Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Wild Geese have landed... Lee's Regiment may remember a few posts back that I was waxing lyrical about the Irish regiment that Phil Olley featured in his last update. As is often the way with other peoples well painted figures regiments, I'm so enthused that I feel duty bound to go off and have a go myself even where it might not actually fit in with the overall plan for the period or project they feature in...

..for my the War of the Spanish Succession project I'm painting units that were present at the assault on the Schellenberg - purely because there were fewer units there than at Blenheim, so it's a more attainable goal. I've deviated a couple of times though, firstly when I was totally enamoured of a regiment that featured in Wargames Illustrated and felt the need to paint the Royal Italiene, and this is the second time. Neither regiment was present at the Schellenberg, but who cares - they're my army...

..anyway back to the latest regiment to join my collection. The "wild geese" was the collective name for the Irish regiments that fought for the French in the various wars of the 18th Century - this regiment represents Lee's.

..according to "The History of Ireland, Ancient and Modern" By James MacGeoghegan (which you can read on Google Books here)

"Louis XIV having sent seven French battalions to Ireland in the beginning of the year 1690 whether that he required the same number of Irish troops in return or that James II who was at that time in the country thought proper to send them three Irish regiments arrived at Brest in the be ginning of May on board French ships under the command of Justin MacCarty viscount Mountcashel a lieutenant general in England and who still retained his rank in France. The regiments composing this brigade were Mountcashel's an old regiment of long standing O’Brien's and Dillon's each consisting of two battalions containing one thousand six hundred men divided into sixteen companies. This corps was sent to Savoy where they distinguished themselves under Marshal de Catinat in the reduction of that province particularly at the battle of Marseilles gained by the French on the 4th of November 1693."

..on the death of Mountcashel his regiment was given to (Andrew) de Lee in 1694, who until then had been colonel of Clare's - and as was usual during this era the regiment took his name.

...I would wholeheartedly recommend a visit to this site (click here)for more detail on the regiments (fantastic website by the way).

From this site I found out that Lee's were present at both Hochstadt and Blenheim.

Certainly by the time of Blenheim, Andrew Lee was a major-general and there is a reference to the regiment passing to N (Nicholas??) de Lee - presumably a relative?? More research to do there I think... Under Nicholas the regiment went on to serve at Oudenarde, Malplaquet & Denain.

Anyway - this is them - all Minifigs with the exception of the officer who is a Dixon - yes I know he has a carbine over his shoulder but I like him because he looks like he means the business... he represents all those Jacobite minor gentry who provided the officers for these regiments, almost certainly in this period of Irish ancestry, a supporter of James but serving Louis XIV, he's been fighting all his life against the British, he was a part of the 'flight of the wild geese' on the 3rd October 1691 when William finally defeated James following the Boyne and 14,000 Irish soldiers went into exile... romantic, but I imagine a hard life.

Lat of all - a scene of the crime - this is the painting table.. in the background are the next regiment on the chocks, these have been undercoated black, and have had the damp brush of white. They are destined to become Regiment Rechteren (or Wilcke depending on your references) a Dutch regiment of foot in the service of Marlborough... the tea is Twinings "Everyday" by the way!


  1. The tea is fine - but what about the cup?

    The wild geese can also boast to have the most reconstituted regiment ever in the history of the French army. fitzjames horse were rebuilt so often after being devestated on the tabletop. I don't think Dillon were much better off either despite their fighting reputation.

  2. ..mea culpa Grimsby... but it was a present from the little one's, so what can you do?? :o))

  3. Steve,

    While I enjoy most of your posts, my favorites are those like this one . . . where you paint a unit and then talk of its history.

    Good-looking unit by the way. I like them.

    -- Jeff

  4. Very nice, and interesting history. Cheers, Steve.

  5. Thanks Giles - but next to the examples on the Olley website they pale slightly... :o))

    Now if you could be tempted to try your hand - that might be a different matter!