The 1st Buffs have a distinguished history dating back to 1572. They have fought in many a foreign war, and most recently in Egypt and the Sudan in the early to mid-1880s. Immediately prior to this they were stationed in Afghanistan and India.
Commanding the 1st Buffs from India onward was Colonel Nicholas Hollingsworth (Ret.), a gruff, courageous, no-nonsense officer who was called ‘fearless Nick’ by his men. Gregory Shire, Toby Norton and Herbert Crouch were among those who had served with the Buffs since India. An aristocratic young Captain named John Gower was promoted to Major in Egypt, where other new recruits included Orland Reynolds and a young medic named Elliot Sangster.
During the raid on the Abadan Cult in 1884, Shire was laid up with a shoulder injury and young Sangster stayed behind to tend to the wounded. Hollingsworth, Gower, Crouch, Norton and Reynolds were among the raiders. All who took part in the raid were sworn to silence about the treasures discovered, so that when Colonel Hollingsworth sold these goods the shares would be larger. Hollingsworth himself took no money, but kept the scrolls and the mummy.
After Abadan, the 1st Buffs returned to fight the Mahdi, but suffered so many losses they were pulled back. This proved to be fortunate for them, since they avoided becoming part of Gordon’s forces at Khartoum in the following year.
In the ensuing years many members of the regiment retired and returned home. Colonel Hollingsworth returned home to his London estate, where he married and started a family. Gregory Shire set up his tailoring shop. Major Gower inherited his family’s fortune and lived the life of an aristocrat. Elliot Sangster completed his medical studies, and had a London practice. Toby Norton served as a ‘dogsbody’ at the Army & Navy Club, where he lived off the handouts of his former officers. Orland Reynolds was a store clerk and Herbert Crouch retired to his cottage to write his memoirs and grow roses.