Small Wars 1815-1854

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The period between the Napoleonic Wars and the Crimean War was dominated by ‘small’ wars throughout the Empire. The Queen’s and the 31st (Huntingdonshire) served in the 1st Afghan War of 1839-1842, whilst the Buffs (East Kent) and the 50th (‘Queens Own’ Regiment from 1831) escorted prisoners to Australia and took part in the Gwalior campaign of 1843. The 35th served in the West Indies, Ireland and Mauritius, becoming The 35th ‘Royal’ Sussex Regiment in 1832. The 57th (West Middlesex) went to Australia and India, whilst the 77th (East Middlesex) served in Ireland, Jamaica, Malta and Canada. The 37th (North Hampshire) served ten of these years at home, thirteen in Canada, nine in Bermuda and Jamaica, and eight in Ceylon. The 67th (South Hampshire), apart from their long service in India (1805- 1826), went abroad again in 1832 to serve in Gibraltar, the West Indies, and Canada until 1841.

On the 25th March 1824, the 97th Foot, or Earl of Ulster’s Regiment was raised at Winchester; in due course it was to become the 2nd Battalion of The Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment. It went overseas in 1825 and served in Ceylon, Corfu, Halifax (Nova Scotia) and Greece.

There were two tragic incidents involving troopships in this period. In 1825 several companies of the 31st (Huntingdonshire) sailed for Calcutta in the East Indiaman Kent, which caught fire in high seas in the Bay of Biscay and many lives were lost. The Queen’s were on board the Birkenhead in 1852, when it struck a rock and sank, fifty miles from Simon’s Bay in South Africa. Most of the troops were drowned. It was during this tragedy that the principle of "Women and Children First" was established.