RAMC

Regiments of the Malta Garrison
44th (East Essex) Regiment

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The 44th (East Essex) Regiment

Introduction

The 44th Foot was raised in 1741, as Colonel James Long's Regiment of Foot.

In 1751 it was numbered 44th in the army's order of precedence. It received its affiliation with East Essex in 1782.

On 25 June 1827, royal approval was granted for the 44th to bear on its Colours the word Bladensburg, in commemoration of its distinguished conduct on the heights above Bladensburg on 24 Aug 1814.

On 1 July 1881, the 44th (East Essex) Regiment of Foot and the Pompadours The 56th (West Essex) Regiment became the Essex Regiment.

In 1958 the Essex Regiment merged with the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment to form The 3rd East Anglian Regiment, which in 1964 became a battalion in The Royal Anglian Regiment.

The 1st/44th (East Essex) Regiment

1801 1st/44th (East Essex) (Rainsford's Regiment)

1 Nov 1801 Strength: 30 Commissioned and Warrant Officers, 75 NCOs, 327 rank and file fit for duty, 52 rank and file sick, 491 total officers and men, 712 establishment.

The 1st/44th (East Essex) Regiment

1805 1st/44th (East Essex) (Rainsford's Regiment)

1 July 1805 The 44th Regiment arrived with General Craig's Expedition but was kept in Malta to augment the garrison.
Strength: 35 Commissioned and Warrant Officers, 76 NCOs, 862 rank and file fit for duty, 36 rank and file sick, 1015 total officers and men, 1127 establishment.

14 Aug 1805 Strength: 688 men. On 13 August Sir James Craig said of the regiment:

The 44th is a wonderful fine regiment, generally speaking young, but by no means children. Stout, well made and in short one of the most promising regiments I have met with anywhere. They have I think one of the finest Light Companies I ever saw and their battalion is able to afford it. Their Grenadier Company is almost equal to it. This regiment is however, extremely defective in its discipline, neither officers nor men seemed at all trained or to be acquainted with what they are about. I felt myself obliged to notice the state of the regiment to the commanding officer in strong terms and I shall put them under a superintendence that will I hope soon correct the evil.6

1806 1st/44th (East Essex) (Rainsford's Regiment)

1 July 1806 Strength: 30 Commissioned and Warrant Officers, 76 NCOs, 823 rank and file fit for duty, 36 rank and file sick, 986 total officers and men, 1127 establishment.

1807 1st/44th (East Essex) (Rainsford's Regiment)

1 July 1807 Strength: 29 Commissioned and Warrant Officers, 66 NCOs, 1078 rank and file fit for duty, 66 rank and file sick, 1250 total officers and men, 906 establishment.

1 Oct Strength: 28 Commissioned and Warrant Officers, 66 NCOs, 1189 rank and file fit for duty, 49 rank and file sick, 1344 total officers and men, 906 establishment.

1 Nov 1807 Strength: 27 Commissioned and Warrant Officers, 76 NCOs, 1084 rank and file fit for duty, 39 rank and file sick, 1250 total officers and men, 1327 establishment.

1808 1st/44th (East Essex) (Rainsford's Regiment)

1 Feb 1808 Strength: 27 Commissioned and Warrant Officers, 76 NCOs, 1084 rank and file fit for duty, 39 rank and file sick, 1250 total officers and men, 1327 establishment.

15 Feb Pte Thomas Kelly was sentenced to death by a Garrison Court Martial for robbing a shop. The merchants of Valletta, however, appealed for clemency and his sentence was commuted to transportation to Botany Bay.1

1 Aug Strength 8 Coys: 21 Commissioned and Warrant Officers, 64 NCOs, 836 rank and file fit for duty, 45 rank and file sick, 977 total officers and men, 1327 establishment.

1 Sep Strength 8 Coys: 23 Commissioned and Warrant Officers, 64 NCOs, 831 rank and file fit for duty, 47 rank and file sick, 976 total officers and men.

Sep 1808 The 1st/44th embarked for Sicily.

The following died in 1808:

The 1st/44th (East Essex) Regiment

1811 1st/44th (East Essex)

21 Aug 1811 The 1st/44th arrived from Sicily.

25 Oct 1811 Field officers present: 1; Captains present: 5; Subalterns present: 21; Rank and File (Effective): 981; Rank and File (Establishment): 1208; On passage: 52; At Home: 0.

1812 1st/44th (East Essex)

18 Jan 1812 Sgt Patrick Collins 44th Regiment, aged 37 years. (Military and Civil Cemetery Floriana).

4 July Five companies embarked for Sicily.

25 Oct Field officers present: 1; Captains present: 4; Subalterns present: 6; Rank and File (Effective): 490; Rank and File (Establishment): 1008; On passage: 30; At Home: 3.

2 Dec Downing Street: The 2nd/11th Regiment from Gibraltar to Malta is to relieve the 1st/44th regiment. When the 11th regiment arrives at Malta the 44th is to form part of the army under the command of Lord William Bentick in Sicily.1

25 Dec 1812 Field officers present: 1; Captains present: 4; Subalterns present: 7; Rank and File (Effective): 498; Rank and File (Establishment): 1008; At Home: 71.

1813 1st/44th (East Essex)

6 Feb 1813 Five Coys 1st/44th Regiment which had embarked for Sicily on 4 July 1812 returned to Malta.

25 Feb Field officers present: 1; Captains present: 7; Subalterns present: 15; Rank and File (Effective): 931; Rank and File (Establishment): 1008.

24 Mar Five Coys embarked for Sicily.

10 May 1813 The remaining five Coys of 1/44th Foot embarked for Sicily.

The 1st/44th (East Essex) Regiment

1848 1st/44th (East Essex)

8 May 1848 520 men, 47 women, and 34 children embarked at Cork on 18 April 1848. They arrived in Malta on 8 May and relieved the 1st/97th Regiment which left for Nova Scotia.

30 May At St Paul's Collegiate Church Valletta, Bachelor L/Sgt William Dadd of the Parish of Tottenham Middlesex married Mary Evans a spinster of the County of Dublin, Ireland, daughter of Thomas Evans of Dublin.

12 Sep Acting Police Physician Dr Tomaso Chetcuti and Dr Joseph Becket Henry Collings visited the military hospital and examined the cases which had given rise to a report that three soldiers of the 44th had been attacked with cholera at Floriana Barracks. The two doctors expressed their opinion that the men were suffering from bilious diarrhoea of a severe kind and not cholera. This was supported by Surgeon Daniel Armstrong 44th Regiment, who had great experience of cholera in India.5

10 Oct 1848 Cholera appeared on Tuesday 10 Oct 1848. Consequently, HQ Coy 1st/44th was removed to Fort Manoel, a company moved to Francesco de Paola Barracks Cottonera, while another went to Fort Ricasoli.

The following died in 1848:

1849 1st/44th (East Essex)

3 July 1849 Widower Armourer Sgt John Ancil born at Newport Shropshire married Elizabeth Duff widow, born at Devonport County of Devon.

Oct 1849 1st/44th Regiment relieved the 1st/69th Regiment.

1850 1st/44th (East Essex)

May 1850 The Reserve Bn/44th Foot amalgamated with the 1st/44th Regiment.

28 May Death of John Bryan son of Eileen and John Bryan 44th (?) Regiment. (Military and Civil Cemetery Floriana).

1 July Jane, wife of CSgt John Scott 44th Regiment, aged 21 years 10 months, died at Floriana Barracks of cholera within a few hours of falling sick. She left to mourn her an infant child.4

July Five men of the 44th, and a wife of private Deady fell victim to cholera at Cospicua. The men who since their arrival at Fort Ricasoli from Floriana had been in excellent health, had reason to be thankful for their removal to a salubrious spot. One company from Isola was split up between Zabbar and Zejtun. The soldier's wives and children at San Francesco de Paola suffered severely from cholera. In July, twenty were in the dead house in the hospital at Vittoriosa. The wives were removed to Fort Chambray Gozo, where five died on the day of their arrival.

23 July 112 men and the regimental band were removed from San Francisco de Paola to Fort Chambray Gozo in HM Steam ship Porcupine. They were accompanied by Assistant Surgeon James Thomson Reserve Battalion. On their arrival at Gozo, the inhabitants assisted the troops in procuring carts to transport their baggage to Fort Chambray. The troops were enclosed within the fort and all communications with the inhabitants were studiously prohibited.2

The following were married in Malta in 1850:

1851 1st/44th (East Essex)

1851 HQ Coy at Floriana Barracks was relieved by the 3rd (Buffs). It embarked on the freight ship Athenian. During their three year service in Malta the 44th had suffered considerably from the cholera epidemic.3

1 May Bachelor Sgt Richard Ryall born in the Parish of Werburg in the City of Dublin married Eliza Clayton, spinster born in Cashel in the County of Tipperary, Ireland.

9 May 1851 438 men, 38 women and 51 children left for Gibraltar.

A monument was erected by the regiment to the memory of 7 Sgts, 1 Cpl, 3 Drms, 129 Ptes, 20 women and 33 children of the Corps who died at Malta between 8 May 1848 and 6 May 1851, being the period of their station in the island.

The 1st/44th (East Essex) Regiment

1854 1st/44th (East Essex)

15 Mar 1854 The 1st/44th arrived from Gibraltar. 923 men were placed under canvas at St Clement Barracks Cottonera, and at Fort Manoel. In March, nights were cold and it rained heavily.

4 Apr The 1st/44th was the first regiment to embark for Turkey following the declaration of war against Russia. By 5th April, the 44th had struck every tent at St Clements and the 923 men left the following morning.

21 July Florence Susan MacMahon aged 11 months, daughter of Capt Patrick William MacMahon.

Nov 1854 In November, the regiment had 22 officers and 608 men serving in the Crimea. Cholera broke out on the 28th of the month with great virulence and mortality. There were 35 admissions with 21 deaths before the end of the month. The surgeon blamed the wet and cold weather for the epidemic. Some cases of fever broke out after 14 November; two proved fatal.

1855 1st/44th (East Essex)

26 May 1855 Death of Pte William Kingsley 44th Regiment.

20 Nov In the Collegiate Church of St Paul's Valletta, Bachelor Sgt Thomas Harvey born in Tollesbury, Essex, son of Thomas and Mary Harvey married Christina Chesterton, spinster born in Bermuda West Indies, daughter of Barrack Sgt Thomas Chesterton and Mary his wife.

1856 1st/44th (East Essex)

3 Mar 1856 Burial of Pte George Stanes 44th Regiment.

The 1st/44th (East Essex) Regiment fought at Alma, Inkerman and Sevastopol in the Crimean War (1854–56).

The Reserve/44th (East Essex) Regiment

1848 Res/44th (East Essex)

14 July 1848 590 men, 43 women and 35 children arrived from Cork. They disembarked from the Bellisle and marched into barracks occupied by the 1st/97th Regiment.

Oct 1848 On Tuesday 10 October, following the appearance of cholera, HQ Coy 44th Reserve Bn was removed to St Francis Ravelin Floriana, a company moved to Zabbar and Zejtun, and another to Fort Tigne.

1849 Res/44th (East Essex)

13 Apr 1849 The Reserve Battalion marched from Fort Manoel to Fort Ricasoli as part of the garrison change over. A detachment was at Fort Tigne, half a coy was at San Salvatore, and HQ Coy was at Fort Ricasoli.

1850 Res/44th (East Essex)

May 1850 The Reserve Battalion 44th Foot amalgamated with the 1st/44th Regiment.

Bibliography