RAMC

Regiments of the Malta Garrison
The Queen's Own (Royal West Kent) Regiment (50th/97th)

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The Queen's Own (Royal West Kent) Regiment (50th/97th)

Introduction

The Queen's Own (Royal West Kent) Regiment was formed on 1 July 1881 from the union of the 50th (The Queen's Own) Regiment of Foot with the 97th (The Earl of Ulster's) Regiment.

The 50th became the 1st Battalion. The 97th became the 2nd Battalion.

In 1961 The Queen's Own (Royal West Kent) Regiment amalgamated with The Buffs (Royal East Kent Regiment) to form The Queen's Own Buffs Royal Kent Regiment which in 1966 became the 2nd Battalion The Queen's Regiment.

In September 1992 the regiment merged with The Royal Hampshire Regiment to form The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment (Queen's and Royal Hampshires).

The 1st/Queen's Own (Royal West Kent) Regiment

1856 1st/Queen's Own (Royal West Kent)

The 1st/Queen's Own (Royal West Kent) Regiment

1889 1st/Queen's Own (Royal West Kent)

1 July 1881 The 50th Regiment became The 1st Battalion The Queen's Own (Royal West Kent) Regiment.

13 Aug 1889 The 1st/Royal West Kent Regiment embarked at Gibraltar, disembarking in Malta on 19 August 1889.

It had an average strength of 357 men (8 coys). It had 176 admissions (493.0/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 2 deaths (5.60/1000 mean strength). 1 invalid returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 9.50 (26.61/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 9.71 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 19.70 days.

The battalion was at Fort Ricasoli for four and a half months on arrival from Gibraltar with detachments at Pembroke Camp.

The following were buried in Pietà Military Cemetery in 1889:

  • 25 Aug Pte Joseph Moon, aged 24 years.
  • 16 Nov Infant Edith Mann, aged 3 weeks, daughter of Sgt Mann.

1890 1st/Queen's Own (Royal West Kent)

The 1st/Royal West Kent Regiment had an average strength of 950 men (8 coys). It had 482 admissions (507.3/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 7 deaths (7.36/1000 mean strength) including 2 among the invalids. 19 invalids returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 29.11 (30.64/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 11.18 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 22.04 days.

The 1st/Royal West Kent Regiment was at Fort Ricasoli for 1 month and 3 weeks and at Fort Manoel for 10 months and one week. It had detachments at Pembroke Camp for 10 months.

8 Jan 1890 Albert Henry Beckhuson aged 5 months, died at Fort Salvatore and was buried in Rinella Military Cemetery.

The following were buried in Pietà Military Cemetery in 1890:

  • 15 May Infant Elizabeth Reddersen aged 9 months, daughter of Sgt Reddersen.
  • 9 June Pte F Magness aged 23 years.
  • 16 June Cpl Henry John Sackree aged 23 years.
  • 9 Oct Pte James McLaughlin aged 23 years 10 months.
  • 14 Oct Pte Arthur Clarke aged 25 years 6 months.
  • 22 Oct Pte George Charles Barnden aged 24 years.

1891 1st/Queen's Own (Royal West Kent)

The 1st/Royal West Kent Regiment had an average strength of 957 men (8 coys).

It had 464 admissions (484.8/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 6 deaths (6.26/1000 mean strength) including 2 among the invalids. 17 invalids returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 34.16 (35.69/1000 mean strength).

The average sick time to each soldier was 13.02 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 26.87 days.

The 1st/Royal West Kent Regiment was at Fort Manoel for 12 months.

The following were buried in Pietà Military Cemetery in 1891:

  • 16 Jan Pte Thomas Hill aged 26 years.
  • 18 Jan Pte A Rogers aged 25 years.
  • 9 June Infant Amelia Simpson aged 5 months.
  • 8 July Pte George Fleet, aged 23 years.
  • 19 July Infant Stephen Lawrence aged 4 months, son of Pte Lawrence.
  • 13 Aug Frederick Glover aged 20 years 3 months.
  • 30 Aug J Gadney aged 19 years.
  • 11 Sep L/Cpl Thomas Anslow aged 22 years.

1892 1st/Queen's Own (Royal West Kent)

2 Jan 1892 The 1st/Royal West Kent Regiment was quartered at Fort Manoel and Hutments. It embarked for Karachi, where it arrived on 20 January 1892.

The 1st/Royal West Kent Regiment had an average strength of 47 men.

It had 16 admissions (340.4/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 1 death (21.28/1000 mean strength). 2 invalids returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 3.24 (68.93/1000 mean strength).

The average sick time to each soldier was 25.23 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 14.12 days.

The following were buried in Pietà Military Cemetery in 1892:

  • 3 Jan Pte Thorogort aged 25 years.

The 1st/The Queen's Own (Royal West Kent)

1902 1st/Queen's Own (Royal West Kent)

24 Feb 1902 The 1st Battalion arrived in Aden on 15 October 1899. It embarked for Malta on the Sicilia on 13 February 1902, arriving in Malta on 24 February.

25 Nov The battalion embarked on the Dominion for Southampton, arriving there on 13 December 1902. It was in Shorncliffe from 13 December 1902 until 6 April 1904 when it returned to Malta.

1904 1st/Queen's Own (Royal West Kent)

28 Mar 1904 Burial of Pte Edward Gazzard aged 20 yrs 10 mths at Mtarfa Military Cemetery (Plot 4, Row 3, Grave 9).

15 Apr The 1st Battalion embarked on the Soudan at Southampton. It disembarked at Malta on 15 April.

The men were placed under canvass at Pembroke and Mellieha for a month prior to their move to Floriana Barracks. The Battalion remained at Floriana Barracks apart from a month in camp in Nov/Dec 1904, and three weeks in Mar 1905.

18 Oct 1904 Burial of Louisa Ermmaline Dark aged 25 yrs wife of Sgt Dark at Mtarfa Military Cemetery (Plot 1, Row 1, Grave 1).

1905 1st/Queen's Own (Royal West Kent)

29 Nov 1905 Henry John Winter Royal West Kent Regiment, was refused permission by the ecclesiastical authorities of Malta to marry Rosina Spiteri unless he produced satisfactory evidence that he was not already married.

The battalion occupied Floriana Barracks. This included Salvatore Counter Guard and Notre Dame Ravelin. The "Old Barracks" consisted of a range of 12 casemate rooms about 80 feet in length, each accommodating 30 men. There were no window openings. The Malta Civil Hospital occupied the upper part of a building, on the ground floor of which were the regimental stores. There was no communication between the ground and upper floors. 360 soldiers occupied the "Old Barracks". The barracks overlooked the Ospizio.

San Salvatore Counter guard consisted of small casemated rooms with a scarp wall in front of the rooms. It accommodated 30 signalers.

Notre Dame Ravelin Barracks was a single storey building consisting of a range of 16 small rooms on the ground floor with five men in each. It also had seven huts resting on a concrete platform each for 18 men.

One company was quartered in Notre Dame Ravelin Barracks, with another company split between one room in the "Old Barracks" and two huts in the Ravelin. The band occupied huts in the Ravelin. San Salvatore Counter guard and the Ravelin together held 245 soldiers out of a battalion strength of 923.

The New Barracks consisted of three separate two-storey blocks each accommodating one company. Each room held 26 men. Three companies (318 soldiers) were quartered in the "New Barracks".

1 Feb–1 May 1905 "B" Coy was in camp at Ghajn Tuffieha. 37 cases of Mediterranean Fever were admitted to hospital during the battalion's first nine months in Malta.

1906 1st/Queen's Own (Royal West Kent)

18 Dec 1906 The battalion embarked for Southampton on the Braemar Castle. It moved to Dover on 27 December where it remained until 23 September 1909.

The 2nd/Queen's Own (Royal West Kent) Regiment

1939 2nd/Queen's Own (Royal West Kent)

30 June 1939 Strength: 25 officers and 618 men.

26 Aug The regiment vacated St George's Barracks, St George's Bay, which was taken over by the 1st/King's Own Malta Regiment.

It guarded the only radar station on Dingli Cliffs and was responsible for the security of Luqa Airfield, and the training of the Home Guard. The 2nd Battalion was also entrusted with the defence of Marsaxlokk and the south coast, including Wied Iz Zurrieq and Ghar Lapsi. "D" Coy formed part of Northern Brigade under Brig W. H. Oxley.

1940 2nd/Queen's Own (Royal West Kent)

27 Jan 1940 2nd/Royal West Kent moved into St George's Barracks from billets and Mtarfa Barracks. Handed over Mtarfa Barracks to 2nd/KOMR. Major W H G Goater 2nd/RWK was Commandant Pembroke Area. 2nd/Royal West Kent Regiment took over Reserve Battalion from 2nd/Devon and all Passive Air Defence (PAD) responsibilities in the Pembroke area from 2nd/Devonshire Regiment and the accommodation at Ta' Qali.

Apr 2nd/Royal West Kent lines were at St George's Barracks. In April 1940, the troops moved to their war stations except the Reserve Battalion 2nd/RWK which remained at St George's Barracks. On 16 May 1940, the Reserve Battalion was split to guard Ta' Qali, Luqa and Hal Far aerodromes.

20 May 2nd/Royal West Kent Bn HQ opened at Farsons Pavilion Grid 462235 at the Marsa Sports Club. The regiment was tasked with protecting Valletta against the ingress of parachutists. Rifle positions were set up at Marina Pinto, Dogs Home, Sa Maison and Portes des Bombes.

30 June 1940 Strength: 25 Officers and 678 men. The 2nd Battalion vacated Wolseley tented camp overlooking Delimara and moved into billets at Tarxien.

1941 2nd/Queen's Own (Royal West Kent)

30 June 1941 Strength: 38 Officers and 873 men.

30 Sep Strength: 48 officers and 826 men.

1942 2nd/Queen's Own (Royal West Kent)

1943 2nd/Queen's Own (Royal West Kent)

6 June 171516 Capt J C Seddon RAMC was RMO 2nd/Royal West Kent Regiment.

11 June 1943 The 2nd/Queen's Own (Royal West Kent) left for Samos in the Aegean Sea.

The 2nd/Queen's Own (Royal West Kent) had garrisoned Malta throughout the siege and was awarded the Battle Honour Malta 1940–42.

The 3rd/Royal West Kent (1st Kent Militia)

R de M Rudolf in his Campaign Histories of the Infantry Regiments of the British Army page 504 has this to say on the 3rd/Royal West Kent Regt:

During the South African War the 3rd Battalion was embodied, and after serving at Chatham was the first Militia Battalion to embark for service abroad, and as it was not then the intention of sending militia or volunteers to the seat of war, the 3rd Battalion was stationed at Malta in January 1900, where it remained until June 1901. Whilst at Malta, the battalion sent a detachment of mounted infantry to the war, consisting of 20 men, one of whom was killed, one died of disease and two wounded.

1900 3rd/Royal West Kent

Jan 1900 The 3rd Battalion arrived from England. It had 1014 men.

1 July 1088 men were located at Verdala Barracks.

The following were buried in Rinella Military Cemetery in 1900:

  • 30 Jan Sgt John Henry Gosling aged 43 years, died at Cottonera.
  • 1 June Ellen Lottie Fuller aged 43 days, daughter of Sgt died at Cottonera.
  • 4 July Cpl William Savage aged 19 years, died at Cottonera.
  • 15 Sep Kate Biscoe aged 2 years 5 months, daughter of Pte died at Cottonera.
  • 21 July Pte Alfred Thomas Vaughan aged 20 yrs was buried at Mtarfa Military Cemetery (Plot 4, Row 1, Grave 1).

1901 3rd/Royal West Kent

1901 Strength: 1078 men.
June The 3rd Battalion left for England.

The following were buried in Rinella Military Cemetery in 1901:

  • 15 Jan James George Botting aged 2 years 8 months, died at Cottonera.
  • 5 Mar Edith R Theobald aged 2 years 11 months, died at Cottonera.
  • 21 Apr Joseph Hamfleet Eke aged 33 years, died at Cottonera.
  • 7 June Henry Boxall aged 27 years 7 months, died at Cottonera.

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 379/15. Stations of Regiments 1901–1920.
  • TNA:WO 156/115. Register of burials in the military cemetery Rinella from January 1890 to January 1908.
  • TNA:WO 156/116. Burial Register No 17 Mtarfa Cemetery burials from 1 June 1899.