Friday, 8 January 2010

Emergency regiments 1671 and 1680

While reading Knight's excellent Historical Records of the Buffs the author came across several temporary battalions, or emergency regiments, formed from drafts of existing regiments.

One of these emergency regiments was formed in April 1671. Since a new war with the Dutch Republic was eminent, and the ill-preparedness of 1667 when the Dutch were actually masters of the English waters, it was decided to form a regiment to guard the Medway. It was under command of William Rolleston from the 1st Regiment of Guards (the later Grenadier Guards), and was composed of twelve companies: four from the 1st Regiment of Guards, four from the Admiral's Regiment, three from the Holland Regiment, and one was originally an independent garrison company. As Rolleston fell ill around May 1672, he was succeeded by Sir John Atkins. It appears that the regiment was broken up in 1674.

A second emergency regiment was formed 31 May 1680 for service in Tangier. The situation was quite bad there for the British, and a large force was sent from England as reinforcements. Amongst these said regiment, composed of five companies and under command of Edward Sackville. The regiment was formed by taking 10 men from each company in each regiment in England, i.e., the 1st Foot Guards, the Coldstream Regiment of Guards, the Duke of York's Regiment, and the Holland Regiment. It was dubbed the King's Battalion and took precedence of the forces in Tangier.
(The drafts from the future Royal Scots would rank next, and the regiment formed from the garrison of Tangier, the future Queen's Royal Regiment, would take rank after the Scots.)
The battalion returned to England in April 1684 and was broken up with men returning to their former regiments.

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