RAMC

Regiments of the Malta Garrison
The Border Regiment (34th/55th)

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The Border Regiment

Introduction

The Border Regiment was formed on 1 July 1881 through the amalgamation of the 34th (Cumberland) Regiment and the 55th (Westmoreland) Regiment.

The 34th became the 1st Battalion, the 55th became the 2nd Battalion of the Border Regiment.

The 34th received the Battle Honour Arroyo dos Molinos 1811 from its service in the Peninsula War, when on 28 October 1811, the 34th captured its opposite number in the French Army.

The 55th was granted the China Dragon superscribed China for its service during the China War of 1840–42.

In 1959, the Border Regiment linked with the King's Own Royal Regiment (Lancaster) to form the King's Own Royal Border Regiment.

The 1st/Border Regiment (34th)

1855 – 34th Regiment

The following were buried at Malta in 1855:

  • 18 Mar Pte William Browne 34th Regiment aged 34 years.
  • 16 Apr Pte George Wallace aged 34 years.
  • 24 Aug Pte Richard Eccles aged 20 years.

1856 – 34th Regiment

23 May 1856 Burial of Eveline Bextie Wood aged 6 months, daughter of Lt Frances Wood 34th Regiment.

The 1st/Border Regiment

1 July 1881 The 34th Regiment became the 1st Battalion The Border Regiment.

1897 1st/Border

The 1st/Border Regiment embarked at Southampton from Aldershot on 10 Nov 1897. It arrived at Malta on 19 November.

It had an average strength of 103 men with 75 admissions (728.1/1000 mean strength) into hospital.

Its average constantly sick was 3.56 (34.65/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 12.62 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 17.33 days.

The 1st/Border Regiment was quartered at Mtarfa Barracks for 6 weeks (Imtarfa).

1898 1st/Border

The 1st/Border Regiment had an average strength of 824 men. It had 928 admissions (1126.2/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 6 deaths (7.28/1000 mean strength). 38 invalids returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 48.64 (59.03/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 21.55 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 19.33 days.

The 1st/Border Regiment was quartered at Mtarfa Barracks for 8 months (Imtarfa) and at Floriana for 4 months where it occupied Notre Dame Ravelin and the Old Laboratory, Valletta. It moved to Marsamxetto Barracks Valletta on the arrival of the 3rd/Lancaster Regiment.

Its HQ was at Floriana Barracks, with detachments in Cyprus.

The following were baptised in Malta in 1898:

  • 2 Mar Herbert John Bailey born on 8 December 1897, son of Sgt George Bailey and Kate Elizabeth, resident at Mtarfa.
  • 2 Mar William Seymour McBride born on 1 February 1898, son of L/Sgt William John McBride and Lilian Gabrielle Katherine, resident at Mtarfa.
  • 14 Mar Freda Sybil Lilian Valletta Lambeth born on 19 February 1898, daughter of CSgt Frederick Charles Lambeth and Eva Minnie, resident at Mtarfa.

1899 1st/Border

1 June 1899 Strength: 1026 men.

1 Sep Strength: 985 men. The regiment was located at Floriana Barracks.

6 Sep A detail from the 1st Bn at Malta departed for Shorncliffe via Southampton. The main body remained at Malta.

27 Sep 1899 The Border Regiment embarked on SS Sumatra for Natal, South Africa and landed at Cape Town on 29 Oct 1899. It formed part of 5th Bde under Major General Hart.

2 Feb 1899 Baptism of John Charles Henry Cain born on 23 January 1899, son of Drm John Edwin Cain and Priscilla Elizabeth, resident at Valletta.

The 55th Regiment

1855 – 55th Regiment

The following were buried at Malta in 1855:

  • 22 Mar Pte John Pierce 55th Regiment aged 26 years.
  • 31 July Pte Charles Hands 55th Regiment.

The 2nd/Border Regiment

1 July 1881 The 55th Regiment became the 2nd Battalion The Border regiment.

1888 2nd/Border

2 Nov 1888 The 2nd/Border Regiment (714 men (8 coys) embarked at Portsmouth for Malta. It disembarked in Malta on 13 November 1888.

It had an average strength of 89 men. It had 110 admissions (1235.9/1000 mean strength) into hospital.

Its average constantly sick was 6.55 (73.59/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 26.93 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 21.70 days.

The 2nd/Border Regiment was quartered as follows: HQ, A Coy and B Coys at Isola Gate, C Coy, Band and Drums at St Francesco de Paola, G Coy at St Paul's Bastion, and D Coy, E Coy and F Coy at Polverista Barracks.

The officers' mess occupied the Inquisitor's Palace Vittoriosa.

1889 2nd/Border

The 2nd/Border Regiment had an average strength of 777 men. It had 541 admissions (696.3/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 6 deaths (7.72/1000 mean strength). 21 invalids returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 34.33 (44.18/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 16.13 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 23.16 days.

HQ Coy, B Coy, E Coy, F Coy and H Coy moved in July 1889 to Pembroke Camp. A Coy, C Coy, D Coy, and G Coy went to Fort Chambray Gozo.

1890 2nd/Border

The 2nd/Border Regiment had an average strength of 123 men. It had 93 admissions (756.1/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 3 deaths (24.39/1000 mean strength). 2 invalids returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 6.58 (53.5/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 19.53 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 25.82 days.

21 Feb 1890 The 2nd/Border Regiment was quartered at Verdala Barracks Cottonera for 1 3/4 months with detachments at Pembroke Camp. It embarked for Bombay India on 21 Feb 1890, where it arrived on 10 Mar 1890. It was relieved in Malta by the 1st/Bedfordshire Regiment.

The following burials took place at Rinella Military Cemetery in 1890:

  • 18 Jan John Arbuckle aged 40 years 11 months, died at Margherita Hill.
  • 30 Jan Robert H Jenkins aged 2 hours, died at Strada Margherita.
  • 4 Feb Alfred Small aged 20 years 3 months, died at Cottonera Hospital.
  • 16 Feb Robert W Goulds aged 21 years 10 months, died at Cottonera Hospital.

The 2nd/Border Regiment

1924 2nd/Border

13 Dec 1924 The regiment arrived from Aldershot and was located at Mtarfa Barracks. Its strength was 8 officers and 710 men.

1925 2nd/Border

1 Jan 1925 Strength: 26 officers and 541 rank and file.

1 Oct 1925 Strength: 7 officers and 794 rank and file.

1926 2nd/Border

1 Jan 1926 Strength: 24 officers and 789 rank and file.

1 Oct Strength: 0 officers and 23 rank and file.

23 Jan–5 Dec 1926 In Jan 1926, the regiment left for Khartoum to relief the 1st/Dorsetshire Regiment. Their families remained at Mtarfa Barracks.

1927 2nd/Border

1 Jan 1927 Strength: 29 officers and 536 rank and file.

23 Jan 1927 Strength: Left for Shanghai as part of the International Defence Force during China's Civil War between the nationalists and the communists.

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.
  • Badges of HM Services. WM. Briggs & Co Manchester.
  • Personal correspondence, the regimental museum Border Regiment and the Kings Own Royal Border Regiment, dated 23 February 1990.
  • TNA:WO 379/11. Stations of Regiments 1859–1900.
  • TNA:WO 156/115. Register of burials in the military cemetery Rinella from January 1890 to January 1908.
  • TNA:WO 156/598. Baptism Register No 16; Malta from 20 February 1898 to 17 July 1916.
  • TNA:WO 156/113. Register of burials September 1853 to June 1862.