Bedfordshire, EnglandGenWeb Project - The 16th Foot (The Bedfordshires) Regiment/Beds and Herts Regiment
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The Bedfordshire Regiment *~* Volunteer Regiments *~* Military Ancestors

The 16th Foot (The Bedfordshires) Regiment

The 16th Foot or Bedfordshire Regiment was raised in October 1688 by James II in an effort to muster loyal regiments and thereby counter the threat from William of Orange. The regiment was raised by Colonel Archibald Douglas at Reading, one of twelve regiments raised at the time. The regiment was known by the names of its successive colonels until numbered 16th Regiment of Foot in 1751, it was then renamed again in 1782 as the 16th (Buckinghamshire) Foot and then in 1809 as the 16th (Bedfordshire) Regiment of Foot, Buckinghamshire became the 14th (Buckinghamshire) Regiment. It only became known truly as the Bedfordshire Regiment in 1881 split into the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the Bedfordshire Regiment. The 3rd Battalion was created from the Bedford Militia and the 4th Battalion the Hertford Militia. In 1919 it then became the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment which, in 1958, was amalgamated with the Essex Regiment to become the 3rd East Anglian Regiment (16th/44th Foot). This was subsequently redesignated in 1964 and again in 1968 to become the 3rd Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment and subsequently renamed, in 1980, the 3rd Battalion (Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Essex). In 1992 it was disbanded.


The raising of the Regiment, Archibald Douglas's Regiment of Foot known until 1751 by the names of nine other colonels


Service in north-west Europe. The battles of Namur, Blenheim, Ramillies, Oudenarde and Malplaquet.

1689-97 Flanders
1689 Walcourt
1692 Steenkirk
1693 Neer Landen
1695 Namur
1702-12 Germany
1702 Liege
1704 Schellenberg
1704 Blenheim where honours on the Colours were received
1706 Ramilies where honours on the Colours were received
1708 Oudenarde where honours on the Colours were received
1708 Lisle
1709 Tournay
1709 Malplaquet where honours on the Colours were received

The north of England and Scotland.

1741 Carthegena.
1742 Cuba.








Named the 16th Regiment of Foot.


America. New York, West Florida, 1778 Baton Rouge, 1781 Pensacola.


Became the 16th (the Buckinghamshire) Regiment of Foot.




Nova Scotia.


Jamaica, the Maroon War.

1793-94 San Domingo
1795 Jamaica.


Home Service.


the West Indies, Canada, Barbados.

1806 Surinam where honours on the Colours were received, Paramaribo, Quebec


Named the 16th (the Bedfordshire) Regiment of Foot exchanged county titles with 14th Foot.
1814 Canada
North America Engagements Years in War Facing Colour Coat Colour Lace
  Plattsburg 1814-15


Home Service, Cork.


Ceylon and India, Colombo, Calcutta, Cawnpore.


Home Service. Ireland.


Gibraltar, Corfu.
1853-1857 In the West Indies (Jamaica) and Canada (Quebec) during the period of the Russian War returned home from Canada in 1857


Home Service.
1861-1870 Sent to Canada (Montreal) again at the time of the "Trent" difficulty in 1861, and served in North America and Bermuda until 1870, when it came to England from Nova Scotia (Halifax).




Named the The Bedfordshire Regiment


Malta, India, North-West Frontier, Chitral.
1895 Chitral where honours on the Colours were received.


The Boer War (South Africa). 5th Battalion 1900-1902


India, Aden, Ireland, South Africa.


The First World War. Mons, Le Cateau, Marne, Ypres, Suvla, Somme, Passchendaele, Palestine, Arras.

1915 HILL 60 Belgium. In 1915, the German and British armies were dug in, face to face, after a year of battle Hill 60 was a low mound to the south-east and with a view over Ypres. The Royal Engineers reduced it to a series of craters on 17 April 1915. This is an account of how 2/Lieut B.H. Geary won his V.C. on the 20/21 April 1915. Pte Roger Morris remembers "At about 16:30 on 20 April the Germans started a very heavy bombardment of the Hill. They destroyed the communication lines and the Commanding Officer was hit along with many other soldiers from the Bedfordshire Regiment. A messenger then came back saying reinforcement was needed urgently. 2/Lieut Geary, my Platoon commander, of the East Surrey Regiment, today the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment, led us up to a crater on the left of Hill 60. There, we established ourselves, digging in and trying to prepare defences. Still under heavy bombardment and countless grenade attacks from the Germans, our crater soon started to fill with the wounded and dead, until all the ground was covered. 2/Lieut Geary had organised them as best he could so they began to help each other, whilst still trying to control our defence against the constant attacks. Further reinforcements arrived but suffered casualties on the way due to the defences being destroyed as quick as we could build them. The Germans then made an attack up one of our old communications trenches. 2/Lieut Geary seeing this, took the initiative. Using Private White to load the rifles, he almost single handedly held them off for an hour until they retreated. The Germans at the same time also launched attacks all over the Hill, including one directly to our front. Corporal Reid controlled our fire and within an hour, we had them beat and running away. 2/Lieut Geary, leaving Cpl Reid in charge, then moved around to the right-hand trench to find out what was going on. When he got there, he discovered they were under attack from their left, he found two officers and a few men defending the crater. Having received no orders, they then made the decision to hold the Hill at all cost. Some more reinforcements then appeared. They had come to re-take the ground lost to the Germans, where 2/Lieut Geary was. He then led them to a position where they could defend the crater and whilst still under fire and on exposed ground, helped them prepare a defence position. During this time with no regard for his own safety, the Platoon Commander led a defensive attack against the German assault and beat them back. 2/Lieut Geary returned to our crater with some much-needed ammunition. He then returned to the right-hand crater to find the Germans had withdrawn completely, for the time being. All of this I must point out whilst we were still under heavy shelling and grenade attacks. Some of the time the Platoon Commander was completely exposed to direct enemy fire. By now it was getting close to dawn so 2/Lieut Geary moved back to our crater. There, he realised we could not hold on much longer without reinforcements, due to the number of casualties we had taken. 2/Lieut Geary then went back over to the right-hand crater to find a Major Lee who had come forward, to tell him of our requirements. Before he managed to do so 2/Lieut Geary was hit in the head by a bullet and rendered unconscious. We managed to get the Platoon Commander taken back to the dressing station to be treated. He survived but lost the sight in one eye and had serious hearing difficulties."


Named the The Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment


India, Ireland, China, Palestine.


The Second World War. Dunkirk, Greece, Syria, Tobruk, Singapore, North Africa, Cape Bon, Chindits, Italy, Cassino, Gothic Line.

1958 Amalgamated with The Essex Regiment, to form 3rd East Anglian Regiment (16th/44th Foot)
  Victoria Crosses - those residing in the Regimental Museum

The Bedfordshire Regiment *~* Volunteer Regiments *~* Military Ancestors

Volunteer Regiments

As well as the Bedfordshire Regiment existed some Volunteer Regiments, in 1806 these comprised of:

  • Bedford Infantry under Lieutenant-Colonel Samuel Whitbread, a total of 418 men whose uniform was red with green collar and cuffs with blue breeches/pantaloons.

  • Bedfordshire Cavalry under Colonel The Earl of Upper Ossory, a total of 142 men whose uniform was blue with red collar and cuffs, the officers wearing gold lace, the buttons were gold and the breeches/pantaloons blue.

  • Bedfordshire Infantry also under Colonel The Earl of Upper Ossory, a total of 1,300 men whose uniform was red with green collar and cuffs, the officers wearing gold lace, the buttons were gold and the breeches/pantaloons blue.

The Bedfordshire Regiment *~* Volunteer Regiments *~* Military Ancestors

Military Ancestors

Most archives are either held at the Central Record Office (CRO) or the Public Record Office (PRO). There are some Bedfordshire Regimental records held at the CRO where the artefacts are held in the Luton Museum.

In 1884 there was a publication of records belonging to the Bedfordshire Militia for the period 1759 to 1884. Muster Rolls and Books, Ballot Lists and Posse Comitatus Lists are held at the CRO and PRO. The lieutenancy paper in the CRO contain rolls of the Bedfordshire Militia (1852-72) and of the local Rifle Volunteers, which later became the 3rd Volunteer Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment, 1860-92. The Muster List (1864-1901) for the Bedford town companies of the volunteers are also held in detail.

World War 1 records can be established by using sources such as the register of absent voters and the parish rolls of honour. There is also a book detailing Bedfordshire Soldiers who served in the Great War which was available for reading in the Bedford Record Office. There are some Home Guard rolls, which are not comprehensive, held for World War 2.

Indexed Muster Lists produced from various documents at the CRO and PRO for various hundreds within Bedfordshire, 1539 to 1831, were published which included the names of the Bedfordshire soldiers impressed for service in Ireland (1591-1602), the New Model Army deserters (1645-46), Militia Rolls and County Militia Enrolments, Ballot Lists and National Defence Lists (1803).

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Last Updated on: 20 August 2001
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