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Regiments of the Malta Garrison
The 4th The King's Own Royal Regiment

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The 4th The King's Own Royal Regiment

Introduction

The 4th or The King's Own Regiment traces its origins to the 2nd Tangier Regiment of Foot. This was raised in Devonshire in 1680, by Charles, Earl of Plymouth, son of Charles II, to defend Tangier which had been ceded to Charles II on his marriage to Catherine of Braganza, Infanta of Portugal. The 4th Foot consisted of sixteen companies and a Grenadier Company formed on 19 July 1680 by selecting 8 men from each of the 16 companies. The fort was blown up as it was impossible to defend it against repeated attacks by the Moors, and the 2nd Tangier Regiment returned to England in 1684.

The 4th Foot was the first regiment to join William of Orange on his landing at Torbay on 4 November 1688. The king granted the regiment the title the King's Own and directed to be borne on its Colours The Lion of England as the badge of the regiment. On 1 July 1690, the 4th was at the battle of the Boyne.

In 1684 the 2nd Tangier Regiment was The Duchess of York and Albany's and when the Duchess became Queen Consort the following year this was altered to The Queen's. When George I came to the throne another alteration took place to The King's Own.

From 1704 to 1710 it served as a Marine Corps on board the fleet and was present at the capture of Gibraltar (1704–05). In the beginning of the reign of Queen Anne, six regiments of marines were raised. Consequently, in 1711, the 4th reverted to a Foot Regiment.

On 25 June 1827, royal approval was granted for the 4th to bear on its Colours the word Bladensburg, in commemoration of its distinguished conduct on the heights above Bladensburg on 24 August 1814.

Between 1867 and 1881, the regimental title was The 4th (The King's Own Royal) Regiment. In 1881, it became Lancaster's County Regiment and adopted the Red Rose of Lancaster as one of its badges.

On 1 July 1881 the 1st Battalion 4th (The King's Own Royal) Regiment became the 1st Battalion The King's Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment).

In 1920 the regimental title changed to the King's Own Royal Regiment (Lancaster).

On 1 October 1959 the King's Own Royal Regiment (Lancaster) amalgamated with the Border Regiment, to form the King's Own Royal Border Regiment.

The King's Own Royal Regiment (Lancaster) bears the Battle Honour Malta 1941 – 42.

The 1st Battalion/The 4th or The King's Own Regiment

1854 1st/4th Regiment

25 Mar 1854 The 1st/4th Regiment arrived from Scotland with 814 men fit for duty. It encamped on the Horn Works outside Porte de Bombes.

10 Apr The battalion left for Turkey on board the Emue for service in the Crimea.

The following were buried at Malta in 1854:

  • 5 Apr Pte James Billows aged 37 years.
  • 13 Apr Pte Joseph Jones aged 19 years.

1855 1st/4th Regiment

The following was buried at Malta in 1855:

  • 1 Jan Pte John Harvey 4th Regiment.

1856 1st/4th Regiment

The following was buried at Malta in 1856:

  • 4 July Pte George McCartney 4th Regiment.

The 1st/The 4th or The King's Own Regiment

The 1st/4th The King's Own Regiment arrived at Barbados from Gibraltar in January 1879. In November 1881, it returned to England from the West Indies having been ordered home on account of the prevalence of yellow fever at that station, and in consequence of the officers and men of the corps having suffered very severely from the disease.

1895 1st/King's Own (Royal Lancaster)

24 Sep 1895 The 1st/Royal Lancaster Regiment left Bowerham Barracks, Lancaster. It embarked at Portsmouth and disembarked in Malta on 4 Oct 1895.

It had an average strength of 126 men with 152 admissions (1206.30/1000 mean strength) into hospital and 1 death (7.94/1000 mean strength).

Its average constantly sick was 8.37 (66.43/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 24.25 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 20.10 days.

The 1st/Royal Lancaster Regiment was quartered at Pembroke Camp for 3 months.

1896 1st/King's Own (Royal Lancaster)

The 1st/Royal Lancaster Regiment had an average strength of 872 men. It had 760 admissions (871.6/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 10 deaths (11.47/1000 mean strength). 20 invalids returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 51.09 (58.59/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 24.44 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 24.60 days.

The 1st/Royal Lancaster Regiment was quartered at Mtarfa Barracks for 12 months. It was the first regiment to occupy the newly constructed barracks. In July 1896, there were nine cases of enteric fever with five deaths at Mtarfa Barracks (Imtarfa).

The regiment also had 116 cases of malarial fevers in a large draft which had arrived from India in February. There were no deaths.

The following were buried in Rinella Military Cemetery in 1896:

  • 11 Aug Pte Walter Crane aged 23 years, died at Cottonera.
  • 17 Aug James Smith aged 20 years 9 months, died at Cottonera.
  • 11 Nov Arthur Brown aged 24 years, died at Cottonera.

1897 1st/King's Own (Royal Lancaster)

The 1st/Royal Lancaster Regiment had an average strength of 858 men. It had 714 admissions (832.2/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 6 deaths (6.90/1000 mean strength). 32 invalids returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 50.34 (58.67/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 21.42 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 25.73 days.

The 1st/Royal Lancaster Regiment was quartered at Mtarfa Barracks for 3 1/2 months and Lower St Elmo Barracks for 7 months. It embarked for Hong Kong on 25 Nov 1897, where it arrived on 26 December.

The following were buried in Rinella Military Cemetery in 1897:

  • 24 June Pte John Jones aged 23 years, died at Fort St Angelo.
  • 21 Oct Walter Lawrence Reeves aged 4 months, son of Sgt Fort St Salvatore.

1898 1st/King's Own (Royal Lancaster)

25 Nov 1897 The 1st/Royal Lancaster Regiment embarked for Hong Kong, leaving 12 men in Malta. It arrived in Hong Kong on 26 Dec 1897.

The 1st/The 4th or The King's Own Regiment

1901 1st/King's Own (Royal Lancaster)

19 Nov 1901 The 1st Battalion Royal Lancaster Regiment arrived in Aldershot on 26 March 1900. It embarked at Southampton on the Sicilia and disembarked at Malta on 28 Nov 1901.

1902 1st/King's Own (Royal Lancaster)

The following were buried in Rinella Military Cemetery in 1902:

  • 21 Jan Pte Henry Gilling aged 19 years, died at Cottonera Hospital.
  • 29 June Arthur William Shearer aged 10 months, died at Cottonera.
  • 7 July Joseph Henry Hutchinson aged 1 month, died at Cottonera.
  • 27 July Pte Charles Stirland aged 29 years, died at Cottonera.
  • 28 Dec Alice Fitton aged 3 months, daughter of Sgt Fitton died at Cottonera.

1903 1st/King's Own (Royal Lancaster)

29 Apr 1903 Burial of Pte John Turner aged 19 yrs at Mtarfa Military Cemetery (Plot 4, Row 2, Grave 7).

17 Sep 1903 The 1st Battalion embarked on the Soudan for Bombay, where it arrived on 2 Oct 1903.

The following were buried in Rinella Military Cemetery in 1903:

  • 8 Jan John Chadwick Fitton aged 1 year 5 months, son of Sgt Fitton died at Cottonera.
  • 24 Apr Francis Payne aged 24 years, died at Cottonera.
  • 30 May W Cole aged 5 months, died at Zabbar.
  • 19 July Pte Thomas C Hemus aged 32 years, died at Cottonera.
  • 21 Aug L/Sgt William Thomas aged 24 years, died at Cottonera.

The 2nd/The 4th or The King's Own Regiment

1864 2nd/4th The King's Own

4 June 1864 The 2nd Battalion The King's Own Regiment arrived from Corfu where it had served since 2 June 1859.

In 1864, the regiment had an average strength of 450 men, 365 hospital admissions (811 admissions per 1000 of mean strength) with 3 deaths in hospital and 3 out of hospital (13.33 deaths per 1000 of mean strength).

1865 2nd/4th The King's Own

In 1865, the regiment had an average strength of 743 men. There were 587 hospital admissions (790 admissions per 1000 of mean strength) with 21 deaths in hospital, 1 out of hospital and 1 death among the invalids (32.30 deaths per 1000 of mean strength).

The 2nd/4th Regiment occupied Floriana Barracks; their families were in old badly constructed and dilapidated huts on the Hornwork of Floriana, which they shared with the families of the 100th Regiment. Floriana Barracks had been an old casemated store house, which had been adapted to accommodate the infantry. It was bounded on one side by a parapet which overlooked on to the Ospizio dei Vecchi and St Salvatore Counter Guard. On the other side was the Civil Hospital.

On 13 July an officer's servant and the wife of a private soldier fell ill with cholera. Panic ensued in the barracks which lasted for two days and two nights, when men and women became very agitated and convinced themselves that they had caught the disease. The men were transferred from their barracks and placed under canvas on the Floriana parade ground, three companies moved into huts on Notre Dame Ravelin. A hospital marquee was erected as it was too far to admit patients to the General Hospital in Lower Merchant Street Valletta. Infected bedding was destroyed and the excreta disinfected and buried in pits.

Despite these precautions more cases followed. Surgeon Benjamin Lane urged the removal of the troops to St George's Bay or Citta Vecchia, but the PMO, Inspector General Arthur Anderson placed them under canvas upon the adjoining parade ground. The men persisted in using the barracks by day but slept under canvas at night. From 13 to 20 July, cholera raged among the families. Surgeon Lane suggested all the families to be moved under tents upon the same ground as that occupied by the men.

In July there was a total of 21 sick with 15 deaths. In August 9 fell ill with 7 deaths. The last soldier died on 16 September. The 2nd/4th had a total of 31 sick and 23 deaths. Deaths from cholera occurred at Floriana Barracks (5), Floriana Pavilion (1), Notre Dame Ravelin (4), Horn Works (3), Valletta Hospital (2), and Floriana Encampment (8).

Memorial erected at Quarantine Bastion Cemetery Floriana by B Coy 4th Battalion King's Own Royal Regiment to their comrades who died of cholera in August 1865:

  • Pte Thomas Bell
  • Pte Samuel Rood
  • Pte Griffin Bond
  • William Brooks 2nd/4th KORR died of cholera 16 Sept 1865 aged 26 years. (Quarantine Bastion Cemetery Floriana).

1866 2nd/4th the King's Own

In 1866, the regiment had an average strength of 157 men. There were 68 hospital admissions (433.1 admissions per 1000 of mean strength) with 1 death in hospital (6.37 deaths per 1000 of mean strength).

27 Mar 1866 The 2nd Battalion embarked for Nova Scotia where it arrived on 21 April 1866. It was relieved in Malta by the 1st/8th Regiment.

The 8th/The King's Own Royal Regiment (Lancaster)

1941 8th/KORR (Lancaster)

2 Aug 1941 The 8th Battalion arrived at Malta. It had 33 officers and 810 men.

1942 8th/KORR (Lancaster)

1943 8th/KORR (Lancaster)

10 Oct 1943 The 8th Battalion left for Palestine. On 30 Jan 1944, it absorbed 58 survivors of the 1st Battalion. This had moved to Leros from Palestine in 1943 and was virtually annihilated in the German assault on the island.

Bibliography

  • Farmer J. S., 1984. The regimental records of the British Army Reprint Edition, Trowbridge, Wiltshire: Crecy Books.
  • Record of the services of British Regiments. The Fourth (The King's Own) Regiment of Foot. The Naval and Military Magazine Vol IV No VIII page 317, December 1828. London 1828.
  • TNA:WO 379/15. Stations of Regiments 1901–1920.
  • Boileau, J. P. H., A few remarks on yellow fever and on the movement of troops. Br Med J (1882), page 7, (Published 7 January 1882).
  • 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 156/113. Register of burials September 1853 to June 1862.
  • TNA:WO 156/115. Register of burials in the military cemetery Rinella from January 1890 to January 1908.