Regiments
Of the Malta Garrison
The 23rd (Royal
Welch Fusiliers)

The 23rd (Royal Welch Fusiliers)

Jenny Jones
Jenny Jones born in Scotland June 1789, died at Tal Y Llyn Wales on 11 April 1884. She was with her husband of the 23rd Royal Welch Fusiliers at the battle of Waterloo and was in the field three days.

The 23rd Foot was raised on 15 March 1688 as Colonel Lord Herbert's Regiment of Foot. In December 1688, the regiment was granted permission to bear in the centre of its Colours the device of the Prince of Wales, three Feathers issuing out of the Prince's coronet, and in the three corners of the second Colour, the badges of Edward the Black Prince, that is, the Rising Sun, the Red Dragon, and the three Feathers in the Coronet with the motto Ich diem.

In 1702, the regiment was given the title The Welch Regiment of Fuziliers. It was one of the oldest regiments in the army, hence the archaic spelling of the word Welch.

In 1713, the regiment was granted the prefix Royal for its actions in the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1714).

In 1714 it became The Prince of Wales's Own Royal Welch Fusiliers, and in 1727, The Royal Welch Fusiliers.

In 1751, it was numbered 23rd (The Royal Welch Fusiliers) Regiment of Foot.

On 1 July 1881, The 23rd (The Royal Welch Fusiliers) became The Royal Welch Fusiliers.

On 1 March 2006, The Royal Welch Fusiliers amalgamated with The Royal Regiment of Wales (24th/41st Foot) to form The Royal Welsh.

The 1st/The Royal Welch Fusiliers

1914 1st/Royal Welch Fusiliers

18 Jan 1914 The 1st/Royal Welch Fusiliers left Portland Barracks on 10 January 1914. It embarked on the Rewa at Southampton, and arrived in Malta on 18 January.

Baptisms in the Zejtun Gate Church Room in 1914:

29 July Mobilisation Order were received at midnight. By 01:00 hrs 30 July all depôts were opened and stores and equipment were prepared for issue. All units in Malta drew their ammunition by midnight 30 July other than the Army Pay Corps.

17 Aug Ordnance Stores Malta manufactured 200 identity discs for 1st Royal Welch Fusiliers.

19 Aug Ordnance Stores Malta started packing mobilisation equipment for the regiment.

30 Aug The 1st/Royal Welch Fusiliers drew its mobilisation equipment from Ordnance Stores Malta.

3 Sep The 1st/Royal Welch Fusiliers embarked for England on H. T. Ultonia.

The 2nd/The 23rd (Royal Welch Fusiliers)

1854 2nd/23rd (Royal Welch Fusiliers)

18 Apr 1854 The 2nd/23rd (Royal Welsh Fusiliers) arrived at Malta on the Steamer Trent and was quartered at the Dockyard.

1 June 1854 General Order Valletta to Staff Surgeon 1st Class Daniel Armstrong from Major and Assistant Military Secretary E H F Pocklington: Assistant Surgeons Woods and Andrew Risk 23rd Regiment having arrived at Malta, will be attached to the 68th Regiment until further orders.

In Nov 1854, the regiment had 10 officers and 725 men serving in the Crimea. 235 recruits joined the regiment during the month. Cholera made its appearance among them soon after their arrival in theatre; 10 died. The surgeon ascribed the prevalence of bowel complaints to the cold, exposure, constant night duty and lack of proper clothing and cooking.

1855 2nd/23rd (Royal Welsh Fusiliers)

The regiment served in the Crimea (1854–1856).

Baptisms in 1855:

Burials in 1855:

1856 2nd/23rd (Royal Welch Fusiliers)

Burials in 1855:

The 2nd/The 23rd (Royal Welch Fusiliers)

1859 2nd/23rd (Royal Welch Fusiliers)

rockgate
Fortifications of the Cottonera showing Rock Gate leading from Zabbar Gate between Windmill Bastion and Firenzuola Bastion (TNA:MPH 1/889).

7 Jan 1859 The 2nd/23rd was placed under orders to replace the 57th Foot in Malta, which left for India.

8 Feb The 2nd/23rd embarked at Portsmouth from Aldershot. It disembarked in Malta on 24 February 1859. Fever was common among the troops during the year. The troops were quartered at Fort ricasoli from 1 March to 26 September.

1 Mar Strength: 37 Officers, 40 NCOs, 20 Buglers/Drummers, 812 rank and file, 909 total all ranks. (Total garrison strength 5,633 rank and file).

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

27 Sep – 31 Dec 1859 Location: Lower St Elmo Barracks.

In 1859, the regiment had 466.2 admissions from fever per 1000 of mean strength with 23.45 deaths from fever per 1000 of mean strength.

1 Dec 1859 Strength: 38 Officers, 45 NCOs, 19 Buglers/Drummers, 798 rank and file, 900 total all ranks. (Total garrison strength 7,044 rank and file).

Baptisms in 1859:

Burials at Rock Gate Cemetery in 1859:

Burials at Floriana Cemetery in 1859:

1860 2nd/23rd (Royal Welch Fusiliers)

Admissions and Deaths during 1860
Average Strength Admissions Hospital Deaths Admissions/1000 Deaths/1000
861 871 6 1012 6.97
Admissions into hospital and deaths during the year with ratio of admissions and deaths per 1000 of strength. The average strength of the troops, exclusive of the Royal Malta Fencibles, was 5,950 men.
msida bastion
Msida Bastion Cemetery Floriana (TNA:MFQ 1/220).

1 Jan 1860 Strength: 38 Officers, 46 NCOs, 20 Buglers/Drummers, 792 rank and file, 896 total all ranks.

The 2nd/23rd was quartered throughout the year in Lower St Elmo Barracks where in 1859 Continued Fevers had been more prevalent and fatal. In 1860, 137 soldiers were admitted with Continued Fevers with 3 deaths.

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.

Burials in Ta' Braxia Cemetery in 1860:

Burials in Floriana Cemetery in 1860:

1861 2nd/23rd (Royal Welch Fusiliers)

In 1861, the regiment had an average strength of 877 men, 505 hospital admissions (576 admissions per 1000 of mean strength) with 11 deaths in hospital and 3 death among the invalids (16.61 deaths per 1000 of mean strength). A private committed suicide by shooting himself in the chest with his rifle.

The 2nd/23rd Regiment occupied Isola, San Francesco de Paola, Polverista Gate and St Elmo Gate Barracks.

ophth
Ophthalmia, vesicular lids with slight inflammation (Fr Marston J. A., On Ophthalmia 1862.)

The 2nd/23rd was affected by Ophthalmia soon after moving into Polverista Gate Barracks. This eye infection was attributed by their surgeon to the quantity of fine dust that floated in the atmosphere in the neighbourhood of the barracks, especially on the road to Polverista Barracks where it lay in heaps on the ground. The dust was disturbed by wind or marching troops when dense clouds of dust were raised which made it almost impossible to see. Surgeon Benjamin Tydd recommended spraying the roads in the vicinity of the barracks with water from a water cart, which induced the disease to gradually subside.

Burials in Floriana Cemetery in 1861:

Burials in Rock Gate Cemetery in 1861:

1862 2nd/23rd (Royal Welch Fusiliers)

In 1862, the regiment had an average strength of 869 men, 629 hospital admissions (724 admissions per 1000 of mean strength) with 7 deaths in hospital, 3 deaths out of hospital and 2 among the invalids (13.81 deaths per 1000 of mean strength). A private of the 23rd Regiment was found dead in his bed after having drunk alcohol excessively the previous night.

The 2nd/23rd occupied Lower St Elmo Barracks during the second half of the year. The 1st/22nd had the largest number of sick in hospitals although the mortality was highest in the 2nd/23rd Regiment. Ophthalmia prevailed during the month with 162 admissions. At the end of the year, all those men with sore eyes were sent to the Sanatorium at Citta Vecchia.

Burials at Rock Gate Cemetery in 1862:

1863 2nd/23rd (Royal Welch Fusiliers)

Ophthalmia prevailed in the men of the 2nd/23rd who were removed to Pembroke Camp during the summer months.

In 1863, the regiment had an average strength of 695 men, 463 hospital admissions (666.2 admissions per 1000 of mean strength) with 2 deaths in hospital and 1 out of hospital (4.32 deaths per 1000 of mean strength).

5 Oct 1863 Death of Ensign R. M. Biddulph 2nd/23rd.

24 Oct The 2nd/23rd embarked for Gibraltar where it arrived on 29 October 1863. It was replaced by the 2nd/8th (The King's) Regiment.

2nd/The 23rd (Royal Welch Fusiliers)

1896 2nd/Royal Welch Fusiliers

8 July 1896 The 2nd/Royal Welch Fusiliers left Manchester and embarked at the Royal Albert Docks Woolwich. It disembarked in Malta on 16 July.

It had an average strength of 380 men with 539 admissions (1418.4/1000 mean strength) into hospital and 1 death (2.63/1000 mean strength). 1 invalid returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 23.96 (63.05/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 23.08 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 16.27 days.

The 2nd/Royal Welch Fusiliers was quartered at Verdala Barracks Cottonera for 6 months.

Baptisms in 1896:

Burials at Rinella Military Cemetery in 1896:

1897 2nd/Royal Welch Fusiliers

The 2nd/Royal Welch Fusiliers had an average strength of 954 men. It had 1076 admissions (1127.9/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 13 deaths (13.63/1000 mean strength). 21 invalids returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 58.44 (61.25/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 22.36 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 19.82 days.

6 Apr 1897 The regiment embarked for Crete and landed at Candia on 9 and 10 April 1897. In August, the remainder of the regiment joined the Cretan International Force, but 263 men were still at Malta in December 1897.

The 2nd/Royal Welch Fusiliers was quartered at Verdala Barracks Cottonera for 7 months with detachments in Crete for 4 months. It served in Crete for 5 months with the Cretan International Force.

Baptisms in 1897:

Burials at Rinella Military Cemetery in 1897:

1898 2nd/Royal Welsh Fusiliers

Admissions and Deaths during 1898
Average Strength Admissions Hospital Deaths Admissions/1000 Deaths/1000
764 977 7 1278.8 9
Admissions into hospital and deaths during the year with ratio of admissions and deaths per 1000 of strength. The average strength of the troops, exclusive of the Royal Malta Artillery, was 7,390 men.

3 Aug 1898 At the start of the year, a detachment of 222 men was at Malta while the main party was at Crete for 10 months. The 2nd/Royal Welsh Fusiliers left Crete for Alexandria where it arrived on 7 August 1898. It was relieved at Candia by the 1st/Highland Light Infantry. The 2nd/Royal Welsh Fusiliers served in Egypt for 5 weeks.

13 Sep The 2nd/Royal Welsh Fusiliers returned to Crete from Egypt on 13 September 1898.

114 Dec The battalion, 808 men strong, embarked for China on the transport Avoca.

The battalion was the longest serving in Crete and suffered badly form malarial fevers. Its average constantly sick was 38.01 (49.75/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 18.16 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 11.20 days.

Baptisms in the Garrison Church in 1898:

Burials in Pietà Military Cemetery in 1898:

1899 2nd/Royal Welch Fusiliers

1 Jan 1899 Detachment of 62 men left before 1 July 1899.

Burials in Pietà Military Cemetery in 1899:

The 5th Royal Welsh Fusiliers

1915 – 1st/5th Royal Welsh Fusiliers

Burials at Pietà Military Cemetery in 1915:

The 8th/Royal Welch Fusiliers

The 8th Battalion Royal Welch Fusiliers formed part of 40th Brigade 13th (Western Division) in Gallipoli.

1915 – Royal Welch Fusiliers

Burials at Pietà Military Cemetery in 1915:

1916 – Royal Welch Fusiliers

Baptisms in 1916:

Bibliography