The 70th was initially formed as a 2nd Battalion of the 31st but in 1758 it became an independent Regiment and was numbered the 70th Regiment of Foot. It was deployed to the West Indies for 10 years and then served during the American War of Independence (1775-83). In 1782 it was awarded the county title of Surrey and became The 70th (Surrey) Regiment. The Regiment returned to the West Indies in 1794-1800 and participated in the Capture of Martinique during the French Revolutionary Wars. The Regiment was re-deployed to the West Indies for 8 years in 1804 and suffered greatly from disease. In 1811 four companies returned to Scotland to recruit men which lead to re-designation as The 70th (Glasgow Lowland) Regiment. It was sent to reinforce the garrison in Canada during the Anglo-American War of 1812-1815 and remained there until 1827 when it regained the ‘Surrey’ county title. The Regiment had its first Indian posting in Bengal (1848-57), before fighting in the Maori Wars (1845-66) in New Zealand and then went on to fight during the Second Afghan War (1878-80).
In 1881 as part of the Childers Reforms it was merged with the 31st Regiment of Foot to become East Surrey Regiment.