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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

Introduction

The origins of the 3rd (The Buffs) Regiment of Foot dates back to 1665, when some Independent Companies went to the Netherlands to reinforce the Dutch in their struggle against Spain. The Holland Regiment on its return to England became the Buffs.

In 1751, it was numbered 3rd in the infantry order of precedence, and 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 3rd (East Kent–The Buffs) Regiment of Foot became The Buffs (East Kent) Regiment of Foot.

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)

10 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 10 Apr. 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).
  • Pte William Reeves The Buffs. (Military and Civil Cemetery Floriana).

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

1853 1st/3rd (East Kent–The Buffs)

1853 Strength: 439 men.

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.

The following were buried in 1853:

  • 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.

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.

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

Nov 1854 The 1st/3rd (East Kent–The Buffs) embarked for Athens to relieve the 97th Foot.

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 570 men returned from Piraeus Greece.

7 Oct Burial of Pte Henry Hudson aged 23 years.

1856 1st/3rd East Kent–The Buffs

The 1st/The Buffs (East Kent) Regiment

1 July 1881 The 1st Battalion 3rd Regiment became the 1st Battalion The Buffs (East Kent Regiment).

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

20 Sep 1882 The 1st/The Buffs left Aldershot and embarked at Portsmouth on 11 September 1882. It disembarked at Malta on 20 September. Soon after, on 20 Sept 1882, it re-embarked for Queenstown where it arrived on 29 September 1882. It served in Birr from 29 September 1882 to 17 November 1882 when it moved to Dublin.

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. 1037 men (8 coys) arrived 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 where it arrived 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)

1 Apr 1858 Strength: Rank and File 498 (Effective), 480 (Established).

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

1 Sep Strength: 35 Officers, 42 NCOs, 19 Buglers/Drummers, 787 rank and file, 883 total all ranks. (Total garrison strength 4849 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 4618 rank and file).

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 Armoury Sgt William Horrocks to Catharine Fitzgerald, spinster daughter of Thomas and Catharine Fitzgerald born in Cork.

1859 2nd/3rd (East Kent–The Buffs)

1 Feb 1859 Strength: 39 Officers, 44 NCOs, 19 Buglers/Drummers, 806 rank and file, 908 total all ranks. (Total garrison strength 4771 rank and file).

1 Apr Strength: 37 Officers, 42 NCOs, 19 Buglers/Drummers, 801 rank and file, 899 total all ranks. (Total garrison strength 5650 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 7044 rank and file).

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)

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).

1 June Strength: 37 Officers, 44 NCOs, 21 Buglers/Drummers, 798 rank and file, 900 total all ranks. (Total garrison strength 6203 rank and file).

In 1860, the regiment had an average strength of 859 men, 971 hospital admissions (1130 admissions per 1000 of mean strength) with 12 deaths in hospital and 2 deaths out of hospital (16.29 deaths per 1000 of mean strength). The 2nd/3rd Regiment had the largest number of deaths in the garrison. 248 soldiers were admitted (289/1000 strength) with continued fevers with 6 deaths (6.98/1000 strength). 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.

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

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 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.

Bibliography

  • Farmer J. S., 1984. The regimental records of the British Army Reprint Edition, Trowbridge, Wiltshire: Crecy Books.
  • Edwards T. J., 1980. Regimental Badges First Edition, Tonbridge, Kent: Ernest Benn Ltd.
  • Cannon J., 1990, The Quarantine Bastion Cemetery Malta. Bucks Cannon Associates.
  • TNA:WO 379/11. Stations of Regiments 1859–1900.
  • TNA:WO 379/15. Stations of Regiments 1901–1920.
  • 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.