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To the THIRD BATTALION,
THE BEDFORDSHIRE REGIMENT.
IN 1882, certain old Books, Papers, &c., were left to me by the late Colonel Sir Richard Gilpin, Bart., with a request that I would look through them, and place in order those referring to the Bedfordshire Militia. I have gone further, and as far as I have been able, have sketched out the early history of the Regiment.
I shall be amply repaid many weeks' work, if these "Records" meet with the approbation of my Brother Officers, past and present, and of the Battalion.
J. MONTAGU BURGOYNE,
Lieut.-Col. Comm. 3rd Batt. Bedf. Regt.
RECORDS OF SERVICE
ALTHOUGH armed men of various designations had been formed in England from a remote period, it was not until 1759 that the Militia was raised.
It is very difficult to trace the early history of Militia regiments, as during the last century, and early part of the present, they were entirely under the Home Department, and the lists of their Officers were kept distinct, and were not published in the Army List.
Early in 1759, a Militia Act was passed by Parliament, to raise regiments of Militia in England and Wales, and on the 5th June a Circular was sent round to the Lords
Lieutenant of Counties, ordering all Militia regiments to be immediately recruited and prepared for service.
Seven regiments of these only appear to have complied with this order, viz. the Devon, Dorset, Norfolk, Somerset, Surrey, and Wiltshire, which regiments, by a return called for on the 28th July, were reported to be " on duty," while twenty-four others were returned as "officered and near completion."
At this time the Duke of Bedford appears to have been Lord-Lieutenant both of Bedfordshire and Devonshire, as I found several official letters written by him respecting appointing officers to the Devonshire Militia. I, however, found the original letter from the Duke of Bedford to the Secretary of State, which was probably the first official letter ever written respecting the Bedfordshire Militia.
"September 8th, 1759.
"In obedience to His Majesty's commands, signified to me in your letter of the 5th June last, to use my utmost diligence and attention, to carry into execution the several Acts of Parliament made for the better ordering the Militia Force in that part of Great Britain called England, I have the pleasure to acquaint you that I have succeeded so far in this county, as to be able to send you the enclosed list of noblemen and gentlemen who are willing to accept the commissions set against their name, in the list I have the