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British Gooch’s Marines, 1742
The British government urged its colonies in North America to raise soldiers to fill the ranks of independent companies for service in various locations. In the early 18th century, many British units were still identified by the name of the commanding officer, with Sir William Gooch becoming the colonel of newly raised Gooch’s American Regiment. Unfortunately, rather than being posted in British North America, the unit was diverted for service in the Caribbean. Most of the regiment’s soldiers served aboard the naval ships, as marines or seamen – in clear breach of their terms of enlistment. During an expedition to Caragenda in 1741 the regiment performed poorly during an assault on the outer works of Fort St. Lazar – disobeying orders, abandoning the field, and laying down the scaling ladders the assault column needed to carry the walls. The regiment was transported to Jamaica where it encamped and was severely neglected by the British government. The soldiers were considered unreliable, lacking discipline, and were devastated by losses due to tropical sickness. In October of 1742 the unit was disbanded.
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