The 83rd Regiment was raised in Dublin by Colonel William Fitch and soon saw active service in the West Indies. Thereafter they remained in garrison in Jamaica for seven years, losing many casualties from yellow fever. The 83rd had returned to Ireland and raised a 2nd Battalion to meet the expansion of the Army required by the Napoleonic Wars. In 1805 the 1st/83rd landed at Cape Town and swiftly overcame the resistance of the small Dutch force, then remained as garrison of the Cape of Good Hope until 1818.
The 2nd/83rd joined the Peninsular Expeditionary Army in Portugal in 1809. They- had before them five years of stiff campaigning with long marches up and down the length of Spain and Portugal and eventually across the French frontier, gaining twelve battle honours. One of their earliest battles but certainly the bloodiest was "Talavera". The battalion suffered in casualties over half its strength including the Colonel killed and many taken prisoner, not to be released for five years. Sergeant Major Swinburne was commissioned in the field for gallant conduct. He eventually retired as a Lieutenant Colonel some 44 years later, much honoured by The Regiment.
There followed the battle of Busaco in 1810, the storming of the fortresses of Ciudad Rodrigo and Badajoz in 1812 and the engagement at Fuentes d' Onoro (referred to by the soldiers as "Fountains of Horror"). At Badajoz Sergeant Hazlehurst saved the life of Captain Powys, the first man through the breach, by laying about him with his halberd. Hazlehurst served right through the Peninsular campaign being awarded twelve clasps to his Peninsular medal.
"Salamanca", "Vittoria", "Pyrenees", "Nivelles", "Orthez" and finally "Toulouse" were the further honours won by 2nd/83rd. 83rd’s march since their early days had been "Garry Owen".
I rather like it that their regiment song was Garry Owen. Harry Flashman talks about hearing this tune played by a number of infantry and cavalry regiments over the course of his travels, of course including Custer's U.S 7th Cavalry regiment. So it would appear that the use of Garry Owen might be somewhat common. Hmm, I could call it the Garry Owen Regiment.