30th (The Cambridgeshires) Foot Regiment

Background to the British Army in the 19th Century

In 1809 the British army was divided into Regiments, as today, but most Regiments were described by numbers not by names; thus, for instance, the Bedfordshire Regiment was properly called the 14th, the Connaught Rangers the 88th and so on. The soldiers themselves preferred the names but had to wait until 1881 for their official adoption.

A Regiment was an administrative unit; the basic fighting unit was the Battalion. Most Regiments consisted of at least two Battalions but a few were small single Battalion Regiments. On paper a Battalion was supposed to have about a thousand men but disease and casualties, plus the shortage of recruits, meant that Battalions often went into battle with only five or six hundeed troops.

All Battalions were divided into ten companies. Two of these, the Light Company and the Grenadier Company, were the elite of the Battalion and the Light Companies, in particular, were so useful that whole Regiments of Light troops were raised or expanded.

A Battalion was usually commanded by a Lieutenant Colonel, with two Majors, ten Captains, and below them the Lieutenants and Ensigns. None of these officers would have received any formal training; that was reserved for officers of the Engineers and the Artillery. About one officer in twenty was promoted from the ranks. Normal promotion was by seniority rather than merit but a rich man, as long as he had served a minimum period in his rank, could buy his next promotion and thus jump the queue. This system of purchase could lead to very unfair promotions but it is worth remembering that without it Britain's most successful soldier, Sir Arthur Wellesley, later the Duke of Wellington, would never have risen to high rank early enough in his career to form the most brilliant army Britain has ever possessed.

Battle Honours
1689 known as Viscount Castleton's Regiment of Foot    
1694 known as Thomas Saunderson's Regiment of Foot    
1699 disbanded after the Treaty of Ryswick    
1702-13 Peninsula - known as Thomas Saunderson's Regiment of Marines also known until 1751 by the names of other colonels    
1704 & 1727 Gibraltar - Gibraltar remained a Spanish possession until the beginning of the eighteenth century. During the War of the Spanish Succession (1702-1713), the Rock of Gibraltar became a pawn in the struggle between the two rival claimants to the Spanish throne, the Frenchman Philip of Anjou ("Philip V") and the Austrian Archduke Charles ("Charles III"). Held by forces loyal to the former, Gibraltar fell to a combined Anglo-Dutch force supporting the latter in 1704. Gibraltar, then, had been captured on behalf of one of the claimants to the Spanish throne. However, as the war neared its end, English policy was beginning to attach greater importance to Gibraltar, and by the Treaty of Utrecht (1713), which ended the conflict, the Fortress was yielded to the Crown of Great Britain "for ever." Spain laid siege to the rock in 1727 and again in 1779. In the latter case, "The Great Siege" lasted for close on four years and great destruction was caused to the town and its fortifications. It was the last attempt to take the Rock by force of arms. Gibraltar - first battle honours
1705 Barcelona - The war of Spanish Succession marked the end of Catalan privileges. Relations with the bourbon king Philip V were bad from the start due to his totalitarian political ideas. The royal viceroy in Barcelona repeatedly infringed the Catalan constitutions. Although Barcelona’s merchants were generally peaceful they could stand no more interference from Spain and stated that as a sovereign nation they had a right to secede from a monarchy that no longer respected their rights. On the 20th of June of 1705 Catalonia signed a treaty with England and Genoa. The war with Spain lasted 9 years and ended with the surrender of Barcelona on September 11, 1714, today celebrated as Catalonia’s National day. Philip V abolished the traditional Catalan constitutions and Barcelona became a mere provincial city, humiliated by the permanent presence of an occupying army in what is today the Ciutadella Park.    
1709 Acadia - French colony, centered on NOVA SCOTIA, but including also PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND and much of the mainland coast from Quebec to Maine. In 1605 the French founded Port Royal, the first and chief town. During the FRENCH AND INDIAN WARS, the Peace of Utrecht (1713) gave Britain possession of the Nova Scotian peninsula, and, by the Treaty of PARIS (1763), all of Acadia fell to Britain. Doubting the loyalty of the French inhabitants (called Acadians), the British expelled many of them in 1755 and 1758. Most were scattered among the British colonies to the south, many of them later returning to the area. Other exiles found havens elsewhere, notably the Cajuns of S Louisiana, who still preserve a separate folk culture.    
Officer of 30th Foot 1742
1746 Louisburg - Nova Scotia, E Canada, on CAPE BRETON ISLAND. Its ice-free port, guarded by the great fortress of Louisbourg (built 1720-40), served as headquarters for the French fleet in ACADIA. The stronghold played a major role in the struggle for control of North America between France and England until it was captured and destroyed by the British in 1758. The first attack came in 1745 following a declaration of war between Britain and France. Charged with the fervour of a religious crusade, and informed that the fortress was in disrepair with its poorly supplied troops on the verge of mutiny, the New Englanders mounted an assault on Louisbourg. Within 46 days of the invasion the fortress was captured. To the chagrin of the New Englanders, only three years later the town was restored to the French by the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle. In 1758 Louisbourg was besieged a second time. Without a strong navy to patrol the sea beyond its walls, Louisbourg was impossible to defend. Attacking with 16,000 troops supported by 150 ships, a British army captured the fortress in seven weeks. Determined that Louisbourg would never again become a fortified French base, the British demolished the fortress walls.    
1751 known as 30th Regiment of Foot also known as The Three Tens or Three X's because of regimental number.    
1759 Cherbourg - 8th August 1758, Cherbourg was captured by the British, and its port facilities were destroyed. Battles fought on 8th August and 11th September 1758.    
1775-1782 North America - In 1775, Parliament passed the New England Restraining Act. This prohibited the New England Colonies from trading with any country other than Britain. It was also decided to use force to impose compliance with recent Acts. On April 18th, the Boston Committee of Safety discovered a British plan to send troops to Concord to seize ammunition. Paul Revere and William Dawes were sent to relay the warning and alert the Minute Men. On the 19th, the British troops came upon the Minute Men at Lexinton. During the encounter, a shot – “the shot heard ‘round the world” – was fired and the American Revolution had begun.    
  During the early part of the American War of Independence the Thirtieth was in Ireland; but it sailed from Cork with other reinforcements in 1781, and made one campaign in Carolina. When the Carolina Loyalists quitted their old homes, in December, 1782, the 30th accompanied part of the convoy to Jamaica.    
1782 known as 30th (the Cambridgeshire ) Regiment of Foot    
1793 Toulon - On 28 August 1793 a mixed force of British, Spanish and émigré French troops under the command of Admiral Lord Hood occupied the port of Toulon, where the population was in revolt against the revolutionary government in Paris. The port was surrounded by a string of forts, designed to protect both the town and the anchorage, but Hood had insufficient troops available to hold them all. Initially, his British contingent no more than 1,200 men from the 11th, 25th, 30th and 69th Regiments of Foot, all of whom had been embarked on the fleet as marines when the war began, and although they were supported by nearly 3,000 Spaniards, the latter soon proved to be unreliable. Despite the arrival of Sardinian, Neapolitan and some additional British troops (the later drawn from the 2nd and 18th Regiments of Foot), the land commander, Lord Mulgrave could do little to strengthen the defences against a French force that quickly grew to over 20,000 men, including the young Napoleon Bonaparte as captain of artillery. An ill-directed attack on a French redoubt at Aresnes, to the West of the port, on 29 November led to heavy British losses, after which the defences began to crack. On 17 December Bonaparte led an assault on Point l'Eguilette, overlooking the inner harbour, upon which the Spanish and Neapolitan contingents withdrew from Toulon without consulting their allies. On the 19th, Hood evacuated the remains of his force, leaving most of the heavy equipment behind. It was in common with many of the expeditions at the beginning of the Revolutionary War, a badly managed affair.    
1794 Corsica - The Corsican native remains proud and independant, but luckily well disposed to the British visitor. Corsicans have a deep seated racial distrust of most continental visitors, probably for well founded historical reasons. The British however are fondly remembered for Theodore de Neuhoff, an English adventurer who persuaded the Corsicans to declare him King in 1736. He wisely vanished 7 months later before the Corsicans lost interest. The British tried again in 1794, and it was a Corsican who shot Nelson's eye out in the blockade of Calvi. After a 2 year occupation the British themselves lost interest and left Corsica to the French and to the native population. Martinque 1794
1800 Malta - June 1798 - Napoleon Bonaparte, on his way to Egypt, captured Malta and expelled the Order of the Knights of St. John. Napoleon had noticed how the relationship between the Order and Russia had been getting too close. The Austrian Grand Master Ferdinand von Hompesch had signed a treaty with Russia in August 1797. Czar Paul 1 had been declared "the Protector of the Order of Malta". Napoleon was very much aware of the strategic importance of the Maltese Islands. His plan to capture Malta soon materialised. But French rule in the island was short lived. The Maltese rose in rebellion in September 1798. The French took shelter within the walls of Valletta where they had to stay for two whole years. The Maltese asked for help from the king of the Two Sicilies as well as from the British Admiral Lord Nelson. The Portuguese fleet in the Mediterranean soon arrived to blockade the Grand Harbour. The Maltese suffered a lot during the blockade. There were times when they were starving, until at last, the French had to leave. Malta became a British Protectorate and, in 1814, was declared part ofthe British Empire.    
1801 Egypt - 1801-1802 - One of the rare success stories of the war against Revolutionary France occurred in Egypt in 1801, when an expeditionary force of 16,000 British soldiers wrested the country from a French army that had originally occupied it under Napoleon Bonaparte three years earlier. Napoleon had abandoned his troops in 1799 to further his political career in Paris, leaving them isolated but apparently secure. They posed a threat to British domination in the eastern Mediterranean and there was a fear in London that they might be used to forge a link with pro-French native forces in India. The decision to mount the British operation was taken in late 1800, by which time Pitt, rather belatedly, had agreed to a substantial increase in the size of the army, providing funds that would boost it to the unprecedented of 300,00 men (220,000regulars and home-based 'Fencibles'., plus 80,000 militia). It was a sign that the war, at last, was being taken seriously. But the shortage of talented generals was still apparent. Despite his less than glorious record in the Helder campaign. Abercromby was chosen to command the Egyptian, chiefly because there was no-one of comparable stature available. Among his subordinates was Moore, recovered from his latest wounds, and it was he who led the British spearhead ashore at Aboukir Bay on March 1801. His brigade, comprising the 23rd, 28th, 42nd and 58th Foot as well as four companies of the 40th, landed within range of French guns in Aboukir Castle but wasted no time it confronting the enemy. A rapid advance up a steep hill caught defending troops by surprise, forcing their withdrawal and this enable the rest of Abercromby's men to land safley. Four days later, the British began their advance on Alexandria, 12 miles away. They encountered the main enemy force on 21 March, close to Alexandria. The French commander, General Menou, opened the battle with feint on his left and a major attack on Moore's brigade on the right. The 42nd Highlanders (Black watch) fought exceptionally well, maintaining coherence even after being attacked by cavalry, but it was the 28th Foot (1st Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment) who achieved lasting fame. Engaged by infantry to their front, they suddenly came under pressure from cavalry behind them, upon which the rear rank turned round and faced the new threat. Their coolness under fire earned them the right to wear regimental badges on both front and back of their headdress, an honour maintained by the Gloucestershire Regiment throughout its subsequent history. It was the sort of incident that helped to build the fighting spirit of the army. Despite casualties of nearly 1,500 men, the British secured victory at Alexandria, pushing the French back into the city, where they were besieged. Abercromby, wounded in the battle, died a week later with his record significantly enhanced, but it was Moore who showed the importance of inspired leadership, for without his efforts at both Aboukir and Alexandria the French defeat would have been much difficult to effect. As it was, Alexandria fell in April, allowing the British to reconquer the whole of Egypt by September. By then, Pitt had been replaced as Prime Minister by Henry Addington, who actively pursued the possibility of peace with France. The result was the Treaty of Amiens, signed on 27 March 1802. Britain kept Trinidad (taken from Spain) and Ceylon (taken from Holland in 1796), but agreed to hand back all other captured territories, including the French islands in the West Indies. In a move that was now familiar, Addington celebrated by ordering a reduction to the size of the army, taking it down to a strength of only 113,000 men. It was to be supported at home by 48,000 members of the militia, but they were a poor substitute for the laboriously created regular units, many of which faced disbandment. In the event, war with France was renewed in May 1803, before the reduction could be fully implemented, but the speed with which the government had moved to effect financial savings came perilously close to destroying all the benefits so painfully accrued since 1793.    
1806 Cape of Good Hope - In 1806 the British took over the Cape Colony to protect their route to India. They held the colony until after the Boer War of 1899 to 1902; and their presence, while frequently helpful in fighting the tribes, was a constant irritant to the Dutch. This dissension led, in the 1830s, to a large movement of Dutch northward across the Vaal River, in a migration that is called "the Great Trek." The British also seized this colony in 1877, but after a brief war, the Dutch regained their control of the area.   1806
1807-1809 Madras, India    
  A Brief History of the 30th Regiment of Foot in India is available. Several members of the 30th Foot retired and were pensioned in India. A list of these men who were pensioned is available. Also available for Madras are Selected Extracts from Madras Ecclesiastical Returns of Baptisms, Marriages and Burials 1698-1914.    

Officer 1st Battalion
30th (Cambridgeshire) Foot Regiment - Salamanca 1812

Peninsular War - A conflict between France and Great Britain on the Iberian Peninsula, growing out of the efforts of NAPOLEON I to control Spain and Portugal. When a palace revolt in Madrid (Mar. 1808) deposed the pro-French CHARLES IV, Napoleon invaded Spain and made his brother Joseph Bonaparte (see BONAPARTE, family) king of Spain (June). Both Spain and Portugal then revolted, and the British sent a force, under the future duke of WELLINGTON, to aid the rebels. Portugal was quickly won, but the fighting in Spain went on for years. By the time Napoleon abdicated, however, the British had won all of the peninsula and had penetrated France as far as Toulouse. - Napoleonic Wars - Chronology of the Peninsular War.

Corunna - The retreat to Corunna lasted for about 17 days, in which time the Army covered 250 miles under the most difficult conditions. During the retreat the 32nd acted as escort to the stores and ammunition and suffered great hardships on the way. It was the middle of winter and the bare and desolate country was either buried in snow or deluged in heavy rain. There was no fuel to be had and the food supply was very uncertain. There was also the continual anxiety and depression that is felt always during a retreat. Quantities of baggage and stores had to be destroyed in order to lighten the loads and to prevent the French from getting possession of them. The Army reached Corunna, only to find that the transports had not yet arrived. The French were on their heels and there was nothing for it but turn and fight. The battle of Corunna resulted, in which the French were once more repulsed. This enabled the British Force to embark in comparative safety, for the transports had, in the meantime, arrived. The English leader, Sir John Moore, was killed during the battle. According to the official dispatch, the 32nd Regiment fought "with great resolution and, losing 250 of all ranks, covered themselves with glory." - Report on the Losses at Corunna

The army under Sir Arthur Wellesley, and fought in the campaigns of 1809-10, including the battles of Talavera and Busaco, and the defence of Torres Vedras.

Salamanca - Here Wellington's Army was delayed owing to the strength of the forts, which surrounded Salamanca. One fort in particular, San Vincente, held up the whole Division for ten days. Eventually Ensign Newton of the 32nd led a storming party on what appeared to be a forlorn hope. It succeeded. The French surrendered and the English blew up the forts after securing all the guns and a considerable supply of clothing. A month later, Wellington's Army met the French Army under Marshal Marmont, which had attempted and failed to relieve Salamanca. After very severe fighting which lasted all day, the French were eventually driven from their positions in great disorder and it was, only the darkness which prevented them from being completely annihilated. Even so, our cavalry took up the pursuit next day and kept the French on the run. The 2nd Company of the 30th took part in the battle, they were in Pringle's Brigad, part of the 5th Division commanded by J. Leith. The casualties were severe on both sides. There is a book on Salamanca entitled "Salamanca 1812 Wellington Crushes Marmont".

Badajoz - The storming of Badajoz was an epic action which involved Wellington’s infantry in some of the most savage hand-to hand fighting of the whole Peninsular War. At appalling cost in a nightmare assault during the night of the 6 April 1812, Wellington’s soldiers hacked their way over the bodies of their dead and wounded and through the huge medieval walls of the town. These were held with great tenacity, skill and courage by a resolute French and German garrison. Having stormed the town the battle-crazed army went berserk and the horrors of the sacking which followed, as much as the sublime courage of the attackers, have passed into legend. There is a book on the siege entitled " Badajoz 1812 Wellington's Bloodiest Siege "

Vittoria - Despite Wellington's success against Marmont's army at Salamanca in July, the year of 1812 ended in bitter disappointment for the British. However, a year later Wellington's series of brilliant manoeuvres threw the French onto the defensive on all fronts, culminating in the final victory at Vittoria, 90,000 men and 90 guns attacking in 4 mutually supporting columns. The French centre gave way and both flanks were turned, their army finally breaking in flight towards Pamplona. Any French hopes of maintaining their position in the Peninsular were crushed forever. On 7 October the British set foot on the 'sacred soil' of' Napoleon's France. There is a book on the victory entitled "Vittoria 1813 Wellington Sweeps the French from Spain".

San Sebastian - The Storming party, 750 volunteers, included 200 men of the Guards, one hundred each from the First and Coldstream Guards. They moved off at two in the morning on the 31st August 1813, and occupied a ruined convent where they remained till half past nine. Aware of the almost impossible task ahead of them, and subjected to a violent electric thunderstorm, the troops waited in a state of savage anticipation. ' Wild senseless laughter' was said to have preceded the attack on the breach which could not be entered except in single file under heavy fire. The troops attacked in succession, but were struck down by hundreds. General Graham then ordered the artillery to fire over the heads of the assailants, clearing the ramparts. A shell ignited a quantity of powder, and under cover of the explosions, the storming party forced its way into the town. San Sebastian was savagely sacked and burned, and the good name of Wellington's Army suffered as it had done at Badajoz. The civilians were raped, robbed and murdered in revenge for the heavy losses suffered by the troops. The Franco-Spanish governor retired the citadel (San Marcial) and on the 9th September, after a gallant resistance of over a week, surrendered the charge he had so faithfully defended. The casualties among the officers of the first Guards were one Officer, Ensign Burrard, First battalion (a son of Sir Henry Burrard who was responsible for the disastrous Treaty of Cintra) severely wounded, since dead, and one Officer, Ensign Orlando Bridgeman, wounded. In the Coldstream Guards, one officer ensign Thomas Chaplin, According to Lord Saltoun there were in round numbers, 150 casualties amongst 200 Guardsman. Total losses of volunteers from all regiments were 1500 men.

San Sebastian
1809 Poonamallee, India

1810-1811 Trichinopoly, India

1812 Cannanore, India

1815 Waterloo    
1815 Vellore, India

1816-1817 Fort St George, Madras - A Cemetery Index for St Mary's Fort St George, Madras, India    
1818 Masulipatam, India

1818 Secunderabad, India

1819 Asseerghur, India

1819 Boorampoor, India

1819 Khandish, India

1819-1820 Jaulna, India

1819-1826 Secunderabad, India

1825 Bhutpore, India

1825 Fort St George, Madras, India - A Cemetery Index for St Mary's Fort St George, Madras, India    
1827 Fort St George, Madras, India - A Cemetery Index for St Mary's Fort St George, Madras, India    
1827-1828 Trichinopoly, India

1828 Wallajabad, India

1828-1829 St Thomas' Mount, India

  As a single battalion corps, the 30th served in the Mediterranean, Bermuda, and Canada from 1834 to 1845.    
1834 Guindy, India    
1835-1840 Bermuda    
30th Foot Officer's shoulder belt plate worn by an Officer of the 30th (Cambridgeshire) Regiment of Foot circa 1840-1855. Burnished gilt rectangular plate mounted with a cut silver star, mounted on the star a gilt laurel wreath surmounted by the Victorian Crown. Within the wreath are four scrolls bearing the battle honours of "Salamanca" Peninsular" "Badajos" and "Waterloo", within the scrolls a garter strap inscribed "Spectamur Agendo" encircling "XXX" on a raised silver ball, to the base of the star a Sphinx resting on a tablet inscribed "Egypt".
1842 Canada

  Crimean War - a page on the military operations is available    
1854 Alma - the order of battle at Alma and the general order of battle during the Crimean War are listed here.    
1854 Inkerman - London Gazette 2 June 1858 - Lieutenant Mark Walker, 30th Regiment, an Irishman, aged 26, 5 November 1854 at Inkerman, Crimea, jumped over a wall in the face of two battalions of Russian Infantry which were marching towards it. This act was to encourage the men, by example, to advance against such odds - which they did and succeeded in driving back both battalions. Awarded the Victoria Cross. Later Sir Mark and achieved rank of General. Born Finca, Co Westmeath, Ireland, 24 November 1827. Died 18 July 1902, Arlington, Devon. VC displayed in The Buffs Museum, Canterbury.    
1855 Redan - Military operations continued to be restricted to trench warfare until 7th June 1855 when the outer defences of Sebastopol were assaulted, with the British capturing the Quarries and the French the Mamelon. A coup de grace was planned for the anniversary of the battle of Waterloo, 18th June, as a way of cementing the new friendship between the British and their French allies. The assaults on the Malakoff and the Redan failed, partly due to incompetence on the part of the general officers commanding, and Lord Raglan sank into a decline, dying on the 28th June 1855. On the 16th August 1855, the Russian army under Prince Gortchakoff attempted to break through the Allied lines at the Traktir Bridge over the River Tchernaya, but was driven off by a combined French/Sardinian force a third its size. The Sardinians had joined the Allies in January 1855. Medals bearing the unofficial clasp "Traktir" or "Tchernaia" are occasionally found; these clasps are believed to have been added to their medals by those French military and naval personnel who were awarded the British medal. On the 8th September 1855 the Allies again stormed Sebastopol, with the French successful this time at the Malakoff. The British attack on the Redan failed once more. The Malakoff, however, was the key to the town's defences, and at its loss the Russians evacuated Sebastopol, having made a spirited defence which had kept the best troops in the world at bay for over eleven months. Originally it was intended that the Sebastopol clasp should be awarded to those on active duty on the 8th/9th September, but reason prevailed, and it was awarded to all those who had been present before the town at any point prior to its fall. It naturally follows that a medal bearing a Balaklava or an Inkermann clasp will also bear that for Sebastopol.    
1855 Sebastopol - Seige of Sebastopol in Russia, October 9, 1854 to September 18,1855. "Sebastopol" was named because of the blasting in the rock at the Frenchmans Lead, it went under the plateau.    
1855 In May 1855 the London Illustrated News reported the presentation of the Crimean Medal. Those from the 30th Foot are listed here.    
1860-70 Canada and Nova Scotia - From 1860 to 1870 the battalion served in Canada and Nova Scotia.    
1881 Under Cardwell's reforms united with 59th (2nd Nottinghamshire) Regiment of Foot, to become 1st Battalion, The East Lancashire Regiment    
Lancashire County and Regimental Museum combines under one roof the mementos and memories of many of Lancashire's historic regiments. Displays in the Queen's Lancashire Regiment gallery tells the story of this infantry regiment and its famous forerunners: the East, South and Loyal North Lancashire Regiments, 30th, 40th, 47th, 59th, 81st and 82nd Regiments of Foot. The Duke of Lancaster's Own Yeomanry have a gallery which relates the interesting history of a volunteer unit from the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, when troops of volunteer cavalry were raised throughout Lancashire as invasion threatened. Finally, opened in May 1988, the gallery of the 14th/20th King's Hussars, one of Britain's regular cavalry regiments with a colourful past, who rode not only horses but Challenger Main Battle Tanks. The story of Lancashire's soldiers during war and peace over three centuries is told with the aid of uniforms, weapons, photographs, medals and historic items. Recreated scenes include a First World War trench, with sound and smell effects. The medal balconies display gallantry awards including three Victoria Crosses. The regimental stories in this museum are presented in displays to interest everyone, young and old. Schools are particularly welcome and will find much material on which to base project work.
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