Last updated: 7 July 2014
The 97th Foot was raised at Winchester in 1824 by Major-General Sir James Lyon and named after Prince Frederick, the Army’s commander-in-chief and King George IV’s younger brother. Better known as the Duke of York and Albany, Frederick held the Earldom of Ulster in the Peerage of Ireland.
A year after its formation the regiment was sent to Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). It spent 11 years there and in 1832 men from the regiment played against a civilian team in the first recorded cricket match on the island.
From 1836 to 1841 the regiment alternated between England and Ireland. It was then in the Mediterranean for most of the 1840s, garrisoning Corfu and then Malta. It moved to Nova Scotia for five years in 1848.
By 1854 the regiment was in Greece. The following year it moved to the Crimean War (1854-56), where it was mainly engaged at Sevastopol. It won two Victoria Crosses there and suffered a 59 per cent casualty rate during the assault on the Redan (1855).
It returned to Britain briefly in 1856, but less than a year later was sent out to India following the outbreak of the Indian Mutiny (1857-59), fighting at Lucknow and in several other engagements. It stayed in India for 10 years, followed by five years in Britain and Ireland.
In 1873 the regiment was overseas again, garrisoning Jamaica and then Bermuda. It was posted to Nova Scotia once more in 1877, followed three years later by service in Gibraltar and South Africa.