Regiment de Meuron

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Régiment de Meuron
Active 1781-1795
Allegiance The Netherlands
Branch Army
Type Infantry
Regiment de Meuron
Active 1795-1816
Allegiance Great Britain
Branch Army
Type Infantry
Régiment suisse de Meuron

The Regiment de Meuron was a regiment of infantry originally raised in Switzerland in 1781 for service with the Dutch East India Company. At the time Swiss mercenaries were extensively employed by the French, Spanish, Dutch and other armies. The regiment was named for its commander, Colonel Charles-Daniel de Meuron, who was born in Neuchâtel in 1738.

The regiment served the Dutch in Ceylon and Cape Town. While stationed in Ceylon in 1795 wage payments by the Dutch East India Company fell into abeyance. A delegation of Swiss soldiers and officers accordingly approached Count de Meuron, who retained the status of regimental proprietor. After discussion, it was agreed to hand over control of the regiment to the British, who were engaged in hostilities with the Dutch. The Meuron Regiment refused to fight against their former Dutch employers. However the defection of the Swiss greatly reduced the strength of the Dutch forces in Ceylon and they provided fortification details to the British. The regiment formally entered British service, with the understanding that the British would enroll them at the same rate as regular British soldiers and give them the back pay owed by the Dutch East India Co.

The Meuron Regiment subsequently served in the Mysore Campaign of 1799, the Mediterranean and Peninsula Campaigns of the Napoleonic Wars 1806 to 1812. During the latter campaign difficulties in obtaining replacements from Switzerland led to numbers being made up by enlisting some Spanish and Portuguese recruits. The regiment was finally posted to Canada to serve in the War of 1812 and the Red River Colony. Rue des Meurons in the Winnipeg suburb of Saint Boniface is named after the regiment.

In 1816 the Meuron Regiment, together with other Swiss units, in British service was disbanded.[1]

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References[edit]

  1. ^ Major R. M. Barnes, page 84 "Military Uniforms of Britain & the Empire", Sphere Books London, 1972