Blenheim was a battle of the War of Spanish Succession. In 1702 the Duke of Marlborough was appointed to command a combined English, Dutch and Prussian force, which campaigned with some success against the French in the low countries (Belgium and the Netherlands). By 1704 Vienna was threatened, so Marlborough took his English and Prussian troops down the valley of the Danube to Munich; deciding that it was too strongly defended to capture, he pulled back and sought to engage a strong French force in a well-defended position around the village of Blenheim.
Early in the morning of 13th August, Marlborough began manoeuvring for his assault, taking the French by surprise, first attacking the flanks, the village itself being on the British left, he was able to get the French to send reinforcements, thus weakening their centre. He then launched his main assault, and after a long and very hard battle achieved a breakthrough, subsequently rolling up the flanks in turn. The French were completely routed, losing 30,000 troops. It was a very significant victory, and many historians consider that it was pivotal to the subsequent victory in Europe.
Stanley’s Regiment, afterwards the 16th (Bedfordshire) Regiment of Foot, played a significant part in the assaults on the left flank, and was subsequently granted the battle honour of ‘Blenheim’. In the adjacent brigade on the left flank was North’s Regiment, later to become the 10th (North Lincolnshire) Regiment of Foot, and it too received the battle honour.
Blenheim Day subsequently became the main regimental day of the Bedfordshire Regiment, and is still marked by the 2nd Battalion