Regiments
Of the Malta Garrison
Queen's Own (Royal West Kent)
(50th/97th) Foot

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

memorial plaque
Plaque presented by the Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment to the National War Museum to commemorate the service of the battalion in Malta.

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 Queen's Own (Royal West Kent) Regiment. 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)

Joseph Moon
Joseph Moon H Coy drowned at Pembroke Camp 24 Aug 1889 aged 24 yrs. (Pieta' Military Cemetery)

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.

Baptisms in 1889:

Burials in Pietà Military Cemetery in 1889:

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

Frederick Magness
Pte Frederick Magness A Coy died 7 June 1890, aged 23 yrs.
(Pieta' Military Cemetery)

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.

Baptisms in 1890:

Burials in Rinella Military Cemetery in 1890:

Burials in Pietà Military Cemetery in 1890:

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

James McLaughlin
L/Cpl James McLaughlin 1st Bn died 8 Oct 1890 aged 24 yrs 10 mths.
(Pieta' Military Cemetery)

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.

Baptisms in 1891:

Burials in Pietà Military Cemetery in 1891:

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

Walter Clarke
1301 Pte Walter Clarke Y Coy drowned at St Paul's Bay 19 Oct 1890, aged 25 yrs
1315 Pte George Barnden A Coy 1st Bn died 21 Oct 1890 aged 25 yrs.
(Pieta' Military Cemetery)

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.

Burials in Pietà Military Cemetery in 1892:

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

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

24 Feb 1902 The 1st/Queen's Own (Royal West Kent) 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 1902 The 1st/Queen's Own (Royal West Kent) consisting of 8 Coys, HQ Coy, 11 officers, 2 WOs, 37 Sgts, 15 Buglers, 467 Rank and file, 12 wives and 17 children embarked on the Dominion. It disembarked at Southampton on 13 December 1902.

Burials in Pietà Military Cemetery in 1902:

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

Louisa Dark
Louisa Dark wife of CSgt I M Dark died at Citta Vecchia Hosp 16 Oct 1904 aged 25 yrs. (Mtarfa Military Cemetery)

7 Apr 1904 The 1st/Queen's Own (Royal West Kent) embarked on the Soudan at Southampton. It disembarked at Malta on 15 April 1904.

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.

Baptisms in the Garrison Church in 1904:

Burials in Pietà Military Cemetery in 1904:

Burials at Mtarfa Military Cemetery in 1904:

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

Harry Eldred
CSgt Harry Eldred, died 27 July 1904, aged 40 yrs. (Pieta' Military Cemetery)

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.

Floriana Bks
Floriana Barracks (TNA:MFQ 1/330)

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.

Bastions
Plan drawn in 1854 showing the fortifications of Floriana (TNA:MFQ 1/220).

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.

29 Nov 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.

Burials in Pietà Military Cemetery in 1905:

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

18 Dec 1906 The 1st/Queen's Own (Royal West Kent), consisting of 8 coys, HQ Coy, 18 officers, 1 officer's wife, 2 warrant officers, 39 sgts, 14 buglers, 429 rank and file, 32 wives and 56 children, embarked for Southampton on the Braemar Castle. The men disembarked on 27 December and moved to Dover, where they remained until 23 September 1909.

Burials in Pietà Military Cemetery in 1906:

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

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

Christopher Butler
Christopher Butler son of Phoebe and Capt Robert Butler killed by enemy action 15 Mar 1942, aged 21 mths. (Pembroke Military Cemetery)
A C Higgins
6343638 Pte Arthur Charles Higgins died 3 Mar 1941 aged 23 yrs.
(Mtarfa Military Cemetery)
R J J Panton
6342887 Pte Reginald James John Panton died 12 Feb 1942 aged 26 yrs.
(Pembroke Military Cemetery)

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. It handed over Mtarfa Barracks to 2nd/KOMR.

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 (GR 462235). 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.

10 June 1940 2nd/Royal West Kent Regiment took over the Reserve Battalion from 2nd/Devon and all Passive Air Defence (PAD) responsibilities and duties in the Pembroke area from 2nd/Devonshire Regiment. It also took over the accommodation at Ta' Qali, and the garages and petrol stores in St Georges Barracks.

The battalion was tasked to deny Valletta to enemy parachutists in accordance with the Malta Command Defence Scheme Chap VII. Rifle Posts were set up at Marina Pinto, Dog's Home and Sa Maison. A Rifle and Light Machine Gun Post was established at Portes de Bombes, Floriana.

One Coy 2/RWK maintained troops for local defence of the landing ground at Marsa Sports Club. A carrier Plt of 2/RWK Regiment supported 2/RIF in defending the landing ground at Ta' Qali runway.

30 June 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)

West Kent Militia
West Kent Militia. The White Horse rampant with the motto "Invicta", (Unconquered). The White Horse associated with Kent was derived from the arms of the Elector of Hanover. It appeared on the colours of the Kent Militia on either a red or blue background. (Main Guard Valletta)

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.

May 1900 The 3rd Battalion Royal West Kent together with the 5th Northumberland Fusiliers took part in combined manoeuvres with the Royal Navy in landing troops and 12 pounder guns at Mellieha Bay. Two mules were attached to each gun to aid the ordinary gun crew and the poles for the mules were made afloat as it was found that the ordinary fittings were inadequate. The landings were made in the face of a gale which destroyed the landing stages.

1 July 1088 men were located at Verdala Barracks.

Burials in Rinella Military Cemetery in 1900:

Burials in Pietà Military Cemetery in 1900:

1901 3rd/Royal West Kent

31 May 1901 The main body of The 3rd/Royal West Kent consisting of 10 companies, 13 officers, 1 officer's wife and 2 children, 1 male and 1 female officer's servants, 51 sergeants, 17 buglers, 704 rank and file, 16 soldier's wives and 27 children, embarked for Southampton on the transport Formosa. The men disembarked on 9 June.

2 June 1901 The detachment of The 3rd/Royal West Kent consisting of 2 companies, 5 officers, 1 officer's wife, 11 sergeants, 2 buglers, 177 rank and file, 10 soldier's wives and 14 children, embarked for Southampton on the transport Dilwara. The men disembarked on 10 June.

Burials in Rinella Military Cemetery in 1901:

The 3rd/Royal West Kent was disbanded in 1901.

The 4th/Royal West Kent Regiment

The 2nd/4th Royal West Kent Regiment landed at Suvla Bay Gallipoli on 10 August 1915.

1915 – 4th/Royal West Kent

Burials at Pietà Military Cemetery in 1915:

Bibliography