RAMC

Regiments of the Malta Garrison
The 28th (North Gloucestershire) Regiment of Foot

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The 28th (North Gloucestershire) Regiment of Foot

Introduction

The 28th (North Gloucestershire) Regiment was raised in 1694, as Colonel Sir John Gibson's Regiment of Foot.

In 1751 it was numbered 28th in the order of precedence of the infantry. In 1782 it was granted its territorial association with North Gloucestershire.

On 1 July 1881, The 28th (North Gloucestershire) Regiment merged with the 61st (South Gloucestershire) Regiment of Foot to form the 1st Battalion The Gloucestershire Regiment.

The 28th had the unique distinction of wearing the Sphinx at the back of their head dress as well as at the front. This commemorates the action of 21 March 1801, when the men fought the French back to back under General Sir Ralph Abercrombie in the Egyptian Campaign. After 1815, officers wore a white metal rectangle with the Sphinx for Egypt over 28th on the back of their shako, which later became the white metal Sphinx. The Sphinx shown is a female one, a Greek creature and not the true Egyptian male Sphinx. The Egyptian male sphinx, had a beard and its tail laid on its back, whereas the female Sphinx had large breasts and a tail which stood up vertically over its back.

The 1st/ 28th (North Gloucestershire) Regiment

1818 1st/28th (North Gloucestershire)

Mar 1818 734 men embarked for the Ionian Islands.

1822 1st/28th (North Gloucestershire)

The following were baptised in 1822:

1824 1st/28th (North Gloucestershire)

The following were baptised in 1824:

The 1st/ 28th (North Gloucestershire) Regiment

1854 1st/28th (North Gloucestershire)

4 Mar 1854 The 1st/28th arrived from England by steam navigation. It had a smooth passage with little discomfort. The regiment was quartered at Bighi, San Salvatore, Zabbar, and Valletta before its departure for Turkey and the Crimea on 7 April 1854.

In Nov 1854 the regiment had 21 officers and 561 serving in the Crimea. Bowel complaints were common and cases of cholera broke out. Some soldiers showed symptoms of scurvy.

Surgeon Marlow ascribed the prevalence of bowel complaints to the wet and cold weather, fatigue and insufficient clothing, the men being literally in rags. They had insufficient bedding, having only one blanket each.

1855 1st/28th (North Gloucestershire)

The following were buried in 1855:

1856 1st/28th (North Gloucestershire)

30 May 1856 The 1st/28th arrived from the Crimea. 883 men occupied Fort Lower St Elmo Barracks.

The following were buried in 1856:

1857 1st/28th (North Gloucestershire)

1857 782 men occupied Fort Lower St Elmo Barracks.

The following were buried in Floriana in 1857:

The following were married in the Collegiate Church of St Paul's Valletta in 1857:

1858 1st/28th (North Gloucestershire)

1 Mar 1858 Strength: Rank and File 779 (Effective), 800 (Established). Together with 2nd Foot and the Royal Malta Fencibles, 28th Foot formed part of 2nd Brigade.

10 June In the Collegiate Church of St Paul's Valletta, bachelor Sgt John McCarthy married Anne Cordingly spinster of Leeds Yorkshire.

1 Sep Strength: 35 Officers, 47 NCOs, 21 Buglers/Drummers, 807 rank and file, 910 total all ranks. (Total garrison strength 4849 rank and file).

Nov 1858 The 1st/28th embarked for India.

The 1st/ 28th (North Gloucestershire) Regiment

1872 1st/28th (North Gloucestershire)

7 Mar 1872 The 1st/28th embarked at Gibraltar and disembarked in Malta on 12 March. The men were quartered at Isola Gate Barracks, Polverista Gate, and San Francesco de Paola Barracks.

In 1872, the 28th had an average strength of 551 men. It had 468 admissions (849/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 4 deaths in hospital and 1 out of hospital (9.07/1000 mean strength).

Its average strength from 30 June to 30 September was 677 men. During this third quarter of the year when fevers were prevalent, the regiment had a total of 175 hospital admissions with no deaths.

It had: 4 cases of enteric fever, 77 of simple continued fevers and 94 of febricula.

1873 1st/28th (North Gloucestershire)

In 1873, the 28th had an average strength of 663 men. It had 410 admissions (618.4/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 4 deaths (6.03/1000 mean strength).

The men were quartered at Isola Gate Barracks.

1874 1st/28th (North Gloucestershire)

The 1st/28th Regiment had an average strength of 636 men. It had 513 admissions (806.6/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 4 deaths including 1 among the invalids (6.29 deaths/1000 mean strength). It had 22 invalids returned to England. One man died of pyaemia, the primary lesion being an infection of the dorsum of his foot.

The 28th Regiment had 29 admissions for simple continued fever, most of which were of a mild character; a few were complicated with visceral lesions and several were very tedious, being followed by neuralgia and rheumatism.

1 Jan 1874 The men were at Lower St Elmo Barracks.

1 Dec The regiment moved to Fort Ricasoli.

1875 1st/28th (North Gloucestershire)

The 28th Foot had an average strength of 635 men. It had 508 admissions (800/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 8 deaths including 4 among the invalids (12.60 deaths/1000 mean strength). It had 36 invalids returned to England. Its average daily sick was 25.0 (39.37/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 14.36 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 17.96 days.

The men were at Fort Ricasoli.

18 Dec 1875 The 1st/28th embarked for Hong Kong where it arrived on 1 February 1876. It was replaced in the garrison by the 98th (The Prince of Wales's) Regiment which disembarked from the West Indies on 13 Dec 1875.

The 1st/Gloucestershire Regiment

1 July 1881 The 28th Regiment became The 1st Battalion The Gloucester Regiment.

1893 1st/Gloucestershire

1 Nov 1893 The 1st/Gloucestershire Regiment left Aldershot and embarked at Portsmouth. It disembarked in Malta on 11 November 1893.

It had an average strength of 118 men, 188 admissions (1593.2/1000 mean strength) into hospital and 3 deaths (25.42/1000 mean strength). 1 invalid returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 7.06 (59.83/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 21.84 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 13.71 days.

The 1st/Gloucestershire Regiment was quartered at Pembroke Camp for 2 months. The men were largely employed on leveling the camp, laying out gardens and rebuilding the musketry butts.

An outbreak of enteric fever took place at Pembroke Camp. The fever broke out 15 days after the heavy rains of 13 – 14 Nov 1893. The first case was admitted on 28 November. A commission was appointed by the Government to investigate the outbreak. The commission identified the introduction of milk into the camp by irregular vendors as well as contamination of the drinking water as a possible source of the epidemic. Open tanks collected rain water in winter and aqueduct water in summer. The tanks had no filter beds.

1894 1st/Gloucestershire

The 1st/Gloucestershire Regiment had an average strength of 981 men. It had 818 admissions (833.8/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 4 deaths (4.07/1000 mean strength). 8 invalids returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 70.97 (72.34/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 26.40 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 31.66 days.

The 1st/Gloucestershire Regiment was in Pembroke Camp Barracks for 12 months.

1895 1st/Gloucestershire

The 1st/Gloucestershire Regiment had an average strength of 906 men. It had 621 admissions (683.4/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 6 deaths (6.62/1000 mean strength). 19 invalids returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 45.78 (50.53/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 18.44 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 26.91 days.

21 Nov 1895 The 1st/Gloucestershire Regiment was in Pembroke Camp Barracks for 1 month and Isola Gate for 10 months. It embarked for Egypt in November 1895 and for Bombay from Egypt on 6 February 1897.

The following were buried at Rinella Military Cemetery in 1895:

1896 Detachment 1st/Gloucestershire

The 1st/Gloucestershire Regiment left 19 men in Malta on the departure of the regiment.

The 2nd/Gloucestershire Regiment

1910 2nd/Gloucestershire

Oct 1910 The 2nd/Gloucestershire was at Portsmouth when it was warned off to embark for Malta.

4 Nov The battalion left Portsmouth and embarked at Southampton on the transport Rewa. It disembarked at Malta on 12 November 1910.

1911 2nd/Gloucestershire

1912 2nd/Gloucestershire

1913 2nd/Gloucestershire

12 Sep 1913 The 2nd/Gloucestershire Regiment embarked on the transport Soudan for Ching-Wang-Tao China, where it arrived on 18–19 October 1913.

Bibliography