Military Wiki
32nd (Cornwall) Regiment of Foot
Active 1702-1881
Disbanded 1881

 Kingdom of England (1702-1707)  Kingdom of Great Britain (1707–1801)

 United Kingdom (1801-1881)
Branch  British Army
Engagements War of Spanish Succession, Battle of Salamanca, Battle of Quatre Bras, Battle of Waterloo, Lower Canada Rebellion, Siege of Multan, Battle of Gujrat, Siege of Lucknow

Sir John Eardley Inglis of the 32nd by William Gush, Province House (Nova Scotia)

The 32nd Regiment of Foot was an infantry regiment of the British Army.


War of Spanish Succession

The 32nd Foot was first raised in 1702 as a regiment of marines to fight in the War of Spanish Succession. It won its first battle honour in 1705 for the siege and capture of Gibraltar.

Napoleonic Wars

The 32nd landed in Portugal in 1808, and under the soon to be Duke of Wellington, fought in the battles of Roliça and Vimiero. They fought under Moore in the retreat to Corunna, and on returning to England they were part of the Walcheren expedition in the Netherlands where many were struck down with malaria. After being reinforced they returned to Spain, leading the Battle of Salamanca and taking part in all the major conflicts right into France. For the final chapter in Napoleon's history, the 32nd fought at the Battle of Quatre Bras, arriving about 2 pm just in time to help halt the French advance. The Cornish regiment were renowned for their bloodcurdling Death Howl before attacking. Two days later at Battle of Waterloo the 32nd were stationed opposite the French main attacks, stoically standing their ground before attacking Napoleon's assaulting troops. There were 647 men of all ranks at the start of 18 June 1815, and at the end of the day there were only 131 men left standing; they suffered the greatest loss of any regiment on that day.

They Stood, They Fought, They Died, They Won, They Are Remembered

Lower Canada Rebellon

In 1833 Inglis joined the 32nd (Cornwall) Regiment of Foot, in which all his regimental service was passed. In 1837 he saw active service in Canada in the Lower Canada Rebellion, including the actions at St. Denis and St. Eustache.

Second Anglo-Sikh War

During the Second Anglo-Sikh War, in 1848 to 1849 in the Punjab, Inglis was in command at the Siege of Multan and at the Battle of Gujrat.

Indian Mutiny

The regiment famously defended Lucknow from July to November 1857, Victoria Crosses being awarded to William Dowling, Henry George Gore-Browne, Samuel Hill Lawrence, and William Oxenham.

The regiment's commanding officer, Col John E. W. Inglis, served as Brigadier in overall command of the Lucknow Residency during the Siege. He was promoted to General and knighted for his services. The regiment was retitled and equipped as a Light Infantry regiment as a result of its contribution to the defence of the Residency, for which it also won a battle honour.


In 1881 it was merged into the The Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry.

The colours of the 32nd Foot in Monmouth Church are said to have inspired Sir Edward Hamly to pen these inspiring words:[1]

"A moth-eaten rag on a worm-eaten pole,
It does not look likely to stir a man's Sole,
'Tis the deeds that were done 'neath the moth-eaten rag,

When the pole was a staff, and the rag was a flag."


TV and film

In the TV miniseries Poldark (1975–77), based on the Poldark novels of Winston Graham, Ross Poldark is said to have fought in the American Revolution as a member of the 32nd Foot Regiment.



  • Col G Swiney, Historical records of 32 (Cornwall) Light Infantry 1702-1892. London 1893. [1]

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