Formation of the 2/37th, 1756
In early 1756, as Britain’s relations with France continued to be strained, the army was authorised to raise ten new regiments. As part of this expansion, the 37th provided men to another infantry regiment then known as Brudenell’s and numbered 53rd. This regiment became the 51st Regiment (K.O.Y.L.I.) and were to fight alongside the 37th in the Westphalia campaign and to share with them the laurels of Minden.
On September 20 1756 the 37th was one of 15 regiments ordered to form second battalions. These consisted of ten companies, each with three sergeants, three corporals, two drummers and 70 privates, with a Major in command. This post in the 37th went to Major Jordan Wren while Captain John Browne of the 43rd joined the 1st Battalion as Major. Four of the captains came from within the regiment and five from outside. Of the new Lieutenants, five were promoted from Ensigns, the senior having just four years’ service and the junior only eight months.
Many of the men for the 2/37th were impressed under an Act of Parliament which had been passed in November 1755. It allowed for the compulsory enlistment for five years of men between 17 and 45 who did not follow any ‘lawful calling’ and who lacked ‘sufficient substance’ for their support. Not surprisingly, its enforcement was unpopular and the reluctant recruits took every opportunity to desert. Many of these impressed men were collected in Stourbridge, the regiment having been sent to the Midlands to help quell serious riots in the region, caused by the high price of corn.
By March 1757, all ten companies of the 2/37th had been formed and were quartered along with those of the 1st at Coventry, Warwick, Stratford on Avon, Worcester and Hereford. At the end of July the new battalion transferred to Portsmouth where it embarked for duty as Marines. In September the 2/37th took part in its only military operation, the abortive expedition against Rochefort, but had no opportunity to distinguish itself.
In June 1758, the 15 battalions raised two years earlier were constituted into independent regiments numbered 61st to 75th. The 2/37th became the 75th with Lieutenant Colonel the Hon. John Boscawen as Colonel, Wren getting the Lieutenant Colonelcy while the Major’s place went outside the regiment. The 37th’s six junior Captains transferred to the 75th along with ten lieutenants and ten ensigns.
The 75th saw service at Belle Isle in 1761 and in Portugal in 1762. On both occasions it fought in conjunction with the 67th which had itself been created out of the 2nd battalion of the 20th. Unlike the 67th, however, the 75th did not escape the army reductions which followed the peace with France, being disbanded in 1763.