RAMC

Regiments of the Malta Garrison
The Rifle Brigade

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The Rifle Brigade

Introduction

The Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own) traces its origins to an experimental Corps of Riflemen raised in March 1800. On 25 August 1800, three companies of this embryonic corps joined the expedition under General Pulteney against the Spanish at El Ferrol. Pulteney decided that El Ferrol could not be taken and he proceeded to reinforce the blockade of the French in Malta, where this part of the Corps was broken up.

On 18 January 1803, the Rifle Corps was placed among the numbered regiments of the line as the 95th or Rifle Regiment, but continued to retain the name The Rifle Corps.

On 16 February 1816, in recognition of its distinguished service in the Battle of Waterloo, the 95th was taken out of the numbered regiments of the line and granted the title The Rifle Brigade (London Gazette 23 February 1816). The battle honour Waterloo was granted to the regiment on 8 December 1815.

Following the death of Prince Albert on 14 December 1861, Queen Victoria ordered the regiment to be designated The Prince Consort's Own Rifle Brigade, (London Gazette 17 January 1862).

On 1 July 1881, the name changed to The Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own). In 1958 it became The 3rd Green Jackets, The Rifle Brigade, and in 1968, The 3rd Battalion, The Royal Green Jackets.

When in Malta, The Rifle Brigade marched to the tune of the Ninety Fifth arranged by their bandmaster William Miller in 1842.

The 1st/The Rifle Brigade

1840 1st/Rifle Brigade

10 Nov 1840 Embarked at Deptford for Malta where it arrived on 13 January 1841.

1841 1st/Rifle Brigade

13 Jan 1841 The 1st/Rifle Brigade consisting of 632 men, 40 women and 52 children arrived from England on the Abercrombie Robinson and relieved The 92nd (Highland) Regiment. The men were at Fort Manoel, St Salvatore Barracks, and Zabbar Gate. Latter in the year they were dispersed between Fort Ricasoli, Zejtun Barracks, Isola Gate Barracks, St Francesco de Paola, Lower St Elmo Barracks, St James Cavalier and Fort Tigne.

10 June John Rowland son of Cpl and Master shoemaker Richard Rowland 1st/The Rifle Bde died 10 June 1841, aged 1 year 7 months. (Military and Civil Cemetery Floriana).

12 Oct Bachelor Sgt William Stillwell married Elizabeth Snow, spinster and daughter of Sgt Samuel Snow 1st/Rifle Bde.

The following were baptised in Malta in 1841:

1842 1st/Rifle Brigade

29 Apr 1842 Strength: 585 men. On 29 April, the 1st/Rifle Bde moved from the right to the left wing of Lower St Elmo Barracks.

3 May On 3 May a company relieved the detachment of the Royal Malta Fencible Regiment at Fort Tigne.

22 Dec Some time between August and September, a private of the 19th Foot brutally assaulted a man of the Rifle Brigade. He was sentenced to a term imprisonment, but on his release he renewed his quarrel and enlisted some of his comrades to seek revenge. In mid-December, there was a fracas when the Rifle Brigade routed the 19th Foot. On 23 December, 150 men of the 19th turned out with their side arms and were involved in a running fight with 150 soldiers of the Rifle Bde from St James Cavalier to the bottom of Strada Mercanti. Several men were severely wounded, one so badly as to be considered in imminent danger. The 19th Foot were confined to their barracks but the animosity between them and Rifle Bde continued. The 19th stoned a picket of the Rifles and urged The 88th Regiment to join them, but the latter declined. The Governor and Garrison Commander Lt Gen Sir Henry Bouverie ordered a Court of Enquiry and placed a picket at Lower St Elmo under the command of a captain which was to remain on duty till 23:00 hours. The tattoo was called at 20 hours instead of 20:30 hours, and the men of the 19th were confined to barracks from sun set. They were forbidden to absent themselves with out a pass from the captain on duty.1

29 Dec Bachelor Bugle Major William Miller married Hannah Frances Robinson, widow of the town of Blyth in the Parish of Earsdon County Northumberland, England.

The following were baptised in Malta in 1842:

The following were buried in Malta in 1842:

1843 1st/Rifle Brigade

2 Mar 1843 HQ Coy and the Right Wing of the 1st Bn consisting of 8 officers, 281 men, 27 women and 48 children left for Corfu on board the Boyne to replace the 77th Foot.

24 Mar Men from The 1st/Rifle Brigade gave a performance at the Opera House for the benefit of the poor. Seven pounds were distributed to infant schools, the Ladies Charitable Society, and to poor individuals.

1 Apr The Left Wing of the 1st Bn consisting of 8 officers, 264 men, 25 women and 31 children left for Corfu on board the Boyne to replace the 77th Foot.

The following were baptised in Malta in 1843:

1845 – 1st/Rifle Brigade

17 June Bachelor Bugle Major William Money 1st/Rifle Brigade married Mary Lindsay, spinster and daughter of John Lindsay Laboratory Foreman in the Ordnance Department.

The 1st/The Rifle Brigade

1855 1st/Rifle Brigade

The following were buried at Malta in 1855:

1856 1st/Rifle Brigade

The following were buried in 1856:

The 1st/The Rifle Brigade

1898 1st/Rifle Brigade

4 Feb 1898 The 1st/Rifle Bde was returning to England from Hong Kong after more than 17 years service abroad when it was ordered to land at Malta. It reinforced the garrison following the departure of battalions for Egypt.

The 1st/The Rifle Brigade

1904 1st/Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own)

20 Apr 1904 The 1st/Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own) left Portsmouth and embarked on the Plassy at Southampton on 12 April. It disembarked in Malta on 20 April 1904.

The men were quartered at Fort Manoel with detachments at Bahar-ic-Chaghak and Ghajn Tuffieha. Training was carried out at Pembroke and Mellieha.

1 Apr Burial of Cpl Samuel Mitchell aged 27 yrs at Mtarfa Military Cemetery (Plot 4, Row 3, Grave 10).

6 May No 9308 Acting Cpl B. Rifle Bde arrived at Malta in April 1904. He was admitted to hospital on 6 May 1904 for treatment with mercury of his syphilitic ulceration of the tonsils and uvula. He was discharged on 6 June 1904.

10 Nov 1904 Cpl B. was admitted to the military hospital Valletta from Fort Manoel. He had been unwell for three days with headaches, backache and diarrhoea. Mild enteric fever was diagnosed. On 17 Nov he complained of abdominal pains. Cpl B died on 19 Nov 1904 from a perforation of his small bowel. A postmortem examination showed typical ulcers in the ileum with a perforated ulcer in the terminal ileum. The Micrococcus melitensis was also cultured from specimens of his spleen.

1905 1st/Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own)

June 1905 Up to the beginning of June 1905, The 1st/Rifle Brigade was at Fort Manoel and hutments. Seven of the barrack rooms in the fort were casemates, each accommodating 9 men. There were three other rooms accommodating 36 men in all. The hutments consisted of 28 huts each accommodating 18 men.

In June 1905, The 1st/Rifle Brigade moved to St Andrew's Barracks. The barracks were completed in the early part of 1905 and consisted of nine double storied company blocks, each rooms accommodating 14 men.

1906 1st/Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own)

1906 The 1st/Rifle Brigade was at St Andrew's Barracks.

6 Aug Pte Robert Sanderson 1st Rifle Brigade, aged 27 years fired a weapon at Sgt John Simpson Rifle Bde at St Andrew's Barracks. The bullet hit Sgt Simpson in his left chest, penetrated the thoracic cavity, and came out at the infra spinal process of the left scapula. Sanderson then proceeded to assault Simpson with a bayonet causing him further injuries to his right hand and right clavicle.

26 Sep Pte Robert Sanderson was found guilty before HM Criminal Court on a charge of Attempted Wilful Homicide. He was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment with hard labour and transferred to England, in accordance with Clause 2(b) of the Colonial Prisoners Removal Act 1884.2

15 Oct 1906 HQ and 8 companies consisting of 14 officers, 2 warrant officers, 39 sergeants, 13 ensigns, 552 rank and file, 1 officer's wife and 5 officer's children, 1 female servant, 40 soldier's wives and 48 soldier's children of The 1st/Rifle Brigade embarked on the Sicilia for Southampton and onwards to Belfast.

The 2nd/The Rifle Brigade

1826 2nd/Rifle Brigade

22 Feb 1826 515 men of The 2nd/Rifle Brigade arrived from Ireland on the Vibilia, Cato and Sovereign.

The battalion was at the Lazaretto and Fort Manoel, Lower St Elmo Barracks and Fort Tigne with a detachment at Fort Chambray Gozo.

21 July Burial of Victoire Hardy nee Delhaye, wife of Pte Samuel Hardy 2nd/Rifle Bde, aged 32 years. (Quarantine Bastion Cemetery Floriana).

Oct The 2nd/Rifle Brigade moved to Isola Barracks, San Francesco de Paola and San Salvatore Barracks.

The following were baptised in Malta in 1826:

1827 2nd/Rifle Brigade

16 Apr 1827 Bachelor Schoolmaster Sgt John Fraser married Sarah Griffith, spinster and daughter of John Griffith, clerk of the Government Chapel.

25 Oct Strength: Rank and File (Effective) 515, Rank and File (Establishment) 516.

Dec The 2nd/Rifle Brigade was at Lower St Elmo Barracks.

The following were baptised in Malta in 1827:

1828 2nd/Rifle Brigade

20 Mar Bachelor Pte Edward Miller married Teresa de Bonn, spinster of the Parish of St Lorenzo Vittoriosa, Malta.

25 Aug Strength: 519 men (6 coys).

The following were baptised in 1828:

The following died in 1828:

1829 2nd/Rifle Brigade

Dec 1829 The 2nd/Rifle Brigade moved to Floriana Barracks.

Strength: 521 men.

The following married in 1829:

The following were baptised in 1829:

1830 2nd/Rifle Brigade

25 Feb 1830 Strength: 516 men (6 coys).

Dec The 2nd/Rifle Brigade was stationed at the Cottonera District.

The following were baptised in 1830:

The following were buried in 1830:

1831 2nd/Rifle Brigade

1 Apr 1831 Strength: Six companies Rank and File 493 (effective), 515 (established).

19 Dec Bachelor Captain John Woodford of Worcester married Penelope Cowper, spinster and minor, daughter of Henry and Catharine Cowper of Gibraltar with the consent of her guardian.

The following were baptised in 1831:

The following were buried in 1831:

1832 2nd/Rifle Brigade

10 Jan 1832 Lt Col George Brown 2nd Rifles was sworn in as acting Lt Governor and commander of the garrison. He took over the civil administration of Malta during the absence of the governor.

28 Jan Bachelor Lt Sidney Beckwith of Halifax Nova Scotia married Eliza Mary Harvey, spinster daughter of Samuel and Sarah Harvey formerly of the Parish of Portsea in the County of Southampton, currently of HM Naval Arsenal in Malta.

13–23 Feb 507 men of The 2nd/Rifle Brigade embarked for Corfu.

15 Oct Catherine Frances Woodford daughter of Capt John Woodford and Penelope, born on 17 September 1832 was baptised on 15 October.

The following were buried in 1832:

1833 2nd/Rifle Brigade

6 June Clementina Beckwith daughter of Lt Sidney Beckwith and Eliza Mary, born on 11 January 1833 and privately baptised at Corfu by the Rev H Leeves was publicly received into the church.

The 2nd/The Rifle Brigade

1841 — 2nd/Rifle Brigade

Mar 1841 Assistant Surgeon Henry Downes 2nd/Rifle Brigade, was most severely reprimanded by the Commander-in-Chief and Sir J W McGrigor for neglecting a child. It was only at the intercession of the commanding officer and Sir J McGrigor that Lord Hill refrained from bringing him to a Court Martial. Downes was censured in front of the whole regiment.

In 1843, the Principal Medical Officer Nova Scotia reported him to be somewhat idle and ineffective with lack of industry and firmness of purpose. In 1845, the report of his PMO stated that a great improvement had taken place.

In 1847, Mr Downes had an attack of insanity temporary brought on by domestic affliction and a fall from his horse. He was reported well two months later. Despite this adverse confidential report Henry Downes was promoted to the Staff on 1 Sept 1855. He served in the Crimea as the surgeon of 97th Regiment and retired on 7 Aug 1866 with the Hon Rank of Deputy Inspector General.

1854 2nd/Rifle Brigade

8 Mar 1854 The 2nd/Rifle Brigade arrived from England. It encamped at St Clement's Parade Ground.

29 Mar The 2nd/Rifle Brigade left for Turkey and the Crimea.

Nov The 2nd/Rifle Brigade regiment had 16 officers and 684 men serving in the Crimea. In November, bowel complaints predominated with only 36 of the admissions from wounds. Men in the 1st/Rifle Brigade, which had 19 officers and 678 men in the Crimea, were also laid down with bowel disorders brought on according to their surgeon by exposure. 131 men were admitted to hospital; 13 died of gunshot wounds. 21 admissions and 1 death were ascribed to scurvy.

1855 2nd/Rifle Brigade

The following were buried in 1855:

The 2nd/The Rifle Brigade

1 July 1881 The 2nd/Rifle Brigade became the 2nd/The Prince Consort's Own (Rifle Brigade).

1897 2nd/Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own)

23 Sep 1897 The 2nd/Rifle Brigade left Aldershot for the Royal Albert Docks Woolwich, where it embarked on the Avoca. It disembarked at Malta on 3 October.

It had an average strength of 135 men with 108 admissions (800/1000 mean strength) into hospital. 1 invalid returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 5.58 (41.33/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 15.09 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 18.86 days.

The 2nd/Rifle Brigade was quartered at Isola Gate Barracks, San Francesco de Paola Barracks, St John's Cavalier Vittoriosa and Polverista Barracks, all on the Cottonera side of the Grand Harbour.

1898 2nd/Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own)

The 2nd/Rifle Brigade had an average strength of 682 men. It had 894 admissions (1310.8/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 32 deaths (46.92/1000 mean strength). 50 invalids returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 56.76 (83.23/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 30.38 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 23.17 days.

12 July 1898 The 2nd/Rifle Brigade was quartered at Verdala Barracks for 6 months. In July, it left Verdala Barracks and embarked for Egypt on board the Nubia. The battalion disembarked in Alexandria on 16 July.

21 Sep The 2nd/Rifle Brigade left Alexandria for Crete after fighting in the Nile Campaign. It served in Crete for 3 1/2 months and in Egypt for 10 weeks from July 1898.

The following were buried at Rinella Military Cemetery in 1898:

1899 2nd/Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own)

11 Mar 1899 Pte Edward Boyt aged 24 years died at Cottonera and was buried in Rinella Cemetery.

2 Oct The 2nd/Rifle Brigade left Crete for Natal on board the transport Jelunga.

The 2nd/The Rifle Brigade

1933 2nd/Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own)

29 Sept 1933 The 2nd/Rifle Brigade arrived from England on the Neuralia. It occupied St Andrew's Barracks, with detachments at Casemate Barracks Floriana.

31 Dec Strength: 549 men.

1934 2nd/Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own)

31 Dec 1934 Strength: 845 men.

1935 2nd/Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own)

30 June 1935 Strength: 839 men.

31 Dec Strength: 845 men.

1936 2nd/Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own)

30 June 1936 Strength: 563 men (short term).

1937 2nd/Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own)

30 June 1937 Strength: 508 men.

30 Dec The 2nd/Rifle Brigade left for India on board the Dunera.

The 4th/The Rifle Brigade

1858 4th/Rifle Brigade

1 Sep 1858 Strength: 38 Officers, 38 NCOs, 18 Buglers/Drummers, 579 rank and file, 673 total all ranks. (Total garrison strength 4849 rank and file).

1 Dec Strength: 38 Officers, 38 NCOs, 20 Buglers/Drummers, 588 rank and file, 684 total all ranks. (Total garrison strength 4618 rank and file).

The following were buried at Floriana Cemetery in 1858:

1859 4th/Rifle Brigade

1 Jan 1859 The 4th/Rifle Brigade arrived from England on the Urgent, with 2 Coys on the Perseverance.

1 Feb Strength: 39 Officers, 37 NCOs, 20 Buglers/Drummers, 733 rank and file, 829 total all ranks. (Total garrison strength 4771 rank and file).

1 Mar–26 Sep The men were at Lower St Elmo Barracks.

22 Mar Bachelor Cpl John Charles Jesse married Amelia Nickson, spinster of Enniskillen, Ireland in the Collegiate Church of St Paul's Valletta.

1 Apr Strength: 37 Officers, 38 NCOs, 20 Buglers/Drummers, 721 rank and file, 816 total all ranks. (Total garrison strength 5650 rank and file).

1 Aug Strength: 37 Officers, 41 NCOs, 21 Buglers/Drummers, 799 rank and file, 898 total all ranks. (Total garrison strength 6897 rank and file).

26 Sep The 4th/Rifle Bde moved from Lower St Elmo Barracks and took over the quarters at Fort Ricasoli previously occupied by the 2nd/23rd Regiment.

27 Sep–31 Dec 1859 The men were at Fort Ricasoli.

In 1859, the regiment had 309.2 admissions from fever per 1000 of mean strength with 17.32 deaths from fever per 1000 of mean strength.

1 Dec 1859 Strength: 39 Officers, 43 NCOs, 21 Buglers/Drummers, 799 rank and file, 902 total all ranks. (Total garrison strength 7044 rank and file).

The following were buried in 1859:

1860 4th/Rifle Brigade

1 Jan 1860 Strength: 39 Officers, 43 NCOs, 21 Buglers/Drummers, 789 rank and file, 892 total all ranks. (Total garrison strength 7018 rank and file).

1 June Strength: 37 Officers, 44 NCOs, 19 Buglers/Drummers, 795 rank and file, 895 total all ranks. (Total garrison strength 6203 rank and file).

In 1860, the regiment had an average strength of 857 men, 591 hospital admissions (690 admissions per 1000 of mean strength) with 7 deaths in hospital (8.17 deaths per 1000 of mean strength). 254 soldiers were admitted (296/1000 strength) with continued fevers with 1 death (1.17/1000 strength). A private soldier of the Rifle Brigade committed suicide by throwing himself from the balcony of the regimental hospital.

In June, when admissions from continued fevers from the 3rd Regiment became very numerous, tents were pitched for 200 of the men to sleep in with a view to diminish the over crowding in barracks. As this approach appeared to prove satisfactory, it was adopted in July by the 1st/22nd Foot, the 23rd Foot and Rifle Brigade and the rooms on the ground floor of Lower St Elmo Barracks were vacated by the married men of the 23rd Regiment. On 20 Sept, detachments were sent by the various regiments to Pembroke Camp for rifle practice and the barracks were thus relieved for the remainder of the year by about 1200 men.

The 4th/Rifle Bde was quartered in Forts Ricasoli and San Salvatore.

The following were buried at Rock Gate Cemetery in 1860 unless stated otherwise:

1861 4th/Rifle Brigade

In 1861, the regiment had an average strength of 870 men, 432 hospital admissions (496 admissions per 1000 of mean strength) with 3 deaths in hospital and 3 death out of hospital and 1 death among the invalids (8.05 deaths per 1000 of mean strength).

The following were buried at Floriana Cemetery in 1861 unless stated otherwise:

1862 4th/The Prince Consort's Own Rifle Brigade

In 1862, the regiment had an average strength of 864 men, 352 hospital admissions (407 admissions per 1000 of mean strength) with 5 deaths in hospital and 1 out of hospital (6.94 deaths per 1000 of mean strength).

The 4th/Rifle Brigade were quartered at Fort Manoel, Lazaretto, and Plague Hospital.

The following were buried at Floriana Cemetery in 1862:

1863 4th/The Prince Consort's Own Rifle Brigade

1963 Strength: 601 men.

17 Sep The 4th/The Prince Consort's Own Rifle Brigade embarked for Gibraltar. It was replaced by the 100th (Prince of Wales's Royal Canadians) Regiment of Foot.

In 1863, the regiment had an average strength of 601 men, 188 hospital admissions (312.8 admissions per 1000 of mean strength) with 4 deaths in hospital (6.65 deaths per 1000 of mean strength).

The 4th/The Rifle Brigade

1905 4th/Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own)

16 Nov 1905 On 8 Nov 1905, The 4th/Rifle Brigade embarked at Southampton from Chatham on the Assaye. It disembarked at Malta on 16 November. The men were at Pembroke Barracks, Mellieha Barracks, and Ghajn Tuffieha, but then moved to Floriana Barracks and Fort Manoel.

1906 4th/Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own)

1906 The 4th/Rifle Brigade was at St George's Barracks, Pembroke. 80 men fell ill with Simple Continued Fever, which was attributed to the battalion first exposure of the hot Maltese summer.

21 Dec Pte Daniel Phillips aged 21 years of Floriana Barracks was buried in Rinella Military Cemetery.

1907 4th/Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own)

1907 Four companies were at Floriana Barracks (HQ Coy), and four companies in the huts at Fort Manoel. During the summer of 1907, there was an outbreak of Simple Continued Fever. This assumed an epidemic form among the non-commissioned officers and men of "C" Company at Floriana Barracks. The number of admissions from simple continued fevers from the battalion was 119. Of these, twenty six were from Fort Manoel or from the companies of musketry camp; the remaining ninety-three were from Floriana. The companies were sent to Mtarfa for a change of air in an attempt to reduce the incidence of fever.

1908 4th/Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own)

1908 The men were at St Andrew's Barracks. There were 17 cases of pyrexia of uncertain origin.

1909 4th/Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own)

22 Jan 1909 The 4th/Rifle Brigade embarked for Alexandria on the Braemar Castle.

Bibliography