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73rd Regiment

The first detachment of the 73rd Regiment arrived in New South Wales on Monday 14 August 1809 on board the convict transport Boyd. The vessel had sailed from Cork via the Cape of Good Hope, carrying 132 male convicts and three officers of the 73rd Regiment (Captain H. J. Cameron, and Lieutenants John Pike and Thomas Wright)and 30 rank and file soldiers.

The full complement of the first battalion of the 73rd Regiment arrived four months later on 28 December 1809 on board H.M. Storeship Dromedary and her naval escort H.M.S. Hindostan.

On arrival the regiment was augmented by transfers from the departing 102nd regiment (formerly NSW Corps). In fact more than half this regiment, 447 men, chose to remain in the Colony. Of these men, 265 transferred into the 73rd Regiment (for a bounty of three guineas), while a further 111 men joined a specially formed 'Veteran Corps' for 'invalids' (ie. those soldiers with more than 20 years' service). However, all the officers of NSW Corps serving at the time of recall in 1810 were required to return to Britain to answer any possible charges arising out of the 'rebellion' of 1808. Many of these men returned later to New South Wales where they settled and continued to exert an influence on the development of the Colony long after their regiment's recall.

Additional detachments of soldiers serving in the 73rd Regiment continued to arrive in the period 1810-1813. In most instances they acted as guards on transport vessels bringing convicts to New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land: the Anne on 27 February 1810; the Indian on 16 December 1810; the Providence on 2 July 1811; the Admiral Gambier on 29 September 1811; the Guildford on 18th January 1812; the Indefatigable on 19 October 1812; the Archduke Charles on 16 February 1813; the Fortune on 11 June 1813; and the Earl Spencer on 9 October 1813.

After its tour of duty in New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land the 1/73rd was posted to Ceylon (Sri Lanka) where it served from 1814-1821. The men of the 73rd Regiment departed for Ceylon on five vessels; Earl Spencer (January 1814);General Hewitt (April 1814); Windham (April 1814); General Browne (December 1814); and Kangaroo (April 1815). They were garrisoned in Colombo, Galle, Kandy and Trincomalee, as well as serving in the field during the Uva Rebellion in 1817-1818. Most deaths in the regiment during its tour of duty were from tropical diseases rather than military combat.

The first detachment returning to England embarked as 'marines' on board H.M.S. Alligator on 22 May 1821; the remainder of the regiment embarked on board the transport Elizabeth at Trincomalee on the 25 June, and landed at Gravesend on 10 November 1821. Initially stationed at Weedon, the regiment was soon relocated to Chichester, where most of the men who had returned were soon invalided out of the regiment.

The Sydney Gazette 20 August 1809 [No. 294] p.2a.

Historical Record of the Seventy-Third Regiment: containing an account of the formation of the Regiment from the period of its being raised as the Second Battalion of the Forty-Second Highlanders in 1780 and of its subsequent services to 1851. Compiled by Richard Cannon. London: Parker, Furnivall & Parker, 1851.

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