Minden Day Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment
History

Minden Day: What Is It And Why Is It Commemorated?

Today is the 260th anniversary of the Battle of Minden.

Minden Day Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment

Every year on 1 August, units of the British Army celebrate 'Minden Day' in commemoration of their regiments' participation in the Battle of Minden during the Seven Years' War in 1759.

The event is also known as 'The Battle of the Roses' because the soldiers who took part plucked the flowers from the hedgerows and wore them as they advanced towards the enemy.

The tradition has continued and now involves wearing the 'Minden Roses' on regimental headdress - in the case of infantry regiments, the decoration of the regimental colours with garlands of roses. 

The colours of the roses vary, and while red is used by most of the units, white is associated with the Light Infantry and red and yellow with the Royal Anglians.

    Royal Anglian Regiment celebrates Minden Day
    Royal Anglian Regiment celebrates Minden Day (Picture: PA).

    For those units that have received the Minden Battle Honour, today is a special celebration, and in 1975 the day was adopted as Yorkshire Day to reflect the presence of Yorkshire soldiers at the battle.

    In the English folk song "Lowlands of Holland", which dates back to the Seven Years' War - the day is commemorated.

    One variant of the song which can trace its roots back to Suffolk, home of 12th Regiment of Foot (1st Battalion Royal Anglian Regiment), has the verse: "My love across the ocean wears a scarlet coat so fair, with a musket at his shoulder and roses in his hair."

    The theme of the rose in this verse is now central to the celebration of Minden Day.

    King’s Own Scottish Borderers celebrate Minden Day (Picture: King’s Own Scottish Borderers).

    Minden Day is celebrated by:

    • 12 (Minden) Battery, 12 Regiment (Royal Artillery)
    • 32 (Minden) Battery,
    • 16 Regiment Royal Artillery
    • The Royal Scots Borderers
    • 1st Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland
    • The Royal Anglian Regiment, successor to the 12th Regiment of FootHQ Company
    • 3rd Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment (Army Reserve)
    • The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, successor the 20th Regiment of FootThe Royal Welsh, successors to the 23rd Regiment of Foot
    • 1st Battalion The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment 
    • 5th Battalion The Rifles
    • 5th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers
    • The Rifles Regiment as successors of The Light Infantry, successors to the 51st Regiment of Foot
    • The North Saskatchewan Regiment (Reserve Canadian Army), successors to the Saskatoon Light Infantry, in honour of a regimental twinning with a British Army Regiment. The N.Sask.R. wears the white rose.
    Soldiers from 1 Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment receive a Minden rose in Germany, 2018 (Picture: MOD).

    History of the Battle of Minden

    On 1 August 1759, a combined force of British and Prussian allies assembled in the vicinity of Minden, in North-West Germany.

    During the battle, 41,000 allied forces' troops - commanded by Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick - lined up against 51,000 French and Saxon soldiers.

    The British contingent of 10,000 was under the command of Lieutenant General Lord George Sackville.

    It became an iconic victory for the 'Minden' regiments who - wearing the roses they plucked from the hedgerows - repelled the attacks of the French cavalry.

    All the regiments still celebrate the 1st August and have the word "Minden" embroidered on their Colours and Battle Honour.