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: James HERTNANName variations: Heitman, Herman, Hertman
Birth Date and Placec. 1807, Clerefort, Galway, Ireland [WO97-0412-087].
Baptism Date and Place
Marriage Date and Place
SpouseAnn ? d. 1892 [WABDM Reg. #449].
ChildrenMaria m. 1851 [WABDM Reg. #386].
OccupationsLabourer [WO97-0412-087].
Government Gardener [STAT p.156].
Land Acquisition in WA28 Mar 1844 purchased 25 acres, Wellington District [FSLDS 1542335-517].
28 Mar 1847 purchased 20 acres, Wellington District [FSLDS 1542335-572].
1845 grant 100 acres Picton. Sold 1849 to William Forrest for £50 [STAT p.156. CSO 18/40].
28 Dec 1861 application tillage lease 50 acres, Wellington District No. 216, Lease 788 [FSLDS 1844645-77].
Death Date and Place25 Oct 1877 Bunbury, Western Australia  [WABDM Reg. #9472].
Burial Date and PlaceDardanup – not verified.
Death, Funeral, Obituary NoticesNone.
Will and ProbateNone.
Regiment21st (Royal North British Fuzileers) Regiment.
Soldier No. and Rank#447 Private [WO97-0412-087].
Attestation Date and Place1 Mar 1826 Birr, Kings County, Ireland.
Physical DescriptionHeight: 5 ft. 6 ins. Complexion: fair.  Eyes: grey. Hair: dark brown.
Service/CampaignsAustralia: 6 years and upwards in Van Diemen’s Land and Swan River.
Medals, Clasps and BadgesTwo Good Conduct Badges.
Casualty/MedicalRecommendation of medical board as being totally unfit for military duty [WO97-0412-087].
Varicose veins of the legs [WO23-149].
Regimental Courts MartialNone.
District Courts MartialNone.
General Courts MartialNone.
Arrival Australia: Ship and DateLotus. Embarked Deptford, London 16 Nov 1832.
Dep. Portsmouth 13 Dec 1832; arr. Hobart 16 May 1833.
Arrival Western Australia: Ship and DateMaria 30 Mar 1836 from Launceston, VDL via Port Philip, Victoria [TROVE].
Military Postings within Western AustraliaPerth HQ From 6 Mar 1836 to 31 July 1840 when ‘left in WA to be discharged’ [WO12-3809-15].
Except for being sent ‘on detachment’ in October 1836, July 1837 and October 1838 to a location not recorded.
Prior to his discharge he was at the ‘Swan River’ from 1 Apr to 30 Jun 1840; location along the Swan River not recorded.
[All sourced from WO12-3804-230 to WO12-3809-64].
Courts Martial in Western AustraliaNone.
Discharge Date and Place31 Jul 1840 Perth, Western Australia [WO12-3809-64].
28 Jul 1841 Examination of Invalid Soldier on which date he was admitted to pension [WO23-149].
Age at Discharge34 years.
Length of Service14 years 155 days.
Chelsea Pension ReferenceWO97-0412-087.
Pension DistrictWestern Australia.
Pension Amount6d. per diem paid in Bunbury.


Perth Gazette 2 Apr 1836

James Hertnan arrived with Lieutenant Henry Bunbury on Maria.  He had possibly been Bunbury’s servant.

In 1858 Hertnan donated five shillings to the Indian Mutiny Relief Fund.  A total of £485 9s. 7d. was raised (less £10 for advertising). The contribution was sent to England in June 1858 [Perth Gazette 4 Jun 1858].

Hertnan signed his name to a memorial for the Governor of the Colony.  The memorial was signed by the principal settlers from every district of the Colony.

James Hertnan was a neighbour of Keran Doolan, another 21st Regiment soldier.  See below:

Hertnan Tillage Lease Application Wellington District