RAMC

Regiments of the Malta Garrison
5th (Northumberland Fusiliers)

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The 5th (Northumberland Fusiliers)

Introduction

The Northumberland Fusiliers traces its origin to 1674 as one of the Holland Regiments in the service of the Prince of Orange.

In 1751 it was taken on the English Establishment as the 5th Regiment of Foot. The territorial title was bestowed in 1782, when until 1836, it was known as the 5th (Northumberland) Regiment.

In 1831 the 5th (Northumberland) Regiment of Foot was granted royal approval to resume the motto Quo Fata Vocant formerly borne on its Colours and appointments, in addition to its ancient badge of St George and the Dragon.

In 1836 it was converted into a Fusilier Regiment, as the 5th (Northumberland Fusiliers) for having defeated a French Division of Grenadiers at Wilhemstahl (1762). From that date onwards it bore a badge of a flaming grenade with St George at its centre.

On 1 July 1881 it became Northumberland's county regiment, and in 1935, it became a Royal Regiment on the occasion of the silver jubilee of King George V.

In April 1968, the Northumberland Fusiliers merged with the 20th Lancashire Fusiliers, the 6th (Royal Warwickshire Fusiliers), and the 7th (Royal Fusiliers – City of London), to form the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.

The 5th (Northumberland) Regiment

1834 5th (Northumberland)

17 Oct 1834 19 officers, 480 men, 55 women, and 74 children of the 5th (Northumberland) Regiment arrived from Gibraltar on the transport Romney.

The following were baptised in Malta in 1834:

The following were buried in Malta in 1834:

1835 5th (Northumberland)

Every December the infantry regiments in the garrison rotated between the Valletta District and the Cottonera District. In the Cottonera District the 5th Regiment had three companies with Head Quarters, two companies at Francesco di Paolo Barracks and one company at Fort San Salvatore.

The regiment had to furnish men for 15 different guard duties daily. This required 112 men out of an average regimental strength of 480 men, excluding the sick in hospital, the band and drummers, staff, pioneers, tradesmen and officer's servants, a total of 112 men, who were excused guard duty. The posts or guards were all remotely located from HQ; the greater part were around the land front of the Cottonera, while others were by Dockyard Creek. They were all exposed to the cold northerly winds and to every change of weather. The guard rooms had no fire places and most swamped with water whenever it rained. January, February, and March of 1835 proved to be very cold with tempestuous rain. The increased sickness among the men was attributed to their exposure to the cold.

As there was no hospital in the Cottonera District the assistant surgeon stayed with his regiment, while the regimental surgeon took up quarters at the General Military Hospital Valletta. The sick were conveyed by boat to Valletta and afterwards had to walk the half mile distance to the hospital from the landing place at the marina.

In 1835 the battalion had 539 cases of sickness with five deaths. Of these 33 were due to Febris Continua Communis. The symptoms consisted of chills rather than rigors which were accompanied with mild to severe frontal headaches and congestion of the eyes. Fever was blamed on exposure of the men to the cold combined with intemperance. The treatment adopted by the surgeon was one of bowel cleansing. The stomach was evacuated with the use of the Tartarate of Antimony or Powder of Ipecacuan. Once the stomach became tranquil the bowels were well cleansed by the administration of Sulphate of Magnesia and Tartar Emetic. Purging continued for a maximum of 48 hours depending on the severity of each case. The submuriate of Mercury, in the proportion of two grains with four of James's Powder was given every second or third hour to produce a diaphoresis. The patient was then stimulated with quinine and wine and a nutritious diet.

There were 21 cases of Phlegmon, a skin infection with some cases progressing from furunculi to abscesses. Most were in the neck and axilla while others affected the legs.

Soldiers with pneumonia were admitted into hospital predominantly from the guard room at Zabbar Gate. This post was very cold and damp. The men were all bled repeatedly with the lancet until profuse perspiration with syncope was achieved. One unfortunate soldier had up to 48 ounces (1440 mls) of blood extracted. This represented almost half his circulating blood volume, and was more than sufficient to produce the early symptoms of hypovolaemic shock. The procedure was repeated on him, when another 48 ounces were removed. A third bleeding was carried out when 30 ounces (900 mls) of blood were extracted. Leeches were also applied coupled with the administration of the Sulphate of Magnesia and Tartarate of Antimony followed by Calomel, James's Powder and opium aided by a blister. Miraculously this patient survived his treatment, but two others did not. Their deaths being blamed not on the doctor's interference but on their dissipated character.

3 Apr 1835 Death of Regimental Sergeant-Major James Grant from a fractured skull. The RSM was convalescing from Rheumatism. He was sitting on a balustrade of a stone gallery at the Sergeant's mess house, when the balustrade gave way. He fell down a height of twenty five feet fracturing his skull and right ankle. The RSM had been with the regiment since his boyhood, and had served gallantly with the regiment in the Peninsular War without sustaining any injuries.

5 Aug 1835 A sudden death occurred in a soldier while employed on fatigue duties. The soldier was said to have been perfectly well when he, together with another 100 men, were ordered to move gun powder to the magazine at Fort San Salvatore. The ambient temperature was 83 F (28 C). The soldier dropped down suddenly and died from cerebral oedema.

June 1835 Officer Mr L' Estrange was thrown off his horse at the main barrack gate while on his rounds as orderly officer of the day. L' Estrange fractured his left thigh. In June 1835, he was invalided to England for change of climate on the transport Maitland.

23 Dec 1835 The regiment marched out of the Cottonera and returned to Valletta where it occupied Lower St Elmo Barracks.

The following were married in Malta in 1835:

The following were baptised in Malta in 1835:

The following were buried in Malta in 1835:

1836 5th (Northumberland Fusiliers)

1836 The regimental strength was 19 Officers and 488 men.

The following were married in Malta in 1836:

The following were baptised in Malta in 1836:

The following were buried in Malta in 1836:

1837 5th (Northumberland Fusiliers)

15 Mar 1837 The 1st Div consisting of 224 men left for Corfu.
28 Mar The 2nd Div consisting of 255 men left for Corfu.

The following were baptised in Malta in 1837:

The following were buried in Malta in 1837:

The Northumberland Fusiliers

1898 1st/Northumberland Fusiliers

The 1st/Northumberland Fusiliers arrived in Crete from Egypt on 6 Oct 1898 following the Nile Campaign. It served in Crete for 3 months.

It had an average strength of 205 men with 170 admissions (829.3/1000 mean strength) into hospital and 8 deaths (39.02/1000 mean strength). 7 invalids returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 10.58 (51.61/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 18.81 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 22.71 days.

1 Dec 1898 A detachment of 159 men was at Mtarfa Barracks.

1899 1st/Northumberland Fusiliers

1 Jan 1899 Strength: Detachment of 211 men. HQ Coy was at Crete.
May 1899 The Fusiliers embarked for England.

The 1st/Royal Northumberland Fusiliers

1943 1st/Royal Northumberland Fusiliers

1944 1st/Royal Northumberland Fusiliers

The 5th/Northumberland Fusiliers

1900 5th/Northumberland Fusiliers

Feb 1900 The 5th Battalion arrived from England. It had a strength of 560 men. The men were quartered at Polverista.

The following were buried in Malta in 1900:

1901 5th/Northumberland Fusiliers

1901 Strength: 558 men.

27 June 1901 10 coys of the 5th Battalion left for Southampton on the troopship Dilwara. They disembarked in England on 7 July 1901.

The following was buried in Rinella Military Cemetery in 1901:

The 1st/Garrison Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers

1915 1st Gar Bn/Northumberland Fusiliers

The 1st Garrison Bn Northumberland Fusiliers was formed in Aug 1915, and was sent to Malta on garrison duty.

1916 1st Gar Bn/Northumberland Fusiliers

1917 1st Gar Bn/Northumberland Fusiliers

The following was baptised in the Zejtun Gate Church Room in 1917:

1918 1st Gar Bn/Northumberland Fusiliers

1919 1st Gar Bn/Northumberland Fusiliers

1 July 1919 Strength: 15 officers and 171 rank and file.
1 Dec 1919 Strength: 9 officers and 104 rank and file.

1920 1st Gar Bn/Northumberland Fusiliers

1 Jan 1920 Strength: 4 officers and 60 rank and file.
1 Nov 1920 The 1st Gar Bn/Northumberland Fusiliers left Malta.

The 30th/The Royal Northumberland Fusiliers

1944 30th/Royal Northumberland Fusiliers

1945 30th/Royal Northumberland Fusiliers

30 June 1945 Strength: 819 other ranks and 0 officers. In Mar 1945, the 30th Bn was the only infantry regiment listed in Malta.

1946 30th/Royal Northumberland Fusiliers

Bibliography