Officer 31st and Sergeant Major of The Queen's in Forage
The Queen’s (Second) Royal Regiment and
the 31st (Huntingdonshire) Regiment became involved
in the Chinese War and the Anglo-French Expeditionary Force of
1860. The aim of the allies was to compel the Chinese court at
Peking to observe the trading treaties signed between their governments
at Tientsin in 1858. Lieutenant-General Sir Hope Grant was the
British commander with de Montauban in charge of the French; in
theory, they were supposed to take charge of their force on alternate
of The Queen's.
Both Regiments were in Major-General Mitchell’s 1st Division,
with the 31st (Huntingdonshire) Regiment in Brigadier-General
Staveley’s brigade and The Queen’s (Second) Royal
Regiment of Foot in Sutton’s 2nd Brigade. On 30th July 1860,
Sutton’s Brigade landed at Pei Tang-Ho and so 200 Queensmen
and 200 French soldiers became the first allied troops ashore.
A few days later a reconnaissance force moved towards the Taku
Forts and two Queen’s soldiers were wounded by bullets from
a Chinese jingal (a huge musket crewed by three men). The 31st
were involved in the move towards the emplacement at Tang–Ku
and the preparation of a shelter trench; the Queen’s took
part in the eventual assault. Two of the Regiment’s soldiers
were wounded; 100 Chinese were killed and forty-five guns were
captured. The allied force then went on to capture the remaining
Taku Forts after a break of six days. These second assaults were
led by the 2nd Division.
The Chinese War finished with the allied occupation of Peking
on 13th October 1860 and the Chinese acceptance of the trading
treaties. Afterwards, the Queen’s were transported to England
via Hong Kong, while the 31st went on garrison duty at Tientsin.
Conditions were very unpleasant during this campaign. The Taku
Forts area was surrounded by liquid mud and swampland with deep
water courses intersecting it in all directions. General Grant
stated that “It is simply a matter of the degree of filth
our men must traverse”. For part of the advance, 1st Division
Headquarters was under a foot of water. Standards of uniform,
therefore, varied and there were few distinctions between officers
and men on the ground.