In 1678, Charles Erskine, Earl of Mar, raised the regiment to help put down unrest within the Presbyterian (Covenanter) Scots churchmen. In 1688, as a fusilier regiment, it moved from the Scottish to the English establishment and was named for its various Colonel’s names. In 1707 the regiment was named the North British Fuzileers, not popular within the Regiment since it was bestowed in honour of the Union of England and Scotland.

The regiment maintained its ‘North British’ name in various forms throughout the 18th and early 19th century, fighting against the Jacobite rebellion including Culloden; engaging in the Seven Years War, the American War of Independence and the Napoleonic Wars.

The 21st (Royal North British Fuzileers) Regiment first arrived in Australia in 1832 to 1833 as guards on board convict ships to New South Wales and Van Diemen’s Land. The regiment’s HQ was established in Hobart but soon a detachment was sent to the Swan River Colony to relieve the 63rd Regiment’s detachment which had arrived with Captain James Stirling some four years earlier. Most of the troops arrived on Jane in September 1833, but others arrived on Caroline (February 1835) and Sir John Rae Reid (July 1835). Most left the Colony on Runnymede in July 1840 to serve in India.

The troops of the 21st Regiment detachment bore the brunt of the clash of cultures between the settlers and the aborigines. Two corporals and eight privates were thought to have been present at the Battle of Pinjarra; three troops were killed by natives in other incidents in Beverley, Murray River and Upper Swan.

A total of 152 officers and men served in Western Australia between 1833 and 1840 and 21 of them took their discharge and settled there. One of them was this man featured on the right. Nineteen troops died while serving in the Colony.

It was not until 1877 that the regiment received a title befitting its origins when it became the 21st (Royal Scots Fusliers) Regiment of Foot.

The Colours of the 21st Regiment
NAME: John GILLName variations: None encountered.
Birth Date and Placec. 1813 [deduced].
Baptism Date and Place
Marriage Date and Place1 Dec 1843 Picton, Western Australia [WABDM Reg. #96].
SpouseMary Ann(e) HERITAGE.
ChildrenCharles b.1845 [deduced EPCEM aged 30 in 1875].
OccupationsCarpenter 1843 [ERIC p.1199; STAT p.125].
Constable & Gaoler 1843 (£20 pa) to 1856 (£48 pa) [BARK p.81].
Constable Bunbury 1843 [Govt. Gazette No. 345].
Collector of Land Tax for Bunbury Town Trust 1851 [Perth Gazette 23 May 1851].
Postmaster Bunbury 1855-1857 [ERIC p.1199].
Head Turnkey, Adelaide Gaol  Jan 1861 [Adelaide Observer & SA Weekly Chronicle].
Land Acquisition in WA22 Dec 1840 CSO Deed of Grant Busselton No. 8 [Perth Gazette 26 Dec 1840].
14 Aug 1850 Grant No. 52, Bunbury (one acre) [FSLDS #1542338 folio 9].
Death Date and Place27 Jan 1896 Parade, Norwood, South Australia [SABDM Reg. #232/409].
Burial Date and Place28 Jan 1896 Mitcham Cemetery, South Australia [City of Mitcham].
Old Section M, Site 1N
Death, Funeral, Obituary NoticesAdelaide Evening Journal 28 Jan 1896.
South Australian Register 28 Jan 1896.
Will and ProbateNone.
Regiment21st (Royal North British Fuzileers) Regiment.
Soldier No. and Rank#845 Private [WO12-3802-207].
Enlistment Date and Place12 Jun 1831 Leeds, Yorkshire, England [BLKB p.288].
Physical DescriptionHeight: 5 ft. 6 ins. [BLKB p.288].
Medals, Clasps and BadgesNone.
Arrival Australia: Ship and DateCircassian. Embarked Deptford, London 14 Aug 1832 [WO25-3503].
Dep. Plymouth 14 Oct 1832; arr. Hobart VDL 16 Feb 1833 [TROVE].
Arrival Western Australia: Ship and DateJane 9 Sep 1833 from Hobart [WO12-3802-106; TROVE].
Military Postings within Western AustraliaNote: Where ‘On detachment’ is noted below, no location is recorded in the 21st Musters and Pay Lists.
Port Augusta Sep to Dec 1833.
On detachment 1 Jan 1834 to 30 Sep 1837.
Vasse 1 Oct to 31 Dec 1834.
Leschenault 1 Jan 1838 to 31 Mar 1840.
Perth HQ 1 Apr to 31 Jul 1840 when discharged.
All sourced from WO12-3802 TO 3809.
Discharge Date and Place31 Jul 1840 Perth, Western Australia [WO12-3809-64].
Age at Dischargec. 28 years [deduced].
Length of Service9 years,1 month, 19 days [deduced].


19 Jan 1851 John Gill was witness in the Magistrates Court – Guinea (Aboriginal) vs. W Pratt and W Hammersley [Perth Gazette 14 Feb 1851].

10 & 14 Jan 1861 John Gill was witness at the Coroner’s Inquest into the death of lunatic Grace Williams in his capacity of Turnkey at the Adelaide Gaol [South Australian Weekly Chronicle and Adelaide Observer 19 Jan 1861].

A character reference for John Gill!

Warders and Gaolers: A Dictionary of Western Australian Prison Officers 1829-1879, David J. Barker