Military Subjects: Organization, Strategy & Tactics

British Regiments and the Men Who Led Them 1793-1815: 52nd Regiment of Foot

By Steve Brown

Secondary Titles:

Oxfordshire (Light Infantry)

Regimental History

1755:

20 December – raised as 54th Foot by Colonel Hedworth Lambton in Coventry

1757:

8 February – renumbered 52nd Foot

1799:

25 December – 2nd Battalion formed at Chelmsford

1803:

10 January – became Light Infantry; 2nd Battalion became 96th Foot

1804:

8 August – 2nd Battalion re-formed at Newbury

1816:

31 March – 2nd Battalion disbanded at Canterbury

Colonels

1778:

14 May

Cyrus Trapaud

1801:

8 May

Sir John Moore, K.B.

1809:

25 January

Sir Hildebrand Oakes, Bt., G.C.B.

Colonels-Commandant

1799:

25 November

Sir John Moore

1801:

8 May

George James Ludlow

Stations and Combats – 1st Battalion

1793:

India – Madras; Poonamallee; July – siege of Pondicherry; Poonamallee

1794:

Poonamallee; September – Secundermally

1795:

Secundermally; August – Ceylon; Trincomalee; Island of Manaar

1796:

Colombo; to India; Madras; Tanjore

1797:

Tanjore

1798:

Madras; February - fit men into 77th & 80th Foot, cadre to England; one ship lost en route; August – Chatham (184 men); December – Colchester

1799:

Barking; July – Ashford; received 2000 militia volunteers (see 2nd Battalion); December – Chelmsford

1800:

Chelmsford; June – Southampton; Quiberon; Isle de Houat; Ferrol; Cadiz; Gibraltar; November – Lisbon

1801:

January – Ramsgate; Canterbury; November – Deal

1802:

Deal; November – Chatham

1803:

Chatham; 10th January – became Light Infantry; May – Canterbury; Riding Street; Shorncliffe; November – Hythe

1804:

Hythe; June – Shorncliffe

1805:

Shorncliffe; October – Hythe

1806:

Hythe – much ophthalmia sickness; June – Brabourne Lees; August – Ramsgate; Plymouth; Bickleigh Downs; September – to Sicily; Melazzo; incorporated company of Sicilian recruits

1807:

Sicily - Melazzo; October – to Gibraltar; December – Gibraltar; Portsmouth

1808:

Canterbury; discharged Sicilians to foreign regiment; April – received draft of 221 men from 2/52 (sent 221 unfit men in return); Ramsgate; to Sweden (did not disembark); Spithead; August – to Portugal; Lisbon; Salamanca

1809:

Retreat to Corunna; CORUNNA; to England; Portsmouth; Ramsgate; Deal; May – received draft of 350 men from 2/52 (sent 355 unfit men in return); received 255 militia volunteers; May – to Portugal; July – Villada; TALAVERA; Light Brigade formed; Campo Mayor

1810:

Pinbel; February – in Light Division; Coa; BUSSACO; Torres Vedras

1811:

Pombal; Redinha; Cazal Novo; Foz d’Arouce; Sabugal; FUENTES D’ONORO; Celorico

1812:

CIUDAD RODRIGO; February – draft of 504 men from 2/52 (sent 100 unfit men in return); BADAJOZ; SALAMANCA; Madrid; Huebra; Rodrigo

1813:

VITTORIA; Vera; Echalar; San Sebastian; NIVELLE: NIVE

1814:

Sala; ORTHEZ; Tarbes; TOULOUSE; Bordeaux; June – to England; Plymouth; Tavistock; Hythe; August – received draft of 357 men from 2/52; September - Chatham

1815:

January – Portsmouth; to Ireland; Cork; recalled to Plymouth; to Netherlands; April – Brussels; Grammont; received draft of 233 men from 2/52 (sent 318 unfit men in return); May – Quevre-au-Camps; WATERLOO; advance on Paris; Paris; Army of Occupation

1818:

November – Calais; to England; Ramsgate.

Stations and Combats – 2nd Battalion

1799:

25 December – formed at Chelmsford from 1,057 militia volunteers

1800:

Chelmsford; August – Southampton; to Spain – Ferrol; Cadiz; Gibraltar; November – Lisbon

1801:

January – Ramsgate; Ashford; November – Dover

1802:

Dover; November – Chatham

1803:

10 January – became 96th Foot

1804:

8 August – re-formed at Newbury

1805:

Hythe

1806:

Hythe (?); July – draft of 85 men to 1/52

1807:

Hythe (?); July – Deal; August – to Denmark as part of Wellesley’s Light Brigade; Copenhagen; Kjǿge; November – to England; Deal

1808:

Deal; Ospringe Barracks; March – Ramsgate; April – 221 men to 1/52 (received 248 unfit men in return); July – to Portugal; VIMIERO; Lisbon; Salamanca

1809:

Retreat to Corunna; Vigo; to England; Ramsgate; Deal; May – sent 350 men to 1/52 (received 355 unfit men in return); July – to Walcheren; August – Flushing; to England; September – Shorncliffe

1810:

Chatham; April – London (Burdett riots); Chatham; Ashford; Shorncliffe; Lewes

1811:

January – Portsmouth; to Portugal; Lisbon; Sabugal; April – Marialva; December – Zamarra

1812:

CIUDAD RODRIGO; February – draft of 504 men into 1/52 (received 100 unfit men in return); Lisbon; to England

1813:

(?); December – Ramsgate; to Netherlands; Stevense

1814:

Merxcem; Bergen-Op-Zoom; May – Brussels; August – Antwerp; sent 357 men to 1/52; September – Tournay; November - Ypres

1815:

March – 233 men to 1/52 (received 318 unfit men in return); Ostend; to England – Dover; Canterbury; December – reduced to 6 companies

1816:

31 March - disbanded at Canterbury, 131 men to 1/52 in France.

Careers of Senior Officers (shown as highest rank attained in regiment in the period)

Lt. Col. Colebrook Nesbitt

Born 1755; Major in 19th Foot 3 May 1782; Major in 52nd Foot 9 May 1789; Lieutenant-Colonel  21 June 1789; brevet Colonel 26 February 1795; retired 1798; died London 21 July 1798.

Lt Col George Brodie

Major in 52nd Foot 9 May 1789 (on transfer from 21st Foot); brevet Lieutenant-Colonel 9 September 1794; Lieutenant-Colonel 1 September 1795; Lieutenant-Governor of Fort Augustus December 1796; retired December 1798.

Major Hon. William Monson

Major in 52nd Foot 2 September 1795; Lieutenant-Colonel in 76th Foot 5 July 1798.

Lt Col Alexander Dirom

Born Banff Scotland 1757; served in West Indies 1779 to 1784; served in East Indies 1786 to 1792; Quartermaster-General in North Britain 1795; Major in 52nd Foot 3 September 1795; brevet Lieutenant-Colonel 13 April 1795; Lieutenant-Colonel 6 June 1799; brevet Colonel 29 April 1802; Lieutenant-Colonel in 44th Foot 24 February 1803; subsequently Major-General 25 October 1809; Lieutenant-General 4 June 1814; died Annan 6 October 1830.

Lt Col John Agmond Vesey

Major in 83rd Foot 20 December 1796; served in Irish Rebellion; Lieutenant-Colonel in 52nd Foot 6 September 1798; Deputy Barrack-Master General in Canada 1802; Lieutenant-Colonel in Nova Scotia Fencibles 7 January 1804; subsequently Major-General 4 June 1811; died in Canada 1812.

Lt Col Henry Conran

Served in India 1793; served in Ceylon 1795; Major in 52nd Foot 21 December 1797; Lieutenant-Colonel 25 November 1799; served at Ferrol 1800; commanded 2/52nd when it became 96th Foot on 10 January 1803; Lieutenant-Colonel in 1st Foot 7 May 1807; brevet Colonel 25 October 1809; subsequently Major-General 1 January 1812; Lieutenant-General 27 May 1825; died 1829.

Lt Col Hon. Henry Saville Lumley

Major in 2nd Dragoon Guards 26 October 1797; Lieutenant-Colonel in 52nd Foot 4 December 1798 (on transfer from 2nd Dragoons Guards); Lieutenant-Colonel in 26th Light Dragoons 6 June 1799.

Lt Col James Kirkman

Major in 29th Foot 10 February 1796; Lieutenant-Colonel in 52nd Foot 25 November 1799 (on transfer from 29th Foot); Inspecting Field Officer of Yeomanry in September 1803.

Major Harcourt Master

Major in 52nd Foot 6 June 1799; retired December 1800; Inspecting Field Officer of Yeomanry in May 1807.

Major William Molesworth-Hatch Madden

Born London c.1756; Major in 52nd Foot 25 November 1799; retired March 1801; died Huddersfield 1828.

Major William Henry Beckwith

Born 1766; served in West Indies 1778 to 1780; again in West Indies 1793 to 1798; Major in 52nd Foot 26 June 1799 (on transfer from 56th Foot); served in Helder 1799; Lieutenant-Colonel in1st Reserve Battalion 17 September 1803; subsequently Assistant Adjutant-General in Ireland; Major-General 4 June 1814; died Chester March 1844.

Lt Col Frederick Manners

Major in 52nd Foot 25 November 1799; Lieutenant-Colonel 27 May 1801; retired March 1803.

Major William Wardrobe

Major in 52nd Foot 27 September 1800; Lieutenant-Colonel in 96th Foot 19 March 1803.

Major Robert Smyth

Major in 52nd Foot 4 April 1801 (on transfer from 8th Foot); Lieutenant-Colonel in 68th Foot 26 April 1802.

Major James Orde

Major in 52nd Foot 22 April 1802 (on transfer from 91st Foot); Lieutenant-Colonel in 4th Foot 13 August 1802.

Major William Coast

Major in 52nd Foot 17 August 1802 (on transfer from 35th Foot); Major in 96th Foot 19 March 1803.

Lt Col John Stewart

Major in 25th Foot 9 September 1798; Major in 52nd Foot 19 March 1803; Lieutenant-Colonel 13 December 1803; Lieutenant-Colonel in 9th Foot 29 May 1806; killed in action at Rolica 17 August 1808.

Lt Col Kenneth McKenzie

Born Dundee 1754; Major in 90th Foot 1794; served in Flanders 1794; Lieutenant-Colonel in 90th Foot 19 November 1798; Deputy Adjutant-General in Mediterranean 1798; Lieutenant-Colonel in 44th Foot 1801; served in Egypt 1801; Lieutenant-Colonel in 52nd Foot 24 February 1802; retired on half-pay 1805 due to a fall from his horse; Lieutenant-Colonel in 91st Foot 18 February 1808; subsequently brevet Colonel 25 April 1808; commanded a brigade in Cadiz 1809; Major-General 4 June 1811; served on staff in Netherlands 1813 to 1814; garrison commander at Antwerp 1814; created Baronet Douglas 1831; died Hythe 1833.

Lt Col Robert Barclay

Major in 52nd Foot 1 February 1803 (on transfer from 38th Foot); Lieutenant-Colonel 26 May 1806; commanded 1/52nd in Peninsula August 1808 to January 1809; again in Peninsula July 1809 to November 1810; commanded a brigade in Light Division August to September 1810; wounded at Bussaco; died of wounds after repatriation to England 3 May 1811.

Major William Wade

Major in 52nd Foot 7 January 1804; Lieutenant-Colonel in 8th Garrison Battalion 8 September 1808.

Lt Col John Ross, C.B.

Major in 52nd Foot 15 August 1804; brevet Lieutenant-Colonel 28 January 1808; Lieutenant-Colonel 18 February 1808; commanded 2/52nd in Peninsula August 1808 to January 1809; commanded 1/52nd in Peninsula November 1810 to July 1811; Lieutenant-Colonel in 66th Foot 18 July 1811; Deputy Adjutant-General in Ceylon 1811 to 1814; brevet Colonel 4 June 1814; Deputy Adjutant-General in Ireland 1815 to 1818; on half-pay 1820; subsequently Major-General 27 May 1825; Lieutenant-General 28 June 1838; Colonel of 46th Foot 1 August 1839; died 1844.

Major Sir William Bagnall Burdett

Born Ireland 1770; succeeded to 3rd Baronet Burdett 1798; Major in 52nd Foot 21 August 1804; exchanged to Major 31st Foot 2 April 1805; died Cheltenham 1840.

Lt Col Hon. Hugh Arbuthnot, C.B.

Born Scotland 1780; served at Helder 1799; served at Copenhagen 1801 and 1807; served in Canada 1802 to 1805; Major in 52nd Foot 25 April 1805 (exchanged from 31st Foot); served in Peninsula with 1/52nd August 1808 to January 1809; again in Peninsula with 1/52nd July 1809 to November 1810; commanded 1/52nd August to November 1810; brevet Lieutenant-Colonel 2 May 1811; Lieutenant-Colonel 9 May 1811; commanded 2/52nd in Peninsula April to July 1811; on half-pay 8 April 1813; subsequently Major-General 22 July 1830; Lieutenant-General 23 November 1841; Colonel of 38th Foot 4 April 1843; General 1854; died 11 June 1868.

Major Henry Ridewood

Major in 52nd Foot 29 May 1806; served in Peninsula with 2/52nd August to October 1808; served with 1/52nd Foot November 1808 to January 1809; again in Peninsula with 1/52nd Foot July 1809 to April 1811; wounded on the Coa; commanded 2/52nd Foot in Peninsula April to June 1811; Lieutenant-Colonel in 45th Foot 27 June 1811; mortally wounded at Vittoria and died 11 July 1813.

Lt Col Edward Gibbs, C.B.

Born London 1778, brother of future General Samuel Gibbs; served at Ferrol 1800; served in Sicily 1806 to 1807; Major in 52nd Foot 4 February 1808; served in Peninsula with 2/52nd August 1808 to January 1809; again in Peninsula with 1/52nd March 1811 to January 1812; temporarily commanded a brigade in Light Division January to April 1812; brevet Lieutenant-Colonel 6 February 1812; lost eye at Badajoz and invalided home; Lieutenant-Colonel 8 April 1813; commanded 1/52nd in Peninsula May to August 1813; commanded 2/52nd Foot in Netherlands 1814; on half-pay 1820; subsequently Major-General 10 January 1837; Colonel of 52nd Foot 7 December 1844; Lieutenant-General 1846; died Jersey January 1847.

Major John Philip Hunt, C.B.

Served at Ferrol and Cadiz 1800; ADC to Sir John Moore on Sicily 1806; Major in 52nd Foot 8 September 1808; ADC to Sir John Moore in Peninsula August to October 1808; served in Peninsula with 2/52nd October 1808 to January 1809; served in Walcheren with 2/52nd 1809; again in Peninsula with 2/52nd March to October 1811; again in Peninsula with 1/52nd March 1812 to September 1813; brevet Lieutenant-Colonel 27 April 1812; commanded 1/52nd at Badajoz; temporarily commanded a brigade in Light Division; led Light Division volunteers and badly wounded at San Sebastian August 1813; Lieutenant-Colonel in 60th Foot 11 November 1813; Assistant Adjutant-General at Horse Guards 1814; Lieutenant-Colonel in 11th Foot 1818; died Walmer 26 November 1858.

Lt Col John Colborne, K.C.B.

Born Hampshire 1778; served in Helder 1799, wounded at Krabbendam; served in Egypt 1801; served in Sicily and at Maida 1806; served at Copenhagen 1807; Major in 20th Foot 21 January 1808; served in Peninsula as military secretary to Sir John Moore September 1808 to January 1809; Lieutenant-Colonel in 5th Garrison Battalion 2 February 1809; Lieutenant-Colonel in 66th Foot 2 November 1809; commanded a brigade in 2nd Division May 1811; Lieutenant-Colonel in 52nd Foot 18 July 1811; served in Peninsula with 1/52nd December 1811 to April 1812; wounded at Ciudad Rodrigo; commanded 1/52nd in Peninsula September 1813 to April 1814; brevet Colonel 4 June 1814; commanded 1/52nd at Waterloo; ADC to King 1820; subsequently Major-General 27 May 1825; Lieutenant-General 28

June 1838; General June 1854; Lord Seaton and Field Marshal April 1860; died Devon 17 April 1863.

Major Charles Rowan, C.B.

Born Ireland 1782; served in Sicily 1806; served at Copenhagen 1807; served in Peninsula with 1/52nd August 1808 to January 1809; Brigade-Major in Peninsula July 1809 to March 1811; Major in 52nd Foot 9 May 1811; Assistant Adjutant-General to Light Division March 1811 to May 1813, also April 1814; brevet Lieutenant-Colonel 27 April 1812; wounded at Waterloo; recommended by Duke of Wellington to the post of first Senior Commissioner of London Metropolitan Police 1829; devised police beats on the basis of light infantry garrison patrols as used by 52nd Foot at Shorncliffe; died London 8 May 1852.

Major George Thomas Napier, C.B.

Born London 1784, brother of William (43rd Foot, History of the War in the Peninsula) and Charles (50th Foot, later Commander-in-Chief in India); served in Sicily 1806; served in Baltic 1808; served in Peninsula August 1808 to January 1809; ADC to Sir John Moore November 1808 to January 1809; again in Peninsula with 1/52nd Foot July 1809 to April 1812; wounded at Bussaco and Cazal Nova; Major in 52nd Foot 27 June 1811; brevet Lieutenant-Colonel 6 February 1812; commanded Light Division stormers at Ciudad Rodrigo, lost right arm; again in Peninsula with 1/52nd January to February 1814; Captain & Lieutenant-Colonel in 3rd Foot Guards 25 July 1814; subsequently Major-General January 1837; Governor and Commander-in-Chief in South Africa 1839 to 1843; Lieutenant-General 1846; died Geneva 16 September 1855.

Major James Henry Reynett

Born Ireland 1786; served at Ferrol 1800; served in Peninsula with 1/52nd August to November 1808; Deputy Assistant Quartermaster-General November 1808 to January 1809; again in Peninsula with 1/52nd July 1809 to September 1811; Major in 52nd Foot 8 April 1813; Assistant Quartermaster-General in Germany 1813 to 1814; brevet Lieutenant-Colonel 1 June 1814; on half-pay 1820; military secretary to HRH Duke of Cambridge 1820; Inspector of Foreign outpatients at Chelsea Hospital 1820; died 1864.

Major William Mein, C.B.

Born Scotland, brother of Nicholas Mein of 43rd/85th Foot; served at Ferrol 1800; served in Sicily 1806 to 1807; served in Peninsula with 1/52nd August 1808 to January 1809; again in Peninsula with 1/52nd July 1809 to December 1813; wounded at Cazal Nova, Ciudad Rodrigo, Badajoz, Bidassoa and Nive; invalided home November 1813, missed Waterloo due to ill health; served in Army of Occupation 1817 to 1818, retired due to wounds July 1818; died Scotland June 1836.

Major Thomas Trayton Fuller-Eliott-Drake

Born Thomas Fuller in Sussex 1785; served in Baltic 1808; served in Peninsula with 1/52nd August to November 1808; served with 2/52nd December 1808 to January 1809; served at Walcheren with 2/52nd 1809; again in Peninsula with 2/52nd March 1811 to March 1812; with 1/52nd March to December 1812; wounded at San Munos; took additional surnames on inheritance in 1813; on half-pay 1820; 1st Baron Fuller-Drake-Eliott 1821; died Devon 1870.

Sources:

War Office. Army Lists 1796 to 1815. London: various years.

Moorsom, W.S. Historical Record of the Fifty-Second Regiment (Oxfordshire Light Infantry). London: Richard Bentley, 1860.

Chichester, Henry Manners, and Burges-Short, Henry. The Records and Badges of Every Regiment and Corps in the British Army. London: William Clowes & Sons, 1895.

Reid, Stuart. Wellington’s Officers, Volume 1. Leigh-On-Sea: Patrizan Press, 2008.

Reid, Stuart. Wellington’s Officers, Volume 2. Leigh-On-Sea: Patrizan Press, 2009.

Wood, Walter. The Northumberland Fusiliers. London: Grant Richards, 1901.

Westlake, Ray. English & Welsh Infantry Regiments - An Illustrated Record of Service 1662-1994. Staplehurst: Spellmount, 2002.

McKenna, Michael G. The British Army – And Its Regiments and Battalions. West Chester , Ohio: The Nafziger Collection. 2004.

Fletcher, Ian. Wellington’s Regiments. Staplehurst: Spellmount, 1994.

Park, S.J. and Nafziger, G.F. The British Miltary – Its System and Organization 1803-1815. Cambridge, Ontario: Rafm Co. Inc. 1983.

Philippart, John. The Royal Military Calendar, or Army Service and Commission Book. London: A.J. Valpy, 1820.

Hall, John A. A History of the Peninsular War: Volume VIII – The Biographical Dictionary of British Officers Killed and Wounded 1808-1814.  London: Greenhill Books, 1998.

London Gazette Website. May 2010.

The Napoleon Series – Peninsula Roll Call. May 2010.

 

Placed on the Napoleon Series: August 2010

 

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