Minden Day, West YorkshireDuring the Seven Years War , just for a change fought against the French, the British in 1757 suffered a humiliating defeat at Hastenbeck. At the Battle of Minden on August 1 1759 honour was regained. A numerically superior French army foolishly allowed itself to be drawn from strong positions and engaged in battle by the British and Prussians. Before the fighting began legend has it that soldiers advancing through rose gardens picked blooms to decorate their hats. The battle was, supposedly, turned by chance, when a misunderstanding over poorly worded orders led to infantry advancing, much against normal procedure, on the French cavalry. After a closely fought encounter the French retreated.
Since that time certain regiments whose predecessors were involved in the battle have on its anniversary worn roses on their caps to commemorate victory against the odds, notable among them the 3rd and 5th Battalions the Rifles, formerly the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, at Minden the 51st Regiment of Foot, formed in Leeds in 1755 (when confusingly they were the 53rd).
Such is the link between Yorkshire and heroism at Minden that August 1 was the day chosen for Yorkshire Day when that rather more recent tradition began in 1975. The Rifles choose to wear white roses, whereas the Lancashire Fusiliers and the Royal Hampshires go for red, all of them thus sticking with the flower associated with their county. The other Minden Regiments are The Royal Artillery, The Royal Anglian, The Royal Welsh, and The Royal Scots Borderers.
More British Folk Customs?