103rd Regiment of Foot (1806)

The 103rd Regiment of Foot was a line infantry unit of the British Army. Though only existing for just over 10 years, the regiment would see more action than most of its 100-series regiments.

9th Garrison Battalion
103rd Regiment of Foot
Active25 November 1806—24 October 1817
Country United Kingdom
Branch British Army
TypeLine Infantry
HQ in CanadaQuebec Citadell
Nickname(s)"The Boys Regiment"
"Worst Regiment in Canada"



On 25 November 1806, the 9th Garrison Battalion was formed in Enniskillen from limited service men drafted from: 2nd Btn, 28th (North Gloucestershire) Regiment of Foot, 1st Btn, 30th (Cambridgeshire) Regiment of Foot, 2nd Btn, 47th (Lancashire) Regiment of Foot, 2nd Btn, 48th (Northamptonshire) Regiment of Foot, and 2nd Btn, 71st (Glasgow Highland) Regiment of Foot. In 1807, the battalion served in Ireland on garrison duties until December 1808 when it was redesignated as the 103rd Regiment of Foot after the limited service men were discharged and others re-enlisted for general service.[1]

War of 1812Edit

In 1813, the regiment was shipped overseas to the Canadian Frontier, and was garrisoned in Quebec City,[2] where it took part in the War of 1812. During the 1812 war, the flank companies (Grenadier and Light Infantry) saw service at notable battles, included: Patteron's Creek, Lundy's Lane, the Siege of Fort Erie and the Niagara Campaign. For its participation, the regiment was awarded the battle honours "Canadian Frontier" and "Niagara".[1][3][4][5][6][7][8]

During its tenure in Canada the regiment became known as "The Worst regiment in Canada", mostly due to the high desertion rate, very young recruits, and poor discipline. The nickname was given by the Governor General of Canada, George Prévost. However, this nickname was not well taken, and the regiment was able to prove its worth by gaining a battle honour.[9]

Lundy's LaneEdit

During the Battle of Lundy's Lane, the line companies of the regiment formed part of the First Brigade under Colonel Hercules Scott, at Twelve Mile Creek, while the flank companies were part of the Third (Light) Brigade under Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Pearson, encamped near Four Mile Creek.[6][10]

During the battle, the regiment melted away at the sight of just a couple American volleys. However, they were rallied by the extraordinary exertions of Major William Smelt. After another desperate assault, the British succeeded in forcing their way into the battery. Fearing the capture of the guns, Major Jacob Hindman spiked two cannons.[6][11]

Fort ErieEdit

During the Siege of Fort Erie an attack column, led by Colonel Scott, of 700 men attacked the northern portion of the American lines. After making several attempts to capture the lines, though suffering heavy casualties and their location being given away by forward pickets, the attack column fell back. After this failed assault, the regiment moved westward to join the third assault column, which was on their right.[12]

During the assault of the third column, the assault was again held off, with many of the remaining men joining Drummond's column, which was in the process of attacking Douglass Battery. Yet another attack was ordered, and the sailors and marines of the column made it past the breastworks, but after a volley and bayonet charge by the 19th U.S. Infantry Regiment, they were yet again forced back and rallied, after just a few minutes.[13]

During the siege, the regiment's commanding officer, Colonel Scott was killed. In addition, the regiment lost about 424 men, including 14 out of 18 officers. Before the siege, the regiment had been based in Burlington.[14]


In 1815, the regiment was still in Canada when it was reduced to six companies after personnel were drafted to other regiments. In 1817, the regiment arrived back in the United Kingdom, and on 24 October 1817 was finally disbanded while in Chelmsford.[1]


The regiment's uniform consisted of a scarlet jacket with white facings.[1]


The regimental colonels included:[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e "103rd Regiment of Foot [UK, 1781-84, 1806-17]". 22 October 2007. Archived from the original on 22 October 2007. Retrieved 27 January 2021.
  2. ^ "HistoricPlaces.ca - War of 1812: January 1812 to June 1812". www.historicplaces.ca. Retrieved 27 January 2021.
  3. ^ "The War of 1812". 16 October 2007. Archived from the original on 16 October 2007. Retrieved 27 January 2021.
  4. ^ "Service and Uniform of the British Regiments During the War of 1812". www.warof1812.ca. Retrieved 27 January 2021.
  5. ^ "The British Army Stationed in British North America: 1812 - 1815". www.napoleon-series.org. Retrieved 27 January 2021.
  6. ^ a b c "The Royal Newfoundland Regiment". www.rnfldr.ca. Retrieved 27 January 2021.
  7. ^ "British Regiments in Canada". freepages.rootsweb.com. Retrieved 27 January 2021.
  8. ^ "Toronto (War of 1812 Monument)". www.cdli.ca. Retrieved 27 January 2021.
  9. ^ Council, Niagara 1812 Legacy (7 August 2013). "Niagara 1812 Legacy Council: The worst regiment in Canada". Niagara 1812 Legacy Council. Retrieved 27 January 2021.
  10. ^ Crosswell, p. 75.
  11. ^ Crosswell, pp. 104–105.
  12. ^ Barbuto, p. 155.
  13. ^ Barbuto, p. 194.
  14. ^ Barbuto, p. 197.


  • Barbuto, Richard (2014). Staff ride handbook for the Niagara Campaigns, 1812-1814. Fort Leavenworth: Combat Studies Institute Press, US Army Combined Arms Center. ISBN 978-0-9891372-8-7. OCLC 888026080.
  • Crosswell, Daniel K. R. (1979). The American Invasion of the Niagara Peninsula – 1814. Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan.