Issue No 19 Volume Summer 2001 May 2001


The first of the Summer Issued Newsletters.

The intention is that these Newsletters will be made available on the Internet. Previously the Newsletters have been posted to the family when they were included with the Christmas Cards and Christmas Letters. The number of correspondents has increased, the time required to distribute the Newsletter increased and the cost has escalated.

The format has also changed. It is intended to only update the standard subject headings when there has been a significant change.

As in this Newsletter it is hoped to include a major article about one of the family that has been researched in the year.


William Cuffley b 1777 d ####? Soldier of the 52nd Regiment Light Infantry.


WILLIAM CUFFLEY born 1777 in Kingsthorpe, Northamptonshire a cordwainer (shoemaker) was transferred as part of a group of 43 men including a sergeant and two corporals from the Northampton Militia to the 52nd Regiment on the 23 April 1805. In 1805 his company commander was Captain GEORGE NAPIER. He served for 7 years and 336 days before being transferred to the 5th Royal Veterans Battalion on 25 March 1813. His company commander was Captain MURRAY. He was discharged when they were disbanded on the 12 July 1814 after serving 1 year and 4 months.

During his service he was on furlough in 1809 to Kingsthorpe when an order was put on the parish to pay him 30 shillings.

William was 5ft 10" tall had brown hair, hazel eyes and a sallow complexion.

During his service as a private he was paid 5s for 1 week and after his attestation his pay for 31 days service was 1-11s-0d.

While the 52nd Regiment was at Waterloo 18th June 1815 William did not serve for long enough to be part of this battle.





Picture of Officer and Private of the 52nd Regiment, Line Infantry.

(From Charles Hamilton Smith: Costume of the Army of the British Empire according to the last Regulations, 1814).


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Historical background to the 2nd Battalion 52 Regiment of Light Infantry.


WILLIAM CUFFLEY was a soldier in the 2nd Battalion 52nd Regiment of Light Infantry.

He was transferred to the 52nd Regiment on 25th April 1805 from the Militia and served 7years and 336 days before being transferred to 5th Royal Veterans Battalion on 25th March 1813. He was discharged when they were disbanded on the 12 July 1814.



In 1803 both the 43rd and 52nd became Corps of Light Infantry as the 43rd (Monmouthshire) Light Infantry and 52nd (Oxfordshire) Light Infantry. Joined by the 95th Rifles they were formed into the Light Brigade at Shornecliffe, Kent under SIR JOHN MOORE Colonel of the 52nd. Both the 43rd and 52nd were in a successful attack on Copenhagen in 1807.


A 2nd Battalion, 52nd Regiment formed in 1804. They took pant in the 1807 expedition to Copenhagen. In 1808 they went to Portugal and fought at Vimiera. Returning to England in 1809. In 1813 the 52nd took part in Walcheren expedition to Holland going to Belgium in 1813 before going back to England in 1815. Disbanded 1816 according to the regimental history.


Left the badge of the 52nd Regiment.


Right a group of soldiers from 'British Military Uniforms from Contemporary Pictures' by W Y CARMAN published by Spring Books. The soldier of the 43rd Regiment Light Infantry seated on the right of the group is dressed similarly to a soldier of the 52nd would have been except the hat badge would be as shown left.




1808-1814 Peninsula war and Holland campaigns.


In August 1808 both Regiments (43rd & 52nd) landed in PORTUGAL and fought, together with both the 95th and 60th, at VIMIERA.


VIMIERA (Peninsular War) 1808 Sir Arthur Wellesley (later Duke of Wellington) lead 17,000 troops towards the Portuguese capital and 32 miles NW of Lisbon at Vimeira on 21 August they drove back a force of 14,000 French suffering 720 casualties. The French suffered 1800 casualties.

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In January 1809 they both took part in SIR JOHN MOORE'S retreat to CORUNNA and achieved fame, with the 95th, as rearguard to the Army. The battle at CORUNNA (Peninsular War) 1809 was after a 250 mile retreat in the harsh winter conditions and harassed by the enemy. The 14,000 British troops were preparing to embark at Carunna, north Spain, when the French under MARSHAL SOUTE attacked them on The 6th January. The British lost 1000 men including their Commander SIR JOHN MOORE.


In 1809 a Battalion of both Regiments (43rd and 52nd) had been with a disastrous expedition to WALCHEREN, Holland, which, though it had some success on the battlefield, was decimated with fever and withdrawn. This amphibious attack's aim was to destroy the shipyards and ships at Antwerp and ultimately to encourage an uprising in Germany. The leisurely approach of the army commander the Earl of Chatham ensured the initial objective the island of WALCHEREN in the mouth of the Rhine was taken (30 July 1809). When the 40,000 strong army finally withdrew on the 24 Dec 1809 4,000 were dead of malaria and as many again invalided by the disease.


WILLIAM CUFFLEY was on extended furlough in September 1809 so it is fortunate that he was not at Walcheren to suffer malaria but was probably in Portugal with the 52nd.


Returning to PORTUGAL the 43rd, 52nd and 95th accomplished a most remarkable march to TALAVERA, 42 miles in 26 hours in the hottest season of the year. Peninsular War in 1809 Sir Arthur Wellesley invaded Portugal supported by the Spanish army they reached TALAVERA 70 miles SW of Madrid in July 1809. The French under MARSHAL VICTOR attacked on the 28th July with 30,000 men. The Spanish and 16,000 British troops finally threw back the French inflicting 7300 casualties and prisoners. The British lost 6000 casualties. For this battle Wellesley was made Viscount Wellington.


Under SIR ROBERT CRAUFURD a light Division was formed, consisting of the three regiments, with the Chestnut Troop, Royal Horse Artillery, and two Portuguese light infantry regiments, called Cacadores. The 43rd and 52nd distinguished themselves in battles at the crossing of the River COA and at SABUGAL and BUSACO where, during a brilliant charge, two privates of the 52nd captured a French general.


BUSACO (Peninsular War) 1810 Viscount Wellington retired towards Torres Vedras. 120 miles NE of Lisbon at Busaco he deployed 50,000 troops on the ridge close to Coimbra. MARSHAL MASSENA attacked in poor visibility on the 27 July 1810 with 60,000 troops and was repulsed losing 4600 casualties.


At the siege of CIUDAD RODRIGO, the 52nd's storming party, by capturing the Breach, largely caused the fall of the fortress. Viscount Wellington's advance on Madrid was barred by the fortress of Ciudad Rodrigo 100 miles south of the capital. Marshal Marmot commanded a French garrison of 2,000 men. After a 10 day siege the British Successfully stormed the walls on the 19th January 1812 losing 1,300 casualties.


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At the siege of BADAJOZ, when the 52nd stormed the Breach, they lost 39 officers and 769 NCO's and men. BADAJOZ (Peninsular War) 1812 saw Viscount Wellington's forces advancing from Spain was barred by the fortress of Badajoz, which was situated 200 miles SW of Madrid, manned by 5,000 French, German and Spanish troops. On the 5th April the British breached the walls but at a cost of 3500 casualties. The way into Spain was then open.


They fought at NIVELLE and at ORTHES, where the 52nd made a daring attack across a marsh. The war ended in 1814 and this brought the disbandment of the Division with the 43rd and 52nd sailing home.


General Sir John Moore's army crosses the Tagus near Villa Velha, 3 November 1808, on the fatal mission to Spain.


From a watercolour sketch by Reverend William Bradford, Chaplain of Brigade. Published in 'The Peninsular War' by Roger Parkinson, published by Book Club Associates 1973.


























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