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59th (2nd Nottinghamshire) Regiment of Foot outside St Mary's Church for their colours ceremony
Nottingham City Council
Nottingham, Lace Market
About this image
In 1755 the 59th Regiment of Foot was raised, recruiting in Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire. Originally they had crimson facings on their jackets but were ordered to replace them with white. Hence they were eventually known as the 'Lilywhites'. They fought honourably in the Second Afghan War but shortly afterwards in 1881, the British Army was re-organised by the Cardwell reforms. Historic regiments, such as the 59th, became mere battalions. For some years, the 30th Regiment of Foot had shared the same Brigade Depot at Burnley with the 59th. So it seemed logical to the powers that be in Whitehall to change their names to the 1st and 2nd Battalions, East Lancashire Regiment. Along with many others the 2nd Battalion was determined to retain as much as it could of its former identity. Although it was stationed at Dover and the Regimental Depot was at Burnley the Battalion deliberately chose to have a memorial for its dead of the Afghan War erected in the grounds of Nottingham Castle (and this is perhaps why they are having a colours ceremony, years after the 59th was disbanded, in St Mary's Church). Alternatively this picture could be showing a a different 59th, perhaps a 59th division or battalion ?.