Four line infantry regiments with the numeral 96 were raised and disbanded between 1761 and 1818.
A fifth 96th was raised in February 1824 at Salford Barracks, Manchester. It was later allowed to carry the battle honours awarded its predecessor – Peninsular, Egypt and the Sphinx.
Over the next decade, the regiment spent eight years in Halifax, Nova Scotia and two in the West Indies. It then garrisoned in Britain until 1839, when it was tasked with guarding its first of many convict ships bound for Australia. Some of these are profiled on this website’s Ships page.
During the regiment’s time in Australia, the 96th served in Windsor, Sydney and Parramatta, New South Wales; Hobart and Launceston, Van Diemen’s Land; and Adelaide, South Australia. In VDL many of the troops were garrisoned at Port Arthur, the major convict prison. The Anecdotes page of this website will take you to a story of the ‘Military Outrage’ in Launceston in May 1845.
The 96th sent a detachment to New Zealand in 1844 where it remained during the New Zealand Wars until the end of 1846. Again, the Anecdote page will write of the regiment’s missing medal roll.
In February 1847, 111 officers and men arrived in Western Australia on Java from Hobart; a further two arrived on John Bagshaw in January 1849. Thirty seven of the Java men took their discharge and settled in Western Australia; one of them was this man featured on the right. Four of the men transferred to a detachment of the 99th Regiment to receive their final pay.
The 96th in Australia left for India in two waves. In February 1849 General Hewitt left Launceston and then in April the balance left Hobart on Ratcliffe, picking up the 96th detachment from Western Australia on its way to Calcutta.
|NAME: James DOYLE||Name variations: None encountered.|
|Birth Date and Place||c. 1805/1806 Coachford, Cork, Ireland [WO97-1039-45].|
|Baptism Date and Place||Records not extant.|
|Marriage Date and Place|
|Land Acquisition in WA|
|Death Date and Place|
|Burial Date and Place|
|Death, Funeral, Obituary Notices|
|Will and Probate||None.|
|Regiment||95th (Derbyshire) Regiment. 17 Feb 1824 transferred to|
96th Regiment of Foot.
|Soldier No. and Rank||#293 Private [WO97-1039-45].|
|Attestation Date and Place||27 Dec 1823 Cork, Ireland.|
|Physical Description||Height: 5 ft. 6½ ins. Complexion: fair. Eyes: blue. Hair: light brown.|
|Service/Campaigns||Bermuda and North America 12 years.|
Australasia 8 years.
|Medals, Clasps and Badges||None.|
|Casualty/Medical||Unfit for service in India and worn out.|
|Courts Martial||See Additional Details (below).|
|Arrival Australia: Ship and Date||Prince Regent. Embarked 1 Jul 1841 Gravesend.|
Dep. 7 Aug 1841 Dublin. Arr. 3 Jan 1842 Hobart. Disembarked 6 Jan 1842 [WO12-9613-232 & DPS].
|Arrival Western Australia: Ship and Date||Java 24 Feb 1847 from Hobart, embarked 27 Jan 1847 [WO12-9620-335].|
|Military Postings within Western Australia||York 24 Feb to 31 Dec 1847.|
Perth HQ 1 Jan to 31 Jul 1848 inc. On Guard (Apr).
Rottnest 1 Apr to 31 Dec 1848.
Perth HQ 1 Jan to 8 Mar 1849 inc. On Guard.
Perth HQ 9 to 13 Mar 1849 Confined to Gaol until Court Martial on 13 Mar 1849 (see below).
[All sourced from WO12-9620 TO 9622].
|Courts Martial in Western Australia||Garrison Court Martial 13 Mar 1849. Gaoled in Round House, Fremantle for 56 days [Errington].|
Conviction: Habitual Drunkenness. Sentence: 1 month Hard Labour; 1 month Solitary; Stoppages [WO86-6-119].
|Discharge Date and Place|
Admission to Pension
|15th May 1849 Perth, Western Australia [WO97-1039-45].|
9th Oct 1849 Perth, Western Australia [WO23-150].
|Age at Discharge||43 years.|
|Length of Service||22 years 280 days [WO97-1039-45].|
23 years 4 months [WO23-150].
|Chelsea Pension Reference||WO97-1039-45.|
|Pension Districts||Perth Oct 1849 to 30 Sep 1857. Adelaide Oct 1857 to Jun 1858. [WO22-248,250,252].|
|Pension Amount||1/0d. per diem.|
|Notes on Pension Payment||Paid by Regiment to 31 May 1850.|
Paid by Commissariat to 30 Jun 1851.
Thereafter, transferred to Captain Bruce’s Pay List.
There is nothing to suggest Doyle was taken onto EPF strength, this was merely a means of receiving his pension entitlement as a military pensioner once Perth became a Pension District with the arrival of Captain John Bruce and the EPF men [WO22-248-43].
James Doyle has just about the worst military service record of any soldier I have encountered. He seems to have been a career prisoner. His record will speak for itself – if you can read it; my apologies for the image at left, the best I could do [WO97-1039-45 folio 3]. It seems, however, that he managed to keep his nose clean until two days prior to his discharge; celebrating perhaps? His farewell to the Army meant hard labour, solitary confinement and no beer! [WO86-6-119].
Mr Doyle in civilian life was no less a problem – to the researcher, at least. He received his pension in Perth until 30th June 1857. Sometime after October that year he made his way to Adelaide where he is listed resident until the end of June 1858. At that point there is no record of him receiving his pension – although his name appears on the pension returns. There are notes on the last page of his discharge documents shown below. I have – on previous occasions tried to work out the War Office reference numbers for what is obviously correspondence and/or forms – but to no avail. It would appear the War Office was looking for him, as am I. A contact in South Australia reports that the name James Doyle is recorded in the Police Gazettes on five occasions. I would not be surprised. We may, when the Gazettes for this era come online, catch up with him as the police seem to have done!