Last updated: 15 October 2013
In 1787 tensions in India between Britain and France were high and the East India Company decided to raise four regiments to defend its interests there. However, by the time the regiments had been raised, the threat of war had passed and the Company refused to pay for them. The British Army therefore took them on strength.
One of the four regiments was the 77th Foot (though it had no link to the two previous line regiments of highlanders with that number). The regiment landed in Bombay a year after its formation. This began a 19-year stay in India, including the Mahratta and Mysore Wars, time in Ceylon and Goa and service with the ‘Forlorn Hope’ at the 1799 storming of Seringapatam.
The regiment was sent to Canada in 1814 for the final stages of the War of 1812, but arrived back in Europe too late for Waterloo (1815).
In 1807 the regiment returned to Britain and in the same year the county association for East Middlesex was switched from the 39th Foot to the 77th. Two years later it took part in the abortive landings at Walcheren in the Low Countries and in 1811 it joined the Peninsular War (1808-14). It served until the end of the campaign and was one of the three regiments that stormed the breach at Ciudad Rodrigo.
It was the last British battalion to leave France in 1814. It then remained in England and Ireland for ten years, followed by ten in Jamaica. It was then briefly back on home service before being sent in 1837 to garrison Malta and Corfu.
The regiment returned to Jamaica for three years in 1843 and was sent to Nova Scotia for two years from 1846. It then served during the Crimean War (1854-56).
After a brief spell in Britain and Ireland, in 1857 it sailed to New South Wales and then India. Returning to Britain in 1870, it became the first British regiment to travel through the Suez Canal.
In 1876 the regiment moved to Ireland for four years and incorporated ‘The Duke of Cambridge’s Own’ into its title. It then returned to India in 1880. A year after its arrival, it was amalgamated with the 57th Regiment of Foot to form The Duke of Cambridge’s Own (Middlesex Regiment).