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: John GASKINName variations: None encountered.
Birth Date and Placec. 1818.
Baptism Date and Place
Marriage Date and Place
Land Acquisition in WA
Death Date and Place
Burial Date and Place
Death, Funeral, Obituary Notices
Will and Probate
Regiment96th Regiment of Foot.
Soldier No. and Rank#1324 Private.
Enlistment Date and Place12 Aug 1839 Liverpool HQ [WO12-9611-74].
Age 21 years. Bounty paid to recruit £3 17s. 6d.
Physical DescriptionHeight: 5 ft. 6 ins.
Arrival Van Diemen’s Land: Ship and DateLord Lyndoch.
11 Feb 1840 from Plymouth, England dep. 11 Sep 1840 [WO12-9612-299 & DPS].
Arrival Western Australia: Ship and DateJava 24 Feb 1847 from Hobart, embarked 27 Jan 1847 [WO12-9620-335].
Military Postings within Western AustraliaYork 24 Feb to 30 Nov 1847.
Perth HQ 1 Dec 1847 to 31 Dec 1848.
1 – 11 Dec 1848 (not shown in Muster & Pay List) accompanied Governor Charles Fitzgerald, Mr Henry Bland, Assistant Surveyor A C Gregory on an expedition to Murchison River. Click here for more information.
Rottnest 1 Jan to 14 May 1849 when discharge recommended [WO28-266-102].
[All sourced WO12-9620 TO 9622].
Courts Martial in Western AustraliaNone.
Discharge Date and Place14 May 1849 Perth, Western Australia – Conditional [WO28-266-102].
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 Discharge30 years 4 months [WO28-266-102].
Length of Service9 years 123 days [WO28-266-102].
Here is a man with no verifiable identity in Western Australia or any other State after his discharge: no marriage, children, death or probate records.

20 May 1850: List of unclaimed letters in Government Gazette, Western Australia (as G Gaskin) [TROVE].
1851: Employed two ticket of leave men, Perth, Western Australia [ERIC p.1162].
30 Apr 1852: Witness at Inquest, Guildford, Western Australia into accidental death of Joseph Dyke, Parkhurst Boy (as John Gaskin/Gaskins) [TROVE].
5 Nov 1853: List of unclaimed letters General Post Office, Western Australia (as John Gaskins) [TROVE].
11 Feb 1863: Petty Sessions vs Thomas Hill, Colnac Courts, Victoria (as John Gaskin) [Reg.301-PO-Vol 25].
10 Feb 1863: Petty Sessions vs John Marquis, Dunolly Courts, Victoria (as John Gaskin) [Reg. 301-PO-Vol 2].
19 Aug 1849 Henrietta – from London, Fremantle to Adelaide (as ? Gaskin)  [TROVE].
13 Jan 1853 Mary Clarke – Melbourne to Adelaide (as ? Gaskin x 2) [TROVE].
30 Mar 1853 Unknown ship Hobart to Melbourne (as John Gasken, 28 years goldseeker) [TAS Index CUS36/1/507].