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Minden Day 1 Aug

Annually on the 1st August we celebrate 'Minden Day' which was the Regimental Day of the Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. On this day all ranks of the battalion wore a white rose, the Minden Rose, in their headdress. The tradition dates back to when reportedly on their advance the British Infantry had plucked flowers and stuck them in their tunics. To this day Minden Day is celebrated by The Rifles on 1 August when the White Rose of Yorkshire is worn in their caps by all ranks. Additionally, 1 August is now celebrated across the county as Yorkshire Day.

This year the association will mark Minden Day with the Official Opening of the KOYLI Gallery in Doncaster's Danum Gallery Library and Museum. Afterwards in Elmfield Park at the KOYLI memorial, which was unveiled on Minden Day 2018, there will be a short service and wreath laying ceremony.

Happy Minden Day - Cede Nullis

The Battle of Minden - Early in 1759 a large French Army under Marshal Contades took Minden and threatened the Electorate of Hannover. 41,00 Hanoverian and British troops under Ferdinand of Brunswick, were covering Hannover. At 3 o’clock on 1 August 1759 the French attacked the centre of the allied position near the River Weser. For a time the fighting was fairly even. Ferdinand’s reserve consisted of a column of 6 infantry regiments under General Sprocken:

  • the 12th Foot (later the Suffolk Regiment)

  • the 20th Foot ( Lancashire Fusiliers)

  • the 23rd Foot (Royal Welch Fusiliers)

  • the 25th Foot (Kings Own Scottish Borderers

  • the 37th Foot (Hampshire Regiment)

  • the 51st Foot (later the Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, then The Light Infantry, and now The Rifles)

Ferdinand sent an order to Sprocken stating “ When the advance begins, it is to be made with drums beating”. This was taken to mean, “ Advance, drums beating with such regiments as you have and attack anything to your front.” This misunderstanding led to the action which “covered the Minden Regiments with immortal honour”.

As they advanced in two lines into the cross fire of 60 cannons, the regiments confronted the mass of the 7000 French cavalry. Despite this the column advanced 200 yards, through shot and shell, whereupon 11 squadrons of cavalry hurled themselves on the infantry, which waited until they were ten yards away before beating them off with volley and then bayonet. Twice more the French cavalry charged. but were

met with perfect coolness and determination and finally driven from the field.

Marshal Contades said afterwards, “I have this day seen - what had never before been seen, and which was impossible to believe, a single column of infantry break through three lines of cavalry and four brigades of infantry ranked in order of battle and tumble them to ruin”.

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