Robert EDWARDS [c.1860-1885] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Robert EDWARDS [c.1860-1885]

c.1860-01-01 (Year is approximate)
Cause of death: 


"A PRIVATE in the Buffs named Edwards died very suddenly at Kowloon on Monday night, the cause of death apparently being choleraic diarrhoea. The body of deceased was buried yesterday on the rifle range at Kowloon. We understand another private died on this side to-day, from the same cause."  

Source: The China Mail, page 2, 8th July 1885


"On Tuesday a private of the Buffs, named Edwards, in the camp on the Rifle Range at Kowloon, died an hour or two after being seized by an attack of choleraic diarrhoea in his tent. The deceased was buried on the hillside without delay. There have been a number of deaths from that cause in the regiment of late, and in consequence camping out has been considerably resorted to." 

Source: Hong Kong Daily Press, page 2, 9th July 1885  


Buried: Section 31, Row 5, Number 16, The Hong Kong Cemetery , Happy Valley, Hong Kong. Another view of the granite obelisk     

Source: Courtesy of Patricia Lim Forgotten Souls: A Social History of the Hong Kong Cemetery

31---/05/16- In memory of / Private R Edwards / 2nd batt. The Buffs / East Kent Regt. / who died at Kowloon / 7th July 1885 / and was interred in this spot / aged 25 years / erected by his comrades / of / E Company

Source: Courtesy of Patricia Lim Forgotten Souls: A Social History of the Hong Kong Cemetery

Seems like his body was eventually exhumed by his comrades from the hills of Kowloon at the Rifle Range and re-buried in the Hong Kong Cemetery


His first name has been identified as 'Robert'.

Source: GRO Army Death Indices (1881 to 1955), British Armed Forces and Overseas Deaths and Burials; Robert Edwards; Death year: 1885; Country: China; Place: Hong Kong; Page 981; Line Number 139


A little backstory....the 2nd Battalion East Kent Regiment ("The Buffs") recently arrived in Hong Kong from Malta to relieve the 1st Battalion of the same regiment:

"ORDERS have been issued from the Quartermaster-General's Office, Horse Guards, directing the 2nd Battalion East Kent Regiment, now stationed at Malta, to proceed to Hong Kong and relieve the 1st battalion of the same regiment, which will return to England. The 2nd Battalion East Kent Regiment (the Buffs), Colonel S. Graves command, has been on foreign service since 1876."

Source: Portsmouth Evening News, page 3, 20th August 1885  

Found this...

"WE are glad to hear that the detachments from the 'Buffs' and the Lancashire Battery of Royal Artillery, which have been for the last week or two quartered over at Kowloon, under canvas, were transferred during yesterday afternoon and this morning to Stanley, where part of the men have been quartered in the Military Bungalow there, the rest going into camp under canvas. The Police who was recently quartered in the military bungalow there, removed into the newly-repaired Police Station at Stanley yesterday morning. It is to be hoped that Stanley will prove to be more conducive to the health of the men than the camp on the ranges at Kowloon has done."

Source: The China Mail, page 2, 17th July 1885   

It would seem the newspapers of the day got their Battalions of the Buffs mixed up (see my earlier posting). The following correspondence of a father of an officer was none too pleased with the announcement of the re-deployment of the 1st Battalion to "wretched" Hong Kong. Cross-referencing the regimental history, the 1st Bat. was in Malta from 1885 and the 2nd was in Hong Kong since 1882.



SIR, - The papers this day notify to the public that the 1st Battalion of the Buffs - by the new-fangled nomenclature, the East Kent Regiment - is about to be sent to Hong Kong, to replace the 2d Battalion, ordered home, and I submit that this is most unfair and cruel to the regiment. The 2d Battalion has already been nearly four years in Hong Kong, two years being the usual time on account of the great unhealthiness of the station, and now the other battalion is to go there, which means that officers who, on promotion, have been transferred (not exchanged) from one battalion to the other will find themselves again relegated to this wretched place after a respite of a few months, it may be of a few weeks. Surely this is not the way to make the service popular, and I should think it more than probable that there will be a wholescale scuttling from the regiment in order to escape a second period of existence in such a desirable (?) climate. Might I suggest the advisability of changing the territorial title of the Buffs from the "East Kent" to the "Hong Kong Regiment?" - Your obedient servent, 


Source: Morning Post, page 5, 27th August 1885


"The 2nd Battalion of the East Kent Regiment - The Buffs - is expected to embark at Hong Kong, for return to England, on the 10th or 15th October next."

Source: Whitstable Times and Hearne Bay Herald, page 4, 12th September 1885