Saturday, September 5, 2015

British 35th Foot - The Sussex Regiment.

    The regiment had its beginnings in 1701, in the Northern counties of Ireland, where it was raised, at his expense, by Arthur, 3rd Earl of Donegall, who was appointed its colonel. The regiment was initially known as, alternatively, The Belfast Regiment, or The Earl of Donegall's Regiment. It is said to have contained a large proportion of Irish Protestants within its ranks.

    It first saw action in 1702 as part of an ultimately unsuccessful landing to seize Cadiz. The Regiment proceeded on to the West Indies where it was involved in an attack on the French island of Guadeloupe. It was involved in the defense of Gibraltar against a Spanish siege  in 1704 -1705 during the War of the Spanish Succession. It continued fighting in Spain, participating in the siege of Barcelona, and then the disastrous battle of Almansa in 1707, where it lost its colors and suffered very heavy losses. It returned to Ireland for 11 years and replaced its losses. It next served as the garrison of Minorca for 7 years before returning to Ireland for another 25 years! With the regularization of the numbering of British Foot regiments in 1751, it became the 35th Regiment of Foot.

    In 1756, the Regiment was sent to the Americas where it fought during the French and Indian War (Seven Year';s War). In August 1757, the regiment was part of the garrison of Fort William Henry, located near the border of New France, on the Southern end of Lake George, in present day upstate New York. Attacked by a superior force under French general Montcalm, and failing to receive support from other British troops in the area. the garrison was invested and besieged. With it's walls breached in several places, and the attackers trenches having approached within musket range, the garrison was forced to surrender under the rules of siege warfare of the time. Montcalm granted the garrison generous terms, but after marching out, it was attacked by some of the 2.000 or so Indian allies of the French. The 35th lost 180 men, and it was claimed that as many as 1500 men, women and children were massacred, although this was likely a gross exaggeration. What is certain is that these events heavily influenced the conduct of British officers for the remainder of the war. The story of the massacre appears in James Fenimore Cooper's novel, The Last of the Mohicans.

    The regiment saw better times later in the war, participating in the capture of the great bastion of New France, Louisborg, in 1758. In 1759, the regiment had a rematch with Montcalm, participating in his defeat at the battle of Quebec. As part of the battle, the 35th overcame the Royal Roussillon regiment of France, picking up their white plumes in the process. The white plumes later became incorporated into the regiment's badge, and the anniversary of the battle was celebrated by the regiment each year there after. It even adopted "Roussillon" as its slow march, By the end of the war in 1763, the 35th had participated in the captures of Martinique and Havana as well.

    With the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War, the regiment again returned to the Americas, landing in Boston in 1775. It fought at the battles of Bunker Hill (where it suffered extremely heavy casualties), Long Island, and White Plains. It participated in the capture of the Island of St Lucia from France in 1778. The regiment received the county designation of "Dorset" in 1782.


The 35th or Sussex Regiment of Foot. The regiment was unique among British infantry units in having orange facings. They were granted by King William 3rd (of Orange) as a mark of special favor and in recognition of the Protestant character of the Regiment. The regimental nickname was "The Orange Lillies", the orange for obvious reasons, and the Lily allegedly for the lillies (fleur-de lis) on the flag of their conquered foes at Quebec, the Royal Roussillon regiment. These are, as usual, 28mm Old Glory figures. [Hmm, just nioticed I have the pluimes wrong on the Grenadier company figures - now corrected to all white!)


In 1787, Charles Lennox, who later became the 4th Earl of Richmond, joined the regiment and recruited many men from his estates in Sussex. A second battalion was later raised in Sussex, and fought in the low countries in 1799. In 1800, both battalions of the 35th Regiment took part in the capture of Malta. This resulted in the addition of the Maltese cross to the regiment;s insignia.  In 1804, Lennox obtained permission form the King to transfer the name "Sussex" to the 35th from the 25th which had previously held that designation.


The first battalion of the regiment remained in the Mediterranean, fighting in Sicily. It took part in the well know British victory at the Battle of Maida in 1806. The exact shade of orange (which usually designated a rather more reddish hue then than we would expect now days), like many such details of Napoleonic uniforms, is uncertain. I have seen some illustrations depict it as a very light hue, tending more to the yellow range. I have chosen a slightly reddish, deep orange color (a blend of Delta CC Pumpkin Orange and Delta Poppy Orange). 


The 2nd battalion of the Sussex Regiment of Foot was present at Waterloo, where it formed part of one of the Reserve brigades. The flag is printed out from Napflag/warflag, enhanced by some paint in the same color as the facings. I had purchased a commercial flag for this unit, but hadn't read the fine print to realize it was a (little big Men) flag TRANSFER. . It was very nicely bexecuted, but the instructions suggested the flag be cut out, peeled off its paper backing, and then  - attached to a new sheet of white paper. Huh?! I have done no past work with transfers, and while it looked just fine, I rapidly became frustrated with trying to work the process out (not to mention the stiffness and glossiness of the transfer itself), and decided to can the whole idea, and go with the above, which looks at least as good, IMHO, and was less work and much cheaper. Caveat Emptor and all that


    The 35th's name was changed to the Royal Sussex Regiment by edict of the King in 1832, sadly losing its unique orange facings in the process to the blue reserved for Royal regiments. In the reorganization of the British Army that took place in 1881, it was amalgamated with the 107th foot to form a new Royal Sussex regiment. 

This unit officially ends the post Historicon painting hiatus. Orange-ward and Upward, I say! And yes, James they DO have shoes!  :-)

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11 comments:

  1. Jolly smart looking figures - ready to give the Frenchies what for! :-)

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  2. Another great painted unit for your collection Pete! and lovely writing too! (regimental background notes)

    cheers,

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  3. Fine looking lads, Peter! I figured I must have painted the 35th for one of my collections. Nope! Not present in either 15mm or 25mm Napoleonics, or 25mm FIW.

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    1. Thanks,Jon. Perhaps there is some orange in your future, then?!

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    2. Perhaps. I checked the 15mm and 25mm AWI collections. Not there either!

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  4. A post replete with information, excellent looking figures and, as you note, even shoes!

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    1. Thanks, James; I tried to make sure they weren't burried under the flock, LOL!

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  5. Lovely work Peter, and nice to see a bit of red after all those Prussian blues and greys.

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    1. Tanks, Lawrence!

      This Fall, Read is in; Prussian Blue is SO last year! :-)

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