A Brief History of The Staffordshire Regiment
The first ancestor of The Staffordshire Regiment, the 38th Regiment of Foot, was raised during the War of the Spanish Succession by Col Luke Lillingston at the Kings Head, Lichfield, on 26 Mar 1705. Shortly afterwards, in 1707, it was sent to Antigua, in the West Indies, remaining there until 1764, the longest overseas posting recorded in the British Army. Resupply shortages forced the men to wear the local sugar sacking (‘holland cloth’), commemorated by the Holland Patch worn to this day.
The second ancestor of the Regiment, was raised in 1756 during the Seven Years’ War, initially as the 2nd Battalion of the 11the Regiment of Foot but granted its own number, the 64th of Foot, in 1758. It too was posted to the West Indies and there captured Gaudeloupe alongside the 38th; they jointly share the first Battle Honour of the Regiment. They subsequently both fought in the American War of Independence, never surrendering to or retreating from the enemy.
During the Napoleonic Wars, the 38th fought in the Flanders area alongside the 80th Regiment of Foot (The Staffordshire Volunteers), formed in 1793. The 38th subsequently fought in South Africa, South America (Montevideo) and in the Peninsular under Wellington whilst the 80th also fought in South Africa, assisting in the capture of a Dutch Naval Squadron and in Egypt. For the latter, they gained the Battle Honour of a Sphynx, still used as a symbol today. The 64th remained in the West Indies throughout, capturing many strategic islands.
Amidst the colonial expansion of the first half of the nineteenth century, the 98th Regiment of Foot was formed in 1824 but did not see action until 1842, gaining the Battle Honour of a China Dragon, also used as a symbol by The Staffordshire Regiment. It later fought in the Second Sikh War. The 80th escorted convicts to Australia in 1836, remaining on station for 9 years and annexing the South island of New Zealand for the Queen; it subsequently took part in the First Sikh War, where CSgt Matthew Kirkland captured a Sikh standard at the Battle of Ferozeshah, an achievement still commemorated by handing over the Regimental Colours to the Sergeants’ Mess on the anniversary of his achievement. The 80th also fought in the second Burmese war of 1852/3; the 38th had fought in the First Burmese War of 1824/6. The 64th fought with distinction in the Persian war of 1856.