was overrun. Not one of those who escaped left until the position was in enemy hands.

The action was hard fought and, contrary to all expectations, won by the Buffs because the attack failed. The German losses were heavy and their commander ordered his units to retire. His infantry regiment had practically ceased to exist; the supporting artillery also suffered heavily. The stand gave the division time to mount counter attack and advance well beyond the position formerly held by the Buffs.

Alam El Halfa, Sep 1942

At the beginning of September 1942 Rommel's Panzers were rebuffed after coming round the left flank of the 2nd New Zealand Division. The 132nd Infantry Brigade, attached to the Division contained the 2nd Buffs and they attacked southwards, on the night of the 3rd Sep, to cut off the German's escape. The Buffs were on the left and reached their objective but came under fire from either side. They consolidated on an exposed rocky feature and survived there until they were withdrawn the following night. They had suffered 108 casualties but the West Kent Battalions had fared worse, with the loss of 600 men.

El Alamein, Oct-Nov 1942

North Africa 1942
Both the 1st and 2nd Battalions were involved in Montgomery's defeat of the German army in Egypt. The 1st Buffs, in the 8th Armoured Brigade, were in an inferno of fire as they eased their armoured regiments through the minefields.

The 2nd were engaged in diversionary operations further south, and their scope widened as the battle progressed. After 3 days the 1st Buffs re-entered the battle on 28th Oct and on 2nd Nov joined the final push that drove the Afrika Korps out of Egypt. The Buffs hit the enemy with carrier-bourne 'floating punches' and rounded up hundreds of prisoners. On the night of the 7th Nov they crossed into the Allied frontier defences of Mersa Matruh, 120 miles beyond El Alamein.

Djebel Azzag and Robaa Valley, Jan 1943

The resurrected 5th Battalion landed at Algiers with the First Army on 7th Nov 1942 and had a clash with Italian parachutists on 22nd Nov. Their brigade, in the 78th Division made an unsuccessful attempt on Green Hill, or Djebel Azzag, and the 5th Buffs attacked it at dawn on 5th Jan 1943. The enemy were in a good defensive position and the Buffs struggled in vain to force them out. At the end of January they were rushed south to the Robaa Valley following the breakage of the allied line. They dug in and it was their turn to resist an attack on their defences. The German tanks failed in their efforts which went on for 10 hours. In the end the enemy withdrew having lost 7 tanks, two of which were the newly introduced Tigers.

El Hamma, Feb 1943

The 1st Buffs, in their 8th Armoured Brigade, made a thrilling advance in late 1942, enveloping the Ageila position. After many skirmishes they outflanked Tripoli on 23rd Jan 1943. They were in the front of the entry into Tunisia and in March were in the left hook movement around the Mareth Line. They swept down to El Hamma having breached the Tebaga Gap. There was a dramatic and successful charge by the whole 8th Armoured Brigade, consisting of the 3rd RTR, the Sherwood Rangers, the Staffordshire Yeaomanry and the Buffs in their carriers. By 7th April they had pushed the Germans out of Wadi Akarit.

Djebel Bech Chekaoui, April 1943

The 78th Division smashed through to the Medjez Plain on 7th April 1943 and the 5th Buffs captured the highest peak in the outhills, point 667 or Djebel Bech Chekaoui. There was another fierce fight for Longstop Hill in which the Buffs suffered from heavy mortar fire. On 26th April they ascended the final hill alongside Churchill Tanks and took more than 300 prisoners. The 5th had just less than 100 casualties in this battle.

Sicily, July-Aug 1943

The 5th were the first of the Buffs to be moved out of Tunisia after holding the line and seeing the breakthrough to Tunis. The 78th Division landed on Sicily in Late July 1943 and on 4th Aug the high town of Centuripe was captured from the Germans by the 38th (Irish) infantry Brigade, especially the Inniskillings, with the help of the Buffs and West Kents. Another two weeks were spent in fighting to secure Sicily.

The Sinking of HMS Eclipse, 24th Oct 1943

Two destroyers took the 4th Buffs from Alexandria to the Greek island of Leros. At around midnight the ship carrying A Company and the Battalion HQ hit a mine and exploded her fuel tanks. She broke in two and sank in 3 minutes. Private Stanley Froud was on board: "I was standing on deck with my best friend Jack and the other boys..and that was it, I didn't know any more...I woke up and all I saw was flames in my eyes and everything was still. My legs were caught in the back was towards the edge of the destroyer, and as she turned I went down with her. Strangely it felt kind of peaceful..then, I don't know if I kicked or what, but I came to the surface..about 100 yards from the destroyer. I saw her turn over and the screws were still going fast as she went down..speeding down." There was heavy loss of life: of the 200 Buffs on board 135 perished along with another 135 naval personnel. Stanley had lost all his friends and said that without those men that he relied on he felt lonely and naked.

Leros 1943

The 4th Buffs commanded by Lt-Col Iggulden were the last infantry battalion to be sent to bolster the defences of Leros, the neighbouring island of Kos having already fallen to the Germans. On 12th Nov the Germans landed on Leros and the Buffs dealt with one group but the 3 battalions could not cope with guarding the whole island. Enemy parachutists captured a line across the narrow waist of the island which cut off the Buffs in the north. They fought tenaciously and one company cut through the parachutists' line, while another actually captured 40 prisoners. On the fifth day of the battle the men, who were the survivors of different units, were taken up a hill on 16th Nov and told that on the next day they were to make a frontal charge and drive the Germans off the island. They spent a restless night, all of them thinking it was to be their last night on earth. But the next morning they were told to throw away their rifle bolts and surrender.

Italy, Nov 1943

The landing at Termoli on the Adriatic was not an easy entrance to the Italian theatre of war. The German tanks gave the Allies a nasty shock and they had to wait for the arrival of their own tanks. The River Trigno was the first obstacle, which the 5th Buffs waded across on the night of 2nd Nov. They had a stiff fight and were partially driven back the next day. The Germans pulled back to make a stand on the River Sangro which was wide and swollen. It was here that a composite company of the Buffs sustained heavy casualties. The battalion had a wet and tiring period before the main assault.

Anzio, Feb 1944

The Anzio bridgehead was a stumbling block to the Allies and the 1st Buffs were called in as part of the 18th Lorried Infantry Brigade. On the night of 25th Feb their raid was able to inflict a blow on the Germans that helped stabilise a wavering line. There was a worrying order to make a forlorn attack to enlarge the bridgehead but this was changed at the last minute and they dug in for a defensive war. The 5th Buffs also entered this area on 20th March when they took over the railway station below Monastery Hill, Cassino. They were shelled incessantly, until the offensive into the Liri Valley which saw both battalions working to drive the enemy back.

Rome, June 1944

The Appenines 1944
The 1st caught sight of Rome on 4th Jun and the 5th continued beyond in pursuit of the retreating Germans. They launched 3 attacks to penetrate the defences at Lake Trasimene. In the third attack they bagged a Tiger tank and a field gun. The 1st Buffs crossed the Arno on 11th Aug and entered Florence which was empty of Germans. But the enemy guns were still operational and several men of the battalion were killed in a suburb of the city.

Lake Comacchio, April 1945

A commando raid was made on the eastern shore of lake Comacchio on 8th April. It was in this raid that Major Anders Lasson won the VC. He was one of many Danes who enlisted into the British army after their country was occupied by the Nazis. Their choice of regiment was influenced by the fact that King Christian X of Denmark was the Colonel-in-Chief of the Buffs, as had his father before him. Major Lasson had started off in the Buffs but transferred to the SAS and it was as a commander of an SBS patrol that he achieved his goal of causing confusion among the Germans and wiping out enemy positions. He died in the performance of his brave action.

Lake Comacchio 1945
Four days later, on 13th April the 1st Buffs were also in action on the shores of the lake. Now in the 56th Division, they were lifted in amphibian Buffaloes along the southwest shore to make a flanking move to open the Argenta Gap. There was a disastrous decision to cancel the support they were supposed to have from parachutists and commandos on the grounds that the Germans had received strong reinforcements. The Buffs were therefore exposed to heavy fire from the enemy. C Company held out for 8 hours but only a few men survived, and A Company managed to land two platoons safely for them to fight their way inland and seize their objective, a bridge over a dyke, capturing 34 prisoners. B Company had better fortune, gaining 140 prisoners, but had to fight throughout the night. Those men on the bridge on the dyke were under great pressure and not relieved until dusk when some Coldstream Guardsmen reached them.

Artillery and Tank Buffs in North Europe, 1944 There were 3 battalions of the Buffs that were converted to roles other than infantry. The 7th were converted to the 141st Royal Armoured Corps to take part in the D-Day landings, winning a fine reputation during the advance into Germany. The 8th and 11th Battalions were converted into artillery regiments, also fighting on Northern Europe.

Burma, Jan 1945

The 2nd Buffs were sent from North Africa to the Middle East to act as ceremonial guards at the summit conference in Tehran, and then on to India where, in Aug 1944 they were placed in the 26th Indian Brigade. From there they were flown to Burma to be part of Festing's 36th Division, this time fighting the Japanese. Under the command of Lt-Col Parry they marched to Mandalay and crossed the Irrawaddy in Jan 1945. They advanced through jungle, eliminating several enemy groups until they reached the River Shweli. This river was 300 yards wide and fast flowing but reported to be safe to cross. The first group, C company, was ferried over by Indian sappers in safety, but A Company was fired upon and lost many of their number. In one of the rubber boats the only unwounded man was Corporal Stevens who swam and towed the boat to the shore where he fought off Japanese attacks alone all day. C Company only managed to form a small bridgehead and were under heavy fire from a large force of the enemy. Most of the boats were lost so patrols had to go downriver and bring them back. After dark the operation of saving C Company was carried out with the help of tracer bullets to guide the boats, and mortar fire to cover their progress. 50 wounded were brought back and other survivors swam across. The company commander Major Hews ensured that the no-one was left behind and was the last to leave.

A week after, the river was crossed further north and a bridgehead established at Myitson. There the Buffs fought off a fierce counter-attack and continued on to Mandalay which they reached on 10th April. They were then flown back to India to prepare to fight the Japanese once more, in Malaya. But the war against Japan was over before that and they could rest and remember the 215 casualties that they had lost in the space of 3 months.

The several battalions of the Buffs had lost 1,313 men altogether in the Second World War. Not all had been killed in overseas conflicts; a few men were killed at the depot in Canterbury where German bombers had seen fit to shed their load. There was damage done to the Cathedral in which the Buffs Crimea Memorial window was shattered.

The Buffs Post-War
The 1st Buffs were in Trieste after the War, keeping watch on a tense truce line. In Jan 1946 they were sent to Greece to give help to a population caught up in civil war. At the same time the 2nd Buffs moved from Singapore to Java for a 5 month posting to quell Indonesian nationalists. The 5th Buffs spent 2 months in the autumn of 1945 on ceremonial duty in Vienna, then in August 1946 their fine war service was rewarded by disbandment, as it was after WW1. The 1st Buffs were suspended in 1947 and a cadre returned from Greece on 1st Aug to hold a valedictory parade at the depot, led by Lt-Col Oliver DSO who had commanded the battalion since March 1944. Included in the cadre was Quartermaster Arthur Brittain who had served for 18 years without any leave.
The New 1st Battalion
The suspension of the 1st Battalion seems to have been an illusion because the 2nd Battalion was officially amalgamated with the 1st on 23rd Sep 1948 and the resulting unit was called...the 1st Battalion. They were in Hong Kong at the time and viewing with some concern the approach of Mao's Red Army from Peking. They remained there until Jan 1950 when they moved to Khartoum, then on to Dover in December.
Howe Barracks, Canterbury 1951-2013
At home the 3rd Division was re-formed as a strategic reserve and the Buffs, as part of that spent many nights in the open whilst training in Norfolk. In May 1951 the regiment had a new depot, at Howe Barracks, Talavera Road, Canterbury. It was named after Lieut-Col Howe who had commanded the depot before and during World War 2. In the 1960s it was the depot to the Home Counties Brigade and the Queen's Regiment after that. The barracks have been sold off after closing in June 2013. The last soldiers to be stationed there were the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, for 10 years.

London Ceremonials 1951

In July 1951 the regiment took a turn as ceremonial guards outside Buckingham Palace. Their khaki battledress may have been a disappointment to visitors who were expecting the scarlet tunics of the Guards. They finished by marching through the City of London with fixed bayonets, a privilege shared by the Grenadier guards, The Royal Marines and The Royal Fusiliers. On this occasion the commanding officer and the adjutant rode horses adorned with buff-coloured regimental saddle cloths that had been in store since the c1914.

Egypt 1951-52
In the autumn of 1951 the prime minister of Egypt, Nahas Pasha was attempting to remove the British Army by means of terror and blockade. The Buffs spent 5 days at Port Said working as dockers because the Egyptian dockers were on strike. On 3rd Dec men of the Buffs were fired upon by policemen in black uniform, and took refuge in a hut. Just then the CO, Lt-Col Connolly and two other officers drove up and had to take refuge in another smaller hut. The officers only had one rifle but managed to shoot some of the policemen. They were saved by some men of the Royal Sussex who were armed with machine guns and gave them the opportunity to escape. Another attack on some sappers and pioneers resulted in the deaths of the whole party. At a filtration plant in Kafr Abdu a Buffs major and a private were shot in the head but both made a miraculous recovery. The GOC decided to demolish most of the village of Kafr Abdu. Yet another incident occurred on 3rd Jan 1952 lasting 24 hours, when policemen shot at and bombed the filtration compound. Six men were wounded but the attack carried on until tanks arrived to deal with them. Three weeks later Cairo was set on fire and the police in Ismailia were wiped out. The trouble did not end until King Farouk dismissed his troublesome prime minister and the regiment departed, arriving in Dover on 3rd Oct 1952.
The Mau-Mau Rebellion 1953-55
A chartered flight from England took the Buffs off to Kenya in March 1953 to help other battalions take control of the Mau Mau rebellion. By July they had settled into policing one area, a sector of the Aberdare mountains and its approaches. Their patrols took them into jungles for days at a time. Any casualties they sustained were more from wild animals and accidental shootings than from the Mau-Mau who only killed one of the Buffs. But the Buffs killed 290 Mau-Mau, captured 194 and retrieved 114 rifles. Towards the end of the tour they were beneath the sow-capped Mount Kenya, boosting the Embu tribe, and on 22nd Nov they marched in ceremony through the streets of Nairobi.
The Beginning of the End
King Frederik, May 1955
After they returned to Kent they staged, on 10th May 1955, a great parade on the county cricket ground at Canterbury attended by their Colonel-in-Chief HM King Frederik IX of Denmark. There followed 3 years in Germany during which time they received the news, in 1957, that they were to be amalgamated with the Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment, one of 15 pairs selected for linking. But they were to be the last of the 15 amalgamations, earmarked for March 1961.
Aden, Feb 1958 - April 1959
The Buffs Near Dhala 1958
Officers in Aden, 1958
After a 4 month spell in Dover Castle the Buffs they were flown to Aden to deal with agitators. Their first task was to arrest 3 of the Sultan's advisers in Lahej, but they only caught one. Then came the Yemeni invasion of Dhala the protected state in the mountains. The Buffs worked alongside one of the Aden Protectorate units and the first task was to relieve the political officer Mr Fitzroy Somerset who was cut off at a guard fortress on the Jebel Jihaf. For political reasons this had to be done by the local Levies but they failed three times.

The King's Shropshire Light Infantry were brought in, and with a fresh company of Levies a new attempt was made on 30th April 1958. Air support was given to the Levies who climbed a precarious goat track, followed by the heavily laden A Company, The Buffs.
Parade in Aden 1959
They were fired on by tribesmen whilst in an exposed position and 4 Buffs were wounded, one fatally. But they struggled on up and, after a difficult climb, secured a peak from where they could give help to the Levies who reached the fortress just before dark. The fortress now had a larger garrison and supplies were needed. The Buffs were tasked with organising a convoy operation which lasted 3 days. The operation was carried out under fire from snipers but there were thankfully no injuries. Later, in Aden itself the Buffs were required to quell one riot but the heat was oppressive and they preferred the convoy duty in the mountains.

Amalgamation, 1st March 1961
The regiment spent 18 months in Dortmund and then went to Denmark to be greeted King Frederik IX, and in Nov 1960 they returned to England, sailing in to Folkstone where they received a great welcome. At Shorncliffe on 1st March 1961 the Royal East Kents were paraded with the Royal West Kents and marched off together as the 1st Queen's Own Buffs, The Royal Kent Regiment. The Colonel of the East Kents, Major-General Val Boucher, was unable to attend as he was suffering from a fatal illness. He died one month later.
Colonels in Chief
1681 - 1961
Commanding Officers
1665 - 1903
1881 - 1966
1836 - 1966
1725 - 1966
1881 - 1966
Musicians and Band
1881 - 1966
Quick: The Buff
Slow: The Men of Kent
Veteri frondescit honore
It flourishes in ancient honour
Regimental Anniversaries
16th January
Corunna Day

16th May
Albuhera Day

Battle Honours
SOUTH AFRICA 1899-1902

World War 1
AISNE 1914
YPRES 1915, 1917
SOMME 1916, 1918
ARRAS 1917

Second World War

Battle Honours
Not Emblazoned
World War 1
HOOGE 1915
ALBERT 1916, 1918
ANCRE 1916, 1917
CAMBRAI 1917, 1918

Second World War
ITALY 1943-5
MALTA 1940-2
BURMA 1943-5

1572 The Holland Regiment (Morgan's) in the service of Holland

1665 The Holland Regiment, in the service of King Charles II

1689 Prince George of Denmark's Regiment

1708 Argyll's (and subsequent Colonel's names)

1743 The Buff Howards

1751 The 3rd (or the Buffs) Regiment of Foot

1772 The 3rd (East Kent - The Buffs) Regiment of Foot

1881 The Buffs (East Kent Regiment)

1935 The Buffs (The Royal East Kent Regiment)

Successor Units
1935 The Buffs (Royal East Kent Regiment)

1961 The Queen's Own Buffs, The Royal Kent Regiment
(Amalgamation of The Buffs and the Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment)

1966 The Queen's Regiment
(Amalgamation of The Queen's Own Buffs with the Surreys, Sussex and Middlesex regiment)

1992 The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment
(Queen's and Royal Hampshires)

The Royal Museum
High Street
tel: 01227 452747
open Mon-Sat 10am-5pm
The Warrior's Chapel
Cathedral Church of Christ
Regimental Connections
The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada
The Dragon (12 times a year - up to Feb 1961)
Suggested Reading
With 'The Buffs' in South Africa
by Lt-Col J B Baackhouse (Gale & Polden 1903) The Buffs
by G Blaxland (Leo Cooper 1972)

Historical Record of the Third Regiment of Foot or The Buffs
by Richard Cannon

'Historical Records of the Buffs, East Kent Regiment'
vol 1 (1572-1704) by H R Knight (Gale & Polden 1905)
vol 2 by C R B Knight (Medici Society 1951)
vol 3 (1914-19) by R S Moody (Medici Society 1922)
vol4 (1919-48) by C R B Knight (Medici Society 1951)

Final Records of the Buffs 1948-1967'
by G Blaxland (printed for the regiment 1967)

History of the Queen's Regiment
by J Riley (RHQ 1992)

My time with the Buffs
by Ray Pearson

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