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.

Lieutenant Colonel Sir Charles Stuart, founder of the 96th (Queens Germans) Regiment during its fourth ‘life’.
NAME William Hunt ELSEGOODName variations: None encountered.
Birth Date and Place6 Nov 1820 Norwich, Norfolk, England [TNA RG-4-654].
Baptism Date and Place30 Nov 1820 Calvert Street Wesleyan Chapel, Norwich, Norfolk [TNA RG-4-654].
Marriage Date and Place17 Sep 1844 Holy Trinity Church, Adelaide, South Australia [SABDM 1/120].
SpouseMary Ann SPENCER.
ChildrenWilliam James b.1845 Port Lincoln, Adelaide, South Australia [SABDM Reg. #1/117].
Maria b.1847 Perth, Western Australia [WABDM Reg. #930].
John Joseph b.1849 Perth, Western Australia [WABDM Reg. #1283].
Louisa b.1851 Western Australia – not verified [ERIC p.978].
Louisa Elizabeth b.1853 Western Australia – not verified [ERIC p.978].
Mary Ann b. circa 1853 Western Australia [Thompson Family via marriage & death certificates].
Margaret Harriet b.1855 Perth, Western Australia [WABDM Reg. #2994].
Elizabeth Lucy b.1847 Perth, Western Australia [WABDM Reg. #3758].
Alfred Henry b.1859 Burswood Farm, Western Australia [WABDM Reg. #4586].
Frances Alice b.1861 Burswood, Western Australia [WABDM Reg. #5584].
Frederick Austin b.1863 Perth, Western Australia [WABDM Reg. #7262].
Emma Constance b.1865 Perth, Western Australia [WABDM Reg. #8616].
Charles Edward b.1867 Perth, Western Australia [WABDM Reg. #9770].
George b.1870 Perth, Western Australia [WABDM Reg. #12811].
OccupationsLabourer [WHIT-STAT p.101]. Carpenter-Joiner [ERIC p.978].
Assistant Superintendent Warder 1849 [BARK p.66].
Proprietor ‘Ship Tavern’ and ‘Shamrock Hotel’ [Inquirer 1857].
Land Acquisition in WA
Death Date and Place16 Nov 1874 Perth, Western Australia [WABDM Reg. #8125].
Cause of Death: Heart Disease [EPCem].
Burial Date and Place17 Nov 1874 East Perth Cemetery, Western Australia [EPCem].
Death, Funeral, Obituary NoticesWestern Australian Times 20 Nov 1874.
Will and ProbateNone.
Regiment96th Regiment of Foot.
Soldier No. and Rank#1492 Private.
Enlistment Date and Place5 May 1840 Blofield District, Norwich [WO12-9612-29].
Age 19 years. Bounty paid to recruit £3 5s. 0d.
Physical DescriptionHeight: 5 ft. 7¾ ins.
Arrival Van Diemen’s Land: Ship and DateLady Raffles disembarked 19 Mar 1841, from Portsmouth, England dep. 2 Dec 1840 [WO12-9612-299].
Medals, Clasps and BadgesGood Conduct Badge with pay 1d. per diem, awarded prior to arrival in Western Australia [WO12-9620-335].
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 1847 to 18 May 1849, at which time the Regiment left for Calcutta [WO12-9624 Muster and Pay List not extant in Australia].
Courts Martial in Western AustraliaNone.
Discharge Date and PlaceApril or May 1849 Perth, Western Australia – Conditional.
1 Feb 1851 Horse Guards, Westminster, London.
1 Jul 1851 Commandant, Perth, Western Australia.
Purchased Discharge for £4 0s. 0d. [WO28-266-132].
Age at Discharge28 years 6 months [deduced].
Length of Servicec. 9 years [deduced].