The 95th (Derbyshire) Regiment of Foot:
The 95th as the 95th Derbyshire Regiment of Foot was the sixth regiment to bear this number in the British Army the previous ones being;
1760 - 1763, 95th Regiment of Foot (Burton's) - Disbanded.
1779 - 1783, 95th Regiment of Foot (Reid's) - Disbanded.
1794 - 1796, 95th Regiment of Foot (Edmeston's) - Disbanded.
1803 - 1812, 95th Regiment of Foot (Coote-Manningham's) 1812 - retitled the 95th Regiment of Foot (Riflemen) (Coote-Manningham's) and in 1816 - the 95th Regiment of Foot (Riflemen) became the Rifle Brigade
1816 - 1818, 96th Regiment of Foot retitled 95th Regiment of Foot (Don's). Disbanded as 95th in 1818.
1823 - 95th (Derbyshire) Regiment of Foot
The young 95th was only completed by the 10th February of the year following, but in April, 1824, it embarked for Malta, at which station its first Colours were presented to it by the Marchioness of Hastings. Here, too, while commanded by Lieut - Colonel A. C. Wylly, C.B., the 95th was accorded, in November, 1825, the title of "the Derbyshire Regiment," and so commenced its connection with that county which has endured. The 95th spent five years at Malta, and that the island was then far from being the health resort of the present day, may be proved by anybody who cares to stroll among those silent grass-grown cemeteries which are to be found in the bastions overlooking the Quarantine Harbour, below Florian, and where on headstones, broken and defaced, may still be traced the names of dead and forgotten "Derbies," officers and men. From Malta to Corfu, from one island to another, went the regiment in December, 1829, and at Corfu they received their second set of Colours, presented to them by General Sir Alexander Woodford, under whom the regiment had served at Malta. While quartered at Corfu the regiment was sent to Cephalonia to quell an insurrection of the Greeks, and was thanked by the High Commissioner of the Ionian Islands "for the exemplary steadiness, patience, and humanity, as well as gallantry, displayed by them during a very arduous and trying service." The 95th returned home in January, 1835, and was stationed at Cork.
The regiment was not, however, permitted to enjoy a long spell of home service - it was not even allowed to march through the county whose name it bore - and in October, 1838, the 95th sailed eastward once more, under the command of old Colonel Jimmy Campbell, who sleeps in Kensal Green Cemetery. The voyage from Cork to Ceylon would seem, even for those days of sailing ships, to have been an inordinately protracted one, for the Ceylon Government Calendar notifies the date of the arrival of the regiment in the colony as 4th March, 1840! In Ceylon, distributed between Colombo, Kandy, and Trincomalee, the 95th remained until 1847, having suffered terribly from cholera in the previous year. From Ceylon the regiment sailed to Hong Kong, where it received the third set of Colours those under which so many officers and men were to fall in the Crimea and in Central India, and where too the 95th suffered greatly from fever, losing 116 men, four women, and four children between June and September, 1848. The losses of the regiment are commemorated on an obelisk erected in the cemetery at the Happy Valley - This memorial was thoroughly cleaned and restored by subscriptions from both battalions of the regiment in 1904. In March, 1850, the 95th, now greatly reduced in strength, sailed for England, and was on arrival quartered at Winchester.
During the quarter of a century that the 95th had been in existence, it had seen nothing of active service, but its turn was now to come, and when early in 1854 an expeditionary force proceeded to Turkey, the young 95th accompanied it, being attached to the 1st Brigade of the famous 2nd Division. While in Turkey the regiment suffered some loss from cholera, and when the army sailed for the Crimea it left one company behind at Scutari and a depot at Varna; consequently at its maiden battle, the Alma, the 95th numbered no more than 29 officers and about 740 of other ranks. Those who would know how the young 95th bore itself in its first battle will find the record in glowing words in the pages of Kinglake.
The regiment - in the centre of its brigade - moved directly upon the burning village of Bourliouk, and because, during the advance, divided into two portions, the one moving straight on, the other taking ground to its left. The river was passed near the bridge, some men being drowned in the crossing, but those who struggled through had but one idea - to get on, and assail the great redoubt frowning upon them from the further bank. Joining the 23rd Fusiliers, the 95th charged up to and into the work, and while the 23rd captured one of the only two guns the Russians had been unable to remove, Captain Heyland and a handful of men of the 95th, took the other - Heyland scratching "95" on the gun carriage with his sword, held in the one hand which the battle had left to him. Owing to the heavy casualties amongst the officers, the Queens Colour was finally carried by Private Keenan - an event traditionally celebrated by the Regiment handing over one of its Colours to the custody of a Private soldier on the anniversary of the Battle of Alma, 20 September where it is Trooped through the ranks of the Regiment in commemoration of Keenan's gallantry and the steadiness of the soldiers, at this, their first battle.
Of the losses of the 95th Regiment at the Alma, Lord Raglan said in his despatch that they were "immense," the regiment losing 62 per cent. Of its officers, and nearly 30 per cent. Of its non-commissioned officers and men. Six officers were killed and 12 wounded, four sergeants and 42 men were killed, 12 sergeants and 156 men were wounded, and 6 were missing - rolled seawards, doubtless, in the troubled water of Alma - wide-eyed, unrecovered corpses.
When the siege of Sebastopol was decided upon, the Second Division took up a position on the extreme right, on the heights of Inkerman, and here it was twice attacked - on the 26th October, and, more heavily, on the 5th November. At the battle of Inkerman, the 95th - weakened by the losses at Alma and on the 26th October, and by the sickness which had been contracted in Turkey and had never left the army - numbered only 10 officers and 433 of other ranks. The regiment was now formed in six companies. There were not enough officers to spare two to carry the Colours, but there was no idea of leaving them in the rear in safety. They were brought on the field, "and were carried that day by two sergeants" - the Queens Colour by Sergeant William McIntyre and the regimental Colour by Sergeant John Gooding. Surely there can be no battle more difficult to describe than Inkerman!
The aim of the British soldiers was to attack, and no sooner did they leave the high ground about their camps to meet their enemy that the men found themselves involved in isolated combats, by small parties, by twos and threes, and even of individuals, fought out to the death in the mist-laden copses below Mount Inkerman. Many fought alongside the Guards near the sandbag battery that was taken and retaken seven times that day. Champion, who led the 95th, was mortally wounded, Major Hulme was shot through the thigh, Macdonald, the adjutant, received nearly twenty wounds by ball or bayonet; and till long past midday the unequal fight went on, until at its close the regiment had suffered casualties to the number of 144, and when the company rolls were first called, barely 80 men answered to their names. Two sergeants and 28 rank and file had been killed; four officers, two sergeants, and 108 of other ranks were wounded. Although the Battalion strength was under 100 as it marched away from Inkerman, it nevertheless continued to serve in the trenches before Sevastopol and the final attack on the fortifications. The saying in the 2nd Division "There may be few of the 95th left, but those are as hard as nails" led to the nickname of "The Nails".
Its numbers reduced by three great losses in action, the survivors weakened by disease, exposure, and privation, the regiment yet continued during that awful winter on the Crimean uplands to do its full share of trench work; and when the campaign ended, the 95th had sustained a loss of 637 killed or dead of wounds and sickness, while 462 had been invalided.
THE INDIAN MUTINY
Returning home in July, 1856, the regiment was again quartered in Ireland, but sailed in June of the year following for the Cape, on arrival at which port it was ordered to India, owing to the outbreak of the Indian Mutiny. For the 16 months following its disembarkation the 95th was constantly on the march in Central India, fighting under Sir Hugh Rose, and suffering equally from the sun and from the enemy. During this campaign the regiment marched 3,000 miles, and was engaged 14 times under four general officers. The men were ready for fighting of all kinds; they served captured guns, and hunted mutineers as mounted infantry perched upon camels.It fought at Awah, Kotah, the Battle of Kotah-ke-Serai, the siege and capture of the great fortresses of Gwalior and Pouree, and the capture of the rebel camp of Koondryee. Private McQuirt won for the Regiment its first VC at Rowa. The casualties sustained bear happily no comparison with the preceding campaign - two officers and two men being killed and four officers and 23 men being wounded, while one officer, one sergeant, and 34 of other ranks died during the campaign; but no doubt the effects of the exposure remained with the regiment, for on one day five officers and 84 men were struck down by the sun.
At the end of thirteen years of foreign service the 95th returned home under command of Colonel Raines in October, 1870, enjoying for once a long spell of home service, not proceeding abroad again until the end of 1881 - this time to Gibraltar. It was during these eleven years that two important events took place; the territorial system was inaugurated by the establishment of a regimental depot (26th Brigade Depot) at Derby; and in June, 1881, the numbers of all regiments were abolished, infantry regiments being linked together in pairs under a territorial title, the 45th and 95th becoming respectively the 1st and 2nd Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters, Derbyshire Regiment.