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Excerpt from "The Army in Australia 1840 - 1850"     Chap. "The Argonauts

Information Supplied by Ron Ball
Back To 28th Foot TheNorth Gloucestershire Regiment.
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QUOTE     The 28th had a fine regimental pride.In March 1815 they had been overtaken by a fast frigate  on their way to America and had been returned to Ostend.  At Waterloo  ' the regiment till the close of day withstood the almost incessant attacks of the curassiers (sic) '    In its march  ' from the Grand Place of Brussels until it reached the scene of action at Quatre Bras, a distance of (32km), through the forest of Soignes, and nearly up to their middles in mud, owing to a fortnight's wet weather, which made the roads deep and heavy, it did not leave a single straggler on the way, but marched all into the field together.'   It appeared they were now due to take their departure for the "Field of Battle" on the memorable 16th June 1842.     Two days prior to the departure  the officers   attended the Victoria Theatre where Me Simmons spoke a "very poor composition" as a farewell address  to   a full house.     Moreover, notwithstanding the great strength of the regiment, and the great number of young men in it,there were only six prisoners taken on board so that Sir Marice's  ' entire approbation of their uniform good conduct during their long residence of nearly seven years  was well deserved, in spite of cases such as ex-sergeant Underwood who was sentenced to 16 months hard labour and 8 months solitary confinement  by a General Court Martial for desertion.    Underwood had missed  the embarkation of the main body ' through his connection with some worthless female', and also that of the rear details ' when he again fell under the influence of the Siren who was then in gaol '    
There was great difficult in getting shipping for the 28th - tenders were high,7 pound and 8 pound being asked, ' but the authorities positively declining '  to pay more than 4 pound a head. Eventually the Kelso, Arab, and the John Brewer  were chartered  and of these the Kelso had been severely damaged  in the West India Docks the previous Sept when her forepart had been nearly burnt out.
    " Proceeding by the inner passage, the convoy did not take the usual precautions of anchoring each evening, but continued running through the night.  All ships,  including the Hopkinson  which had joined the convoy on June 29, ran aground almost simultaenously  about daybreak the following day,almost due east of Ingham.  After strenuous efforts the Kelso, John Brewer and Hopkinson, all held by the bows, escaped by 'having the assistance of a large number of strong fellows (soldiers) to work on the ropes and cables '  but another two days were required to free the Arab which had broadsided.   
After checking damage at Palm Island the convoy proceeded, picking up the survivors from the wrecked Martha Ridgway and sighting the topmasts of the Two Sisters, which had gone down in three and a half minutes off Wednesday Island.  Before the voyage ended one ship had been stranded at Timor ' owing to the drunkenness of our captain'.    
It seemed incredible to "A Slasher"   (the writer) that while the English Press was teeming with  'the numerous and melancholy calamities which had lately befallen Indian cotton and merchant ships that not a single notice (that we have ever seen) has ever appeared on the subject of the shipwreck 'in any paper, although........a full account was forwarded to one of your leading journals in London '  particularly when it was one 'of the most wonderful instances of escape on record '    
The Slasher's Reef (named after the 28th's nickname) together with the Arab, John Brewer and Hopkinson reefs separating Magnetic and Palm  passages,  accordingly came into existence as a fitting memorial to the incident.      'A Slasher' would doubtless have been even more upset if he ever knew that these names disappeared from the Admiralty Charts in 1889, and were not re-instated in official favour until 1927, as a result of an article in the "Journal of Army Historical Research"    
Where the sea had failed, cholera and fever were to succeed after arrival in India. In ten days the commander and 119 others had died,and the regiment could only muster 320 on parade.   After eight months 385 troops were dead as well as 'great numbers of womwn and children'   To make matters worse,Kurrachee (Karachi) was ' a wretched place,without society'; we have had one  garrison ball, but there were at least six gentlemen  present to every lady, and those ladies who favoured us with their company were (with few exceptions) married elderly matrons, since very few officers bring their wives here, after the affair at Cabul.     The hope of sharing in A$2M prize money was poor consolation indeed                      Unquote.