King's Royal Rifle Corps

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The King's Royal Rifle Corps was a British Army infantry regiment, originally raised in colonial North America as the Royal Americans, and recruited from American colonists. Later ranked as the 60th Regiment of Foot, the regiment served for more than 200 years throughout the British Empire. In 1966 the regiment became part of the Royal Green Jackets.



The King's Royal Rifle Corps was raised in the American colonies in 1756 as the 62nd (Royal American) Regiment to defend the thirteen colonies against attack by the French and their native American allies. After Braddock's defeat in 1755, royal approval for a new regiment, as well as funds, were granted by Parliament just before Christmas 1755 - hence the regiment's traditional birthday of Christmas Day. However parliamentary delays meant it was 4 March 1756 before a special act of parliament created four battalions of 1,000 men each to include foreigners for service in the Americas.

According to a regimental history compiled in 1879 by a captain in the Kings Royal Rifle Corps, in November 1755 Parliament voted the sum of 81,000 Pounds for the purpose of raising a regiment of four battalions, each one thousand strong for service in British North America. Parliament approved “An Act to enable His Majesty [George II] to grant commissions to a certain number of foreign Protestants, who have served abroad as officers or engineers, to act and rank as officers or engineers in America only, under certain restrictions and regulations.” The Earl of Loudon, who as commander-in-chief of the forces in North America, was appointed colonel-in-chief of the regiment. About fifty officers’ commissions were given to Germans and Swiss, and none were allowed to rise above the rank of lieutenant-colonel.[1]

According to a modern history of the regiment, the idea for creating this unique force was proposed by Jacques Prevost, a Swiss soldier and adventurer who was a friend of the Duke of Cumberland (William Augustus, who was the King's second son and was Commander-in-chief of the British Army.) Prevost recognised the need for soldiers who understood forest warfare, unlike the regulars who were brought to America in 1755 by General Braddock.[2]

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