The Manchester Regiment (63rd/96th)
The Manchester Regiment was formed on 1 July 1881 from the amalgamation of the 63rd (West Suffolk) Regiment with the 96th Regiment of Foot. The 63rd became the 1st Battalion of the Manchester Regiment; the 96th became the Second Battalion.
The 63rd was raised in 1756 as the 2nd/8th Foot (The King's). Two years later, it was constituted as a separate regiment. From 1782 to 1881, the 63rd was the West Suffolk Regiment. The Fleur de Lys was associated with the 63rd Foot during the first half of the 19th century. In 1923, the Fleur de Lys replaced the Arms of the City of Manchester as the regimental badge of the Manchester Regiment.
In July 1881, the the 63rd Foot linked with the 96th Regiment of Foot to form The Manchester Regiment.
[Images portraying the Manchester Regiment in Malta are to be found on the Manchester Regiment Image Archive.]
A detachment of the 1st/Manchester Regiment arrived from India on 1 Dec 1897.
It had an average strength of 21 men with 36 admissions (1714.3/1000 mean strength) into hospital.
Its average constantly sick was 1.14 (54.29/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 19.81 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 11.56 days.
The Detachment 1st/Manchester Regiment was quartered at Fort Manoel for 1 month.
The detachment of the 1st/Manchester Regiment had an average strength of 24 men with 31 admissions (1291.7/1000 mean strength) into hospital.
Its average constantly sick was 1.95 (81.25/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 29.66 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 22.96 days.
1881 96th Regiment
The 96th Regiment embarked at Portsmouth on 11 Mar 1881. It arrived at Malta from Aldershot on 20 Mar 1881. On 1 July 1881, the 96th became the 2nd Battalion the Manchester Regiment.
The 2nd/Manchester Regiment had an average strength of 520 men. It had 601 admissions (1155.8/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 12 deaths (23.07/1000 mean strength). 15 invalids were returned to England. Its average daily sick was 37.44 (72/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 26.28 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 22.74 days.
The 2nd/Manchester Regiment gave the highest rate of mortality during the year (23.07/1000 mean strength). Three soldiers drowned while serving in the command. One soldier blew out his brains at Fort Ricasoli.
The 2nd/Manchester Regiment had an average strength of 540 men. It had 435 admissions (805.5/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 4 deaths (7.40 deaths/1000 mean strength). 36 invalids returned to England.
Its average constantly sick was 29.26 (54.18/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 19.77 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 24.55 days.
The 2nd/Manchester Regiment embarked for Egypt on 14 Aug 1882, having served 1 year and 5 months in Malta.
5th/The Manchester Regiment TA
1945 5th Manchester
Malta 18 Nov 1945 Arrived at Malta.
Malta 31 Dec 1945 Strength: 0 officers, 702 other ranks. Infantry Machine Gun Coy.
1946 5th Manchester
Malta 27 Dec 1946 Placed in a state of suspended animation on the authority of War Office cable 67653SD2(B) dated 16 Sept 1946.
8th (Ardwick)/The Manchester Regiment TA
1940 8th Manchester
Malta 20 May 1940 Arrived from Gibraltar. Disembarked and moved to Ghajn Tuffieha CampFormed part of Northern Brigade under Brigadier W. H. Oxley. 8 Manch were accommodated at Ghajn Tuffieha Camp. They were then distributed as follows: Bn HQ, HQ Coy and one Rifle Coy at Ghajn Tuffieha Camp. one rifle coy at RAF Station Hal Far and fell under the command of 2/Devon, one rifle coy at RAF Station Luqa Gr 448218 and fell under the command of 2/Royal West Kent, one rifle coy at Ta Qali Aerodrome Grid 388255 and fell under the command of 2/Royal West Kent, one platoon at San Anton Palace Grid 415259 to protect the palace. one detachment at Targa Gap Grid 3828. to prevent enemy movement southwards across the Victoria Lines one detachment at Naxxar Gap Grid 4029. It was expected for them to take over Fawra Coy and St Paul's Bay Coy from 2nd/Royal Irish Fusiliers. A third Coy was along Wardija Ridge; a fourth Coy at Ta' Qali landing ground. HQ Coy was at Tas Saliba Cross roads with Reserve Coy at Iz Zebbieh.
8 Manch was to prevent enemy movement southwards over the Wardija Ridge and to to man posts at R3 Grid 337308, R4 Grid 348308 and R5 Grid 352312. The Bn HQ, HQ Coy and a Rifle Coy were at Ghajn Tuffieha Camp, a Rifle Coy was at RAF Station Hal Far Grid 4716 under command of 2nd/Devon, a rifle coy was at Luqa Airport Grid 448218 under command of 2nd/RWK, a rifle coy was at Ta Qali Grid 388255 under command of RWK and a platoon was at San Anton Palace grid 415259 to protect the palace. A detachment was at Targa Gap Grid 3828 and another detachment was at Naxxar Gap grid 4029 to prevent enemy movement southwards across Victoria Lines.
Malta 20 May 1940 A Coy of 8th/Manchester was at Hal Far, another at Luqa.
Malta 14 June 8th/Manchester occupied Wardija Ridge with its HQ at Ta' Saliba Crossroads.
Malta 30 June 1940 Strength: 27 officers, 778 men. The medical officer was 70801 Captain P O' Donnell RAMC (TA).
Malta 26 Oct 1940 Lt Smith RAMC reported for duty at ADS Mgarr but left for duty at St Andrews on 13 November. During October there were no battle casualties but an epidemic of Catarrhal Jaundice broke out at Tas Saliba (area north of Zebbieh) and Ghajn Tuffieha among men of the HQ Coy 8 Manchester. There were two cases from L3 position of D Coy situated near Ghajn Tuffieha. 7 officers and 14 other ranks were admitted to hospital with jaundice. All contacts were kept under observation. Sporadic cases of jaundice were reported in November. Soldiers were at Fort Wardija and Iz Zebbieh. A new cook house was completed at ADS Mgarr on 30 December 1940 and the school was sandbagged to protect the ADS from blast.
1941 8th Manchester
Malta Feb 1941 8th/Manchester were responsible for the Ghajn Tuffieha area north of the Victoria Lines and the aerofrome defence of Ta Qali. The Victoria Lines from Falka Gap inclusive to the western end of the Victoria Lines was also their responsibility/.
Malta 30 June 1941 Strength: 34 officers, 873 men.
Malta 30 Sept Strength: 34 officers, 871 men.
Malta Aug 1941 Moved to Gozo for 6 weeks training.
1942 8th Manchester
The regiment was tasked to build protective pens for fighter aircraft, fill bomb craters on the runway, and refuel and rearming fighter aircraft.
1943 8th Manchester
Malta Aug 1943 Left Malta for the Middle East.
- 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.
- TNA:WO 265/1. Quarterly Historical Reports, Headquarters Malta Command, 30 September – 31 December 1946.
- TNA:WO 379/11. Stations of Regiments 1859–1900.