Shipping Intelligence: an introduction

With the exception of the 63rd Regiment, the officers and men of the eight infantry detachments serving in the Swan River Colony first made landfall in one of the other Colonies. Some were raw recruits when they left Britain but most were experienced soldiers. Near enough to 1,200 Redcoats served in Western Australia and over 160 took their Army discharges and settled in that State. This would have been the case for countless other soldiers who served and settled in other Colonies in the 19th Century.

The British Government, in its parsimonious manner, used its human resources wisely. The men who were charged with keeping law and order in WA in its early history, mostly initially arrived as convict guards on the prison ships to Port Jackson, NSW and Hobart Town, Van Diemen’s land. The ships from Britain were not always convict ships, they could have been troopships, cargo ships or even immigrant ships. Once stationed in headquarters and at military posts in the the Eastern Colonies, some of the troops were selected to journey westward.

Prior to embarking on a ship to Australia, the Redcoats may have travelled from other parts of Britain to start that first part of their journey. The last folios of the Musters and Pay Lists show that all troop movements and the expenses related to them are covered by ‘vouchers’ which, in turn, are accounted for in the Pay Lists. The men could have travelled from as far as Scotland, Ireland or some part of England to reach Chatham before receiving orders to march to Deptford for embarkation; they could even have been transported from places of confinement if they had been serving time for a military offence. There were many stopping points along the way, to pick up convicts from prisons or hulks, or because of weather conditions, before the men saw their last view of Britain on a passage of between 115 and 130 days at sea.

The list below generally only reflects the ships on which the 160 military settlers arrived from Britain, thus there were none from the 39th detachment in Frederickstown (Albany) as none of those men settled in Western Australia. It also excludes the Royal Engineers and Sappers and Miners who served in WA from 1850 to 1862. A description of these ships (Scindian, Anna Robertson, Marion and Nile) can be found on my website: https://sappers-minerswa.com/ships/.

There is no particular order for dates or regiments related to the ships below. As with all pages of this website they are a work in progress. The process involved in identifying an arrival date and ship from Britain for each man who ultimately served in Western Australia is complex and my posting of them can be entirely random.  Each Redcoat’s profile posted on the website via the A – Z Redcoat Index will eventually show an arrival date in Australia with a link to his ship. But I stress, this is a work in progress.

Blenheim – What’s in a Name?

Buffalo – a Chequered Career

Egyptian – officer class

Hindostan – One for the Ladies

Layton – an Experienced Convict Transport

Lord Lyndoch – larger than life

Lord William Bentinck – one of many

Marquis of Hastings – patriot games

Middlesex – a Maiden Voyage for the 51st

Minerva – Goddess of Wisdom

Ratcliffe & Hydrabad – troopships turned prison ships

Waterloo – a different battle

Waverley – cargo from Dublin