In 1755 the 51st Regiment of Foot was renumbered (from the 53rd). It received a county designation in 1782, as the 51st (2nd Yorkshire, West Riding) Regiment of Foot. In 1821 the regiment received royal status, becoming the 51st (2nd Yorkshire, West Riding, The King’s Own Light Infantry) Regiment.During the early 19th century the regiment served in the Napoleonic and Peninsular campaigns and served at Waterloo in 1815.
Between August and December 1837, six convict ships left Britain with 51st Regiment guards on board bound for New South Wales and Van Diemen’s Land. The regiment continued to arrive in Australia as convict guards, and in larger numbers on troopships, during the decade that followed. Some of these ships are profiled on the Ships page. Arguably the most famous of the journeys made by 30 officers and men was on the ship Buffalo. That story can be read on the Anecdotes page.
In June 1840, a detachment of 145 officers and men arrived in Western Australia on Runnymede from Hobart; a further 46 men arrived on Eudora and Champion between 1841 and 1844. Thirty three 51st men took their discharge and settled in Western Australia; one of them was this man featured on the right.
The 51st in Australia left Hobart for India on Java in 1847. Its last port of call was on 15th March 1847 when the balance of the detachment in WA boarded Java on her way to Calcutta.
|NAME William LEWIS||Name variations: None encountered.|
|Birth Date and Place||c. 1815 – deduced [WO12-6200-112].|
|Baptism Date and Place|
|Marriage Date and Place||10 Aug 1850 Perth, Western Australia [WABDM Reg.#323]|
|Spouse||Jane COLLINS widow of John Pollard [ERIC p.1859].|
|Land Acquisition in WA|
|Death Date and Place|
|Burial Date and Place|
|Death, Funeral, Obituary Notices|
|Will and Probate|
|Regiment||51st (2nd Yorkshire West Riding, The Kings Own Light Infantry) Regiment.|
|Soldier No. and Rank||#1128 Private [WO12-6200-112].|
|Enlistment Date and Place||16 Sep 1837 Chatham HQ.|
Age 22 years. Bounty paid to recruit £3 0s. 0d. [WO12-6200-112].
|Physical Description||Height: 5 ft. 9½ ins.|
|Medals, Clasps and Badges||Good Conduct Badge and Pay 1d. per diem Oct 1844 [WO12-6206-312].|
|Arrival Van Diemen’s Land: Ship and Date||Layton. Embarked 22 Jun 1839, London [WO12-6201-205].|
Arr. 07 Dec 1839 from Portsmouth, England dep. 13 Jul 1839 [DPS].
|Arrival Western Australia: Ship and Date||Runnymede 25 Jun 1840 from Hobart [TROVE].|
|Military Postings within Western Australia||Perth HQ Jun 1840 to Jan1841 including Garrison Duty (Nov). Absent without leave 27-28 Sep 1840.|
Pinjarrah Feb 1841 to May 1842. Leschenault Jun to Sep 1842. Pinjarrah Oct 1842 to Dec 1842.
Bunbury Jan & Feb 1843. Perth HQ Mar & Apr 1843. Pinjarrah May to Oct 1843. Perth HQ Nov 1843 including 4 days in hospital. On Command Dec 1843.
Perth HQ Jan to Jun 1844. Williamsburgh Jul to Sep 1844. Perth HQ Oct to Dec 1844.
Bunbury Jan to Mar 1845. Perth HQ Apr 1845 including 19 days in hospital. On Command May 1845.
Perth HQ Jun to Dec 1845 including Garrison Duty (Jul). On Command Oct 1845.
Major’s Orderly Nov 1845 to 31 Mar 1847 when discharged. Note: The only Major in the 51st Regiment during this period was Major A C Errington who was stationed in Van Diemen’s Land recently promoted from Captain. There is no indication in the Musters that Errington was in the Swan River Colony.
[All sourcing from WO12-6202 TO 6208].
|Courts Martial in Western Australia||None.|
|Discharge Date and Place||31 Mar 1847, Perth, Western Australia [WO12-6208-190].|
|Age at Discharge||c. 32 years.|
|Length of Service||9 years 6 months – deduced [WO12-6200-112].|
I have been unable to find any personal details about Private William Lewis other than those deduced from the Army records. He will be remembered chiefly because of his marriage to Jane Pollard in 1850. Jane and her first husband John entered the history books as the employers of John Gaven/Gavin, a 15 year-old lad formerly of the Parkhurst, Isle of Wight Boys’ Reformatory. John was charged with the murder, in February 1844, of George Pollard, son of Jane and John and was convicted on circumstantial evidence at the April 1844 Quareter Sessions. He later confessed to the crime and was hanged at the Round House, Fremantle on 6 Apr 1844, the first white person to be hanged in the Colony.