During the reign of George III a detachment of from the Brigade of Foot Guards was sent to West Flanders to engage in actions against the French, who, in the words of Corporal Robert Brown of the Coldstream Guards, said that in the February of 1793: -
"The French Army under the Command of General Dumourier, spreading their baneful influence, as well as their arms, all over West Flanders, into which they found very easy admission, proceeded with rapid strides towards Holland, the invasion had openly avowed"
Corporal Brown compiled an impartial journal of events during the above war years, dedicated to Major-General Lake in the September of 1795 at Windsor.
It is the result of one of these actions that is of interest. The Duke of York who was Commander-in-Chief sent the following order:
Head Quarters, Tournay, 23rd May 1794
"It is his Royal Highness the Commander in Chief's express order, that whenever the troops, or any particular corps, march without their camp equipment,
no woman is upon any pretence whatever to be permitted to follow the column"
"His Royal Highness desires this may be considered as a standing order, and expects the Commanding Officers of regiments will take care it is most strictly complied with."
"It is necessary at the same time to warn the woman and followers of the army, that the Provost-Marshal is hereby directed to inflict on every offender the most exemplary punishment, and if the offence deserves it, even to execute on the spot, any woman or follower of the army, of any description whatever, who by cruelty, plunder, or marauding, may bring disgrace on the troops under his Royal Highness's command"
"This order to read at this evening's roll call, at the head of every troop or company in the army,
on which occasion all woman and followers of the army are ordered to attend"