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.

51st Regiment at Waterloo
NAME: William WAGSTAFFName variations: None encountered.
Birth Date and PlaceApril 1810 Northamptonshire, England – not verified.
Baptism Date and Place15 Apr 1810 Badby, Northamptonshire, England – not verified [Badby Parish Register]. See Additional Details below.
Marriage Date and Place1st: outside Australia (Ireland?)  – or possibly the same woman confirmed by marriage in Australia – not verified [K Turner].
2nd: 23/25 Apr 1851 Perth, Western Australia – not verified [LDS & EPCem].
Spouse1st:  Mary Ann ?
2nd: Mary MURPHY.
Children1st Marriage:
Mary Ann b. outside Australia.
Sarah Jane b. unknown.
2nd Marriage
John b. 1845 Perth, Western Australia [WABDM Reg. #603].
Sara Jacoba b. 1850, Perth, Western Australia [LDS].
George b. 1852 Western Australia – not verified.
Ann Mary b. 1853 Western Australia – not verified.
Elizabeth b. 1853 Western Australia [LDS].
OccupationsIn charge of Tailor & Shoemaker Shop, Convict Establishment 1 to 28 Jul 1851 [BARK p.210].
Tailor 1864-1875 & Town Crier 1875, Toodyay [Toodyay Historical Society].
Land Acquisition in WANone.
Death Date and Place08 Aug 1880 Invalid Depot, Perth, Western Australia [WABDM Reg. #10629].
Cause of Death: Old age and debility – not verified [CHAP].
Burial Date and PlaceAugust 1880 East Perth Cemetery, Western Australia.
Death, Funeral, Obituary NoticesInquirer and Commercial News 11 Aug 1880 [TROVE].
Will and ProbateNone.
Regiment51st (2nd Yorkshire West Riding, The Kings Own Light Infantry) Regiment.
Soldier No. and Rank#730 Private.
Medals, Clasps and BadgesGood Conduct Badge and Pay 1d. per diem awarded in Tasmania 14 Nov-31 Dec 1838 [WO12-6200-460].
Good Conduct Badge suspended. Entry in Defaulters Book for absent without leave 8 – 9 May & 18 Sep 1841.
Good Conduct Badge restored 1 Jan 1844.  Good Conduct Pay (87 days) restored 1 Oct 1846.
[All sourcing from WO12-6202 TO 6208].
Arrival Australia State: Ship and DatePortsea. Embarked 7 Jul 1838 Deptford. Paid in advance to 13 Nov 1838.
Dep. 31 Jul 1838 Portsmouth and 8 Aug 1838 Plymouth. Arr. 10 Dec 1838 Hobart [WO12-6200-287].
Arrival Western Australia: Ship and DateRunnymede 25 Jun 1840 from Hobart [TROVE].
Military Postings within Western AustraliaDale 25-30 Jun 1840.
Perth HQ 1 Jul 1840 to 31 Mar 1841 inc. Garrison Duty (Aug 1840); 5 days in Hospital (Feb 1841).
Dale 1 Apr to 30 Jun 1841.
Perth HQ 1 Jul 1841 to 31 Mar 1847 inc. Garrison Duty (Dec 1846).
[All sourcing from WO12-6202 TO 6208].
Courts Martial in Western AustraliaNone.
Discharge Date and Place31 Mar 1847 [WO12-6208-191 & 199].
Age at Dischargec. 37 years [deduced].
Length of Service


Birth/Baptism:  Family legend indicates William Wagstaff was the son of John and Mary, born in Dodford, Northamptonshire.  Parish Registers indicate no Wagstaff births extant in Dodford Parish 1791-1812. However, the neighbouring parish of Badby (about four miles southwest) records baptisms of  four children to John and Mary Wagstaff from 1807 to 1812 including William (1810). Not verified.

A Melancholy Accident from Inquirer 16 Sep 1846

My thanks to Jeanette Lee who assisted me in 2020 with some information about William Wagstaff.
Also, descendant Kim Turner October 2022.