NE PLUS ULTRA

BRITISH INFANTRY COLORS
OF THE

WAR OF THE SPANISH SUCCESSION

Images Added April 2012

Company Colours, 1st Foot Guards (Pre- and Post-1707)
 

Notes

At the beginning of the eighteenth century, English foot regiments carried three colors: those of the Colonel, the Lieutenant-Colonel and the Major. (Company colors had been abolished for regiments of the line in the late seventeenth century.) The Colonel's Colour was generally a plain flag in the regimental facing color, sometimes with a canton of the Cross of St. George or, for Scottish regiments, the Cross of St. Andrew. (By now the infantry were uniformly dressed in red coats with differently colored cuffs, collars and turnbacks.) However, since in effect the Colonel owned the regiment, his badge often appeared on the Colonel's Color. The Lieutenant-Colonel's Colour was the Cross of St. George or St. Andrew, and the Major's Colour was the same with the addition of a "pile wavy" in the first quarter, or occasionally some other distinguishing device. In 1707, with the union of England and Scotland, the First Union Flag was substituted for the Cross of St. George or St. Andrew. The colors were about six feet square and made of silk or taffeta.

Queen Anne was the Colonel-in-Chief of the 1st Foot Guards; thus the crimson Colonel's Colour was charged with her crown. The other two colors were charged with her crowned cipher, an "A" doubled and reversed. Unlike the regiments of the line, each company of the 1st Foot Guards continued to carry its own color: the Cross of St. George (later the First Union Flag) with the company's distinctive badge at the intersection of the cross. The 1st Guards also possessed a crimson Royal Standard; details of its design are not known. Since there are only a very few surviving examples of the colors of this period, reconstructions based on contemporary illustrations and descriptions are to some extent speculative. It is also likely that pre-1707 colors continued to be carried after the Act of Union, being replaced only as they became worn out.

British foot regiments of the War of the Spanish Succession were organized as single battalions with nine line companies and one grenadier company, for a nominal effective strength of about 600 officers and men. On active service up to six regiments were brigaded together, with the army as a whole usually being divided into a center and two wings. Guards regiments were two battalions strong. By 1700 the pike had been withdrawn and the standard infantry weapon was "King William's Land Musket," a .50-caliber smoothbore flintlock piece firing a one-ounce lead ball, with an effective range of about 100 paces and a practical rate of fire of two rounds per minute. For close combat, the musket could be fitted with the recently introduced socket bayonet. During the War of the Spanish Succession grenadiers were still issued with grenades, which were particularly useful during siege operations.

The Captain-General of the army of the Grand Alliance during the War of the Spanish Succession was Winston Churchill's illustrious ancestor, John Churchill, first Duke of Marlborough. Arguably the greatest soldier ever produced by Britain, in ten years of campaigning against the armies of Louis XIV he never fought a losing battle nor conducted an unsuccessful siege. "Nothing like this," wrote Winston Churchill with familial pride, "exists in the annals of war."
 

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COLORS PRIOR TO 1707
 

1st FOOT GUARDS
 

Colonel's Company Colour    Lieutenant-Colonel's Company Colour     Major's Company Colour
 

           

First (Queen's) Company Colour    Second Company Colour    Third Company Colour
 

SCOTTISH FOOT GUARDS
 

Colonel's Colour    Lieutenant-Colonel's Colour    Major's Colour
 

THE QUEEN DOWAGER'S REGIMENT (2nd FOOT)
 

Colonel's Colour    Lieutenant-Colonel's Colour    Major's Colour
 

CHURCHILL'S REGIMENT (3rd FOOT)
 

Colonel's Colour    Lieutenant-Colonel's Colour    Major's Colour
 

SEYMOUR'S MARINES (4th FOOT)
 

Colonel's Colour    Lieutenant-Colonel's Colour    Major's Colour
 

RIVERS' REGIMENT (6th FOOT)
 

Colonel's Colour    Lieutenant-Colonel's Colour    Major's Colour
 

FERGUSON'S REGIMENT (26th FOOT)
 

Colonel's Colour    Lieutenant-Colonel's Colour    Major's Colour
 

 

COLORS AFTER 1707
 

1st FOOT GUARDS
 

Colonel's Company Colour    Lieutenant-Colonel's Company Colour     Major's Company Colour
 

           

First (Queen's) Company Colour    Second Company Colour    Third Company Colour
 

THE QUEEN DOWAGER'S REGIMENT (2nd FOOT)
 

Colonel's Colour    Lieutenant-Colonel's Colour    Major's Colour
 

CHURCHILL'S REGIMENT (3rd FOOT)
 

Colonel's Colour    Lieutenant-Colonel's Colour    Major's Colour
 

SEYMOUR'S MARINES (4th FOOT)
 

Colonel's Colour    Lieutenant-Colonel's Colour    Major's Colour
 

RIVERS' REGIMENT (6th FOOT)
 

Colonel's Colour    Lieutenant-Colonel's Colour    Major's Colour
 

LORD LUCAS' REGIMENT (34th FOOT)
 

Colonel's Colour    Lieutenant-Colonel's Colour    Major's Colour
 

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