Star of the Order of the Garter superimposed over the Rousillon plume, a scroll below inscribed THE ROYAL SUSSEX REGT. The badge in white metal with the scroll in gilding metal. A slider on reverse.
Badge of the pattern worn from around 1901 to1958.
A unit called the Earl of Donegal’s Regiment of Foot was raised in Belfast in 1693 but disbanded in 1698. A regiment of the same name was raised again in 1701, also known as the Belfast Regiment. The association with Belfast, indeed Northern Ireland, was short-lived and the Regiment served as Marines for a considerable period of their early existence, 1701-1710 and again 1717-18. In 1747 the Regiment was ranked as the 35th Foot and in 1751 was formally named 35th Regiment of Foot.
It may be interesting to note that during the French and Indian War the 35th were obliged in August 1757 to surrender Fort William Henry to the French General Montcalm. The British were permitted to withdraw but were attacked by the native American allies of the French, providing the model for the incident in James Fenimore Cooper’s book, “Last of the Mohicans”, and in the three subsequent films of that name of 1920, 1936 and 1992.
In 1782 the Regiment was re-designated 35th (The Dorsetshire) Regiment of Foot but in 1805 gained its Sussex county association when it was again re-designated, now as 35th (The Sussex) Regiment of Foot. In 1832 it was granted the “Royal” prefix, becoming the 35th (Royal Sussex) Regiment of Foot.
In the Cardwell/Childers reforms of 1881 the Regiment was merged with the 107th Foot, (Bengal Infantry). This latter was a unit raised in 1853 as the 3rd Bengal European Light Infantry of the Honourable East India Company and had passed into Crown control in 1859, formally entering the British Army in 1861 as the 107th (Bengal Infantry) Regiment of Foot. The merged Regiment was named The Royal Sussex Regiment.
With the adoption of the forage cap in 1898 a new badge was designed, the main element of which, the Garter Star, being chosen on the perhaps tenuous basis that the 5th Duke of Richmond had been appointed to that Order while Colonel of the Sussex Militia between 1819 and 1860. The distinctive adornment of the “Roussillon Plume” had arguably greater credibility. It recalled an action during the Battle of Quebec on 1759 when the 35th Foot defeated the French Roussillon Regiment and were said to have taken the plumes from the hats of their enemy to place in their own.
The 1898 pattern badge remained unchanged until 1958 when the Regiment became part of the Home Counties Brigade, the regular battalions being expected to wear the Brigade badge. In 1966 the Queen’s Regiment was formed from the Brigade and the Sussex Regiment became 3rd Battalion the Queen’s Regiment, adopting the Queen’s cap badge. The 1st, 2nd and 3rd Battalions of the Queen’s were eventually merged and in 1992 the Queen’s Regiment was re-designated Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment (Queen’s and Royal Hampshires).