Towards the end of 1688 this regiment was raised near London, and
with the 9th (Cornwall’s regiment) embarked for Ireland the
following year for the relief of
Londonderry; but misled by the Governor of the town, it returned to
England without taking part in the city’s defence.
For this, Richards, the first colonel of the 17th, was
deprived of his commission. The
regiment served in the Netherlands at Fort Kenoque, Namur, St. Denis, and
elsewhere, returning home in 1697; but it againg re-embarked for the
continent in1702, and saw much hard fighting at Kaiserswerth, Venloo,
Ruremonde, Liege, Hut, and Limburg. At
Namur a son of the notorious Colonel Blood was in command of the regiment,
and is referred to as “a brave and scientific officer, who commanded the
Brittish artillery at the battle of Blenheim.”
Thence the 17th went to Portugal, and shared in the
capture of Valencia de Alcantara and Albuquerque, and was engaged at
Badajoz and Alcantara, at Ciudad Rodrigo, and Almanza, where, with a loss
of twelve officers, and many men killed and wounded, it was compelled to
surrender. In 1715 it
met the Jacobites at Sheriffmuir; but after that saw no important foreign
service until 1757, when it embarked for Nova Scotia. With a few brief intervals it did almost continuous duty in
North America until 1786, taking part in the siege of Louisburg and the
capture of Cape Breton; at Ticonderoga, Crown Point, and Montreal, when
was completed the conquest of Canada; at Martinique, Grenada, St. Lucia,
St.Vincent; at Havannah, in the West Indies; in the War of Independence at
Long Island, Brooklyn, New York, White Plains, Fort Washington,
Trenton-where the men had to cut their way back “through the enemy at
Prince Town”-Brandywine, Philadelphia, and Germanstown; at Freehold, in
the retreat through the New Jerseys, and at Stony Point, where the 17th
became prisoners of war. After
exchange the regiment was engaged at Guildford Court House and York Town,
where it was again compelled to surrender.
The 17th, then two battalions strong, joined
Abercromby’s expedition to Holland in 1799, and after some unimportant
foreign service sailed for India in 1804.
There is stormed Forts Chumar and Comona, in the Bundelcund
district, and Fort Jutgurgh the Nepaul; defeated the enemy at Jubbulpore;
and; returning to England in 1823, was, two years later, authorised to
bear on the colours the Royal Tiger and “Hindoostan” for its services
in that country. In the
official history of 1847 the former is “passant regardant,” with a
green coat and gold stripes.
The 17th returned to India in 1836, and in the first
Afghan War assisted to capture Hyderabad in Scinde, on the way, as the
Ameer of that country refused a passage to the British army.
It stormed Ghuznee and fought at Khelat, bearing these names
afterwards on the colours for gallantry in the campaign.
The commanding officer also received the order of the “Dooranee
Empire” from Shah Soojah. It
next saw service outside Aden, marching on one occasion “forty miles in
twenty two hours;” and, later on, in the Mahratta district and in Scinde.
In 1854 the 17th was despatched to the Crimea, to share
in the dangers of the siege in the taking of Kinburn.
At the Radan, in 1855, Corporal P. Smith won the Victoria Cross for
gallantry in helping the wounded. Finally
the 1st battalion went to India in 1870, and assisted in the
attack odf Ali Musjid, at the affair of Futtehabad, and other operations
in the Koorum and Hazara valleys.
A 2nd battalion, formed in1799, was disbanded in 1802. The present 2nd battalion was raised in 1858.
The county title of the regiment was bestowed in 1782.
The original facings were “greyish white”; now they are white.
The lace has a black stripe. The
badge is the Royal Tiger (“regardand”), with “Hindoostan”; and in
cannon’s “history” this is correctly depicted in green with gold
stripes. It was granted in
1825 for gallant behaviour in the Nepaul War of 1814, when a standard
bearing this emblem was taken. The
regimental custom for the drummers to wear tiger-skin aprons arise from
the same circumstance. The
Irish harp came from the Militia battalion for its good service in 1798.