The Creation of the 61st Regiment of Foot
In 1756 the British army began another period of expansion as wartime exigencies led to the authorization of many regiments to recruit more men and add second battalions to their establishments. One of them was the 3rd Regiment of Foot (The Buffs) whose new second battalion was stationed in England between 1757 and 1758. In 1758 a change of mind led to these new battalions becoming regiments in their own right:-
“These are to authorise you by Beat of Drum or otherwise to raise so many men in any County or part of our Kingdom of Great Britain as are or shall be wanting to recruit and fill up the respective companies of our 61st Regiment of Foot under your command to the numbers allowed on the Establishment. And all Magistrates and Justices of the Peace, Constables and other of our Civil Officers whom it may concern are hereby required to be assisting unto you in providing Quarters impressing Carriages and otherwise as there shall be occasion. And for so doing this our order shall remain in force for twelve months from the date hereof and no longer.
“Given at our Court at Kensington this 13th day of May 1758, in the thirty-first year of our Reign.
By His Majesty’s Command.
“To our Trusty and well beloved Granville Elliot, Esqre. Major General of Our Forces and Colonel of our 61st Regiment of Foot, or to the officer appointed to raise men for our Regiment.”
The order for the creation of the 61st was finalised on 15th June 1758:-
“His Majesty is pleased to Regiment the 15 Battalions of Foot which were raised in the year 1756 and to direct they take rank from the time of their Raising in the same manner as if they had been immediately formed into Regiments.”
The second battalion of the Buffs thus became the 61st Regiment of Foot, taking its seniority in the line from its original creation in 1756. The 61st Foot kept its original buff facing colours to its red coats, which were to remain so until 1881.
Picture: The 61st at Guadeloupe, 1759.