57th (West Middlesex) Regiment of Foot

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Known as ‘The Die-Hards’, the 57th (West Middlesex) Regiment were stationed in Bombay and travelled from Madras in 1860 for their service in Aotearoa New Zealand. Commencing in January 1861, the 57th spent almost all of their service in Taranaki, forming the West Coast garrison after fighting at Te Arei. They fought at Katikara and Poutoko during the second round of Taranaki wars. The final battle in which they fought took place at Otapawa in January 1866, during which they suffered the death of their commanding officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Hassard.

General Trevor Chute led an attack at Otapawa on January 14th 1866, in which they fought 200 defenders from Tangahoe, Pakakohi and Ngāti Ruanui. Artillery bombardment preceded the charge of the 57th and 14th regiment soldiers, who received a heavy response but managed to penetrate the defense palisades and enter Otapawa pa. Before their escape from the rear of the pa, the defenders suffered approximately 30 dead and 30 wounded. The British forces lost 11 soldiers and another 10 wounded.

Although ‘The Die-Hards’ embarked for England in April 1867, many of the regiments officers took their discharge in New Zealand. Between 1862 and 1867 over 300 officers settled here.

External Sources:

Hughes, Hugh, and Lynn Hughes. Discharged in New Zealand: Soldiers of the Imperial Foot Regiments Who Took Their Discharge in New Zealand 1840 - 1870. Auckland, N.Z.: New Zealand Society of Genealogists Inc, 1988.

Ryan, Tim., and Parham, W. T., The Colonial New Zealand Wars ( Rev. ed.), Wellington, N.Z.: Grantham House, 2002.

Prickett, Nigel. Landscapes of Conflict: A Field Guide to the New Zealand Wars / by Nigel Prickett. Auckland, N.Z.: Random House New Zealand, 2002.


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