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Regiments of the Malta Garrison
The 18th (Royal Irish) Regiment

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The 18th (Royal Irish) Regiment

Introduction

The 18th Foot was raised in 1684, as Colonel the Earl of Granard's Regiment of Foot.

In 1751, it was numbered 18th (Royal Irish) Regiment.

On 1 July 1881, under the Cardwell reforms, The 18th (Royal Irish) Regiment became The Royal Irish Regiment.

The Royal Irish Regiment was disbanded in 1922 on the foundation of the Irish Free State.

The 1st/18th (Royal Irish) Regiment

1801 1st/18th (Royal Irish) (Pulteney's Regiment)

1 Nov 1801 Strength: 21 Commissioned and Warrant Officers, 75 NCOs, 334 rank and file fit for duty, 79 rank and file sick, 525 total officers and men, 712 establishment.

1802 1st/18th (Royal Irish)

1 Jan 1802 The 1st/18th (Royal Irish) was at Elba.

The 1st/18th (Royal Irish) Regiment

1821 1st/18th (Royal Irish)

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.
1

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 Apr Elijah Johnston son of Cpl John Thomas Johnston and Michelina, born on 17 April.
  • 20 May Sarah McLaughlin daughter of Sgt James McLaughlin and Elizabeth, born on 20 April 1821.
  • 20 May James Wethers son of Pte James Wethers and Nancy, born on 19 April.
  • 27 May John Mathews son of Acting Cpl Richard Mathews and Mary, born on 8 April 1821.
  • 10 June John Logan son of Pte John Logan and Jane, born on 26 May.
  • 1 July Elizabeth Morrow daughter of Pte James Morrow and Mary Anne, born on 17 June.
  • 29 July Maria Dowling daughter of Pte Archibald Dowling and Mary, born on 27 March 1821.
  • 2 Sep Ellen McCartney daughter of Pte James McCartney and Elizabeth, born on 26 August.
  • 30 Sep Anna Matilda Quinland daughter of Pte John Quinland and Mary, born on 16 September 1821.
  • 1 Oct Ellen Karr daughter of Pte James Karr and Mary, born on 16 September.
  • 21 Oct James Ferguson son of Sgt John Ferguson and Anne, born on 16 July 1821.
  • 21 Oct Eliza Jamason daughter of Pte Thomas Jamason and Susan, born on 16 October.
  • 28 Oct William Ross son of Cpl Thomas Ross and Mary, born on 16 September.
  • 9 Dec Sara Kay daughter of Pte William Kay and Christiana, born on 29 November 1821.
  • 16 Dec Catherine Thompson daughter of Sgt Lewis Thompson and Eleanor, born on 11 June.
  • 23 Dec Moses Home son of Sgt James Home and Margaret, born on 26 November.

1822 1st/18th (Royal Irish)

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.

The following died in 1822:

  • 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 Feb William Armstrong son of Pte James Armstrong and Honorah, born on 9 February.
  • 10 Mar Catherine Wilson daughter of Sgt Andrew Wilson and Susannah, born on 26 February 1822.
  • 6 Apr Elizabeth Norton daughter of Pte Richard Norton and Mary, born on 21 March.
  • 14 Apr Sarah Anne Crosier daughter of Pte Patrick Crosier and Eliza, born on 6 April 1822.
  • 16 Apr Samuel Smyth son of Lt Col in the Army and Major in the 18th Royal Irish Regiment Robert Smyth and Catherine Clarke, born on 20 November 1821.
  • 16 Apr Francis George Blakeney son of Pte Robert Blakeney and Anne, born on 20 December 1821.
  • 12 May Jane Crawford daughter of Cpl George Crawford and Martha, born on 20 January 1822.
  • 16 June Jane Harrow daughter of Pte John Harrow and Mary, born on 11 June 1822.
  • 30 June Thomas McGill son of Cpl Matthew McGill and Mary, born on 20 June 1822.
  • 14 July Eliza Jane Stewart daughter of Pte John Stewart and Elizabeth, born on 10 July 1822.
  • 4 Sep James McMurray son of Pte Thomas McMurray and Jane, born on 1 September.
  • 15 Sep David Doak son of Pte Samuel Doak and Margaret, born on 8 September 1822.
  • 29 Sep Margaret McCartney daughter of Pte James McCartney and Elizabeth, born on 16 September.
  • 29 Sep William Dodds son of Pte William Dodds and Catherine, born on 9 September 1822.
  • 29 Dec Susannah McKelly daughter of Sgt Joseph McKelly and Elizabeth, born on 21 December 1822.
  • 29 Dec James McGill son of Pte James McGill and Anne, born on 25 December 1822.

The following were married in 1822:

  • 28 Dec 1822 Capt Bachelor Robert Hammill 18th Royal Irish Regt, of Nova Scotia, to Spinster Helen Somerville, daughter of James Somerville Esq. Collector of Land Revenue in the Island of Gozo.

1823 1st/18th (Royal Irish)

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 the late Cpl Proctor 18th Regiment.
  • 15 Sep Bachelor Pte George Peel to Mary Quinland, spinster daughter of Pte John Quinland 18th Regiment.

The following were baptised in 1823:

  • 12 Jan Richard Cready son of Cpl William Cready and Anne, born on 2 January 1823.
  • 9 Feb Joseph McNeal son of Acting Cpl John McNeal and Ellen, born on 9 December 1822.
  • 12 Feb Eleanor Bowles daughter of Sgt James Bowles and Maria, born on 3 February 1823.
  • 16 Feb Jane McConkey daughter of Sgt Robert McConkey and Martha, born on 13 February.
  • 23 Feb Samuel Procter son of Pte Samuel Procter and Elizabeth, born on 18 February.
  • 27 Feb Anne Doran daughter of Captain John Doran and Georgiana, born on 21 January.
  • 29 Mar Mary Ross daughter of Sgt Thomas Ross and Mary, born on 4 March 1823.
  • 6 Apr Priscilla Weathers daughter of Pte James Weathers and Anne, born on 21 March.
  • 27 Apr Elizabeth Stewart daughter of Cpl Andrew Stewart and Catherine, born on 16 April 1823.
  • 4 May Margaret Morrow daughter of Pte James Morrow and Mary Anne, born on 26 April.
  • 17 May James Parker Percival son of Brigade Major and Captain Robert Percival 18th Regt and Antoinette, born on 30 March 1823.
  • 18 May Elizabeth Solay daughter of Pte James Solay and Judith, born on 11 May 1823 was privately baptised and publicly received into the church on 25 May 1823.
  • 1 June John Kirkpatrick son of Pte William Kirkpatrick and Sarah, born on 26 May.
  • 10 June Rebecca Stewart daughter of Pte Henry Stewart and Margaret, born on 9 June 1823 was privately baptised and publicly admitted into the church on 15 June 1823.
  • 30 July Donald McQueen son of Pte Donald McQueen and Cecilia, born on 24 July 1823 was privately baptised and publicly admitted into the church on 3 August.
  • 24 Aug Elizabeth Dowling daughter of Pte Archibald Dowling and Mary, born on 7 August.
  • 14 Sep Emma Miller daughter of Sgt William Miller and Elizabeth, born on 9 September 1823.
  • 5 Oct John East son of Pte Henry East and Mary, born on 18 September.
  • 14 Oct Catherine Edminston daughter of Cpl James Edminston and Bridget, born on 12 October 1823.
  • 16 Nov Elizabeth Plunket daughter of Pte James Plunket and Margaret, born on 12 November 1823, was privately baptised and publicly received into the church on 30 November 1823.
  • 21 Dec William John McCartney son of Pte James McCartney and Elizabeth, born on 14 December.
  • 28 Dec Richard Crawford son of Pte George Crawford and Martha, born on 19 December 1823.

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 1823 Joseph McKelvy aged 31 years, died in the advanced stages of phthisis.
  • 1823 James Rourke aged 47 years, died of ascites on the fifth month of his disease.

1824 1st/18th (Royal Irish)

24 Jan 1824 Death of Pte John Vennard 18th Royal Irish Regiment, aged 25 years who was buried in the Quarantine Bastion Cemetery Floriana.

May 1824 The 1st/18th (Royal Irish) embarked for the Ionian Islands. It was replaced by 95th Foot.

The following were baptised in 1824:

  • 4 Jan William Glass son of Pte Robert Glass and Catherine, born on 27 December 1823.
  • 18 Jan Rebecca Jamison daughter of Pte Thomas Jamison and Susan, born on 12 January.
  • 25 Jan Ellenor Cavenagh daughter of Acting Sgt Hugh Cavenagh and Margaret, born on 5 January.
  • 22 Feb Abraham Norton son of Pte Richard Norton and Mary, born on 10 February.
  • 29 Feb Robert Irwin Blakeney son of Pte Robert Blakeney and Anne, born on 24 January.
  • 7 Mar Harriet Louisa Quinland daughter of Pte John Quinland and Mary, born on 24 February.
  • 14 Mar Caroline Anthony daughter of Pte Patrick Anthony and Sarah, born on 5 March.
  • 31 Mar Samuel Fisher son of Sgt Armourer Thomas Fisher and Mary, born on 31 March.
  • 11 Apr John Reay son of Pte Robert Reay and Hannah, born on 4 April.
  • 16 Apr Maria Jane Hammill daughter of Captain Robert Hammill and Helen, born on 1 February.
  • 31 May James Home son of Sgt James Home and Margaret, born on 19 May.
  • 22 June Irwin Daily son of Sgt Irwin and Elizabeth Reins, born on 22 June.
  • 14 Oct Anne Martha daughter of Major Robert Percival deceased, and Antoinette, born on 8 September.

1826 1st/18th (Royal Irish)

The following were baptised in 1826:

  • 19 Feb Jane Cecilia McQueen daughter of Cpl Donald McQueen and Cecilia, born on 19 January.
  • 13 Aug James Plunket son of Pte James Plunket deceased and Margaret, born on 6 April.

19 Dec 1827 Died at Malta Lt Col Smyth half pay 94th Foot late of 18th Foot.

The 1st/18th (Royal Irish) Regiment

1830 1st/18th (Royal Irish)

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.

1831 1st/18th (Royal Irish)

1831 Listed as being in Corfu.

8 July Baptism of Sophia Hammell daughter of Major Robert Hammell and Helen, born on 12 June 1831.

The 1st/18th (Royal Irish) Regiment

1856 1st/18th (Royal Irish)

The 1st/18th (Royal Irish) Regiment

1872 1st/18th (Royal Irish)

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.

1873 1st/18th (Royal Irish)

In 1873, the 1st/18th had an average strength of 671 men. It had 417 admissions (621.5/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 9 deaths (13.41/1000 mean strength). The men were at Fort Ricasoli.

1874 1st/18th (Royal Irish)

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

1883 2nd/18th (Royal Irish) Regiment

23 Feb 1883 The 2nd/18th embarked at Egypt on 18 Feb 1883. It disembarked at Malta on 23 Feb 1883.

The 2nd/Royal Irish Regiment had an average strength of 191 men. It had 105 admissions (549.7/1000 mean strength) into hospital with no deaths. 1 invalid was returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 8.28 (43.85/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 15.82 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 28.78 days.

The 2nd/Royal Irish Regiment left for Portsmouth and Aldershot on 17 May 1883.

1884 2nd/18th (Royal Irish)

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.

1885 2nd/18th (Royal Irish)

7 Jan 1885 The 2nd/18th (Royal Irish) Regiment left for Rawalpindi Bengal India, but 29 soldiers were still in Malta in June 1885.

Bibliography

  • 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.
  • TNA:WO 379/11. Stations of Regiments 1859–1900.
  • TNA:WO 379/15. Stations of Regiments 1901–1920.