In 1756 Colonel Arabin raised a regiment in Gloucestershire and Somerset which was numbered the 59th Foot (later renumbered the 57th or 1st Middlesex Regiment). In the Gloucester Journal (30th March 1756) the following appeared: "The County of Gloucester, it is hoped, will take upon it the raising and completing Colonel Arabin's, to be called the Gloucestershire Regiment, with which no other is to interfere in the raising of men." The Regiment served as Marines but there is no evidence that it used a county title. In 1759 recruiting notices appeared in the Gloucester Journal for 'Colonel Crawford's 85th or Royal Volunteers'.
The idea of officially linking regiments and counties began in 1782. A notice was sent by the Adjutant-General's Office to "Agents of the Infantry Regiments as far as 70 inclusive, excepting those in Ireland."
"AGO 13th May 1782
Gentlemen, I am to desire that you will signify to the Colonels of the Regiments of Foot to which you are Agents that General Conway wishes to be informed if they have any particular connexion or attachment to a particular County, or any reason to wish for the bearing of the name of any particular County, and if so to name the County. I must beg the favour of you to transmit to me their answers to the above, as soon as possible, for the General's information.
I am etc,
A. Williamson, Colonel D-A-G."
"Parliament Street, 4th June 1782
Sir, We have the honour to acquaint you that General Grey directs us to name Gloucester as the County for the 28th Regiment of Foot.
We are Sir, Your most obedient Humble Servants, Jas. and Jus. Meyrick."
Major-General Sir Charles Grey was Colonel of the 28th Foot, 1777-87.
"Harley Street, 17th May 1782
Gentlemen, In asnwer to the copy of your letter (you sent me) from the Adjutant-General's Office, I am to acquaint you for General Conway's information that I have no wish for the 61st Regiment bearing the name of any particular County except the County of Aberdeen where I had the honour of raising the late 89th Regiment in the last war.
I have the honour to be, Gentlemen, Your most obedient Humble Servant, S.L. Morris."
Major-General Staates Long Morris, the son of a wealthy American family from New York, was Colonel of the 61st Foot.
In August 1782 a letter was issued confirming the County titles for the regiments. The 28th became the North Gloucestershire Regiment. The 61st became the South Gloucestershire Regiment.... "you should endeavour by all means in your power to cultivate and improve that connexion so as to create a mutual attachment between the County nd the Regiment which may at all times be useful towards recruiting the Regiment."
The 61st Foot, on their return from Minorca, marched to Gloucester in August 1782. The Gloucester Journal (23rd December 1782) "On Friday last the 61st Regiment gathered in this City, having lost their Colours at the capture of Minorca, received new Colours from the hands of Major Owen, the Commanding Officer, the Regiment being drawn up in the College Green."
The 28th Foot returned from the West Indies in 1783 and sent recruiting parties to Gloucestershire.