1755 Honeywood, 1756 Kingsley
The regiment was formed in 1688 as Peyton's 20th Regiment of Foot. At the outbreak of the Seven Years War, the unit, along with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, took part in the unsuccessful and wasteful raids on Rochefort and St. Malo. Part of the initial forces sent to Germany in 1758. Present at Minden, Warburg, Zierenberg, Klosterkamp, Vellinghausen, and Wilhelmstal.
At Minden, August 1759, the unit fought in the centre in the second line along side the 51st Foot (Brudenell), 25th Foot (Home), and Hanoverian Guards. The second line was commanded by Major General Kingsley and under the direction of Lieutenant General von Sporcken. This formation led the advance against the French. Before the battle, the regiment is traditionally supposed to have been posted in or near some rose gardens from which the men picked flowers to use as a field sign.
At Klosterkamp, October 16, 1760, the regiment along with the 87th Foot (Keith's Highlanders), the 23rd Royal Welsh Fusiliers (Huske) and the Hanoverian regiment Reden (No. 3A) assaulted the monastery at Kamp.
In 1782, the regiment was renamed as the 20th (The East Devonshire) Regiment of Foot. The motto of the unit was 'Onmia audax' (In all things daring). The unit also had two nicknames. The first, 'Kingsley's Stand', was in reference to the unit being placed in reserve due to casualties after Minden. Major General Kingsley, also Colonel of the regiment, declined to obey the order with the words "Kingsley's Regiment, at its own request will resume its portion of duty in the line". The second nickname, 'The Two Tens', was due to the regimental number that was always shown in Roman numerals (XX).
The commander in 1757, James Wolfe, participated at Dettingen in 1745 as a major at the age of 19. His impressions from the battle are described in a short letter. He commanded the 20th until 1758 when he was appointed Colonel of one of the newly raised regiments, the 67th. Sent in 1758 to America with the local rank of Major-General, he commanded of one of the brigades taking part in the successful siege of Louisberg. In 1759 he led the successful attack on Quebec and was killed at the moment of victory on the Plains of Abraham.
The reason for the unit is simply – James Wolfe. Any Canadian should be able to tell you about the Plains of Abraham (especially if they were an immigrant and had to pass the Canadian passport tests). Few know that there was a second battle for Quebec in which the British again defeat the French but this time it is the British who occupy the fortress with the French attempting to storm it. The beautiful flag is from GMB Designs. Unit painted in the spring of 2004.
Text: J. Mollo, Uniforms of the Seven Years War 1756-63, Blandford Press, page 156.