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Regiments of the Malta Garrison
The 29th (Worcestershire) Regiment of Foot

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The 29th (Worcestershire) Regiment of Foot

Introduction

The 29th Regiment of Foot was raised in 1694 by Colonel Thomas Farrington. This regiment was disbanded but another was raised in its stead by Colonel Farrington in 1702.

In 1751 it was placed 29th in the order of precedence of infantry regiments. In 1782 it was given its territorial association with Worcestershire.

On 1 July 1881, The 29th (Worcestershire) Regiment of Foot merged with The 36th (Herefordshire) Regiment of Foot to form The Worcestershire Regiment.

In 1920, The Worcestershire Regiment linked with The Sherwood Foresters Regiment to form The Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment (29th/45th Foot).

The 1st/29th (Worcestershire) Regiment

1843 — 29th (Worcestershire)

27 Jan 1843 Baptism by the Rev Henry H Woods, vicar of Combe Hants England, of Howard George Douglas son of Lt Col Robert Percy Douglas 29th Regiment and Anne born on 31 December 1842.

The 1st/29th (Worcestershire) Regiment

1865 1st/29th (Worcestershire)

20 June 1865 The 1st/29th Foot embarked at Kingstown from Dublin and disembarked in Malta on 1 July 1865. It relieved the 2nd/22nd Regiment, which left for Gibraltar en route to Mauritius. It had 16 cases of contagious disease, predominantly sore throats, which, in the course of a week increased to 23. Notwithstanding this additional number of contagious disease, the speedy separation of the infected prevented the disease from spreading, so that on 21 October the whole garrison had 8 cases. Governor Storks concluded that these were instances of infecting sore throats contracted in Dublin, as the incubation stage had been undergone during the voyage, and the soldiers developed the disease after their arrival. The repression of further progress of this form of contagion by speedy separation must have saved the state much unnecessary cost and preserved very considerably the efficiency of the troops in garrison.

The 29th had an average strength of 353 men. There were 657 hospital admissions (1861 admissions per 1000 of mean strength) with 19 deaths in hospital and 2 out of hospital (59.49 deaths per 1000 of mean strength). On 1 July its strength was 720 men. The Principal Medical Officer attributed the great amount of sickness in the 29th Regiment to its having been sent out to Malta at the start of the hot season without summer clothing. Continued fevers were most prevalent from June to September.

Detachments of the 29th occupied Pembroke Camp and Fort Ricasoli; one wing, with its proportion of married families, occupying each barrack. Fort Ricasoli protected the entrance to the Grand Harbour. The principal barrack rooms were long casemates under the main land defences on the eastern side of the fort, with several very small rooms in the recesses of the buttresses for married families, each averaging 900 cubic feet. The majority of the married families, however, were quartered in rooms constructed in the archings of the south west curtain. These consisted of an upper and lower range at a slight distance from each other. The rooms were arranged in pairs one large and one small communicating with each other through a small door way. The two combined were originally intended for 7 men with an average space per men of 624 cubic feet and 54 superficial feet.

The rooms were poorly ventilated. The upper range of rooms were screened from the adjacent officers' quarters by a wall in front of their doors which interfered with ventilation. The latrine discharged its contents directly into the sea and was flushed with sea water by a pump. As the latrine was 274 meters away from the rooms, night stools were usually kept in the rooms and emptied into the latrine the following morning.

There were two outbreaks of cholera in the barracks during the 1865 visitation. During the first outbreak only one wing of the 29th regiment occupied the fort. On 6 July, cholera spread to the 29th Regiment at Fort Ricasoli, when a soldier was seized with what was described as cholera biliosa and died on 8 July. In July there were 2 ill and 2 deaths from cholera. On 12 August, spasmodic cholera struck a soldier occupying a cell in his quarters. Up to the 24 August, three fatal cases of cholera and four of diarrhoea ensued in the ranges of married quarters, with the exception of one from a wooden hut in the immediate vicinity. During the above period, only three men were admitted into hospital from the eastern casemates.

Eight weeks elapsed between the first and second outbreak. Assistant Surgeon John Peter H. Boileau, who was in constant attendance on the cases throughout, stated that during this interval not a single case of cholera occurred at head quarters. On 21 September the left wing and its married families were removed from Pembroke Camp to Fort Ricasoli. In addition, a few woman who were not on the strength of the regiment, were also sheltered in the fort at the latter end of August. The fort did not have sufficient accommodation and became overcrowded. Three families now occupied the two rooms intended for seven men. On 18 October, a child living in one of the quarters of the recesses was seized with cholera and died on 22 October. On the following day Mrs Reddington residing in the upper range of the south west quarters died in a few hours from cholera. Her clothing was shared between her nurse and Mrs Ailes, whose husband was attacked on 30th and died the same day. The child of the nurse became infected and died on 27 October. On 31 October, Mrs Stokes and her child, who were occupying the same room as the nurse, also succumbed to cholera. On 1 and 2 November two sisters who had frequent communication with the Stokes child died in a room in the upper range. Only one solitary case occurred among the unmarried soldiers in the casemates and none among the married families in the rooms in the buttresses.

On 31 October, at the suggestion of PMO Anderson, the families were removed from the lower ranges and placed under canvas on the adjacent parade ground. One fatal case erupted 13 days after the families were placed under canvas, after which, there were no more cases and cholera gradually disappeared. The rooms were cleansed, fumigated and whitewashed before the families reoccupied their old quarters.

The 29th had 18 cases of cholera and 16 deaths among the men, with 9 women infected (9 deaths) and 2 children (2 deaths) among its families. The deaths occurred at: Fort Ricasoli (9), Vittoriosa (3), Cottonera (2), Pembroke Camp (10), and Vittoriosa Hospital (4). The epidemic burnt itself out in November 1865.

1866 1st/29th (Worcestershire)

In 1866, the regiment had an average strength of 716 men. There were 460 hospital admissions (642.5 admissions per 1000 of mean strength) with 6 deaths in hospital, 4 out of hospital and 2 among the invalids (16.76 deaths per 1000 of mean strength). It had 126 admissions (176/1000 mean strength) for continued fevers with 2 deaths (2.79 deaths/1000 mean strength). Fever of the continued type followed by rheumatism, orchitis and cutaneous affections was attributable to climatic conditions and defective sanitary arrangements. However, the symptoms are consistent with an infection with Brucella melitensis.

The regiment was quartered at Fort Ricasoli (689 men); 26 soldiers and their families occupied the Crown and Horn Works of the Floriana fortifications.

On 10 February 1866, at 23 hours Cpl J. S. 29th Regiment being on pass, was seen in the streets of Valletta drunk, quarrelsome and accompanied by another corporal of his regiment, who was also drunk. On the following morning at 8 am the body of the former was found under suspicious circumstances at the bottom of the ditch around Lower St Elmo at the rear of the Military Prison. Cpl J S had a fractured skull and femur. The coroner passed a verdict of accidental death but Staff Assistant Charles Spurway suspected foul play.

1867 1st/29th (Worcestershire)

1867 In 1867, the regiment had an average strength of 357 men. There were 207 hospital admissions (579.8 admissions per 1000 of mean strength) with 4 deaths in hospital, 2 out of hospital and 1 death among the invalids (19.61 deaths per 1000 of mean strength).

1867 357 men occupied Fort Lower St Elmo Barracks.

4 Apr Death of Cpl S Fountain 29th Regiment, aged 31 years. (Quarantine Bastion Cemetery Floriana).

2 July 1867 The 1st/29th embarked for Canada arriving there on 27 July 1867. It was relieved in Malta by the 1st/14th Regiment of Foot.

1 July 1881 The 29th Regiment became The 1st Battalion The Worcester Regiment.

The 2nd/29th (Worcestershire) Regiment

1 July 1881 The 36th Regiment became The 2nd Battalion The Worcester Regiment.

1895 2nd/Worcestershire

13 Nov 1895 The 2nd/Worcestershire Regiment left Aldershot and embarked at Southampton. It disembarked in Malta on 21 November.

It had an average strength of 89 men with 120 admissions into hospital.

Its average constantly sick was 5.82 (65.39/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 23.87 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 17.70 days.

The 2nd/Worcestershire Regiment was quartered at Isola Gate for 1 month.

1896 2nd/Worcestershire

The 2nd/Worcestershire Regiment had an average strength of 973 men. It had 877 admissions (901.3/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 14 deaths (14.39/1000 mean strength). 34 invalids returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 56.21 (57.77/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 24.44 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 23.46 days.

The 2nd/Worcestershire Regiment was quartered at Isola District for 12 months.

The following were buried in Rinella Military Cemetery in 1896:

1897 2nd/Worcestershire

The 2nd/Worcestershire Regiment had an average strength of 755 men. It had 583 admissions (772.2/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 4 deaths (5.30/1000 mean strength). 22 invalids returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 34.99 (46.34/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 16.92 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 21.92 days.

3 Oct 1897 The 2nd/Worcestershire Regiment was quartered in Pembroke Camp for 9 months. It embarked for Bermuda where it arrived on 18 October 1897.

The 2nd/The Worcestershire Regiment

1930 2nd/Worcestershire

1 Oct 1930 26 officers and 434 men 2nd/Worcestershire Regiment arrived on the Neuralia and relieved the 1st/Queen's Royal Surrey Regiment, which embarked for China.

1931 2nd/Worcestershire

1 Jan 1931 Strength: 25 officers and 442 men.

1 Oct Strength: 29 officers and 792 men.

1932 2nd/Worcestershire

31 Dec 1932 Strength: 880 men.

1933 2nd/Worcestershire

30 June 1933 Strength: 863 men.

31 Dec Strength: 192 men. 2nd/Worcestershire Regiment embarked at Malta.

The 4th/The Worcestershire Regiment

1905 4th/Worcestershire

23 Feb 1900 The 4th/Worcestershire was formed in Aldershot on 23 february 1900.

13 Nov 1905 The 4th/Worcestershire embarked on the Zaria at Barbados and disembarked in Malta on 2 December 1905.

1906 4th/Worcestershire

8 May 1906 The 4th/Worcestershire embarked on the Dilwara for Alexandria, where it arrived on 11 May 1906.

12 June The 4th/Worcestershire returned to Malta from Alexandria on the Dufferin.

2 Aug Burial of William John Plassey aged 4 months of Verdala Married Quarters in Rinella Military Cemetery.

18 Aug 1906 Burial of Pte Alfred Heath, aged 29 yrs, at Gozo Cemetery.

1907 4th/Worcestershire

19 Apr 1907 Burial of Pte Joseph Harold Talbot aged 19 yrs 9 mths at Mtarfa Military Cemetery (Plot 4, Row 4, Grave 3).

1908 4th/Worcestershire

12 Nov 1908 The 4th/Worcestershire Regiment embarked on the Rohilla for Bombay where it arrived on 25 November 1908.

Bibliography