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Minden Day Greetings

RHQ/FUSILIERS/1363 30th July 2021

Minden Day Greetings


The Colonel of the Regiment


All Ranks
The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers

Minden Day
On 1 August 1759 the Battle of Minden was fought during the Seven Years’ War. In this war Great Britain was allied with Prussia against France and Austria.

Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick, the Allied Army Commander, split his force and thus enticed the French Commander, Marshal Contades, with his superior forces, from the impregnable position before Minden. He then concentrated quickly and placed the British infantry with some Battalions of Hanoverians on the right of his line. The French out numbered the Allies by over 10,000, were stronger in artillery and had 10,000 cavalry.

The six British Regiments were deployed in two Brigades with 12th Foot (now the Royal Anglian Regiment), 37th Foot (the Royal Hampshire Regiment, now incorporated within the Princess of Wales’ Royal Regiment) and 23rd Foot (Royal Welch Fusiliers) in the leading Brigade under Maj Gen Waldegrave, the 20th Foot (later the Lancashire Fusiliers), 51st Foot (later the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, now the Rifles), 25th Foot (King’s Own Scottish Borderers, now the Royal Regiment of Scotland) in the second Brigade under Maj Gen Kingsley (former Colonel of the 20th), with the Hanoverians on their left. The 20th were on the right of Kingsley’s Brigade which overlapped the leading Brigade on both flanks.

As a result of a misunderstanding, the infantry advanced with drums beating towards the massed enemy cavalry. During the advance they were subjected to devastating artillery fire but, closing up their ranks, they repulsed at point blank range a cavalry charge. A second line of cavalry was destroyed by controlled volleys. Marshal Contades then deployed four Brigades of Saxon infantry with more artillery on the right flank of the two British Brigades. They were also thrown back in confusion by the British. A final attack by a fresh body of French cavalry broke through the right of the leading Brigade but foundered before the fire of the 20th.

This was the final turning point of the battle, and but for the failure of the Allied cavalry under Lord George Sackville to exploit the victory, the French Army would have been annihilated. Contades bitterly remarked: ‘I never thought to see a single line of infantry break through three lines of cavalry ranked in order of battle and tumble them to ruin’.

The price of victory was high and the 20th Foot lost 304 men and 17 officers killed or wounded. As a result, Prince Ferdinand issued the following orders:

‘Kingsley’s Regiment of the British Line, from its severe loss, will cease to do duty. Minden 2 August 1759’ ‘Kingsley’s Regiment at its own request, will resume its portion of duty in the line. Minden 2 August 1759’ Tradition has it that the British infantry wore in their hats, roses which they plucked on their way to battle and this is the background to the Regiment’s custom of wearing red and yellow roses in their hats and decorating the drums with them on Minden Day.

The special traditional customs observed on Minden Day are shown in the Regimental Handbook.

Colonel (Retd) JW Denny MBE
Regimental Secretary


Forever England, Forever Friends, Forever Family


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