Regiments of the Malta Garrison
The 3rd (East Kent–The Buffs) Regiment

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The 3rd (East Kent–The Buffs) Regiment of Foot


The origins of the 3rd (The Buffs) Regiment of Foot dates back to 1665, when some independent companies drawn from the Train Bands of the City of London, served in the Netherlands to reinforce the Dutch in their struggle against Spain. The Holland Regiment (1665 – 1689) returned to England, where in 1708 became the Buffs (1708 – 1751).

The Buffs received the badge of the Dragon for its valour displayed under the Duke of Marlborough, in the campaigns against Louis XIV, and for which it was awarded the battle honours Blenheim, Ramillies, Oudenarde and Malplaquet.

In 1751, it was numbered The 3rd (The Buffs) in the infantry order of precedence. Its nickname of The Buffs, taken from the colour of its uniform facings, was incorporated into its title.

In 1782, the title East Kent was added, so that the regiment became The 3rd (East Kent – The Buffs) Regiment of Foot.

On 1 July 1881, the infantry were given a geographical connection with an appropriate territorial title in place of the regimental number. The 1st/3rd (East Kent–The Buffs) Regiment of Foot became The 1st Battalion The Buffs (East Kent) Regiment; the 2nd/3rd Foot became The 2nd Battalion, The Buffs (East Kent Regiment).

In 1935, the regimental name changed to The Buffs (Royal East Kent Regiment).

In Mar 1961, The Buffs (Royal East Kent Regiment) merged with The Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment, to form the Queen's Own Buffs The Royal Kent Regiment.

The 1st/3rd (East Kent–The Buffs)

1851 1st/3rd (East Kent–The Buffs)

9 Apr 1851 On 5 Apr 1851, HQ Division consisting of 294 men, 22 women and 22 children embarked at Queenstown on the Athenian. The regiment arrived at Malta on 9 April. It relieved The 44th Foot.

1 Nov 1851 559 men of 1st/3rd Foot occupied Floriana Barracks.

1852 1st/3rd (East Kent–The Buffs)

1852 Strength: 524 men. The battalion moved from Floriana Barracks to Fort Lower St Elmo Barracks. The officers were quartered at the Auberge de Bavarie.

The following were buried in 1852:

  • 6 Feb Pte James Ward (Military and Civil Cemetery Floriana).
  • 17 May Pte John Thompson aged 23 years.
  • Pte William Reeves The Buffs. (Military and Civil Cemetery Floriana).
  • 3 June Georgina Bridge aged 4 years 3 months, daughter of Capt George Bridge.
  • 12 July Victoria Jane Payne aged 2 years 6 months, daughter of CSgt Payne 3rd Regt- the Buffs.

26 Aug Widower Sgt Samuel Halton born in the Parish of Birmingham in the County of Warwickshire, son of Thomas and Elizabeth Halton married Janet Burton spinster daughter of Alexander and Charlotte Burton, a minor with the consent of her father, born in Dublin Ireland.

1853 1st/3rd (East Kent–The Buffs)

Jan 1853 Strength: 439 men. A draft of three officers and 21 men left Castlebar Depôt for Dublin on 15 January 1853 to embark for Malta.

24 Jan 1853 A draft of three officers and 20 men embarked at Deptford on board transport John Oldham for Malta.

The following were buried in 1853:

  • 21 Aug Henry Eastwood aged 18 days, son of Pte Eastwood.
  • 8 Sep Pte George Magson aged 37 years 6 months.
  • 10 Sep Maria Wheeler aged 26 years, wife of Sgt Wheeler, (Military and Civil Cemetery Floriana).
  • 12 Sep Sgt James Edwards aged 26 years.
  • 19 Oct Sarah Wilson aged 5 months, daughter of Sgt William Wilson.
  • 2 Dec Pte Jesse Watson aged 25 years.
  • 2 Dec Emelia Philbeam aged 2 days, daughter of Sgt Maj Robert Philbeam.
  • 23 Dec Sgt William Wilson aged 32 years.

13 Oct 1853 HQ company moved from Lower St Elmo Barracks to Fort Manoel. Two companies occupied Fort Ricasoli, one company moved from Fort Tigne to Fort St Angelo.

1854 1st/3rd (East Kent–The Buffs)

3 Mar 1854 HQ and 1 coy from Manoel Island and 2 coys moved from Fort Ricasoli to Auberge Bavarie and Fort Lower St Elmo vice the 49th Regiment.

11 Apr In the Collegiate Church of St Paul's Valletta Batchelor Captain Walter Pownall 3rd The Buffs, born at Walton near Liverpool in the County of Lancashire, son of James and Mary Ann Pownall, married Georgina Eliza Gordon Anderson born in the Parish of Nairn, Scotland, second daughter of Colonel Sir Alexander Anderson, deceased, and Elizabeth his wife. Captain Pownall was wounded at Sebastopol on 28 May 1855.

18 Apr During the Crimean War the Buffs formed part of the Malta Garrison. They were kept in reserve at Auberge de Bavarie and Lower St Elmo Barracks until required in the East.

20 May The Steamer Karnak left Cork on 20 May with 60 private soldiers, 3 women and 10 children of 3rd Regiment of Foot, 5 private soldiers, 7 women and 15 children of 9th Regiment of Foot, 102 private soldiers, 6 women and 9 children of 62nd Regiment of Foot, and 47 private soldiers, 2 women and 0 children of 68th Regiment of Foot. The ship was under the medical charge of Assistant Surgeon Andrew risk 23rd Regiment. It arrived at Malta on 31 May 1854. There had been no casualties or sick during the voyage other than a single case of measles.

10 Oct The 1st/3rd moved to Fort Verdala Barracks vice the 9th Foot.

12 Nov 1854 The 1st/3rd (East Kent–The Buffs) embarked for Athens on the Ajax to relieve the 97th Foot, under orders to join the allied forces in the Crimea.

The following were baptised in 1854:

  • 14 June Ellen Matilda Jenkins born on 1 June 1854, daughter of Cpl Thomas Jenkins 3rd Regiment - The Buffs and Caroline was baptised by Chaplain to the Forces William Hare.
  • 15 June Johanna Barrowcliffe born on 15 June 1854, daughter of Pte Joseph Barrowcliffe and Jane.
  • 5 July Edward Joseph Eastwood born on 26 June 1854, son of Pte Amos Eastwood and Frances was baptised by Chaplain to the Forces William Hare.

The following were buried in 1854:

  • 1 May Ellen Young aged 28 years, wife of Cpl Robert Young.
  • 22 June Kate Roach aged 1 year, daughter of Sgt Richard Roach.
  • 5 July Pte James Gamble aged 33 years 6 months.
  • 26 July Cpl James Webb aged 28 years.
  • 26 July Pte Thomas Smith Garnett aged 28 years.
  • 28 July Pte Richard Winsdale aged 26 years.
  • 4 Aug Charles James Young aged 4 months, son of Cpl Robert Young.
  • 22 Aug Anna Spailing aged 14 days, daughter of Master Tailor Sgt Philip Spailing.
  • 28 Aug Rose Elizabeth Summers aged 3 years 11 months, daughter of Sgt Thomas Summers.
  • 3 Sep Isabella Spailing aged 4 years, daughter of Master Tailor Sgt Philip Spailing.
  • 8 Sep Pte George Robson aged 22 years.
  • 12 Sep Pte John Thomas Roberts aged 18 years.
  • 7 Oct Sgt Thomas Mansfield aged 32 years.
  • 15 Oct John Henry Jackson aged 5 years 6 months, son of Pte Jackson.
  • 19 Nov Johanna Barrowcliff aged 5 months 2 weeks, daughter of Pte Joseph Barrowcliff.
  • 26 Dec Thomas F B Somers aged 14 months, son of Sgt Thomas Somers.

1855 1st/3rd East Kent–The Buffs

27 Mar 1855 On 24 March 1855, 570 men embarked at Piraeus Greece. They arrived at Malta on 27 March.

14 Apr 1855 The 1st/3rd East Kent–The Buffs embarked for the Crimea. It served in the Crimea until 10 May 1856, when it embarked for the Ionian Islands.

7 Oct Burial of Pte Henry Hudson aged 23 years.

The 1st/The Buffs (East Kent) Regiment

1882 – The 1st/The Buffs (East Kent) Regiment

11 Sep 1882 The 1st/The Buffs left Aldershot and embarked at Portsmouth on 11 September 1882. It disembarked at Malta on 20 September.

20 Sep 1882 Soon after its arrival, 8 Coys, HQ Coy, 25 officers, 47 Sgts, 16 Trumpeters or Drummers, 724 Rank and File and 5 horses, embarked on the transport Iberia for Queenstown where The Buffs disembarked on 29 September 1882.

17 Oct 1884 The 1st/The Buffs moved to Buttevant. On 29 January 1885, it left Buttevant and embarked for Malta.

1885 1st/The Buffs (East Kent)

29 Jan 1885 The 1st/The Buffs (East Kent) Regiment embarked at Queenstown for Malta. 1,037 men (8 coys) disembarked in Malta on 9 February 1885.

The 1st/East Kent Regiment had an average strength of 580 men. It had 564 admissions (972.4/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 12 deaths (20.68 deaths/1000 mean strength). 14 invalids returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 37.20 (64.13/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 23.41 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 24.07 days.

A corporal killed himself by slashing his throat. No motive or mental aberration could be discovered in this case.
A canteen sergeant shot himself through the head after irregularities were discovered in the accounts.

12 Sep 1885 The 1st/The Buffs (East Kent) Regiment embarked for Singapore, arriving there on 9 October 1885.

A detachment of 192 all ranks (173 rank and file) was left at Malta when the regiment sailed for Singapore.

1886 1st/The Buffs (East Kent)

June 1886 The detachment of 111 men left Malta Command.

The 2nd/The 3rd (East Kent–The Buffs) Regiment of Foot

1858 2nd/3rd (East Kent–The Buffs)

16 Apr 1858 The 2nd/3rd Foot embarked at Cork and Portsmouth for Malta.

1 May Strength: Rank and File 498 (6 Coys Effective), 480 (Established).
Together with the 10 Coys of the 2nd/2nd Regiment, the 10 Coys of the 28th Foot, and the 6 Coys of the Royal Malta Fencible Regiment, the 3rd (East Kent–The Buffs) formed part of 2nd Brigade.

1 Sep Strength: 35 Officers, 42 NCOs, 19 Buglers/Drummers, 787 rank and file, 883 total all ranks. (Total garrison strength 4,849 rank and file). A detachment was at Fort Ricasoli.

1 Dec 1858 Strength: 37 Officers, 42 NCOs, 19 Buglers/Drummers, 778 rank and file, 876 total all ranks. (Total garrison strength 4,618 rank and file).

The following were baptised in 1858:

  • 28 May Eliza White, daughter of Hanna and Pte William White.
  • 24 June Mary Jane Walsh born 31 May 1858, daughter of Mary and Pte William Walsh.
  • 4 Aug Francis Andrew Brew son of Mary and Sgt Maj George Brew.

The following were buried in Floriana Cemetery in 1858:

  • 26 July Rose Sargent aged 25 years, wife of Sgt Maj Sargent 2nd/3rd Regiment at Ta' Braxia Cemetery Msida.
  • 14 Sep Pte Henry Kennedy 2nd/3rd Regiment aged 20 years.
  • 4 Oct Pte William Ward 2nd/3rd Regiment aged 18 years.
  • 19 Oct Pte F Simmons 2nd/3rd Regiment aged 19 years.
  • 18 Nov Pte John Watling 2nd/3rd Regiment.

The following were married in the Collegiate Church of St Paul's Valletta in 1858:

  • 17 May Bachelor Sgt Washington Busman to Hannah Barnes spinster born in Torquay, Devon.
  • 15 June Bachelor CSgt Patrick Walsh to Mary Anne Williams spinster, born in Cork.
  • 23 Sep Bachelor Armourer Sgt William Horrocks to Catharine Fitzgerald, spinster daughter of Thomas and Catharine Fitzgerald born in Cork.

1859 2nd/3rd (East Kent–The Buffs)

1 Jan 1859 Strength: 37 Officers, 42 NCOs, 19 Buglers/Drummers, 757 rank and file, 855 total all ranks. (Total garrison strength 4,537 rank and file).

1 Apr – 26 Aug Location: Floriana Barracks.

1 Aug Strength: 37 Officers, 45 NCOs, 21 Buglers/Drummers, 806 rank and file, 909 total all ranks. (Total garrison strength 6897 rank and file).

27 Aug – 31 Dec Location: Isola Gate, San Francesco de Paola Barracks, and St Elena Gate Vittoriosa.

In 1859, the regiment had 233.2 admissions from fever per 1000 of mean strength with 4.64 deaths from fever per 1000 of mean strength.

1 Dec 1859 Strength: 39 Officers, 44 NCOs, 21 Buglers/Drummers, 808 rank and file, 912 total all ranks. (Total garrison strength 7,044 rank and file).

The following were baptised in 1859:

  • 20 Mar Mary Anne Catherine Orlopp born 28 February 1859, daughter of Catherine and CSgt Adam Orlopp.
  • 3 Apr William Henry Gladwin born 7 March 1859, son of Sarah and Sgt Henry James Gladwin.
  • 22 May Lucy Agnes Caroline Somerset born 28 March 1859, daughter of Harriet Lade and Capt Henry George Edward Somerset.
  • 17 July Bridget Ann Collett born 24 April 1859, daughter of Bridget and Sgt Aaron Collett was received into the church, having been baptised privately.
  • 31 July Charles Horatio Busman born 11 July 1859, son of Hannah and Paymaster Sgt Washington Busman.
  • 11 Sep Frederick John Laurie born 11 September 1859, son of Elizabeth and Cpl Joseph Laurie.
  • 9 Oct James Richard Smith, son of Elizabeth and Charles Smith 2nd/3rd The Buffs.

The following were buried in Floriana Cemetery in 1859 unless stated otherwise:

  • 25 Feb Pte Andrew Brenkey aged 19 years.
  • 8 Apr Godfrey Featherstone son of Sgt Edward Featherstone 2nd/3rd The Buffs.
  • 29 Apr Pte Aaron Reid 2nd/3rd The Buffs.
  • 13 June Jane Walsh wife of CSgt William Walsh 2nd/3rd The Buffs, aged 32 years.
  • 3 July Christopher Israel Clarke aged 11 months, son of School Master C Clarke 2nd/3rd The Buffs.
  • 3 July Margaret Kelly aged 5 years, stepdaughter of Sgt William Baston 2nd/3rd The Buffs.
  • 22 Aug Thomas Alexander Jackson son of James Jackson.
  • 31 Aug Pte William Ward aged 18 years 2nd/3rd Regiment at Rock Gate Cemetery.
  • 4 Sep LCpl Thomas Hill aged 23 years at Rock Gate Cemetery.
  • 11 Sep Pte William Morris aged 19 years at Rock Gate Cemetery.
  • 23 Sep Eliza White aged 1 year 4 months, daughter of Pte W White at Rock Gate Cemetery.
  • 18 Oct Sarah Bowman aged 8 months, daughter of Frederick Bowman 1st/3rd Buffs (deceased) at Ta' Braxia Cemetery.
  • 18 Nov Elizabeth Mary Ann Shaw aged 29 years, wife of CSgt William Shaw at Rock Gate Cemetery.
  • 20 Nov Pte Robert Crow aged 26 years at Rock Gate Cemetery.
  • 20 Dec Pte Joseph Button at Rock Gate Cemetery.

1860 2nd/3rd (East Kent–The Buffs)

Admissions and Deaths during 1860
Average Strength Admissions Hospital Deaths Admissions/1000 Deaths/1000
859 971 14 1130 16.29
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.

1 Jan 1860 Strength: 39 Officers, 43 NCOs, 21 Buglers/Drummers, 808 rank and file, 911 total all ranks. (Total garrison strength 7018 rank and file).

The 2nd/3rd Foot was quartered in Fort Verdala, Cottonera.

The regiment had the largest number of deaths in the garrison. 248 soldiers were admitted with continued fevers with 6 deaths. In June, when admissions from continued fevers 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 September, 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 2nd/3rd Regiment had 216 admissions into hospital for ophthalmia. The disease took the form of a simple inflammation of the conjunctiva.

The following were buried in Rock Gate Cemetery in 1860:

  • 4 Jan Pte William Beeson aged 31 years.
  • 27 Jan Pte Joseph Lowcock aged 22 years.
  • 7 Feb William Henry Gladwin aged 8 months, son of Pte H J Gladwin.
  • 17 Mar Sgt Aaron Collett.
  • 4 Apr Margaret Brew aged 5 months, daughter of Sgt G Brew in Floriana Cemetery.
  • 5 June Pte John Sowbridge.
  • 27 June L/Cpl Joseph Duke.
  • 28 June Frances Jane Wenham aged 1 year.
  • 17 July Pte William A Tomkins.
  • 30 Sep Charlotte Susan Dillon aged 6 months, daughter of Thomas Dillon.
  • 27 Nov Pte Thomas Jones aged 27 years.
  • 16 Dec Elizabeth Wenham aged 24 years, wife of Armourer Sgt Wenham.

1861 2nd/3rd (East Kent–The Buffs)

In 1861, the regiment had an average strength of 873 men, 678 hospital admissions (777 admissions per 1000 of mean strength) with 2 deaths among the invalids (2.95 deaths per 1000 of mean strength).

The 2nd/3rd Regiment occupied Lower St Elmo Barracks in which continued fever had been so prevalent and fatal in 1859 but which in 1861 only accounted for 90 admissions (103 admissions per 1000 of mean strength) with no deaths. To avoid overcrowding, four companies were sent to Pembroke Camp during the summer months.

The following were buried in Rock Gate Cemetery in 1861:

  • 4 Feb Mary Elizabeth Grant aged 1 year 4 months, daughter of Sgt Grant.
  • 15 Sep Emily Jane Gladwin aged 1 year 5 months, daughter of Sgt H J Gladwin in Floriana Cemetery.
  • 23 Oct George Henry Storks Pettendrigh aged 1 year 2 months, son of QM George Pettendrigh.

1862 2nd/3rd (East Kent–The Buffs)

In 1862, the regiment had an average strength of 382 men, 184 hospital admissions (482 admissions per 1000 of mean strength) with 1 death in hospital and 1 among the invalids (5.24 deaths per 1000 of mean strength).

The 2nd/3rd (East Kent–The Buffs) occupied Lower St Elmo Barracks during the first half of the year.

11 June 1862 The 2nd/3rd Foot embarked for Gibraltar where it arrived on 18 June 1862. It was relieved by The 1st/25th (The King's Own Borderers) Regiment from Gibraltar.

The following were buried in Floriana Cemetery in 1862:

  • 24 Jan Julia Savage aged 1 year 10 months, daughter of Master Tailor Savage.
  • 8 Apr Caroline Pettendrigh aged 33 years, wife of QM Pettendrigh at Ta' Braxia Cemetery.
  • 10 Aug Pte John Waller Light Coy The Buffs accidentally drowned in the Quarantine Harbour.

The 4th/The Buffs (Royal East Kent Regiment)

1940 4th/Buffs (Royal East Kent)

10 Nov 1940 HMS Barham and other ships arrived at Malta from England via Gibraltar with over 2000 Army personnel on board including 4th/Buffs and 12 Field Regiment Royal Artillery.

1941 4th/Buffs (Royal East Kent)

31 Mar 1941 Strength: 32 officers and 663 men. Commanding officer Lt Col Marshall. In June 4th/Buffs were at Attard and Cowsheds.

14 Apr Numerous bombs fell in the are around Attard. B Coy 4th/Buffs sustained four battle casualties which were evacuated to Medical Aid Post Attard. Two were moved to General Hospital Mtarfa where No 6096441 Pte James Boorman died form his multiple injuries.

30 Sep 1941 Strength: 35 officers and 1105 men.

1942 4th/Buffs (Royal East Kent)

21 Mar 1942 No 6288229 Pte Raymond Edwin Siviour aged 26 years was killed in action.

1943 4th/Buffs (Royal East Kent)

6 Sep 1943 The 4th/Buffs left Malta.


  • Farmer J. S., 1984. The regimental records of the British Army Reprint Edition, Trowbridge, Wiltshire: Crecy Books.
  • Rudolf R., 1988. Campaign histories of the Infantry Regiments of the British Army, Hayward and Sons, Polstead Suffolk.
  • Cannon J., 1990, The Quarantine Bastion Cemetery Malta. Bucks Cannon Associates.
  • The Malta Times, No 611 dated 31 October 1854.
  • TNA:WO 379/11. Stations of Regiments 1859–1900.
  • TNA:WO 379/15. Stations of Regiments 1901–1920.
  • TNA:WO 156/112. Burial Register from 16 January 1837 to 28 August 1853.
  • TNA:WO 156/113. Register of burials Sept 1853 to June 1862.
  • TNA:WO 156/122; List of gravestones at the Military and Civil Cemetery 1801–1865 and the Quarantine Bastion Cemetery 1819–1867 compiled by the Rev D B L Foster Assistant Chaplain General Western Mediterranean in May 1939.
  • TNA:WO 156/595. No 3, Marriage Register 11 July 1839 to 14 May 1859.