RAMC

Regiments of the Malta Garrison
53rd (Shropshire) Regiment

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The 53rd (Shropshire) Regiment

Introduction

The 53rd Regiment of Foot was raised in December 1755 as the 55th Foot, but was renumbered 53rd Foot in 1757 when two of the intervening regiments disbanded.

In 1782, the 53rd was assigned for recruiting to the county of Shropshire.

On 28 April 1829, the 53rd (Shropshire) Regiment was permitted to retain on its Colours the words Salamanca and Peninsula. This acknowledged the distinguished service of the 2nd Battalion 53rd Foot at Salamanca on 22 July 1812 and in the Peninsula from April 1809 to February 1813.

On 1 July 1881, the 53rd (Shropshire) Regiment of Foot amalgamated with the 85th (The King's) Regiment of Light Infantry (Bucks Volunteers) to become The King's Light Infantry (Shropshire Regiment).

In 1920, the regimental name changed to the King's Shropshire Light Infantry.

On 10 July 1968, The King's Shropshire Light Infantry (53rd Foot/85th Foot), The King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, The Durham Light Infantry (68th Foot /106th Foot), and The Somerset and Cornwall Light Infantry merged to form the Light Infantry.

The 53rd (Shropshire) Regiment of Foot

1834 53rd (Shropshire)

7 Apr 1834 18 officers, 481 men, 57 women and 84 children arrived from Gibraltar on the transport Jupiter. The 53rd relieved the 73rd Foot which embarked for Corfu.

In April, fever broke out at Lower Fort St Elmo Barracks. The sick developed a deep yellow colour of their skin and tenderness of their epigastrium. This was probably viral hepatitis which is spread through fecal contamination of food and water.

The following were married in 1834:

The following were baptised in 1834:

The following were buried in 1834:

1835 53rd (Shropshire)

1835 Strength: 495 men. The battalion was made up of 437 Englishmen, 55 Irishmen, and 3 Scotsmen. The corps had been primarily recruited in the western and mid-land counties of England. The average age was 29 years, the average height 5 feet 8 inches.

15 June Eleven soldiers embarked as invalids on board the transport Maitland under the medical charge of Assistant Surgeon Munro 2nd Dragoons.

5 Oct Bachelor Cpl John White married Catharine Walsh, spinster daughter of Sgt Solomon Walsh 53rd Regiment.

23 Dec 1835 The regiment occupied Floriana Barracks. In December, it moved to Cottonera on the opposite side of the Grand Harbour. Consequently the sick in the regimental hospital at Floriana were transferred to the General Hospital Valletta.

Floriana Barracks were a bomb proof barracks situated close to the eastern shore of the Quarantine Harbour between Valletta and the Floriana lines. The floors were flagged. It had an abundance of good water. The school, regimental workshops, stores, were within the barrack walls. There were also detached sheds for washing.

The regimental hospital at Floriana was part of the convent of "La Nostra Signora di Manresa" but that portion of the building used for military purposes was completely separated from that occupied by the ecclesiastical fraternity. The surgeon described it as admirably adopted for a military hospital. The site was elevated and close to the barracks. The wards were small and capable of holding only four patients, but were lofty, well ventilated and opened from a long and spacious corridor which in an emergency was capable of being converted into a ward. A long yard was connected to the hospital. It enclosed the cook house, privies and dead house and held a large water tank filled from the Wignacourt Aqueduct. Convalescent patients used the yard for exercise in fine weather, and walked the corridor in bad weather. The number of distinct wards in the hospital made it possible to separated patients according to different diseases.

In 1835 the average daily sick was 28, the majority having very mild illnesses. Simple Continued fever was usually of short duration. It was almost always attributed to excessive drinking. Those afflicted by it had a flushed face, complained of headache, nausea, rigors, back pain, general aches and suffusion of the eyes. 153 cases of simple continued fever were treated during the year, with one fatality. His postmortem examination revealed that death was the result of a liver abscess which had occupied most of his right lobe. There were no cases of intermittent or remittent fever.

The following deaths were recorded at Floriana during the year:

The following were baptised in 1835:

The following were buried in 1835:

1836 53rd (Shropshire)

18 June 1836 HQ Coy 53rd Regiment with a detachment of 273 men embarked for Corfu.

11 July The 2nd Division of 231 men embarked for Corfu.

The following were baptised in 1836:

The following were buried in 1836:

The 1st/The King's Shropshire Light Infantry

1 July 1881 The 53rd Regiment became The 1st Battalion The King's Light Infantry (Shropshire Regiment).

1883 1st/King's Shropshire Light Infantry

18 Feb 1883 970 men (8 coys) of the 1st/King's Shropshire Light Infantry embarked in Egypt and arrived in Malta on 23 February.

The 1st/Shropshire Light Infantry had an average strength of 714 men.

It had 542 admissions (759.1/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 6 deaths including 1 among the invalids (7.00 deaths/1000 mean strength). 11 invalids returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 40.91 (57.29/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 20.91 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 27.55 days.

A soldier committed suicide by cutting his throat while in a state of temporary insanity.

1884 1st/King's Shropshire Light Infantry

The 1st/Shropshire Light Infantry had an average strength of 845 men.

It had 500 admissions (591.7/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 8 deaths (9.46 deaths/1000 mean strength). 15 invalids returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 33.80 (45.82/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 16.80 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 28.40 days.

A sergeant shot himself in the head with his rifle while in a state of unsound mind, induced by domestic trouble.

1885 1st/King's Shropshire Light Infantry

The 1st/Shropshire Light Infantry had an average strength of 150 men. It had 84 admissions (560/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 3 deaths (19.99 deaths/1000 mean strength). 10 invalids returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 10.65 (71.0/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 25.91 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 46.27 days.

28 Feb 1885 The 1st/King's Shropshire Light Infantry embarked for Suakin where it disembarked on 11 March. The battalion was in Suakin and Cairo and embarked at Alexandria for Malta on 21 February 1887.

1887 1st/King's Shropshire Light Infantry

21 Feb 1887 The 1st/Shropshire Light Infantry returned to Malta from Alexandria.

It had an average strength of 542 men. It had 315 admissions (581.1/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 4 deaths (7.38 deaths/1000 mean strength). 7 invalids returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 24.27 (44.77/1000 mean strength).

The average sick time to each soldier was 16.34 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 28.12 days.

1888 1st/King's Shropshire Light Infantry

The 1st/Shropshire Light Infantry had an average strength of 797 men.

It had 316 admissions (396.5/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 6 deaths (7.53 deaths/1000 mean strength). 11 invalids returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 24.25 (30.42/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 11.13 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 28.08 days.

The battalion was quartered at Verdala Barracks, Cottonera with detachments at Forrest Hospital.

1889 1st/King's Shropshire Light Infantry

The 1st/Shropshire Light Infantry had an average strength of 868 men.

It had 408 admissions (470.1/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 3 deaths (3.46 deaths/1000 mean strength). 12 invalids returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 26.46 (30.48/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 11.12 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 23.67 days.

The battalion was quartered at Verdala Barracks, San Francesco de Paola Barracks for six and a half months and Floriana Barracks and Citta Vecchia for five and a half months. It had detachments at Pembroke Camp.

1890 1st/King's Shropshire Light Infantry

The 1st/Shropshire Light Infantry had an average strength of 930 men.

It had 578 admissions (621.5/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 7 deaths (7.53 deaths/1000 mean strength). 24 invalids returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 38.80 (41.72/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 15.23 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 24.50 days.

The battalion was quartered at Valletta for 11 1/2 months with detachments at Pembroke Camp and Fort Chambray Gozo for 12 months.

1891 1st/King's Shropshire Light Infantry

The 1st/Shropshire Light Infantry had an average strength of 205 men.

It had 94 admissions (458.5/1000 mean strength) into hospital. 6 invalids returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 6.32 (30.83/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 11.25 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 24.54 days.

17 Mar 1891 The 1st/King's Shropshire Light Infantry was quartered at Pembroke Camp and Fort Chambray Gozo for 3 months. It embarked for Egypt where it arrived on 20 March. It left Egypt for Hong Kong on 2 December 1891 arriving there on 8 January 1892.

Bibliography