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Grenadier, 57th Foot, 1775

The regiment started out as the 59th Regiment of Foot raised in Gloucester in 1755. After the disbandment of the 50th Regiment of Foot and the 51st Regiment of Foot in 1756, it became the 57th Regiment of Foot. The regiment took part in the American Revolutionary War (Siege of Charlestown, SC May 1776, New York Campaign 1776, Halifax Sept. 1783). In 1782, it was given a county connection, becoming the "57th (The West Middlesex) Regiment of Foot".


The drummer boys drawn up under fire on the ridge of Albuhera (16th May 1811

The 57th Regiment earned their nickname of "The Die Hards" after their participation in the Battle of Albuera, one of the bloodiest battles of the Peninsular War, fought on the 16 May 1811. The commanding officer of the 57th, Colonel Inglis, was struck down by a charge of canister shot which hit him in the neck and left breast. He refused to be carried to the rear for treatment, but lay in front of his men calling on them to hold their position and when the fight reached its fiercest cried, "Die hard the 57th, die hard!".


Lieutenant General Sir William Inglis, KCB (1764 1835)

The casualties of the 57th were 422 out of the 570 men in the ranks and 20 out of the 30 officers. The Allied commander of the Anglo-Portuguese force Field Marshal Beresford wrote in his dispatch, "our dead, particularly the 57th Regiment, were lying as they fought in the ranks, every wound in front". Even after this savage fight and such appalling casualties, the regiment were eager to advance with the remainder but Beresford called out, "Stop, stop the 57th, it would be a sin to let them go on!"

The 57th arrived in New South Wales during 1826 serving at Van Diemens Land, Sydney, Victoria South Australia and the Swan River colony. The regiment was transferred to Madras in March, 1831.

In the Crimean War (1854-1856) the 57th took part in the Battle of Alma (19.09.1854), Battle of Inkerman (5.11.1855) and Siege of Sevastopol (09.1854 - 09.1855).


George Gardiner VC DCM (1821 - 17 November 1891)

On 22nd March, 1855 at Sebastopol, Crimea, Sergeant Gardiner acted with great gallantry upon the occasion of a sortie by the enemy, in having rallied the covering parties which had been driven in by the Russians, thus regaining the trenches. On 18th June during the attack on the Redan he himself remained and encouraged others to remain in the holes made by the explosions of the shells, and from whence they were able to keep up a continuous fire until their ammunition was exhausted, and the enemy cleared away from the parapet.

Another Crimean War VC recipient - Private Charles McCorrie (1830 - Apr. 8, 1857). On June 23, 1855, at Sebastopol, Crimea, Private McCorrie threw over the parapet a live shell which had been thrown from the enemy's battery, saving the lives of his squad.

During 1856 - 1861 the 57th was on Malta and India.


Dudley Stagpoole VC DCM (1838 - 1 August 1911)

John Thornton Down VC (1842 - 27 April 1866)

In 1863 it participated in Battle with Maoris in the province of Taranaki on the west coast of the North Island, New Zealand. At Pontoko, New Zealand, on 2nd October 1863, Drummer Stagpoole and Ensign Down, of the 57th Regiment, succeeded in bringing in a wounded man lying about 50 yards from the bush, all the time under a very heavy fire from the bush and some logs at very close range. The man had been wounded whilst engaged with rebel natives. Ensign Down and Drummer Stagpoole immediately responded to the call for volunteers. Dudley Stagpoole was unique. He is one of the few men in the British Army to have been awarded both the VC and the DCM and is still the only man to have been awarded them within a week of each other.

The 57th had a stormy and perilous voyage home round Cape Horn in 1867 and only reached Plymouth after fifteen weeks at sea on July 28th, 1867. At home they spent six years without anything to note save their employment at Salford and Manchester during the time of the Fenian disturbances in the autumn of 1867. New colours were presented on November 28th, 1867, and the old ones, which had been carried in the Crimea, India and New Zealand, were finally deposited in January 1874 at St. Paul's Cathedral, where they hang above the monument which was erected four years later in memory of the officers and men of the regiment who fell in the Crimea and in New Zealand.


Private, 57th Foot, 1879

On December 23rd, 1873, the 57th left England for Ceylon, where it served under Colonels Logan, James Stewart, (1876-8), and Charles Mansfield Clarke till February 1879, when it received sudden orders to proceed to Natal. The 57th was about to move to Gibraltar, and this change in it's destination was due to the outbreak of the Zulu War and the disaster of Isandlwana. The 57th landed at Durban on March 11th and was in South Africa till November 1st, 1879 when they embarked for England.

The last months of the regiment's independent existence were spent in Ireland.


The Diehards Reenacting Group, UK

In 1881, the 57th and 77th, who had been linked since 1873, became the 1st and 2nd Battalions, The Duke of Cambridge's Own (Middlesex Regiment). This was the result of the British Army, adopting the Cardwell system so regiments could have one battalion abroad on foreign service in our then far flung empire and one battalion at home as a "feeding" unit to keep them supplied with men. The 77th had been granted the title 77th Duke of Cambridge's Own (East Middlesex) Regiment in 1876 and the Duke's cypher and coronet were included in the design of the new badge. The officers belt union bore the Arms of the County of Middlesex whilst the NCO's and soldiers wore the title "Middlesex" on their shoulder straps. The regiment was now firmly welded to the county.

During the hundred and twenty-five years since the 57th Foot was raised it had served abroad for eighty-five.

Battle Honours 1789 - 1881

MYSORE, SERINGAPATAM, PENINSULA, ALBUHERA, CIUDAD RODRIGO, BADAJOZ, NIVE, NIVELLE, PYRENEES, VITTORIA, ALMA, INKERMAN, SEVASTOPOL, NEW ZEALAND, SOUTH AFRICA, 1879, SOUTH AFRICA.

Its regimental marches were 'Sir Manley Power' (quick) and 'Caledonian' (slow).

Colonels of the Regiment

1755.12.27 Col. John Arabin
1757.03.22 Lt-Gen. Sir David Cunynghame Bvt.
1767.11.04 Gen. Sir John Irwin
1780.11.02 Gen. John Campbell (of Strachur)
1806.09.08 Gen. John Hely-Hutchinson, 2nd Earl of Donoughmore [also 18th Foot, 74th Hldrs, 94th Foot]
1811.04.27 Gen. Sir Hew Whiteford Dalrymple, Bvt.
1830.04.10 Lt-Gen. Sir William Inglis
1835.12.04 Gen. Sir Frederick Adam [also 21st Foot, 73rd Foot; Governor of Madras 1832-37]
1843.05.31 F.M. Sir Henry Hardinge, 1st Viscount Hardinge
1856.09.24 Gen. Sir James Frederick Love
1865.09.05 Gen. Charles Richard Fox
1873.04.14 Gen. Freeman Murray
1875.12.11 Gen. Sir Edward Alan Holdich

The Diehards mlp@public.ua.net