RAMC

Regiments of the Malta Garrison
The 13th (1st Somersetshire) Regiment

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The 13th (1st Somersetshire) Regiment

Introduction

The 13th Foot was raised in 1685 as Colonel The Earl of Huntingdon's Regiment of Foot during the rebellion of the Earl of Monmouth.

In 1751 it was numbered 13th Foot, to which 1st Somersetshire was added in 1782.

In 1822, The 13th (First Somersetshire) was converted to Light Infantry. The mural crown superscribed Jellalabad and the Royal title Prince Albert's Regiment of Light Infantry were conferred in 1842 in recognition of its service in the defence of Jellalabad during the First Afghan War (1839–1842).

On 1 July 1881, the regiment became The Prince Albert's Light Infantry (Somersetshire Regiment).

In 1920, the title changed to The Somersetshire Light Infantry (Prince Albert's).

In 1959, The Somersetshire Light Infantry merged with The Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry to form the Somerset and Cornwall Light Infantry.

The 13th (1st Somersetshire) Regiment

1802 1st/13th (First Somersetshire) (Ainslie's Regiment)

31 Jan 1802 The Frigates Dido and Niger arrived from Egypt with the 13th and 2nd/54th Regiments. The men suffered from dysentery and ophthalmia.

1 Mar Strength: 45 Commissioned and Warrant Officers, 65 NCOs, 527 rank and file fit for duty, 83 rank and file sick, 722 total officers and men, 912 establishment.

1 May Strength: 36 Commissioned and Warrant Officers, 56 NCOs, 542 rank and file fit for duty, 68 rank and file sick, 702 total officers and men, 842 establishment.

20 May Sgt Mathew Kelly, Pte Mathew O'Neil, Pte John O'Hara, Pte Patrick Langan, and Pte Cornelius O'Neil were tried by General Court Martial for the assault and rape of Grazia Pace from Floriana.1

1 Aug Strength: 26 Commissioned and Warrant Officers, 56 NCOs, 554 rank and file fit for duty, 63 rank and file sick, 709 total officers and men, 842 establishment.

A General Court Martial was held on a subaltern officer of the 27th Regiment in consequence of a dispute between himself and an officer of the 13th Regiment.

1 Nov 1802 Strength: 25 Commissioned and Warrant Officers, 56 NCOs, 539 rank and file fit for duty, 73 rank and file sick, 705 total officers and men, 843 establishment.

1803 1st/13th (First Somersetshire)

Jan 1803 The regiment was located at Barracks.

27 Feb General William Anne Villettes, commanding the Malta garrison, took measures to hasten the departure of the 13th Foot to Gibraltar.

3 Mar 1803 The 13th Foot left for Gibraltar. It was replaced by The 61st (South Gloucestershire) Regiment.

The 13th (1st Somersetshire) Light Infantry

1855 13th (1st Somersetshire) Light Infantry)

18 June 1855 Burial of Pte Charles Nunn 13th Light Infantry aged 19 years.

The 1st/13th (1st Somersetshire) (Prince Albert's Light Infantry)

1872 13th (1st Somersetshire) (Prince Albert's Light Infantry)

17 Feb 1872 The 1st/13th Regiment embarked at Gibraltar and disembarked in Malta on 22 February. It occupied Floriana Barracks.

In 1872, the 1st/13th had an average strength of 573 men. It had 562 admissions (981/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 6 deaths (10.47/1000 mean strength).

Its average strength from 30 June to 30 September was 671 men. During this third quarter of the year when fevers were prevalent, the regiment had 137 cases of simple continued fever, 38 cases of febricula and 6 of enteric fever with 4 deaths.2

Enteric fever broke out among the 13th Regiment at Floriana Barracks. The rooms in the barracks had an offensive stench in the morning with a faecal smell being perceptible in the rooms on the south-east side. Poor drainage of the Civil Hospital which overlooked the barracks on that side was blamed for much of the fever.

From June to October, two-thirds of the men slept in tents in the parade ground and no one was allowed to sleep for two consecutive nights in the barracks.

Nearly half the admissions for phthisis during the year were in the 1st/13th Regiment, stationed at Floriana Barracks, but only one man of that regiment died from the disease.

1873 1st/13th (1st Somersetshire) (Prince Albert's Light Infantry)

In 1873, the 1st/13th had an average strength of 658 men. It had 600 admissions (911.8/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 4 deaths (6.08/1000 mean strength). The men occupied Floriana Barracks.

1874 1st/13th (1st Somersetshire) (Prince Albert's Light Infantry)

The 1st/13th Regiment had an average strength of 588 men. It had 613 admissions (1042.5/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 3 deaths (5.10 deaths/1000 mean strength). It had 18 invalids returned to England. The 1st/13th Regiment had 289 admissions/1000 mean strength for continued fevers. The men were at Isola Gate Barracks.

3 Dec 1874 The 1st/13th Foot embarked for the Cape of Good Hope where it arrived on 7 January 1875. It was relieved in Malta by the 42nd Royal Highland (The Black Watch).

The 2nd/The Prince Albert's (Somersetshire Light Infantry)

1877 2nd/13th (1st Somersetshire) (Prince Albert's Light Infantry)

27 July 1877 The 2nd/13th left Aldershot on 27 July 1877 and embarked at Portsmouth. It disembarked at Malta on 6 August 1877.

The 2nd/13th Foot had an average strength of 345 men. It had 384 admissions (1113/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 3 deaths (8.72/1000 mean strength). It had 1 invalid returned to England. Its average daily sick was 18.67 (54.11/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 19.75 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 17.73 days.

In Aug 1877, the sudden arrival of the 2nd/2nd, and the 2nd/13th Regiments forced the Government to reoccupy of the Old Lazaretto Barracks and other buildings not hitherto in use. After the embarkation of the 2nd/2nd for India, the old Lazaretto Barracks on Manoel Island, which was unfit for habitation, was handed back to the Civil Government.

10 Nov 1877 Pte R. H. 2nd/13th Regiment, aged 20 years, had served at Malta for seven months when in Nov 1877, he complained of an acute inflammation of his right ankle joint. Pte R. H. was invalided to the Royal Victoria Hospital Netley where he arrived on 3 Mar 1878. He had pain and suppuration over the lower fibula which required his ankle joint to be excised under ether anaesthesia on 12 May 1878.3

1878 2nd/13th (1st Somersetshire) (Prince Albert's LI)

The 2nd/13th Foot had an average strength of 108 men. It had 98 admissions (907.4/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 1 death (9.26 deaths/1000 mean strength). 10 invalids were returned to England. Its average constantly sick was 7.13 (66.02/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 24.10 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 26.16 days.

21 Feb 1878 The 2nd/13th Regiment left for Bombay where it arrived on 14 March 1878.

The 2nd/The Prince Albert's (Somersetshire Light Infantry)

1908 2nd/Prince Albert's (Somersetshire Light Infantry)

12 Nov 1908 The 2nd/Somersetshire Light Infantry embarked on the Rohilla at Plymouth on 5 November and disembarked in Malta on 12 November.

1909 2nd/Prince Albert's (Somersetshire Light Infantry)

1910 2nd/Prince Albert's (Somersetshire Light Infantry)

18 July 1910 Arthur Ford son of Sgt and Mrs R Ford died 18 July 1910 at Ghajn Tuffieha aged 6 mths.

1911 2nd/Prince Albert's (Somersetshire Light Infantry)

12 July 1911 Connie May Woodman died aged 8 mths and was buried at Pembroke Military Cemetery St Andrews.

17 Sep The 2nd/Somersetshire Light Infantry embarked on the Somali for Ching Wang Tao, China where it arrived on 23/25 October 1911.

The 2nd/The Prince Albert's (Somersetshire Light Infantry)

1956 2nd/Prince Albert's (Somersetshire Light Infantry)

16 Aug 1956 The 2nd Battalion enplaned for Malta. It moved in a summer camp at Ghadira Bay Mellieha in preparation for Egypt.

During the Suez Crises only the anti-tank platoon deployed, while the rest of the regiment remained in Malta.

11 Nov The 2nd Battalion embarked for Cyprus on HMS Ocean in a peace keeping role.

Bibliography