The 67th moves to India, 1805
In April 1805 the 67th was selected for service in India, where several regiments were overdue relief. It remained on the sub-continent until 1826. To bring it up to establishment (64 sergeants, 22 drummers and 1,200 rank and file, with an extra subaltern per company), more than 300 men were transferred from the 2nd Battalion which had replaced it in Guernsey. The journey to Madras took nearly five months. The battalion remained there for three months before moving to Calcutta where it was quartered at Fort William.
In the years before the battalion’s arrival wars had swept over India, but the 67th arrived just too late to see action in these. In fact the battalion’s first nine years in India saw no military operations, even those conducted against the French and Dutch possessions in Mauritius and Java.
After two years at Fort William, the battalion moved in December 1807 to Dinapore in Behar, some 300 miles – and a two-month march – up the Ganges. In March 1810 it moved to Ghazipore, 40 miles below Benares, where it remained for three years before moving once more to Cawnpore. The battalion remained here nearly two years. In October 1815 a few weeks’ march carried the battalion north west to Meerut where it was still stationed when, in October 1817, it was ordered into the field against the Mahrattas.
The years brought many changes. Few officers who had landed with the battalion in 1805 were still present in 1817. Deaths among other ranks were numerous, especially at first before the immature recruits had become seasoned. From mid-1809 the battalion returns show a large number of men ‘sent home sick’, mostly for discharge. Thus, overall strength declined steadily, especially after the 2nd Battalion’s departure overseas had reduced its capacity as a draft finder. In December 1810 rank and file fit for duty were down to 858.