Friday, November 30, 2012

Regiments garrisoned at Fort Napier Natal 1843-1914

In August 1843 two companies of the 45th Regiment, 1st Nottingham (Sherwood Foresters), with fifteen engineers and several artillery men marched the 52 miles from Durban to Pietermaritzburg in four days. On arrival they occupied a hill overlooking the town and this site was chosen for the construction of a fort to be named Fort Napier in honour of Sir George Napier, Military Governor and Governor of the Cape.

The officer in charge of the garrison was Major Thomas Charlton Smith who had, with his troops, been besieged at Durban in 1842. In 1843 a military cemetery was laid out: some graves date from 1846. Imperial troops occupied Fort Napier from 1843 to 1914, among them some famous regiments.

1843-59 45th Reg. (1st Sherwood Foresters)
1859-61 85th Reg. (2nd King’s Shropshire Light Infantry)
1861-62 59th Reg. (2nd East Lancashire)
1863-64 2/5th Reg. (2nd Northumberland Fusiliers)
1864-65 2/11th Reg. (2nd Devonshire)
1865-67 99th Reg. (2nd Wiltshire)
1870-71 32nd Reg. (1st Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry)
1871-75 75th Reg. (1st Gordon Highlanders)
1875-77 1/13th Reg. (1st Somerset Light Infantry)
1877-78 80th Reg. (2nd Staffordshire)
1877-78 2/3rd Reg. (2nd Buffs)
1878 1/24th Reg. (1st South Wales Borderers)
1878 2/24th Reg. (2nd South Wales Borderers)
1879-90 3/60th Reg. (King’s Royal Rifle Corps)
1880-84 58th Reg. (2nd Northamptonshire)
1881-86 Inniskilling Dragoons
1881-86 41st Reg. (1st Welsh)
1883-85 91st Reg. (1st Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders)
1884-87 82nd Reg. (2nd South Lancashire)
1886-88 27th Reg. (Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers)
1884-93 4th Mountain Battery
1884-93 1st Reg. (1st Royal Scots)
1887-90 64th Reg. (1st North Staffordshire)
1890-92 11th Hussars
1891-94 84th Reg. (2nd York and Lancaster)
1892-95 3rd Dragoon Guards
1893-98 10th Mountain Battery
1894-98 76th Reg. (2nd West Riding)
1895-98 7th Hussars
1896-97 9th Lancers
1897-99 1/3rd Reg. (2nd Royal Dublin Fusiliers)
1898-99 5th Royal Irish Lancers
1899-1902  Anglo Boer War
1902-03 2/4th Reg. (2nd King’s Own Royal Lancaster)
1902-03 2/14th Reg. (2nd West Yorkshire)
1904-08 1st Royal Garrison Regiment
1906 2/79th Reg. (2nd Cameron Highlanders)
1907-07 6th Reg. (3rd Royal Warwickshire)
1907-09 9th Reg. (2nd Norfolk)
1908-09 7th Reg. (3rd Royal Fusiliers)
1909-13 62nd Reg. (1st Wiltshire)
1913-14 38th Reg. (1st South Staffordshire)

Additional information provided by Peter Bathe:

Mole states::
At Fort Napier, 1865-67 99th Regiment                  
                         1870-71 32nd Regiment (1st Duke of Cornwall’s LI)

If it is evidence you need to fill the gap at Fort Napier, I offer this:
21 September 1868: George William Bathe (GWB) enlisted as private No 1711 in 2nd Battalion, 20th Regiment (East Devonshire) at Pietermaritzburg, Natal.

3 March 1869: letter from GWB 2nd/20th Regt, Fort Napier

21 Nov 1869: letter from GWB  2nd/20th Regt, Fort Napier

2 Aug 1870: letter from Edgell in Natal “I saw Bathe a month since. He has gone with the Regt to the Mauritius.”

21 April 1871: letter from Edgell in Natal “I have heard from Bathe at the Cape.”

12 May 1871: letter from GWB, King William’s Town, Cape Colony

22 February 1872: visited the School at Redhill, Surrey, England: 1711 2nd Batt 20th Regiment

22 April 1872: letter from GWB, 2nd/20th Regt, Buttevant, Co Cork, Ireland.

For more on George William Bathe in the context of Redhill Farm School Surrey see
and other links - enter redhill in the search facility on this blog to access earlier posts


Grant Buchanan said...

Hi, how do i find out more about the 75th regiment stationed at Fort Napier? My great great grandfather was there until 1875 and stayed on in PMB as a policeman (All from his kids Baptism records). I want to see the 75th movements to see when he came to SA. Can you direct me?

Jeff Spencer said...

Not shown in listed regiments above: On 16th December 1897, 1st Battalian Leicestershire Regiment, disembarked at Durban and proceeded to Marizburg, wher it was encamped. The battalian HQ stayed there until 18th March 1899 when they proceeded by train to Mooi River to encamp pending their move to Ladysmith. Between times they effected comany manouvers to Eishowe, Zululand in June '88 (including mounted infantry with Argentinian ponies shipped in the previous year) and with half the battalian in the week commencing 15th August force marching with full kit to Ladysmith, returning by train on 3rd September '88. So some serious training for the war ahead! [Source: A History of the Services of the 17th (Leicestershire) Regiment, Lt.Col. E.A.H. Webb.]