• 10.30am - 3.30pm
  • FREE
  • Chelsea, London
National Army Museum
  • 10.30am - 3.30pm
  • FREE
  • Chelsea, London

Regiments and Corps

63rd (West Suffolk) Regiment of Foot

British troops at Fort Royal, Guadeloupe, 1759

Origins

In 1756, following the outbreak of the Seven Years War (1756-63), the 8th Regiment of Foot raised a 2nd Battalion. Just two years later, this became a regiment in its own right, with the numeral 63.

At first, it was only used in raids on the French coast. Then, in 1758, it set off for its first overseas posting. This was to the West Indies and included the attacks on Martinque (1759) and Guadeloupe (1759).

Other ranks' glengarry badge, 63rd (West Suffolk) Regiment, c1874

The Battle of Long Island, 1776

America

From 1763, it undertook garrison duties in Ireland for 12 years. After that, it moved to Boston, Massachusetts to serve during the American Revolutionary War (1775-83). It went on to fight at Bunker Hill (1775), Long Island (1776), Brandywine (1777), Germantown (1777), Fort Clinton (1777), Monmouth (1778), Charleston (1780) and Camden (1781).

In 1782, it left America for Britain. That year it was also given its county affiliation with West Suffolk. The regiment then remained in Britain and Ireland until 1794.

An officer of the 63rd Regiment, which fought in America between 1775 and 1782

Revolutionary War

It was sent to the Netherlands twice, in 1794 and 1799, fighting at Alkmaar during the latter deployment. The intervening years saw the 63rd back in the West Indies, where it helped put down a revolt against British rule on Grenada (1796).

In 1800, it formed part of the British force sent to support an abortive Royalist landing at Quiberon Bay in France. It then served in Ireland and the West Indies, where it took part in the capture of Guadeloupe (1810).

In 1804, the regiment raised a 2nd Battalion, which was disbanded only 10 years later, and whose only overseas service was the Walcheren Expedition to the Netherlands in 1809.

Officer's shoulder belt plate, 63rd (West Suffolk) Regiment, c1833

Victorian era

The regiment was briefly in Portugal from 1826 to 1828, but otherwise spent the 1820s in Britain and Ireland. In 1828, it escorted convicts to Australia, later redeploying from there to India in 1833. It remained in India and Burma for 14 years, only landing back in England in 1847.

It served in the Crimean War (1854-56) from August 1854, fighting at Inkerman (1854) and the Siege of Sebastopol (1854-56), and taking part in the assault on the Redan in September 1855.

It then garrisoned Canada from 1856 to 1862. That period included the Trent Affair, when tensions with the Union States almost led Britain to abandon its neutrality in the American Civil War (1861-65).

The regiment returned to Britain and Ireland on garrison duties, before being sent to India to join the Second Afghan War (1878-80).

Distinguished Conduct Medal awarded to Sergeant John Brophy, 63rd Regiment, 1854

Legacy

The regiment was still in India in 1881, when it was amalgamated with the 96th Regiment of Foot to form The Manchester Regiment.

The Museum of the Manchester Regiment

The National Army Museum works together with Regimental and Corps Museums across the country to help provide a network of military museums for everyone to visit and enjoy.

Explore the history and collections of the 63rd (West Suffolk) Regiment by visiting the regimental museum at the Town Hall in Ashton-under-Lyne.

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