Regiments
Of the Malta Garrison
56th (West Essex)

The 56th (West Essex) Regiment

Essex
The Castle and Key of Gibraltar are enclosed within an open scroll, bearing the motto of Gibraltar; a wreath of oak leaves lies outside the scroll, below which is another scroll inscribed Pompadours. (Main Guard Valletta)

The 56th Regiment of Foot was raised in 1755 as the 58th Foot, but was renumbered 56th Foot the following year when two of the intervening regiments disbanded.

In 1782, it was affiliated to the county of West Essex to become The 56th (West Essex) Regiment.

In December 1836, the 56th was permitted to bear the word "Gibraltar" on its Colours in commemoration of its distinguished service in the defence of Gibraltar in 1782. It also displayed the Castle and Key, being part of the armorial bearings of that fortress, together with the motto Montis Insignia Calpe.

On 1 July 1881 The 56th (West Essex) Regiment merged with the 44th (East Essex) Regiment of Foot to form The 2nd Battalion The Essex Regiment.

The 2nd/The Essex Regiment of Foot

22 July 1878 An Expeditionary Force under General Sir Garnet Wolseley landed in Larnaca and took over Cyprus.

21 Feb 1884 The 2nd/Essex Regiment embarked at Gibraltar for Egypt. It sailed for Malta, but did not land there. It disembarked in Egypt on 2 March 1884.

1887 2nd/Essex

27 Feb 1887 The 2nd/Essex Regiment embarked in Egypt. It disembarked in Malta on 3 March 1887.

The 2nd/Essex Regiment had an average strength of 688 men. It had 340 admissions (494.1/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 3 deaths (4.35/1000 mean strength). 2 invalids returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 18.43 (26.78/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 9.77 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 19.78 days.

Baptisms in the Garrison Church, Valletta in 1887:

1888 2nd/Essex

Frederick Gale
Sgt Frederick Gale died Citta Vecchia 21 June 1888, aged 25 years. (Pieta' Military Cemetery)

The 2nd/Essex Regiment had an average strength of 924 men.

It had 466 admissions into hospital with 3 deaths. 9 invalids returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 24.94. The average sick time to each soldier was 9.87 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 19.58 days.

The HQ was at Floriana. The battalion was at Valletta and Cottonera with detachments at Forrest Hospital and Citta Vecchia.

Baptisms in the Garrison Church, Valletta in 1888:

Burials in Pietà Military Cemetery in 1888:

1889 2nd/Essex

The Essex
The Castle of Gibraltar, the motto Montis Insignia Calpe, the Pompadours 1889. (Milorda Gardens Floriana)

The 2nd/Essex Regiment had an average strength of 677 men. It had 280 admissions into hospital with 2 deaths. 13 invalids returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 17.85. The average sick time to each soldier was 9.63 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 23.27 days.

The 2nd/Essex Regiment was at Floriana Barracks and Citta Vecchia for 12 months.

Burials in 1889:

Baptisms in 1889:

23 July 1889 The 2nd/Essex left for Cyprus leaving four companies in Malta; 155 men embarked for Cyprus on 9 December.

1890 2nd/Essex

1 Jan–1 June 1890 The main body of the 2nd/Essex Regiment was in Cyprus with a detachment of 4 coys in Malta. It left Cyprus for Bombay on 8 October 1892.

It had an average strength of 254 men. It had 158 admissions into hospital with 4 deaths. 3 invalids returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 9.16. The average sick time to each soldier was 13.16 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 21.16 days.

The detachment was at Fort St Angelo for 12 months.

Baptisms in 1890:

Burials in Rinella Military Cemetery in 1890:

1891 2nd/Essex

Chawner Honor Melita
Marie Honor Melita daughter of Jeanne and Capt Hampden Chawner died 29 June 1891 aged 4 mths. (Ta' Braxia Cemetery)

The 2nd/Essex Regiment was in Cyprus with a detachment of 4 coys at at Fort St Angelo and Vittoriosa.

It had an average strength of 389 men. It had 276 admissions (709.5/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 6 deaths (15.42/1000 mean strength). 11 invalids returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 20.28 (52.13/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 19.03 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 26.82 days.

The detachment was at Fort St Angelo and Fort San Salvatore for 11 months and in Gozo for a month.

Baptisms in 1891:

Burials in Rinella Military Cemetery in 1891:

1892 2nd/Essex

The 2nd/Essex Regiment had an average strength of 364 men. It had 175 admissions (480.8/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 6 deaths (16.48/1000 mean strength). 3 invalids returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 10.58 (20.06/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 10.60 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 22.23 days.

The detachment was at Fort Chambray Gozo for 9 months.

28 Sep 1892 The 2nd/Essex embarked for Bombay, leaving in Malta a depôt detachment of 67 men.

Baptisms in 1892:

1893 2nd/Essex

Burials in Rinella Military Cemetery in 1893:

Sep 1893 The Depôt Detachment of 67 men left Malta.

The 2nd/The Essex Regiment

1904 2nd/Essex

Young A W
2371 CSgt A. W. Young aged 36 yrs died 4 July 1904,
3106 Sgt E W Fenner died 12 July 1904 aged 30 yrs. (Pieta' Military Cemetery)

19 Apr 1904 The 2nd/Essex left Warley and embarked at Southampton on the Sicilia, arriving at Malta on 28 April.

The battalion moved into Lower St Elmo Barracks. Six companies remained at this location throughout the year except for short periods at Pembroke, Mellieha and Ghajn Tuffieha Camps. They returned from Ghajn Tuffieha Camp on 19 December.

29 Apr–1 Sep "A" Coy and "B" Coy were in Fort Chambray Gozo. They were relieved by "D" Coy and "F" Coy which remained there until 8 May 1905, when they were relieved by "C" Coy and "E" Coy.

1904 The regimental strength was 698 men. In June, 9.6% of their strength was admitted with "simple continued fever"; in July 35%; in August 5%, in September 6.3% and in October 6%. That is 55% of the regiment was attacked with "simple continued fever" during the first summer of their residence in Malta.

Burials in Pietà Military Cemetery in 1904:

Burials in Gozo Military Cemetery in 1904:

1905 2nd/Essex

Surrey John
3294 Pte John Surrey aged 34 yrs died 2 Jan 1906. (Pieta' Military Cemetery)

8 May 1905 "F" Coy returned from Gozo and occupied Lower St Elmo Barracks. It remained at this location until 8 July 1905, when it marched to Mtarfa Barracks. There, it replaced the 2nd/Royal Sussex Regiment. Lower St Elmo was taken over by the 1st/Lancashire Fusiliers on 11 July.

While at Mtarfa, the Essex Regt had three cases of Mediterranean Fever. These occurred on the 13th, 24th and 28th July.

Burials at Mtarfa Military Cemetery in 1905:

Burials in Pietà Military Cemetery in 1905:

1906 2nd/Essex

Baptisms in 1906:

Burials in Pietà Military Cemetery in 1906:

1907 2nd/Essex

24 Mar 1907 The 2nd/Essex Regiment, consisting of 8 coys, HQ Coy, 22 officers, 2 officers' wives and 1 child, 2 warrant officers, 36 sgts, 16 buglers, 436 rank and file, 32 wives and 54 children, embarked for Southampton on the Braemar Castle. The men disembarked on 2 April and proceeded to Dublin.

Baptisms in 1907:

The 2nd/The Essex Regiment

1919 2nd/Essex

Steady John
48466 Sgt John Steady died 20 Dec 1919. (Mtarfa Military Cemetery)

9 Sep 1919 The 2nd/Essex embarked in England for Malta. It had 26 officers, 820 rank and file.

1920 2nd/Essex

1 Jan 1920 Strength: 26 officers, 810 rank and file.

Baptisms at the Imtarfa Church Room in 1920:

1921 2nd/Essex

1 Jan 1921 Strength: 25 officers, 883 rank and file.

1 Dec The 2nd/Essex left Malta by December 1921.

1922 2nd/Essex

Baptisms in St Oswald's Chapel Mtarfa in 1922:

Baptisms in the Barracca Garrison Church Valletta in 1922:

1923 2nd/Essex

Baptisms in the Barracca Garrison Church Valletta in 1923:

Bibliography