RAMC

Regiments of the Malta Garrison
The 22nd (Cheshire) Regiment

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The 22nd (Cheshire) Regiment

Introduction

The 22nd (Cheshire) Regiment was raised at Chester in 1689 as Colonel the Duke of Norfolk's Regiment of Foot.

It was numbered 22nd Foot in 1751, to which Cheshire was added in 1782.

On 5 September 1843, the 22nd Foot was granted permission to bear the word Scinde on its Regimental Colour in commemoration of its actions in the campaign against the Ameera of Scinde in the early part of 1843.

On 1 July 1881, the Cardwell Reforms dropped regimental numbers from regimental designations and The 22nd (Cheshire) Regiment of Foot became The Cheshire Regiment.

The Cheshire Regiment bears on its Colours the Battle Honour Malta 1941-42.

The 1st/22nd (Cheshire) Regiment

1860 1st/22nd (Cheshire)

22 June 1860 838 men, 77 wives and 82 children of the 1st/22nd embarked at Dublin on 13 June 1860. The regiment disembarked in Malta on 22 June and replaced its linked battalion, the 2nd/22nd at Floriana barracks. The 1st Battalion was quartered in the Cottonera District, occupying the casemated barracks at Isola Gate, Polverista, Zabbar and San Francesco de Paola.

Before the end of the year there occurred among them no less than 40 admissions for mild conjunctivitis. The majority of the cases occurred in the dry hot month of August and the following months from poor hygiene and lack of abundant water for washing. Maltese civil practitioners believed that the disease was often carried from person to person by the common house fly, which often infested the eyes of persons suffering from ophthalmia. They also held the view that the severest form was introduced into the islands in 1801 by British troops after the Egyptian Campaign. The disease entrenched itself in the village of Zejtun, which ever since had become notorious for the large number of chronically infected villagers.

The reflection of glare from bare rocky surfaces was considered to be a predisposing factor in the origin of ophthalmia. Soldiers of the artillery and the 22nd Regiment in Malta did not wear peaks to their forage caps which exposed the eyes to the reflected rays of the sun.

In 1860, the regiment had an average strength of 437 men, 662 hospital admissions (1515 admissions per 1000 of mean strength) with 4 deaths in hospital and 1 death out of hospital (11.44 deaths per 1000 of mean strength). The 1st/22nd Regiment had the highest ratio of admissions in the garrison. It had arrived in the island just at the commencement of the hot weather when there was usually a marked increase in the amount of sickness. Medical officers attributed this to the soldiers not being seasoned to the heat. It is now thought likely that sandfly fever or phlebotomus fever in non immune soldiers was to blame. During the four months (June to September) it furnished 169 admissions and 1 death from Common Continued fevers.

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 following were buried in Rock Gate Cemetery in 1860:

1861 1st/22nd (Cheshire)

In 1861, the regiment had an average strength of 843 men, 874 hospital admissions (1037 admissions per 1000 of mean strength) with 14 deaths in hospital and 1 death among the invalids (20.17 deaths per 1000 of mean strength).

In March 1861 the regiment was transferred to the Valletta District with its headquarters at Floriana Barracks (7 companies) and detachments partly in Strada Torre Barracks and partly in huts erected on the Floriana Ravelin and the Horn Work.

In 1861, the battalion suffered severely from ardent continued fever with 279 admissions (331 admissions per 1000 of mean strength) and 3 deaths (3.56 admissions per 1000 of mean strength). The fever showed itself in June, attained its maximum in September but did not fall to the average till December. During this period the regiment was quartered in Floriana Barracks in which the 2nd Battalion had suffered considerably from fever the preceding year. The regimental surgeon attributed its prevalence to overcrowding, defective ventilation in the barracks, unsuitable clothing, extra fatigues, climate and intemperance.

The number of admissions from ophthalmia rapidly decreased during the winter months of 1861, but rose again during the summer months of August and September. There were 33 admissions, 11 of which were relapses of the former year. During September 1861, an epidemic of ophthalmia occurred among the children of the soldier's families located in huts at one end of the outworks and spread rapidly in the families.

The following were buried in Rock Gate Cemetery in 1861:

1862 1st/22nd (Cheshire)

In 1862, the regiment had an average strength of 853 men, 757 hospital admissions (887 admissions per 1000 of mean strength) with 7 deaths in hospital and 1 among the invalids (9.38 deaths per 1000 of mean strength). Of the corps which served during the whole year in Malta, the sickness was greatest in the 1st/22nd Regiment.

The 1st/22nd was quartered at Floriana Barracks.

During 1862, Surgeon Andrew Leith Adams reported that upwards of 17 cases of ophthalmia were admitted into hospital. A few cases were followed by persistent thickening of the palpebral conjunctiva, which brought on relapses when the eye was exposed to strong sunlight or cold north winds.

The following were buried in Floriana Cemetery in 1862 unless stated otherwise:

1863 1st/22nd (Cheshire)

1863 Strength: 806 men. At Floriana Barracks which was originally a store house, casemated and situated for security in the fortification wall. The rooms were damp and gloomy from inability of light to penetrate from without.

During the summer of 1863, granular ophthalmia became fairly established in the corps. There were 35 admissions, of which 4 were relapses in persons previously attacked.

In 1863, the regiment had an average strength of 806 men, 569 hospital admissions (705.5 admissions per 1000 of mean strength) with 4 deaths in hospital and 1 death out of hospital (6.20 deaths per 1000 of mean strength).

1864 1st/22nd (Cheshire)

1864 One company of the 22nd Regiment was quartered in huts in an outwork of Floriana; there was no ablution room and the only supply of water was procured in buckets from a cistern distant about 200 yards (183 meters) in the ditch below. At early parades in order to get through the morning ablution as quickly as possible, six to eight men washed in the same water and dried their faces with each others towels. The ablution rooms were only issued with one basin to every 10 men.

Sep 1864 In compliance with clause 2 Chap XV Sect 11 of the Rules and Regulations of HM Colonial Services, Pte John Burns 1st/22nd Regiment was tried on 6 Sept 1864 by three judges and a jury. He was convicted of the wilful homicide of Sgt Thomas Ludgate 1st/22nd. Pte Burns was executed on 10 Sept in front of the whole garrison who witnessed the sentence being carried out.2

In 1864, the regiment had an average strength of 746 men, 424 hospital admissions (568 admissions per 1000 of mean strength) with 2 deaths in hospital, 2 out of hospital and 1 death among the invalids (6.70 deaths per 1000 of mean strength).

Pte Edward Gieson 22nd Regiment died 8 June 1864, aged 23 years 9 months. (Quarantine Bastion Cemetery Floriana).

Sgt Thomas Ludgate 1st/22nd Regiment was murdered in Floriana Barracks 16 August 1864. (Quarantine Bastion Cemetery Floriana).

1865 1st/22nd (Cheshire)

In 1865, the regiment had an average strength of 714 men. It had 438 hospital admissions (613 admissions per 1000 of mean strength) with 14 deaths in hospital (19.61 deaths per 1000 of mean strength).

The 1st/22nd Regiment was quartered in the Cottonera District. A, B, C and D companies were located at Polverista Barracks; E, F, G and H companies were at Isola Gate Barracks; I and K companies, band and drums were at St Francesco de Paola Barracks. 16 families lived in the block of quarters on Bormla Curtain. These consisted of a series of small pigeon hole like rooms in the walls of St John's Curtain, in the outer land defences, near Polverista Gate. The rooms were ventilated from the door and a small window above it. Each family had one room, or two rooms when these became available. There was no drainage and the sewage was either thrown in front of the cabins or cast into the latrines in an angle of the fortification and above the centre of the row. Bormla Gate passed under this range of quarters and had two sewer openings at its entrance.

In the small wall, northwards, were situated the rooms forming the Polverista Barracks. These were occupied by four companies of the 22nd. The rooms were long, narrow, fairly ventilated and not overcrowded. Polverista Barracks faced Bormla District and stretched across the watershed of a large ravine with a free open glacis in front.

During the latter part of the summer of 1865, there were isolated outbreaks of ophthalmia among the married families of the 1st/22nd Regiment. The quarters occupied were those of Bormla Curtain and Polverista. At the Polverista quarters, about one-third of a mile from the former, twenty-two children were affected.

On 3 July cholera struck Malta; it lasted till 12 November 1865. The epidemic spread to the 1st/22nd on 28 July, when a soldier fell sick and died in the regimental hospital on 29 July. A hospital marquee was pitched on the neighbouring bastion and special nurses were engaged to nurse the sick. On 14 August, another soldier and his two children fell ill; all perished but his Maltese wife escaped the infection. In August, 12 sickened with 9 deaths.

San Francesco de Paola had one case and a large number of diarrhoea in the two companies of the 1st/22nd. It led to its early evacuation with the men sleeping in tents on the Polverista Glacis and occupying the rooms during the day.

Isola Gate Barracks had four companies of the 22nd Foot. Three fell ill with cholera before the men were encamped on the Polverista Glacis.

On 23 September, a married woman residing in the quarters in Bormla Curtain was attacked with cholera; four days later a soldier and his wife who nursed the child of this woman contracted the disease, as well as another woman occupying a room in a distant part of the building. In September, there were 8 infected with 5 deaths, the last occurring on 30 September.

No more cholera cases occurred in the regiment after 1 October when a soldier fell ill. The 1st/22nd had a total of 21 sick and 15 deaths from cholera. The deaths occurred at: Polverista (5), St Francesco de Paola Barracks (2), Upper Vittoriosa Hospital (1), Isola Gate Barracks (3), St Francis Barracks (1), and Bormla Curtain (3).

1866 1st/22nd (Cheshire)

In 1866, the regiment had an average strength of 147 men. There were 52 hospital admissions (353.7 admissions per 1000 of mean strength).

23 Mar 1866 The 1st/22nd (Cheshire) was relieved by the 1st/60th Regiment. It embarked for New Brunswick where it arrived on 18 April 1866. The 1st/22nd remained in Canada until 28 May 1869, when it moved to Cork, Ireland.

The 1st/Cheshire Regiment

1941 1st/Cheshire

21 Feb 1941 The 1st/Cheshire Regiment arrived from Egypt.

22 Feb C Coy 1st/Cheshires took up positions in the Tigné region. Bombs landed in the area on 28 February shattering windows in the Medical Inspection Room in the barracks. During the month of February the health of the troops and the families in the area had been good with no epidemics.

24 Feb 12 Platoon C Coy 1st/Cheshires took over beach posts Sector J2, J3, and J4 from the 2nd/Royal Irish Fusiliers.

1 Apr The regiment took over the responsibility for the defence of the Dockyard. B Coy was at the Naval Dockyard Vittoriosa from 1 Apr 1941 to 23 Jan 1943.

30 Sep Strength: 39 officers and 799 men.

1942 1st/Cheshire

27 June 1942 Strength: 29 officers, 658 men. The regiment was employed in a machine gun role.

1943 1st/Cheshire

23 Jan 1943 1st/Cheshire was at the Dockyard Vittoriosa.

17 Feb The eight-pointed star of the Cheshire Regiment was unveiled at the Dockyard in Vittoriosa. In the 1970s, the regimental badge was removed during the construction of the Red China Dock. It was re-located in the forecourt of the National War Museum Valletta in Fort St Elmo.

The 2nd/The 22nd (Cheshire) Regiment

1859 2nd/22nd (Cheshire)

25 Apr 1859 The 2nd/22nd Regiment was placed under orders to embark for Malta so as to increase the strength of the garrison in the Mediterranean.1

20 May The 2nd/22nd embarked at Portsmouth from Aldershot on 11 May. It disembarked in Malta on 20 May. Within four months of its arrival the regiment had 169 cases of fever with one death. Up to Dec 1859, the 2nd/22nd had a total of 289 of fever cases, eight of which were intermittent fever, with three deaths.

In 1859, the regiment had 603.9 admissions from fever per 1000 of mean strength with 6.49 deaths from fever per 1000 of mean strength. The battalion had arrived at Malta from England at the end of May just at the hot weather set in. They had a detachment under canvas at St George's Bay for rifle instruction. The men were exposed to sandfly bites and sand bite fever.

21 May–24 Nov The battalion was at Fort Manoel.

1 Aug Strength: 38 Officers, 44 NCOs, 19 Buglers/Drummers, 722 rank and file, 823 total all ranks. (Total garrison strength 6897 rank and file).

25 Nov–31 Dec The battalion was at Fort Manoel.

1 Dec 1859 Strength: 38 Officers, 46 NCOs, 18 Buglers/Drummers, 767 rank and file, 869 total all ranks. (Total garrison strength 7044 rank and file).

The following wereburied in Floriana Cemetery in 1859:

1860 2nd/22nd (Cheshire)

1 Jan 1860 Strength: 38 Officers, 46 NCOs, 18 Buglers/Drummers, 768 rank and file, 870 total all ranks. (Total garrison strength 7018 rank and file).

1 June Strength: 34 Officers, 45 NCOs, 20 Buglers/Drummers, 785 rank and file, 884 total all ranks. (Total garrison strength 6203 rank and file).

In 1860, the regiment had an average strength of 834 men, 1058 hospital admissions (1268 admissions per 1000 of mean strength) with 11 deaths in hospital (13.19 deaths per 1000 of mean strength). 237 soldiers were admitted (284/1000 strength) with continued fevers with 6 deaths (7.19/1000 strength).

The 2nd/22nd Foot was quartered in Floriana Barracks.

The following were buried in Floriana Cemetery in 1860:

1861 2nd/22nd (Cheshire)

In 1861, the regiment had an average strength of 865 men, 840 hospital admissions (971 admissions per 1000 of mean strength) with 9 deaths in hospital (10.68 deaths per 1000 of mean strength).

The following were buried in Floriana Cemetery in 1861:

1862 2nd/22nd (Cheshire)

In 1862, the regiment had an average strength of 847 men, 467 hospital admissions (551 admissions per 1000 of mean strength) with 5 deaths in hospital and 1 among the invalids (7.08 deaths per 1000 of mean strength). Of the corps which served during the whole year in Malta, the mortality was highest in the 2nd/22nd Regiment.

11 Feb 1862 Burial of Pte John Harrison aged 22 years in Rock Gate Cemetery.

1863 2nd/22nd (Cheshire)

In 1863, the regiment had an average strength of 813 men, 443 hospital admissions (544.9 admissions per 1000 of mean strength) with 1 death in hospital, 1 out of hospital and 2 deaths among the invalids (4.92 deaths per 1000 of mean strength).

Ophthalmia prevailed in the men of the 2nd/22nd who were removed to Pembroke Camp during the summer months.

1864 2nd/22nd (Cheshire)

In 1864, the regiment had an average strength of 790 men, 562 hospital admissions (711 admissions per 1000 of mean strength) with 5 deaths in hospital and 1 death among the invalids (7.59 deaths per 1000 of mean strength).

The 2nd/22nd was quartered at Lower St Elmo Barracks. It had the largest admissions for ophthalmia in the garrison during the year. In Dec 1864, the men affected with ophthalmia were sent to the sanatorium at Citta Vecchia.

1865 2nd/22nd (Cheshire)

In 1865, the regiment had an average strength of 381 men. There were 252 hospital admissions (661 admissions per 1000 of mean strength) with 5 deaths in hospital, 1 out of hospital and 1 death among the invalids (18.37 deaths per 1000 of mean strength).

20 June 1865 The battalion was at Pembroke Camp.

6 July The 2nd/22nd Regiment embarked on the troop ship Orontes, which was moored close to the shore, immediately under St Salvatore Counter-guard, where all the drainage and sewerage from the work flowed out into the creek. It disembarked and encamped in Gibraltar on 10 July. On 19 July, a soldier developed cholera and was followed by others on the 29th and 31st July. The 2nd/22nd Regiment left Gibraltar for Mauritius on 19 July 1865.

1868 – Destitute children

5 Mar 1868 The Rev A Albanese, parish priest of Cospicua, notified Major General Atherley M. K., that two girls aged 10 and 7 years, daughters of Pte William Jones 2nd/22nd Regiment were in the care of Mrs Macaley and Mrs Baston. The girls were in a state of destitution, badly clothed, and not attending school.

The children did not know anything about their relatives or the parish to which their parents belonged. Their mother, a Roman Catholic, would not accompany her husband, a Protestant, on embarkation with his regiment to Mauritius. She remained at Malta under the protection of Mr Muscat, an apothecary of Bormla, who supported her and her children. On 9 Nov 1867, their mother died and Mr Muscat paid 2 dollars a month for their maintenance and clothing, but was now unable to continue supporting them.

The commanding officer 2nd/22nd Regiment stated that the mother previous to the embarkation of the regiment, went to live with a Maltese. Pte William of the parish of Wareham in Dorsetshire had taken his discharge in September 1867, soon after the return of the regiment to Liverpool from Mauritius on 31 August 1867. The clergyman of that parish, the Rev S. R. Capel was unable to trace him and no such person was known in the parish. The children were consequently classed as destitute distressed British subjects. They were returned to England and placed in a charitable institution.3

The 2nd/The Cheshire Regiment

1931 2nd/Cheshire

Dec 1931 The 2nd/Cheshire arrived at Malta on a short tour of foreign service.

1932 2nd/Cheshire

31 Dec 1932 Strength: 453 men.

1933 2nd/Cheshire

31 Dec 1933 Strength: 517 men.

1934 2nd/Cheshire

1934 Strength: 28 Officers and 763 men.

1935 2nd/Cheshire

1935 The 2nd/Cheshire Regiment left Malta by June 1935.

Bibliography