Annotation:Royal Volunteers (The)

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X:1 T:Royal Volunteers M:6/8 L:1/8 R:Jig B:David Rutherford – Rutherford’s Compleat Collection of 200 Favourite B:Country Dances, vol. 2 (London, c. 1760, No. 28, p. 14) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:D d2D d2D|BAG FED|FGA Bcd|efd {d}cBA| d2D d2D|BAG FED|FGA Bcd |egf {f}e3:| |:A3 AB=c|Bd=c BAG|B3 B^cd|ced {d}cBA| a2A g2G|f2F e2E|d2D FGA|Bdc d3:|

ROYAL VOLUNTEERS, THE. English, Jig (6/8 time). D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. The melody first appeared in David Rutherford’s Compleat Collection of 200 Country Dances, vol. 2 (London, 1760, No. 28, p. 14). The title references the 85th Regiment of Foot, the Royal Volunteers, raised in Shrewsbury in 1759 for the French and Indian War in North America. However, instead of being sent to the New World, the unit participated in the capture of the fortress Belle Ile (off the coast of Brittany) and then served in Portugal in 1762. The regiment was disbanded in 1763 following the peace, and it was this iteration of the regiment that is honored by the Thompson's country dance.

Successive wars resulted in the unit being re-raised anew. In 1779 it was reformed to assist in the American War, but was called "The Westminster Volunteers," but instead of fighting in the North American woodlands it was used to garrison various islands in the West Indies. It had been described as “one of the finest corps that ever left the shores of England” but, like many British units, it was decimated by disease in Jamaica and reduced to 71 men in two years. The remnants were sent back to England in 1782 and the unit disbanded in 1783, following the Peace of Paris. The 85th was raised a third time in 1793 as “the Bucks Volunteers”, and participated in the Wars with France from 1793-1815, distinguishing itself particularly in the Peninsular Campaign of 1811-1814.

Additional notes

Source for notated version: -

Printed sources : - Thompson (Compleat Collection of 200 Favourite Country Dances, vol. 2), 1765; No. 59.

Recorded sources: -

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