Regiment de Meuron
|Régiment de Meuron|
|Allegiance|| Dutch Republic (1781-1795)
Kingdom of Great Britain (1795-1800)
United Kingdom (1801-16)
|Patron||Charles-Daniel de Meuron|
|Engagements||Siege of Seringapatam (1799)|
The Regiment de Meuron was a regiment of infantry originally raised in Switzerland in 1781 for service with the Dutch East India Company (VOC). 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 VOC in Dutch Ceylon and Cape Town. In 1795, while the regiment was stationed on Ceylon, revolutionary French forces invaded the Netherlands, overthrew the Dutch Republic and replaced it with the Batavian Republic. As a result the regiment's pay by the VOC fell into abeyance. Later that year the Kew Letters were issued by the deposed stadtholder, William V, Prince of Orange, ordering the surviving Dutch colonies to surrender themselves to the British for safe keeping. The governor of Ceylon did not immediately do so, while he sought clarification of the situation in the Netherlands. A delegation of Swiss soldiers and officers approached Count de Meuron, who retained the status of regimental proprietor, to discuss the missing pay and the political situation. They agreed to hand over control of the regiment to the British, on the condition that they would not 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 enrol them at the same rate as regular British soldiers and give them the back pay owed by the VOC. The British subsequently took over control of the colony as British Ceylon.
The Meuron Regiment subsequently served in the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War 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.
Garrison Cemetery, Seringapatam
The Garrison Cemetery is located in Seringapatam, India, on the banks of the river Cauvery, about 300m from the Bangalore Mysore Highway. It has about 307 graves of the European officers killed in the final assault on Tippu Sultan in 1799, and their family members. Among the graves, there are 80 graves of the officers of the Swiss ‘de Meuron Regiment’, and the rest of the graves are their family members.
- Major R. M. Barnes, page 84 "Military Uniforms of Britain & the Empire", Sphere Books London, 1972
- Kumar, M T Shiva (9 March 2013). "There is life at the cemetery" (Bangalore). The Hindu. Retrieved 3 February 2015.
- "Garrison Cemetery". Mysore. Retrieved 3 February 2015.
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