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 SMITHERSName variations: None encountered.
Birth Date and Placec. 1819 – deduced [WO12-9611-27; WO28-266-102].
Baptism Date and Place
Marriage Date and Place
Land Acquisition in WANone.
Death Date and Place17 Jun 1887 Mt Eliza Invalid Depot, Perth, Western Australia [WABDM Reg.#354].
Cause of Death: Old Age. Admitted to Mt Eliza 1 Nov 1873 [Inquirer].
Note: Could be confused with Convict #4299 who arrived in WA on Clara 1857.
Burial Date and PlaceNovember 1887 East Perth Cemetery, Western Australia.
Death, Funeral, Obituary NoticesInquirer and Commercial News 22 Jun 1887.
Will and ProbateNone.
Regiment96th Regiment of Foot.
Soldier No. and Rank#1247 Private.
Enlistment Date and Place2 Apr 1839 Bolton HQ. First Posting Haydock Lodge [WO12-9611-27].
Age 20 years. Bounty paid to recruit £3 0s. 0d.
Physical DescriptionHeight: 5 ft. 8 ins.
Medals, Clasps and BadgesNone.
Arrival Van Diemen’s Land: Ship and DateLady Raffles
Dep. 2 Dec 1840 Portsmouth. Arr. 17 Mar 1841 Hobart (disembarked 19 Mar 1841) [WO12-9612-299].
Arrival Western Australia: Ship and DateJava 24 Feb 1847 from Hobart, embarked 27 Jan 1847 [WO12-9620-336].
Military Postings within Western AustraliaPerth HQ 24 Feb – 31 Dec 1847 inc. AWOL two days (15 & 16 Oct); On Guard (Dec.).
York 1 Jan – 31 Dec 1848.
Perth HQ 1 Jan 1849 to discharge.
[All sourcing 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 [WO28-266-102].
Length of Service9 years 344 days [WO28-266-102].