35th (Royal Sussex) Regiment of Foot

35th (Royal Sussex) Regiment of Foot

Infobox Military Unit
unit_name= 35th (Royal Sussex)
Regiment of Foot

dates= 1693 - 1881
country= United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
branch= British Army
type= Infantry
nickname= "The Orange Lillies"
battles= French and Indian War
American War of Independence
Napoleonic War
battle_honours= Maida

The 35th (Royal Sussex) Regiment of Foot was an infantry regiment in the British Army. The regiment became The Royal Sussex Regiment.


The 35th Regiment changed its name many times during its history. Originally formed as the Earl of Donegal's Regiment of Foot in 1693 (raised by Arthur Chichester, 3rd Earl of Donegall in Belfast), which was disbanded in 1698 and raised again in 1701. The regiment was also known as the Belfast Regiment and by two other colonel's names before it was given the numerical title of 35th in 1747. It was given the title Prince of Orange's Own Regiment in 1751 and in 1782 became the 35th (The Dorsetshire) Regiment of Foot. In 1805 the regiment changed its county allegiance and recruiting ground becoming the 35th (Sussex) Regiment of Foot. In 1881 during the Childer's Reforms of the British Army the 35th Regiment was united with the 107th Regiment of Foot (Bengal Light Infantry) to form the The Royal Sussex Regiment.

Early history

The Orange Lillies

The Earl of Donegall, a wealthy land owner, raised the regiment and paid for it out of his own pocket. As a mark of respect to Chichester, William III granted permission for the regiment to wear orange facings on their uniforms. When the War of the Spanish Succession started in 1702 the regiment was involved in the Battle of Cádiz in 1702, the defence of Gibraltar in 1704 to 1705, and the Siege of Barcelona , where the Earl of Donegall was killed. At the disastrous Battle of Almansa in 1707 the regiment was practically wiped out and the Regimental colours were lost (they were recovered three years later in a church in Madrid) . The survivors returned to Ireland where the regiment was reconstituted. After the war the 35th Foot remained mostly in Ireland .

In 1756 the regiment was sent to America to fight in the French and Indian War which had broken out in 1754. The colonel of the regiment at this time was Charles Otway and the regiment was known as the Otways.

Fort William Henry

"main article Battle of Fort William Henry"

The regiment is most known for the "massacre" inflicted on it after the Fall of Fort William Henry during the French and Indian War , as depicted by James Fenimore Cooper in his book "Last of the Mohicans" and in the movie of the same name.

The 35th Foot was part of the garrison, under Lieutenant-Colonel George Monro in August 1757 when it was forced to surrender to the superior forces of General Montcalm. The force was allowed to leave the fort with their weapons. The Native American allies of the French set upon the retreating force killing 185 and turning the retreat into disorder, with many members of the garrison being lost in the wilderness for a number of days before reaching safety.

In 1759 the regiment had its revenge on Montcalm when, at the Battle of Quebec (1759), the 35th Foot were in General Wolfe's army on the right of the British line. The steady fire of the 35th broke the French Regiment Royal Roussillon, which had been at Fort William Henry, who turned and fled. Regimental tradition states that members of the regiment picked up the Frenchmen's plumes and placed them in their own headress'. The Roussillon Plume would be incorporated into the badge of the Royal Sussex Regiment in 1881.

American Revolution

The regiment returned to fight in the American War of Independence arriving at Boston in April of 1775. The flank companies, which arrived first, were the regiment's Light Infantry Company and Grenadier Company, were amalgamated during this time. They were formed with other flank companies in the 1st Battalion Light Infantry and 1st Battalion Grenadiers, respectively. These companies took part in the Battles of Bunker Hill and suffered tremendous casualties. Of the Light Infantry, only three privates escaped without wounds, whereas all others were killed or injured to some extent. The Grenadier Company fared no better. The rest of the regiment, made up of regular battalion companies, arrived shortly thereafter along with its field commander, Lieutenant Colonel Robert Carr. Having endured the siege of Boston, Lord Howe evacuated the army and Bostonian loyalists to Halifax, Canada in March of 1776. From there, the army descended upon New York. The battalion companies of the 35th Regiment were part of the II Brigade and, after invading Long Island from Staten Island, participated in the Brooklyn. Still pursuing Washington, the British force, including the 35th, moved north and engaged the enemy at the Battle of Pelham Manor and the Battle of White Plains where Lt. Col. Robert Carr was killed in action. The army moved against Manhattan again and the regiment participated in the Battle of Harlem Heights with all companies hotly engaged. Afterwards, the battalion companies of the regiment remained on garrison duty. In 1777, the Light Infantry and Grenadiers participated in the Philadelphia Campaign and the culmination of the retreat across New Jersey with the Battle of Monmouth, 1778. The battalion companies, in the meantime, had garrisoned such places as Amboy, New Brunswick, and were moved back to New York. Shortly thereafter, General James Grant took 5,000 men, including the 35th, to the West Indies. The regiment took part in the capture of St. Lucia in the West Indies in 1778 and remained in the Caribbean area until 1785 when it returned to England. The regiment, therefore, never met defeat on the field of battle during the American Revolution.

Change of titles

In 1782 George III added county titles to infantry regiments in order to help recruiting and the regiment became the 35th (Dorsetshire) Regiment although the reason for the connection with Dorset is not known. The first real connection with Sussex came in 1787 when Charles Lennox, 4th Duke of Richmond , joined the Regiment - Lennox not only recruited Sussex men for the Regiment from his family estates in the County but, in 1804, obtained Royal permission for the title "Sussex" to be transferred from the 25th Regiment of Foot (later to become the King's Own Scottish Borderers) to the 35th.


Napoleonic War

During the Napoleonic wars both battalions of the regiment served in the Mediterranean during the Sicilian campaign in 1806, and then in Alexandria during the 1807.

Royal Regiment


In 1881, a number of army reforms, notably the Childers Reforms radically changed army structure. The 35th (Royal Sussex) Regiment of Foot was amalgamated with the 107th Regiment of Foot (Bengal Light Infantry), formerly 3rd Bengal (European) Infantry. The result was a two-battalion Royal Sussex Regiment where the 35th Foot became the 1st Battalion and the 107th became the 2nd Battalion. It was not common for both battalions of a regiment to be stationed in the same place at the same time, (one exception being the ill-fated 24th Regiment of Foot during the Zulu War).


*Eastbourne Redoubt Home of the Regimental Museum
*The Royal Sussex Regiment

External links

* [http://www.royalsussex.org Royal Sussex Society (35th Reg't) - US Living History]
* Eastbourne Redoubt - Home of the Regimental Museum [http://www.eastbournemuseums.co.uk/]
* [http://www.regiments.org/regiments/uk/inf/035-701.htm British Regiments Site]
* Royal Sussex Regiment Living History Group [http://www.royalsussex.org.uk/]
* [http://www.royalsussex.org.uk/RSLHG_regimental_badges.htm The Royal Sussex Regiment-History]
* [http://www.btinternet.com/~the35thfootproject/index.html Living history of the 35th Foot]
* [http://web.archive.org/web/20010424012946/www.eastbournemuseums.co.uk/redoubt/rsx.htm Another History of the Royal Sussex]

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