Based on extracts from - A short history of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, 1741-1922 for the young soldiers of the Regiment. By R.B. Crosse
South Africa, 1851-2-3.
In 1823 both Regiments again went abroad ; in June the 52nd to North America ; in July the 43rd to Gibraltar, whence the Regiment was sent in 1827to Lisbon, and was in Portugal for several months, returning to England in 1830. Moving in 1832 to Dublin, the 43rd was relieved there in Beggar's Bush Barracks by the 52nd in February, 1833.
The 43rd continued in various stations in Ireland until sailing for North America in 1835. In 1837, during the Canadian Revolt, the Regiment made a journey of 370 miles in eighteen days, in sleighs and with the assistance of boats and canoes, from New Brunswick to Quebec under the most trying conditions.
In 1846 the 43rd came home to Dover and then to Portsmouth, where, in 1847, at a presentation of Colours, the Rev. W. Madden, an old 43rd Peninsular officer, in his address referred to the qualities of a good soldier in words which may well be remembered to-day, as follows :--
" Courage . . . seems to be a part of the very constitution of a British soldier—from the earliest records of our history the British infantry have been distinguished for that calm, serious, determined and persevering courage, which has been able to withstand the most impetuous shock of assailing foes and in its deliberate advance to overwhelm all resistance. But . . . courage, mere animal courage, constitutes but one, and that not the most important quality in the character of a good soldier. Submission to authority, subjection to discipline, order, sobriety, fortitude and patient endurance of privations and sufferings when called to them—these constitute the higher and more essential qualities of a good soldier. ..."
The 43rd, who moved to Newport (Mon.) in June 1847.
In 1848 the 43rd returned to Ireland, and in 1851 embarked at Cork for South Africa, to take part in the Kaffir War. This, however, was more remarkable for its hardships than for fighting. A draft for the Regiment was on board the Birkenhead when wrecked off the Cape of Good Hope in February, 1852. On this memorable occasion the men fell in on deck as if at an ordinary parade, and with noble self-devotion, refused to leave the ship until all the women and children had been taken off in the boats. Of the 700 on board, nearly 500 were drowned, and as a splendid lesson in discipline to his army, the King of Prussia ordered the heroic account of the wreck to be read on parade to each regiment in his service.
From South Africa, at the end of 1853, the 43rd went to India, whither a few months earlier the 52nd, after two years in England, followed by another tour in Ireland, had also proceeded, both Regiments soon to be engaged in the Mutiny.
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