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Regiments of the Malta Garrison
The Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry (32nd/46th)

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The Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry (32nd/46th)

Introduction

The Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry had its origins in Colonel Edward Fox's Regiment of Marines raised in 1702. In 1751 it was numbered 32nd Foot; in 1782 it was designated The 32nd (Cornwall) Regiment of Foot.

On 26 February 1858, the 32nd Foot was made into a Light Infantry Corps, in recognition of its services in the defence of the Residency at Lucknow during the Indian Mutiny (1857–58).

On 1 July 1881, the 32nd (Cornwall Light Infantry) amalgamated with the 46th (South Devonshire) Regiment, to form the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry.

The 32nd became the 1st Battalion, the 46th became the 2nd Battalion of the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry.

In 1959, the the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry linked with the Somerset Light Infantry (Prince Albert's) to form The Somerset and Cornwall Light Infantry.

The Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry (32nd/46th)

1885 1st/Duke of Cornwall's

28 Dec 1885 In 1885, the 1st Battalion The Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry was stationed at Richmond Barracks, Dublin with a musketry detachment at the Curragh. Between January and May, 337 recruits joined from the Depôt. The recruits had a fair proportion of West countrymen, a few being natives of Cornwall and eighty Irishmen.

On 7 December, the regiment received orders to embark for Malta. It sailed from Kingstown on board the hired transport India on 17 December, arriving at Malta on 28 December where the whole battalion with the exception of C Company disembarked. It had an average strength of 16 officers and 653 men, 3 officers' wives, 8 officers' children, 42 soldiers' wives and 55 soldiers' children. The head-quarters proceeded to Fort Ricasoli, B Company and C Company (on the 29th) to Fort Salvatore and E Company to Zabbar Gate.

1886 1st/Duke of Cornwall's

26 Nov 1886 The 1st/Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry was stationed in Cottonera for 12 months with detachments at Pembroke Camp. The battalion moved from Fort Ricasoli to Verdala Barracks where on 26 November it entertained Admiral HRH the Duke of Edinburgh, Commander-in-Chief of the Mediterranean Squadron.

It had an average strength of 813 men. From July to September, the men fell ill with simple continued fever, with an average daily number of 50 sick out of a strength on 920. On 2 August, two detachments were ordered to Forts Ta' Silc and Delimara for change of air. The detachment rejoined head-quarters on 30 September.

During the year there were 695 admissions (854.8/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 7 deaths (8.60/1000 mean strength). Three invalids returned to England. Its average constantly sick was 46.39 (57.06/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 20.82 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 24.36 days.

1887 1st/Duke of Cornwall's

The 1st/Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry had an average strength of 874 men. It had 386 admissions (441.6/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 5 deaths (5.72/1000 mean strength). Four invalids returned to England. Its average constantly sick was 22.29 (25.50/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 9.30 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 21.07 days.

On 18 March 1887, being the anniversary of the birthday of HRH Princess Louise, Marchioness of Lorne, a full dress brigade parade was held when HRH received a royal salute and afterwards rode down the lines. On 21 June, the battalions forming the brigade (32nd, 42nd, 51st and 75th) together with the Royal Engineers, Royal Artillery and Naval Brigades were concentrated near Fort Manoel for the celebration of Queen Victoria's jubilee.

The following were buried in Pietà Cemetery in 1887:

  • 22 June Pte William Worsfold G Coy 1st/DCLI drowned at Pembroke Camp aged 23 years 11 months.
  • 14 July Pte Joseph Vale aged 20 years.
  • 15 July Pte William Grindrod aged 20 years.
  • 30 July Child Thomas Orlando Nestern aged 6 months.
  • 22 Aug Child Lucy Maud Evans aged 1 year 2 months, daughter of Lance Sgt G Evans.
  • 8 Sep Child William Henry Sullivan aged 10 months, son of Sgt Sullivan.
  • 14 Sep Child Lilian M Archer aged 5 years, daughter of Sgt Archer.
  • 6 Dec Lt Alfred Ernest Bassano aged 23 years 11 months, only son of Maj Gen Bassano CB died accidentally following a fall from the staircase at the Officers' Mess Floriana. He was buried in Ta' Braxia Cemetery Pietà.
  • 21 Dec Pte William Boggis C Coy 1st/DCLI aged 38 years 11 months.

20 Aug 1887 The band of the 1st/DCLI played Schubert's overture Rosamunde at St Ignatius College Sliema during the annual exhibition and distribution of prizes. St Ignatius College was an academic establishment run by the Jesuit Fathers for the instruction of male students. It did not receive any subsidy from Government. Parents bore all the expenses for the education of their sons.

12 Dec 1887 The battalion received a warning order to prepare to embark in the troopship Crocodile for Bombay on 18 February 1888.

1888 1st/Duke of Cornwall's

The 1st/Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry had an average strength of 74 men. It had 78 admissions (1054/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 2 deaths (27.02/1000 mean strength). 3 invalids returned to England. Its average constantly sick was 5.39 (72.83/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 26.65 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 23.29 days.

5 Jan 1888 Pte William Dunn aged 21 years was buried in Pietà Cemetery.

18 Feb 1888 The 1st/Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry was quartered in Valletta. It marched to the Custom House where it was inspected by the Princess Louise and the Marquis of Lorne accompanied by the Governor of Malta Sir Lintorn Simmons. It embarked for Bombay, arriving there on 7 March. It was stationed at Bellary and Madras.

The 46th (South Devonshire) Regiment

1854 46th (South Devonshire)

The following were buried in Malta in 1854:

  • 27 Nov Pte Selles 46th (South Devonshire)
  • 28 Nov Pte John Miles 46th (South Devonshire)

1855 46th (South Devonshire)

The following were buried in Malta in 1855:

  • 21 Mar Pte John Belfield 46th Regiment aged 21 years.
  • 14 Apr Pte John Grimley aged 20 years.
  • 13 Oct William Daniels aged 6 years, son of Sgt Daniels.
  • 27 Oct James Stewart aged 23 years.

1856 46th (South Devonshire)

The following was buried in Malta in 1856:

  • 2 May Pte William Powell 46th (South Devonshire).

1857 46th (South Devonshire)

11 June Rebecca Fryer aged 1 year 2 months, daughter of Armourer Sgt Fryer 46th Regiment was buried in Floriana in 1857.

The 2nd/The Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry

1882 2nd/Duke of Cornwall's

The 2nd/The Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry arrived from England on 18 July 1882. It embarked for Egypt on 20 July, where it arrived on 23 July 1882.

Surgeon–Major Laurence Corban was in medical charge of the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry in Egypt. He landed in Egypt on 23 July and remained with his regiment until the termination of all active operations by the capture of Cairo, which permitted the withdrawal of the greater portion of the troops. His regiment was always to the front during the campaign, and Dr Corban was in every battle, so that he had ample opportunities of noting deficiencies. Bad and scanty food, the want of blankets and tents, were probably answerable for most of the sickness of the troops.

The 2nd/The Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry

1921 2nd/Duke of Cornwall's

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.
  • Famous Units. The National Army Museum. Available from http://www.nam.ac.uk/research/famous-units.
  • TNA:WO 379/11. Stations of Regiments 1859–1900.
  • TNA:WO 156/113. Register of Burials September 1853 to June 1862.
  • The Tablet, a weekly record of ecclesiastical news published 20 August 1887.
  • Experiences of an army surgeon during the Egyptian Expedition of 1882. Brit Med J (1883), 230, (Published 3 February 1883).
  • Register of Burials No 13, September 1887 to 1908.