RAMC

Regiments of the Malta Garrison
26th (Cameronians) Regiment of Foot

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The 26th (Cameronians) Regiment of Foot

Introduction

The 26th (The Cameronians) Regiment of Foot was raised on 14 May 1689 as the Earl of Angus Regiment of Foot to safeguard the religious and civil freedons of the Presbyterian persuasion in Scotland from the persecutions of King James II.

In 1751, it was numbered the 26th Foot, to which the title The Cameronians was added in 1786.

On 14 September 1808, the 1st/26th left Cork to form part of the expedition sent to Galicia under Sir David Baird to join the army of Sir John Moore from Portugal. The army retreated to Corunna in January 1809. Most of the women who had been allowed to follow their husbands in the proportion of 6 to each 100 men succeeded in effecting their escape; many of them who had accompanied their husbands through the whole of the campaign having suffered incredible hardships. the condition of all ranks was wretched, when they got on board the transports as the officers were without baggage and the men's kits were reduced to almost nothing. As they were in rags swarming with vermin their health became impaired . Disease broke out in the crowded transports. On landing at Plymouth and Portsmouth many were admitted into hospital from where few returned. The Cameronians disembarked at Portsmouth and marched to Horsham where they arrived on 1 February 1809 and remained until 27 June 1809 when they left on the ill fated expedition to Walcheren.

In 1813, the regiment was at Gibraltar when it was attacked by a bilious remittent fever, which towards the end of the summer acquired a virulence equal to the plague. Trade ceased, the streets were deserted except for the dead cart. On 9 Sep 1813, The Lt Governor General Campbell placed the garrison under quarantine. The sick were removed to the Lazaretto and all access to houses in which there were sick was placed under restrictions by palisades across the streets and by sentries. The Cameronians were removed from Windmill Barracks which was turned into a hospital, to Europa, where they encamped, and were restrained from communicating with other parts of the Rock. The epidemic was over by December 1813, but returned in the summer of 1814 though in a less malignant form. The 26th had 54 deaths in 1813 and 23 deaths in 1814 with a total of 440 soldiers infected over the two years. The Cameronians left Gibraltar for Dublin on 28 Sep 1821.

In 1881, the 26th (Cameronian) Regiment of Foot merged with the 90th Regiment of Foot (Perthshire Volunteers)(Light Infantry), to form the 1st Battalion/The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles).

The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) disbanded in 1968.

The 1st/26th (Cameronians) Regiment of Foot

1880 26th (The Cameronians)

19 Aug 1880 The 26th Foot embarked at Portsmouth from Chatham on 7 Aug 1880. It disembarked at Malta on 18 Aug 1880.

The 26th Regiment had an average strength of 264 men. It had 363 admissions (1375/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 4 deaths (15.15 deaths/1000 mean strength). Its average constantly sick was 12.61 (47.76/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 17.48 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 12.71 days. The high admission rate rate was attributed to the regiment disembarking at Malta during the hottest part of the year. The diseases were of a mild type.

1881 26th (The Cameronians)

The 1st/Scottish Rifles had an average strength of 186 men. It had 146 admissions into hospital with 2 deaths (4.46/1000 mean strength).

22 Mar 1881 The 26th Foot left Malta for South Africa as reinforcements following the British defeat at the Battle of Majuba Hill in the First Boer War. However, the war was over by the time it reached Gibraltar, and the 26th returned to England.

1 July The 26th Regiment became The 1st Battalion The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles).

The 2nd/The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)

1911 2nd/The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)

17 Sep 1911 The 2nd/The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) left Colchester on 8 September 1911. It embarked on the Somali at Southampton, and disembarked at Malta on 17 September 1911.

1912 2nd/The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)

1913 2nd/The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)

1913 The 2nd/The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) was at Mtarfa Barracks.

The following regimental children were baptised in Mtarfa Church Room in 1913:

1914 2nd/The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)

13 Sep 1914 On 13 September, HT Ships Gallicia, Nevasa and Galika arrived in Malta with the Territorial Brigade of the 1st City of London Royal Fusiliers.

16 Sep HT Ship Galika sailed from Malta with the 2nd/The Cameronians and married families. The regiment arrived in England on 22 September. It joined the British Expeditionary Force and was almost annihilated at the Battle of Neuve Chapelle.

Bibliography