This Day In History

1704 War of the Spanish Succession. Anglo-Dutch fleet under Admiral George Rooke, in which detachments of Saunderson’s Regiment (later 30th Foot and then 1st East Lancashires) are serving as Marines, completes the capture of Gibraltar from Spain. The Rock is then ceded to Britain when the Peace of Utrecht brings the war to an end in 1713.
1914
During the morning, German troops invade neutral Belgium. At 2 pm Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey instructs the British Ambassador in Berlin to tell the German Government that unless an assurance to respect Belgian neutrality is received by midnight Central European Time (11 pm in Britain), a state of war would exist between the two countries. At 7 pm the 1st East, 2nd South, and 1st Loyal North Lancashire Regiments are ordered to mobilise and prepare to deploy to France as part of the British Expeditionary Force - the Old Contemptibles. At 10.45 pm the King convenes the Privy Council in Buckingham Palace for the purpose of authorising the declaration of war. They wait until 11 pm, and when Big Ben strikes the hour, the country is at war. The vast crowd which has gathered outside Buckingham Palace cheers wildly. 
 
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The Regiments of Foot

Regiments were originally known by the name of their Colonel, but this led to confusion over precedence and rank. Precedence was established by  allocating numbers based on date of raising, or entry into British service. Finally, a Royal Warrant of 1751 decreed that Regiments would henceforward be known by their number only.

This system, which provided a simple and instant indication of a regiment’s seniority, remained in use for over 100 years until the Childers Reforms of 1881 introduced “territorialisation,” and banded senior and more junior regiments together as the 1st and 2nd battalions of the new, county-affiliated regiments.

However, the fondly-remembered and much-cherished old numbers, in which were vested so much history and glory, continued to be used on an informal basis within regiments, as to an extent they still are to this day.

By order of seniority, and therefore precedence, the Regiments of the Line which eventually became the East Lancashire, South Lancashire, and Loyal North Lancashire Regiments, and finally the Queen’s Lancashire Regiment, were:

30th of Foot 1st Battalion, East Lancashire Regiment
40th of Foot 1st Battalion, South Lancashire Regiment
47th of Foot 1st Battalion, Loyal North Lancashire Regiment
59th of Foot 2nd Battalion, East Lancashire Regiment
81st of Foot 2nd Battalion, Loyal North Lancashire Regiment
82nd of Foot 2nd Battalion, South Lancashire Regiment