RAMC

Regiments of the Malta Garrison
The 20th (East Devonshire) Regiment

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The 20th (East Devonshire) Regiment

Introduction

The 20th (East Devonshire) Regiment was raised in 1688 in East Devon as Colonel Sir Robert Peyton's Regiment of Foot.

In 1751, the regiment became the 20th Foot to which East Devonshire was added in 1782.

In May 1838, the 20th was permitted to add on its Colours the words Vimiera and Corunna in commemoration of the battles in which it was engaged at Vimiera on 21 August 1808 and at Corunna on 16 January 1809.

On 1 July 1881, The East Devonshire became The Lancashire Fusiliers. As a Fusilier Regiment it wore the grenade as a badge, the distinguishing feature on the ball being the Sphinx with the word Egypt below, all within a laurel wreath. The Sphinx with Egypt was granted to the 20th Foot by Horse Guards Letter No 170 of 6 July 1802, for service in the Egyptian campaign of 1801. The laurel wreath was received in honour of the Battle of Minden of 1st August 1759. As one of the six Minden Regiments all ranks wear roses in their head dress on the anniversary of that battle (Minden Day).

In April 1968 the Lancashire Fusiliers merged with the 5th (The Royal Northumberland Fusiliers), the 6th (The Royal Warwickshire Fusiliers), and 7th (The Royal Fusiliers – City of London), to form The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.

The 1st/The 20th (East Devonshire) Regiment

1801 1st/20th (East Devonshire)

The 20th Regiment was quartered in Minorca when it volunteered its services for the Egyptian Campaign. It reached Egypt after 20 March 1801. From Egypt the 1st/20th embarked for Malta, where it remained until Nov 1805. It then sailed for Naples.

Sep 1801 The men were severely affected with fever and ophthalmia.

6 Dec 600 men of the 1st/20th arrived from Egypt under the command of Lt Col Robert Ross. The regiment formed part of the Malta Garrison and was quartered at Vittoriosa.

1802 1st/20th (East Devonshire) (Leigh's Regiment)

1 Jan 1802 Strength: 31 Commissioned and Warrant Officers, 75 NCOs, 554 rank and file fit for duty, 91 rank and file sick, 768 total officers and men, 1123 establishment.

1 Mar Strength: 25 Commissioned and Warrant Officers, 75 NCOs, 553 rank and file fit for duty, 99 rank and file sick, 775 total officers and men, 1128 establishment.

1 May Strength: 23 Commissioned and Warrant Officers, 56 NCOs, 488 rank and file fit for duty, 80 rank and file sick, 660 total officers and men, 842 establishment.

4 May Col Bayliss 2nd/35th Foot, the commandant of the Cottonera District, shot and mortally wounded Capt Newman 20th Foot in a duel near Salvatore Gate. Newman was buried on 14 May at the burial ground near the Zabbar Gate (Rock Gate Cemetery).

21 July 176 men, 15 women and 6 children embarked on the men-of-war Haarlem and were withdrawn from Malta in compliance with the provision of the Treaty of Amiens.

1 Aug Strength: 15 Commissioned and Warrant Officers, 56 NCOs, 582 rank and file fit for duty, 102 rank and file sick, 776 total officers and men, 842 establishment.

Sep The battalion was at Vittoriosa where the men suffered greatly from fever. Villettes reported:

In the 48th the fever is I hope nearly subdued, but has increased in the 20th regiment. Tho every pain has been taken to check it, and their loss during the last month (August) has been considerable, I trust however, that as the weather grows cooler, we shall get the better of it. Though the season is generally very unhealthy, the other regiments have not materially suffered.1

1 Nov 1802 Strength: 19 Commissioned and Warrant Officers, 56 NCOs, 612 rank and file fit for duty, 109 rank and file sick, 814 total officers and men, 843 establishment.

1803 1st/20th (East Devonshire) (Leigh's Regiment)

1803 Strength: 846 men with detachments in Gozo.

1804 1st/20th (East Devonshire) (Leigh's Regiment)

1 Sep 1804 Strength: 41 Commissioned and Warrant Officers, 76 NCOs, 768 rank and file fit for duty, 64 rank and file sick, 955 total officers and men, 1113 establishment.

1805 1st/20th (East Devonshire) (Leigh's Regiment)

1 July 1805 Strength: 34 Commissioned and Warrant Officers, 76 NCOs, 740 rank and file fit for duty, 62 rank and file sick, 929 total officers and men, 1127 establishment.

1 Aug 1805 Strength: 39 Commissioned and Warrant Officers, 76 NCOs, 771 rank and file fit for duty, 36 rank and file sick, 930 total officers and men, 1113 establishment.

Table 2: Strength of 1st/20th Regiments 1805
Date Strength Sick Fit
1 July 929 62 740
1 August 930 36 771
14 August 697 67
1 November 929 62 740
Table 2: Strength of 1st/20th Regiments Malta 1805

3 Nov 1805 The 1st/20th Regiment embarked on Sir James Craig's expedition to Naples.

1st/20th (East Devonshire)

1855 1st/20th (East Devonshire)

The following were buried in 1855:

The 1st/The 20th (East Devonshire) Regiment

1879 1st/20th (East Devonshire)

Dec 1879 A detachment of 1st/20th arrived from Cyprus. In 1878, the Ottoman Empire ceded Cyprus (1878–1960) to the British for the purpose of defence and administration, but the Sultan retained ownership of the island.

The 1st/20th Regiment had an average strength of 173 men. It had 163 admissions (942.2/1000 mean strength) into hospital with no deaths. 4 invalids were returned to England. Its average daily sick was 8.27 (47.80/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 17.45 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 18.52 days.

1880 1st/20th (East Devonshire)

The 1st/20th Foot had an average strength of 403 men. It had 382 admissions (947.9/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 3 deaths (7.44 deaths/1000 mean strength). 6 invalids returned to England. Its average constantly sick was 17.57 (43.59/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 15.95 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 16.83 days.

11 Oct 1880 The second wing of the 1st/Lancashire Fusiliers disembarked in Malta from Cyprus which had been occupied by British troops between 1878 and 1960.

1881 1st/20th (East Devonshire)

17 Jan 1881 The 1st Battalion embarked for Queenstown and onwards to Cork where it arrived on 28 January 1881.

1 July The East Devonshire became the Lancashire Fusiliers.

The 1st/Lancashire Fusiliers

1899 1st/Lancashire Fusiliers

27 Aug 1899 On 17 Aug 1899, the 1st Battalion embarked at Southampton from Aldershot on the transport Jelunga. It disembarked at Malta on 27 Aug 1899.

29 Sep The 1st Battalion embarked on the Jelunga for Crete where it arrived on 2 October 1899.

The 1st/Lancashire Fusiliers

1901 1st/Lancashire Fusiliers

27 Feb 1901 The 1st Battalion embarked at Crete on the SS Formosa and arrived in Malta on 1 Mar 1901. It occupied Fort Chambray Gozo.

1902 1st/Lancashire Fusiliers

1902 The battalion was at Lower St Elmo Barracks.

17 Oct 1902 The 1st Battalion embarked for Gibraltar on the Sardinia.

The 1st/Lancashire Fusiliers

1905 1st/Lancashire Fusiliers

26 Feb 1905 About 700 men of the 1st Battalion arrived from Gibraltar on the Dilwara. In Mar they were reinforced by another 100 men. On their arrival the troops were quartered in Polverista Barracks Cottonera. On 20th Mar the men marched to Pembroke Camp, and on 30th Apr 1905 to Mellieha Camp.

8 Mar L/Cpl Jasper Gordon aged 25 years 10 months, died at Polverista Barracks and was buried in in Rinella Military Cemetery.

5 Apr The battalion reported its first case of Mediterranean Fever 37 days after its landing at Malta. It had its second admission on 17 April. Another 18 admissions occurred following their move to St Elmo Barracks. During the same period the Essex Regt had had 50 admissions.

8 May The men of the 1st Battalion returned to their barracks at Polverista from Mellieha training Camp. They remained at Polverista until their removal to Lower St Elmo Barracks. Six companies occupied Lower St Elmo Barracks and replaced the 2nd/Essex Regt which marched to Mtarfa Barracks on 8th July. B Coy and D Coy 1st/Lancashire Fusiliers moved into Fort Manoel Hutments.

9 Aug 1905 From 9 Aug to the end of Sept, 19 cases of Mediterranean fever occurred in the six companies stationed at Lower St Elmo Barracks, and 3 cases in the two companies occupying Manoel Island Hutments. H Coy had 7 cases between 11 July and the end of Sept following their occupation of Lower St Elmo Barracks.

1906 1st/Lancashire Fusiliers

30 Apr 1906 The 1st Battalion was suddenly ordered to proceed to Egypt with the 4th/Worcestershire Regiment. It embarked on the Dilwara and the SS City of Athens and arrived in Alexandria on 3 May 1906.

14 Dec 1906 The battalion left Alexandria and returned to Malta on the Braemar Castle.

1907 1st/Lancashire Fusiliers

27 Nov 1907 The 1st Battalion embarked for Karachi on board the Dongola.

The 2nd/The 20th (East Devonshire) Regiment

1801 2nd/20th (East Devonshire)

Dec 1801 The 2nd Battalion arrived for Egypt. It had 550 men located at Isola Gate Barracks (Senglea).

31 Dec Israel Unsworth was the first soldier to be buried by the Rev. Cosserat in Vittoriosa. Cosserat recorded that the man literally died of hard drinking.

1802 2nd/20th (East Devonshire) (Fitzroy's Regiment)

1 Jan 1802 Strength: 34 Commissioned and Warrant Officers, 75 NCOs, 440 rank and file fit for duty, 110 rank and file sick, 673 total officers and men, 1123 establishment.

1 Mar Strength: 31 Commissioned and Warrant Officers, 75 NCOs, 445 rank and file fit for duty, 107 rank and file sick, 675 total officers and men, 1123 establishment.

1 May Strength: 31 Commissioned and Warrant Officers, 56 NCOs, 456 rank and file fit for duty, 74 rank and file sick, 622 total officers and men, 842 establishment.

17 July 176 men, 15 women and 6 children were withdrawn from the Malta garrison in preparation for the evacuation of the island, pursuant to the Treaty of Amiens.

1 Aug Strength: 23 Commissioned and Warrant Officers, 56 NCOs, 577 rank and file fit for duty, 33 rank and file sick, 702 total officers and men, 842 establishment.

Sep 1802 The 2nd Battalion was disbanded as part of the peace dividend following the Treaty of Amiens.

The 2nd/Lancashire Fusiliers

1898 2nd/Lancashire

8 Dec 1898 The 2nd/Lancashire Fusiliers arrived at Crete from Egypt on 11 Oct 1898 following the Nile Campaign. It had served in Crete for 2 1/2 months. It embarked for Malta on 4 Dec, arriving in the island four days later.

It had an average strength of 187 men with 479 admissions (2561.5/1000 mean strength) into hospital and 9 deaths (48.13/1000 mean strength). 9 invalids returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 16.77 (89.68/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 32.73 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 12.78 days.

10 Dec 1898 Pte William Henry Whitehead aged 24 years, died at Cottonera and was buried in Rinella Military Cemetery.

1899 2nd/Lancashire

1 Jan 1899 Strength: 908 men at Fort Chambray Gozo.

1 July Strength: 768 men at Pembroke Camp.

6 Sep 1899 The 2nd Battalion embarked for Southampton on the transport Jelunga. It moved to Chatham on 14 Sep, from where it proceeded on the SS Norman to Natal on 2 Dec 1899.

The 3rd/Lancashire Fusiliers

1898 3rd/Lancashire Fusiliers

4 Sep 1898 The 3rd/Lancashire Fusiliers was formed at Preston on 1 Apr 1898 and disbanded on 15 May 1907. It embarked at Southampton on 26 Aug 1898 and arrived in Malta on 4 Sep 1898.

It had an average strength of 281 men with 221 admissions (786.5/1000 mean strength) into hospital and 2 deaths (7.12/1000 mean strength). 1 invalid returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 11.58 (41.21/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 15.04 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 19.13 days.

The men were quartered at Mtarfa Barracks for 4 months.

1 Nov Baptism of Percy Dunne born on 7 October 1898, son of QM Frederick Dunne and Louisa, resident at Mtarfa.

28 Dec 1898 Burial of Pte Herbert Gatehouse aged 22 years, died at Cottonera. Buried in Rinella Military Cemetery.

1899 3rd/Lancashire Fusiliers

The following were baptised in 1899:

The following were buried in Rinella Military Cemetery in 1899:

2 Oct 1899 Detachment of the 3rd Battalion was at Crete.

1 Dec The battalion was at Mtarfa Barracks with detachments at Fort Chambray Gozo. The regimental strength was 989 men.

The first five burials at Mtarfa Military Cemetery in 1899 were from the 3rd/Lancashire Fusiliers. The first burial took place on 1 June 1899. (P=Plot, R=R0w, G=Grave):

1900 3rd/Lancashire

2 Jan 1900 Mtarfa (Imtarfa) Cemetery was consecrated by the Rt Rev the Bishop of Gibraltar on Tuesday 2 Jan 1900. HE the Governor General Sir Francis Grenfell and Major General Lord Congleton commanding the Infantry Brigade were present.

Also in attendance were: the Senior Chaplain the Rev Alfred Malim, The Rev D. Nickerson, The Rev W. C. Parr (in charge of Mtarfa), The Rev M. W. Churchward, and The Rev M Jones. The first recorded burial was that of Ada Wood, aged 3 mths, daughter of Sgt Wood 3rd/Lancashire Fusiliers. The service was conducted by the Rt Rev W C Parr on 1 June 1899.

1 Jan 1900 The battalion was located at Mtarfa Barracks. It had 828 men.

19 Jan Pte John Henry Burns aged 20 years, died at Cottonera and was buried in Rinella Military Cemetery.

1 July The battalion was located at Lower St Elmo Barracks. It had 717 men.

1901 3rd/Lancashire

1 Jan 1901 The battalion was located at Lower St Elmo Barracks. It had 767 men.

25 Sep Burial of Pte Richard Windle aged 21 yrs, at Mtarfa Cemetery (Plot 4, Row 1, Grave 2).

29 Nov 1901 The 3rd Battalion embarked for Barbados and Jamaica on the SS Sicilia.

The 11th/Lancashire Fusiliers

1941 11th/Lancashire

25 July 1941 The 11th Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers arrived from Gibraltar. It had 38 officers and 833 men. The 11th Bn defended Valletta and the coastline from Sliema to St Julians. They also worked on the extension of the airstrip at Hal Safi.

20 Nov 160722 2nd Lt Owen Norman Makinson died in hospital following a bomb explosion during training on the ranges. One other rank was also accidentally injured.

10 Dec 1941 Captain G. Heap RAMC attached to 15th Fld Amb from 11th/Lancashire Fusiliers.

1942 11th/Lancashire

1943 11th/Lancashire

1944 11th/Lancashire

21 May 1944 The 11th Battalion left for Naples.

Bibliography