Saturday, 2 June 2018

Stuart's Regiment

This week has seen the completion of the final émigré unit that I am doing for the British in Egypt. This is Stuart’s Regiment, sometimes called the Minorca Regiment because it was formed at that place from prisoners of war of Swiss in Spanish service. The regiment transferred to Gibraltar in 1800 and joined Abercromby’s expedition to Egypt.

 

In one of the regiment’s most famous exploits, at the Battle of Alexandria Private Lutz secured  the colour of the 21st Demi Brigade Legère. The colour taken in the first place by a sergeant in the 42nd Foot, but the standard was recovered by a French officer when the sergeant fell. At this point  Lutz shot officer and seized the colour just as a French dragoons charged. Lutz shot the horse from under one of the dragoons, sparing his life and then returned to the British lines with both the colour and the captured dragoon.

 


The regiment left Egypt in autumn 1801 and was renamed first The Queen's Own German Regiment in 1802 and then 97th (Queen's Own Germans) Regiment of Foot in 1805. The regiment went on to fight in Portugal and Spain but returned to England in late 1811. With the conclusion of the war in Europe in 1814 the regiment went to Canada, fighting in the Niagara Campaign and returned to England too late to participate in the action at Waterloo.

 


Renumbered and renamed as the 96th (Queen's Own Germans) Regiment of Foot in 1816 it was was disbanded in 1818, but reformed in 1824 and was posted to Canada, Bermuda and Australia. It also had a New Zealand connection. When when tensions between Maori and settlers increased in the early 1840s a detachment was sent to the Bay of Islands. In March 1845, in what was the opening action of the First New Zealand War, ten members of the regiment were killed at Kororareka (modern day Russell) and are buried today in the churchyard there.

 


The regiment then went to India, then Gibraltar, then Canada again, then England, then the Cape Colony, then India and finally to England in 1875. Amalgamated with the 63rd Foot in 1881 to form the Manchester Regiment, that has a whole other series of adventures in the Boer War, WWI and WWII.

 


Next up are the final two line regiments, the 8th and the 18th, that should be completed over the weekend.

13 comments:

  1. Very interesting history lesson Mark! Another nice looking unit. We had an ECW game at JB's last night - just about to do an AAR on it.

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    1. I hadn't realised the NZ connection before even though many of my school holidays were spent in the Bay of Islands I had visited that churchyard many times. I look forward to reading the AAR.

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  2. Fab looking infantry and a very interesting regimental history.

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    1. Thank you Jonathan. They sure got around the boys of that regiment didn't they? They saw service on every continent.

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  3. Great looking unit and interesting piece of regimental history!
    Best Iain

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    1. Thanks Iain. It is always nice when you can tie a bit of history to your own neck of the woods.

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  4. Definitely a colourful history. I wonder whether the Swiss minded being labelled Germans, although I suppose that there may not have been that many left in the regiment by then.

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    1. I suspect that the Swiss of the time were not too concerned, but the same could not be said today. What intrigues me is with all those Swiss in foreign service how did that primaily agrarian economy maintain itself...and it would have been a fine time to be a single man in the cantons.

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    2. Especially around harvest time.

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  5. Great looking unit and history! :)

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  6. Top stuff Mark...
    A very busy regiment indeed...

    All the best. Aly

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    1. And I suspect that the Swiss component of the regiment was diluted pretty quickly.

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