The regiment was originally raised by Colonel James Abercrombie as the 52nd Regiment of Foot in 1755 for service in the Seven years war. It was re-numbered as the 50th Regiment of Foot, following the disbandment of the existing 50th and 51st regiments, in 1756. The regiment's first action was when it embarked on ships and took part in the Raid on Rochefort in September 1757 during the Seven years war In its early years the regiment wore a uniform of black facings and white lace; when they wiped sweat away with their cuffs the dye stained their faces, giving rise to the nickname the "Dirty Half-Hundred" ("half-hundred" equals fifty").

    The regiment embarked for Germany in June 1760 and saw action at the Battle of Corbach in July 1760, the Battle of Warburg later that month and the Battle of Villingshausen in July 1761 as well as the Battle of Wilhelmstahl in June 1762. It returned home in March 1763.

    The regiment was posted to Jamaica in 1772, and then to New York in 1776. At this point, troops were transferred to other regiments and the officers returned to England to raise a new force; as such, the regiment did not see action in the American Revolutionary War. The men of the regiment served on various ships of the Royal Navy as Marines and saw action at the First Battle of Ushant in July 1778. The regiment adopted a county designation and became the 50th (West Kent) Regiment of Foot in 1782.

    The regiment embarked for Gibraltar in August 1784 and then moved to Corsica in January 1793 for service in the French Revolutionary Wars and took part in the Siege of Calvi in July 1794. It returned to Gibraltar in 1797 and moved to Menorca in 1799 before embarking for Egypt in 1800. The regiment fought at the Battle of Mandora in March 1801, the Battle of Alexandria later that month and the Siege of Cairo in May 1801. The regiment then proceeded to Malta in October 1801 and to Ireland in May 1802.

    Napoleonic Wars

    The retreat to Corunna in January 1809

    A second battalion was raised in 1804 to increase the strength of the regiment. The 1st battalion embarked for Copenhagen in July 1807 and saw action at the Battle of Copenhagen in August 1807 during the Gunboat War before returning home in November 1807. It then embarked for Portugal in May 1808 for service under General Sir Arthur Wellesley in the Penninsular and saw action at the Battle of Rolica in August 1808 and the Battle of Vimeiro later that month. In January 1809 the battalion took part in the Battle of Corruna, commanded by Charles James Napier, carrying out successive bayonet charges to keep the French at bay, at which General Sir John Moore shouted "Well done, 50th! Well done, my Majors!". The battalion was subsequently evacuated from the Peninsula. Both battalions then embarked from The Downs in July 1809 and saw action in the disastrous Walcheren Campaign. It was the last regiment to leave Holland in December 1809.

    The 1st battalion returned to Portugal in September 1810 and took part in the Battle of Fuentes de Onoro in May 1811, the Battle of Arroyo dos Molinos in October 1811 and the Battle of Almaraz in May 1812 as well as the Battle of Vitoria in June 1813. It then pursued the French Army into France and fought at the Battle of the Pyrenees in July 1813, the Battle of Nivelle in November 1813 and the Battle of the Nive in December 1813 as well as the Battle of Orthez in February 1814 and the Battle of Toulouse in April 1814. The regiment returned to Ireland in July 1814.



    Despite showing signs of wear the Bearskin Mitre cap is in excellent condition for its age. The construction is still very solid The front plate displays the Drummers scroll work and is the correct pattern and quality unlike the modern copies of Grenadier Mitre Caps. The bearskin cover displays well but has signs of wear to the peak of the crown and the rear of the cap as shown in the images. The rear of the cap display a stitched letter L fo the number 50 which has a couple of moth nips fade and wear which is also commensurate with its age, the rear also displays a Drim badge  with 50 on the drums skin. The inside still retains its cloth liner which displays staining and wear in accordance with its age.

    I absolutely love this hat which is one for the serious collector of headgear or the British army of the 1700's collector. It displays very well.