Officers and soldiers from some infantry and artillery regiments wore roses in their headwear today to commemorate their antecedents’ victory in The Battle of Minden on 1 August 1759 during The Seven Years’ War.
Army Headquarters, in Andover, remembered the Battle and the participation of the forerunners of these regiments.
Commander Land Forces, General Sir Nick Parker (pictured above right) presented the roses to commemorate the battle.
1st Battalion Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment (1 PWRR) took part in a Minden Day Parade at Tobacco Docks prior to departing to provide security at the London 2012 Olympics.
During the Parade, three female soldiers attached to the Regiment handed the roses to the soldiers. They are normally handed out by the soldiers wives but as the soldiers are deployed on Op Olympics and living in Tobacco Docks, the female soldiers were summoned to the task.
After the soldiers placed the roses above their cap badges the soldiers fell out of the parade and jumped on to the waiting coaches to take them to their respective Olympic sites for security duty.
The Battle of Minden
The battle pitched the forces of Britain, Prussia and Hanover under command of Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick against those of France and Austria, commanded by Marshal the Marquis Louis de Contades. An ambiguously worded command sent six British and three Hanoverian infantry battalions into battle against the French cavalry four miles North West of Minden.
Instead of ending in disaster as might have been expected, the discipline and courage of the infantry repelled three French cavalry charges and defeated the French infantry. This was the first incident of its kind ever recorded in military history.
The six British infantry units involved were The Suffolk Regiment (now The Royal Anglian Regiment), The Royal Hampshire Regiment (now The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment), The Lancashire Fusiliers (now The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers), The Royal Welch Fusiliers (now The Royal Welsh), The King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry (now The Rifles), and the King's Own Scottish Borderers (now The Royal Regiment of Scotland). During the day the soldiers had picked roses from the hedgerows to put in their hats. It is this act that is still commemorated today by the wearing of roses in their headdress.
Despite heavy casualties the victory was considered one of several fortuitous events during the annus mirabilis of 1759. Marshall Contades is reported to have reflected on the battle: “I never thought to see a single line of infantry break through three lines of cavalry ranked in order of battle and tumble them to ruin.”
Note: Royal Anglians wear red and yellow roses; PWRR and SCOTS wear red; RIFLES wear white. The R WELSH do not wear roses. Artillery regiments with Minden associations (inherited from 12 and 32 Batteries) wear red roses.