33rd Foot is modelled on a standard battalion company of a line regiment of infantry during the period 1812–1816. We are not guards, highlanders, rifles, grenadiers or light infantry (and definitely not French!). We don’t pretend to have any special skills or to be a unique unit. Instead we represent an ordinary company of red-coated line infantry. Emphasis is placed on the life of the ordinary rank and file – the private soldier – that made up the backbone of the army.
As a company we attend events all over the country ranging from small appearances to large battles with hundreds involved. Larger events often occur on the continent with many nationalities taking part. There are also many “living history” events where we show how soldiers lived from day to day. Barracks scenes and camps are often set up showing many of the other activities soldiers took part in when not fighting. During the winter months we have regular meetings and drill practices where members learn the period drill and manoeuvres. Many of our members are keen military historians and a great deal of research into the period is conducted.
Known alternatively as “The 1st Yorkshire West Riding Regiment” our headquarters is in Halifax and most members come from the north of England. The regiment still exists as the 3rd Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment, with whom we have links through their regimental museum in Halifax. The Duke was colonel of the 33rd until 1812, a position which he was always proud of. The 33rd played a major part at Waterloo: standing in the front line at the centre of the ridge the unit suffered almost 50% casualties.
Richard Sharpe, made famous by Sean Bean in the long-running TV series and popular books, ‘served’ in the 33rd.
Applications for membership are welcomed from anyone who is prepared to put in the effort required to be part of one of the best re-enactment companies in the country.