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General Sir Eyre Coote

Colonel Coote - click for enlargementEyre Coote was born near Limerick, Ireland, and was a descendant of the 39ths first Colonel, Richard Coote.

He joined the 39th (Dorsetshire) as a Captain on promotion from the 37th (Hampshire) on 18th June 1755 at the age of 29. He greatly distinguished himself at the battle of Plassey whilst commanding the Grenadier Company. This victory provided a turning point for the British, changing from a mercantile role to a colonial one, and at the same time securing the 39th the unique battle honour of Plassey, and for being the first King's Regiment in India the motto 'Primus in Indis'. This motto survived on the cap badge of the Dorset Regiment and then the Devon and Dorset Regiment until 2007.

Colonel Eyre Coote left the 39th in 1759 and raised the 84th (York and Lancaster) for service in India, and went on to enjoy a glittering army career. He died in Madras in 1783. A monument was erected in his memory in Westminster Abbey, followed by a 100 feet tall column at his home West Park, Rockbourne, Nr. Fordingbridge.

Descendants of his family are currently living in Dorset.