Apr 1821 The 1st/18th arrived from England. Ophthalmia was rife in the regiment. The PMO, Inspector of Hospitals John Hennen, attributed it partly to the stormy and tempestuous passage which two of the transports had encountered, during which six cases of ophthalmia broke out.
Hennen admitted them to the ophthalmia hospital in Valletta rather than to their regimental hospital in Floriana. He thought that Floriana Barracks, which had been occupied by the regiment, was too exposed to the sun. In addition, he feared that the sick would not improve as they would be exposed to arduous duty and fall prey to drunkenness and intemperance which prevailed after the fatigues of the voyage from the readily availability of cheap wine and spirits.
Hennen reported that the 18th Foot had among them:
some very fine materials, but they have also some extremely objectionable. They have brought from Ireland between one hundred and two hundred men, who as far as their health was concerned were utterly unfit for this country and were in truth a burden to the service, labouring under the effects of repeated attacks of fever and hepatic diseases contracted in the West Indies, and also from pulmonary afflictions. Several of them have been discharged from the service since their arrival in Malta, but a sufficient number still remain to make it an object of considerable interest to the medical officers to get rid of them.
23 Oct 1821 Pte John Scott, 32 years. was admitted to the Ophthalmia Hospital in the General Hospital Valletta with impaired vision. He had had sore eyes twice in the West Indies and once in England.
The following were baptised in 1821:
27 AprElijah Johnston son of Cpl John Thomas Johnston and Michelina, born on 17 April.
20 MaySarah McLaughlin daughter of Sgt James McLaughlin and Elizabeth, born on 20 April.
20 MayJames Wethers son of Pte James Wethers and Nancy, born on 19 April.
27 MayJohn Mathews son of Acting Cpl Richard Mathews and Mary, born on 8 April.
10 JuneJohn Logan son of Pte John Logan and Jane, born on 26 May.
1 JulyElizabeth Morrow daughter of Pte James Morrow and Mary Anne, born on 17 June.
29 JulyMaria Dowling daughter of Pte Archibald Dowling and Mary, born on 27 March.
2 SepEllen McCartney daughter of Pte James McCartney and Elizabeth, born on 26 August.
30 SepAnna Matilda Quinland daughter of Pte John Quinland and Mary, born on 16 September.
1 OctEllen Karr daughter of Pte James Karr and Mary, born on 16 September.
21 OctJames Ferguson son of Sgt John Ferguson and Anne, born on 16 July.
21 OctEliza Jamason daughter of Pte Thomas Jamason and Susan, born on 16 October.
28 OctWilliam Ross son of Cpl Thomas Ross and Mary, born on 16 September.
9 DecSara Kay daughter of Pte William Kay and Christiana, born on 29 November.
16 DecCatharine Thompson daughter of Sgt Lewis Thompson and Eleanor, born on 11 June.
23 DecMoses Home son of Sgt James Home and Margaret, born on 26 November.
1822 The average strength of the 1st/18th was 642 men. It had its HQ at Cospicua (Bormla), with a detachment of 52 men at Gozo. The regimental hospital was at Fort Ricasoli.
There were no regimental deaths during the winter quarter (21 Dec 1821 to 20 Mar 1822). During this quarter the prevailing diseases were Simple Continued Fever, pneumonia, and bowel disorders. A number of soldiers fell ill with pneumonia, following exposure to the cold and rain while on guard duty.
There were 32 cases of Continued or Summer fever, (Phlebotomus fever), with one death during the Spring Quarter (21 March to 20 June 1822), which the PMO John Hennen, attributed to an increased atmospheric temperature operating upon the bodies of those who are exposed to the unmitigated rays of the sun, the effects of which, especially on new comers, are in many instances rendered more violent, by the previous exhaustion from fatigue and intemperance.1 The fever usually subsided on the second or third day, while convalescence was established by the end of the third or the beginning of the fourth day. The garrison had a total of 85 admissions during this quarter. There were 92 cases of simple continued fever between 21 June to 20 Sep 1822 (summer quarter), with no deaths. Overall, during 1822, the 18th had a total of 182 admissions for fever with one death.
Ten invalids who had arrived in January 1822 from the Ionian Islands and who were too ill to proceed to England during the winter quarter were admitted to the regimental hospital of the 18th Foot with bowel complaints.
There were a few cases of fever, dysentery, diarrhoea and pneumonia admitted into the regimental hospital during the Autumn Quarter (21 Sep to 20 Dec 1822), when the weather turned cold. Disease was blamed on the change of weather and to intoxication. There was one death from liver disease originally contracted in Jamaica where the soldier had served for 12 years. He was presented with jaundice and died six days after his admission.
Two men with ophthalmia, one from the 18th Foot, the other from the 90th Regiment were transferred from the Ophthalmia Ward in the Military Hospital Valletta to the Regimental Hospital of the 18th Regiment at Fort Ricasoli for the benefit of a change of air. Staff Surgeon James Dillon Tully said that the patient had an opaque cornea of his left eye before he left for England, and his health had been a good deal impaired by a long confinement in hospital.
Sgt J Cameran aged 50 years, a confirmed drunkard, died on the 12th day of continued fever.
James Cooke aged 27 years, died of pneumonia 18 days after his admission to the hospital.
Benjamin Fitzgerard aged 25 years, died of phthisis 106 days after his admission to the hospital.
Felix Strain aged 40 years, died of icterus 6 days after his admission to the hospital. He was extremely debilitated and sunk rapidly.
Felix McGans aged 29 years, died of tetanus 17 days following a fracture.
The following were baptised in 1822:
17 FebWilliam Armstrong son of Pte James Armstrong and Honorah, born on 9 February.
10 MarCatherine Wilson daughter of Sgt Andrew Wilson and Susannah, born on 26 February.
6 AprElizabeth Norton daughter of Pte Richard Norton and Mary, born on 21 March.
14 AprSarah Anne Crosier daughter of Pte Patrick Crosier and Eliza, born on 6 April.
16 AprSamuel Smyth son of Lt Col in the Army and Major in the 18th Royal Irish Regiment Robert Smyth and Catharine Clarke, born on 20 November 1821.
16 AprFrancis George Blakeney son of Pte Robert Blakeney and Anne, born on 20 December 1821.
12 MayJane Crawford daughter of Cpl George Crawford and Martha, born on 20 January.
16 JuneJane Harrow daughter of Pte Jane Harrow and Mary, born on 11 June.
30 JuneThomas McGill son of Cpl Matthew McGill and Mary, born on 20 June.
14 JulyEliza Jane Stewart daughter of Pte John Stewart and Elizabeth, born on 10 July.
4 SepJames McMurray son of Pte Thomas McMurray and Jane, born on 1 September.
15 SepDavid Doak son of Pte Samuel Doak and Margaret, born on 8 September.
29 SepMargaret McCartney daughter of Pte James McCartney and Elizabeth, born on 16 September.
29 SepWilliam Dodds son of Pte William Dodds and Catharine, born on 9 September.
29 DecSusannah McKelly daughter of Sgt Joseph McKelly and Elizabeth, born on 21 December.
29 DecJames McGill son of Pte James McGill and Anne, born on 25 December.
1823 The average strength was 593 men with an average daily sick of 31. The ratio of sick to well was 1:18. The prevailing diseases were: continued fever, pulmonary and bowel disorders, and venereal complaints. The 18th Regiment had many young men who suffered repeatedly from affections of the lungs had 68 sick with pneumonia during the year. In 1823, the regiment moved from Valletta to Floriana replacing 80th Foot.
The following were married in 1823:
12 Feb Widower Sgt Robert Shannon to Amelia Simons, a spinster of Swansea in the County of Glamorgan South Wales.
8 Sep Bachelor Acting Cpl Robert Currens to Elizabeth Proctor, spinster daughter of Cpl Proctor 18th Regiment, deceased.
15 Sep Bachelor Pte George Peel to Mary Quinland, spinster daughter of Pte John Quinland 18th Regiment.
The following were baptised in 1823:
12 JanRichard Cready son of Cpl William Cready and Anne, born on 2 January.
9 FebJoseph McNeal son of Acting Cpl John McNeal and Ellen, born on 9 December 1822.
12 FebEleanor Bowles daughter of Sgt James Bowles and Maria, born on 3 February.
16 FebJane McConkey daughter of Sgt Robert McConkey and Martha, born on 13 February.
23 FebSamuel Procter son of Pte Samuel Procter and Elizabeth, born on 18 February.
27 FebAnne Doran daughter of Captain John Doran and Georgiana, born on 21 January.
29 MarMary Ross daughter of Sgt Thomas Ross and Mary, born on 4 March.
6 AprPriscilla Weathers daughter of Pte James Weathers and Anne, born on 21 March.
27 AprElizabeth Stewart daughter of Cpl Andrew Stewart and Catharine, born on 16 April.
4 MayMargaret Morrow daughter of Pte James Morrow and Mary Anne, born on 26 April.
17 MayJames Parker Percival son of Brigade Major and Captain Robert Percival 18th Regiment and Antoinette, born on 30 March.
18 MayElizabeth Solay daughter of Pte James Solay and Judith, born on 11 May 1823 and publicly received into the church on 25 May.
1 JuneJohn Kirkpatrick son of Pte William Kirkpatrick and Sarah, born on 26 May.
10 JuneRebecca Stewart daughter of Pte Henry Stewart and Margaret, born on 9 June 1823 was privately baptised on 10 June and publicly admitted into the church on 15 June.
30 JulyDonald McQueen son of Pte Donald McQueen and Cecilia, born on 24 July 1823, privately baptised and publicly admitted into the church on 3 August.
24 AugElizabeth Dowling daughter of Pte Archibald Dowling and Mary, born on 7 August.
14 SepEmma Miller daughter of Sgt William Miller and Elizabeth, born on 9 September.
5 OctJohn East son of Pte Henry East and Mary, born on 18 September.
14 OctCatharine Edminston daughter of Cpl James Edminston and Bridget, born on 12 October.
16 NovElizabeth Plunket daughter of Pte James Plunket and Margaret, born on 12 November 1823, privately baptised and publicly received into the church on 30 November.
21 DecWilliam John McCartney son of Pte James McCartney and Elizabeth, born on 14 December.
28 DecRichard Crawford son of Pte George Crawford and Martha, born on 19 December.
The following died in 1823:
15 Apr Pte George Morris Grenadier Coy 18th Royal Irish, aged 22 years was admitted to hospital in Dec 1822 and died in April 1823 from phthisis (Quarantine Bastion Cemetery Floriana).
31 July Maj John McNeil 18th Regiment, aged 43 years. (Quarantine Bastion Cemetery Floriana).
Dec 1823Joseph McKelvy aged 31 years, died in the advanced stages of phthisis.
1823James Rourke aged 47 years, died of ascites on the fifth month of his disease.
12 Dec 1830 The 1st/18th (Royal Irish) Regiment was in contingent with the 90th Foot and 95th Foot which sailed from Corfu, when, on 18 Dec 1830, it was wrecked on the coast of Sicily. The 18th Foot re-embarked on HMS Madagascar on 23 December. It disembarked at Malta on 24 December 1830.
18 Jan 1872 The 1st/18th (Royal Irish) embarked at Queenstown and arrived in Malta from Fermoy Ireland on 30 January 1872.
In 1872, the 1st/18th had an average strength of 612 men. It had 770 admissions (1258/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 4 deaths in hospital and 1 out of hospital (8.17/1000 mean strength).
Its average strength from 30 June to 30 September was 694 men. During this third quarter of the year when fevers were prevalent, the regiment had a total of 333 hospital admissions with 2 deaths.
It had: 4 cases of enteric fever with 1 death, 115 of continued fevers with 1 death and 214 of febricula with no deaths. The only fatal case of enteric fever in the 18th Foot, was one admitted from Fort Ricasoli in September.
The regiment brought measles into the station. Of the 9 reported cases among the troops, seven occurred in the 1st/18th Regiment. The disease prevailed to a considerable extent among the families of the soldiers during the year, 93 attacks and 8 deaths being recorded from it.
The men were quartered at Fort Ricasoli, San Salvatore Barracks, and Zabbar Gate Barracks. They were in camp until 28 February.
The 1st/18th Regiment had an average strength of 516 men. It had 280 admissions (542.6/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 3 deaths including 1 among the invalids (5.81 deaths/1000 mean strength). It had 17 invalids returned to England. A soldier of the 1st/18th Regiment was killed from a gun-shot. The men at Verdala Barracks.
20 Oct 1874 The 1st/18th (Royal Irish) embarked for Bombay where it arrived on 15 November 1874. It was relieved in Malta by the 101st Royal Bengal Fusiliers.
The 2nd/18th (Royal Irish) Regiment left Aldershot for Portsmouth on 28 Feb 1884. It disembarked at Malta on 10 Mar 1884.
The 2nd/Royal Irish Regiment had an average strength of 743 men. It had 718 admissions (966.3/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 13 deaths (17.49 deaths/1000 mean strength). 13 invalids returned to England. Its average constantly sick was 52.02 (70.01/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 25.62 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 26.51 days.
The 2nd/Royal Irish Regiment had 15 admissions into hospital with pneumonia soon after the regiment had disembarked; 14 were transferred from hospital on board ship. A private soldier died after falling down 7.6 meters into the ditch of the fortifications.
7 Jan 1885 The 2nd/18th (Royal Irish) Regiment left for Rawalpindi Bengal India, but 29 soldiers were still in Malta in June 1885.
Farmer J. S., 1984. The regimental records of the British Army Reprint Edition, Trowbridge, Wiltshire: Crecy Books.
Edwards T. J., 1980. Regimental Badges First Edition, Tonbridge, Kent: Ernest Benn Ltd.
1Hennen, J. Reports on diseases of the garrison of Malta 21 June-23 Sept 1823. Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine RAMC 374.
TNA:WO 156/122; List of gravestones at the Military and Civil Cemetery 1801–1865 and the Quarantine Bastion Cemetery 1819–1867 compiled by the Rev D B L Foster Assistant Chaplain General Western Mediterranean in May 1939.
TNA:WO 156/594. No 2, Marriage Register 1 January 1820 to 12 June 1839.
TNA:WO 156/594. No 2, Baptism Register 2 January 1820 to 29 June 1839.