This Day in History: 1805-12-12

The transport Jenny, carrying Captain Hawker’s company of the 30th Foot (later 1st East Lancashires), is driven ashore by a severe gale at Gravelines on the French coast.  Four officers, 5 sergeants, 93 men, 12 women, 5 children and a new-born baby, struggle ashore without loss, but are taken prisoner. The soldiers are held as prisoners-of-war in France for over 8 years. At least 3 men escape and rejoin the Regiment. One, an Irishman named Daniel McCarthy, accepts a French offer to enlist in a renegade Irish regiment in the French service, in the hope of slipping away at some point. The chance comes in 1811, when he finds himself within reach of British cavalry at Estremadura, and he rejoins the Regiment, which is also in Spain, in March that year. The rest of the prisoners are released at the peace in 1814, and 4 officers and 80 other survivors rejoin the Regiment, most of them going on to fight at Waterloo the following year.