Uniforms of 96th Regiment (c. 1875)

Shipping Intelligence [Inquirer 24 Feb 1847]
Thomas Briggs’ first Muster in the Colony

Briggs relinquishes licence of the Trumpeters Arms
Halfway House (later Albion Hotel)
[SLWA Ref.10478]
Inquirer and Commercial News 10 Sep 1897
NAME:  Thomas Ernest BRIGGSName variations: None encountered.
Birth Date and Placec.1816 [deduced].
Baptism Date and Place
Marriage Date and Place17 May 1849 Perth, Western Australia [WABDM Reg.#269].
SpouseCatherine CAPORN (widow of Edward John Tapping].
ChildrenStep Children (Tapping):
Rebecca b.1838; Sarah b.1840; Jane b.1842 – none verified [ERIC p.3007].
Mary b.1843 [WABDM Reg.#323]; William b.1846 [WABDM Reg.#802]; Thomas Allen b.1848 (d.1849 India) [WADBM Reg.#1144].
Briggs Children:
Thomas Ellen (sic) b.1850 Cawnpore, India [British India Office N-1-77-214].
Catherine b.1852 Fort William, India [British India Office N-1-81-245].
Amelia b.1854 Perth, Western Australia [WABDM Reg.#2395].
Hannah b.1856 Fremantle, Western Australia [WABDM Reg.#3497].
Thomas James b.1859 Fremantle, Western Australia [WABDM Reg.#4573].
George b.1861 Fremantle, Western Australia [WABDM Reg.#5695].
Charles b.1862 Fremantle, Western Australia [WABDM Reg.#6854].
Alfred Edward b.1864 Fremantle, Western Australia [WABDM Reg.#8233].
Land Acquisition in WAFreshwater Bay, 20 Acres – not verified [ERIC p.310].
Death Date and Place9 Sep 1897 Claremont, Western Australia [TROVE].
Burial Date and Place9 Sep 1897 Skinner Street Cemetery, Fremantle, Western Australia [TROVE].
Church of England Section.
Death, Funeral, Obituary NoticesDaily News 9 Sep 1897 – death [TROVE].
West Australian 9 Sep 1897 – funeral [TROVE].
Inquirer and Commercial News 10 Sep 1897 [TROVE].
Will and ProbateNone.
Regiment96th Regiment of Foot.
Soldier No. and Rank#1675 Private [WO12-9620-334].
Enlistment Date2 Oct 1841 Chatham, Kent [WO12-9613-328].
Medals, Clasps and BadgesGood Conduct Badge 1d. per diem from 21 May 1847 [WO12-9620-10].
Arrival Australia: Ship and DateHydrabad.  Embarked 29 Jun 1843, Gravesend, Kent. [WO12-9615-192 to 199].
Dep. 4 Jul 1843, Deal, Kent. Arr. 17 Oct 1843, Sydney, NSW.
Arr. 4 Nov 1843, Launceston, VDL [TROVE].
Arrival Western Australia: Ship and DateJava 24 Feb 1847 from Hobart, embarked 27 Jan 1847 [WO12-9620-334].
Military Postings within Western AustraliaPerth HQ 24 Feb to 31 Mar 1847 [WO12-9620-334].
On Command 1 to 30 Apr 1847 [WO12-9622-10].
Perth HQ 1 May 1847 to 31 May 1848 [WO12-9622-113].
Pinjarrah 1 Jun 1848 to 31 Mar 1849 [WO12-9622-113 to 199].
Left with Regiment on Radcliffe for Calcutta, India on 18 May 1849 [deduced – see Additional Details].
Courts Martial in Western AustraliaNone.
Discharge Date and Placeafter March 1851 [deduced].
Age at Discharge35 years [deduced].
Length of Servicec. 9 years [deduced].


Quarterly Pay Lists WO12-9624 for the period Quarter 1st April to 30th June 1849 are not available in Western Australia, thus it is not possible to identify exactly which men received approval in Perth for their discharge. Most are recorded in the Commandant’s General Orders in WO28-266 in April or May with a conditional discharge, and ten received a pension. But three men who did eventually settle in the Colony: John Bowra, Thomas Briggs and William King are not mentioned.

In the case of Briggs, it appears that he sailed on Radcliffe with his regiment to India in May 1849; the proof of this was the death and births of three children in India. The regiment remained in India until it returned to England in 1855; it did not return to Australia.  Thomas Briggs was in Lahore with the regiment in the first quarter of 1851. By 1853/54 the family was back in Perth where another child was born and Briggs took over the licence of the Trumpeters Arms public house in King William Street, Perth and relinquished it by May 1854 (see sidebar).

It is possible, but at this stage not proven, that Briggs received a conditional discharge in April or May 1849 and chose to continue with his regiment until approval from London was available; for most of the 96th settlers this was in July or August 1851. The words on daughter Catherine Briggs’ birth/baptism certificate (right) may indicate that this could be the case.

Thomas Briggs’ first foray into the hotel business occurred after he and the family returned from India – as mentioned above – when he ran the Trumpeters Arms.  Briggs then established the Halfway House on the Perth-Fremantle road on the site of the present Albion Hotel in Stirling Highway, Cottesloe.  It superseded the Bush Inn, the first half-way public house between Perth and Fremantle, a hostelry run by John Butler in the 1830s as the first licenced wayside inn in the Colony.  Briggs’ wife, Catherine, would have been an asset as she had experience in business from her previous marriage.  She and Edward Tapping ran a bakery which she continued after Tapping’s death until her marriage to Briggs and departure to India. [TUCK & ERIC].

I have found nothing to verify the claim that Thomas Briggs left his business interests and responsibility for his large family in the Colony to dash off to the Indian Mutiny in 1857 [ERIC p.310]. Only one man named Thomas Briggs can be found among those who were awarded the Indian Mutiny Medal; he was a Private with the 2nd Battalion of the 60th (King’s Royal Rifle Corps) Regiment of Foot [WO100-38-4].