The 60th Rifles were a rifle battalion that fought during the Peninsular War of 1808-1814. In 1809, the battalion was under the command of Major William Gabriel Davy, whose Headquarters Company was attached to the Third Division under the command of General Picton.
The 60th (Royal American) Regiment was first raised in 1755, Added to the regiment in 1797 by combining two German regiments, the 5/60th (5th Battalion of the 60th Regiment) are three years older than the 95th. They have a very high ratio of Germans and German-speaking soldiers, although they do have a handful of British men. Their motto is Celer et Audax (Swift and Bold) and they do their best to live up to it, taking only the most intelligent and quick-witted men. By the time of the Peninsular War, the men were armed with Baker rifles, more accurate though slower to load than muskets, and were trained as skirmishers.
It was due to the high proportion of Germans in the battalion that officers were often requested to read important battalion orders in German rather than English, to make certain of their being understood.
The uniform consisted of a short bottle-green jacket with red facings and a black stovepipe-type shako. The men of the Other Ranks were issued dark blue trousers with a 1/4 inch red stripe along the outside seams, although when these wore out, many of the men replaced them with brown trousers made from coarse cloth similar to that used by Catholic monks. This cloth was easily come by in Portugal and Spain.
Officers wore a green jacket with the same red facings as the men, with the addition of several rows of silver lace which quickly tarnished under campaign conditions. They wore overalls - loose trousers suitable for riding - and boots and a stovepipe shako with a silver bugle horn badge and a green feather plume.
Unlike the (practically non-existent) training of officers joining Lline or Guards regiments, officers joining the Rifle battalions were expected to learn the same drill as the men they were to lead. This meant joining the battalion at its depot (the 5/60th trained at Cowes on the Isle of Wight), where they drilled with the men - in the same ranks as them - although they lived and ate in the Officers' Mess. Rifle officers were also expect to learn to fire and clean a rifle.
This was done so that they had a better understanding of their men and the unique challenges faced by those whose primary task was to fight in the skirmish line. It also meant that the men had a respect for their officers that was not simply due to the commission they held or their position in society.
The 60th in StC
Show the Colours takes the historical formation of the 60th and gives it a fictional twist. There is one Company of the 60th in StC, the 3rd Company, under the command of Captain John Vickery. They are on detached service as the only Rifles Company with the Second Division, and work closely with Exploring Officers such as Captain Padstowe and Royal Engineers such as Captain Torrington. They are ahead of the column when advancing and behind it when retreating, to offer the maximum amount of protection possible.
Members of the 60th
(See also 60th Rifles Muster List)
Captain John Vickery
Lieutenant William Brady
Surgeon James Todd
Chosen Men and Riflemen
Tom Roper (Chosen Man)
Jack Kirridge (DD, 10th July 1809)
Samuel Mayden (DD, 20th July 1809)