On the 1st August 1759, the 37th Foot fought at The Battle of Minden, during the Seven Years’ War. This is now one of the three main Regimental Days of The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment. The French Army of Marshal de Contades was marching towards Hannover and to block this move, Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick, resolved to hold Minden. The Duke’s force included six British infantry regiments, one of which was the 37th Foot.
As the French approached, the British infantry were issued the confusing order to ‘Advance with drums beating in proper time’. The term ‘proper time’ was interpreted as the rate of advance, whilst the Duke meant ‘in due course, when the order is given’. The allied infantry advanced, in spite of crossfire from sixty French guns.
They were then charged by French cavalry, who were engaged at ten yards to such devastating effect that the ground was strewn with men and horses. The advance continued against two more cavalry charges, which were also defeated. The French were driven from the field in confusion as, uniquely, infantry had attacked and scattered massed squadrons of cavalry.
On the 1st August each year, every officer and soldier in the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment wears a ‘Minden’ rose in his headdress in memory of the men of the 37th who, either before or after the Battle, picked red dog-roses from the hedges and put them in their caps. This tradition was inherited from The Royal Hampshire Regiment. The Seven Years’ War finished with the Peace of Paris of 1763.