RAMC

Regiments of the Malta Garrison
60th (The King's Royal Rifle Corps)

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The 60th (The King's Royal Rifle Corps)

Introduction

The 60th Regiment of Foot was raised in 1755 as the 62nd (Royal American) Regiment of Foot.

In 1757, it was re-numbered 60th (Royal American) Regiment when the 50th and 51st Regiments were disbanded.

In 1824, its title was 60th The Duke of York's Own Rifle Corps and Light Infantry; hence the bugle in the centre of the cross.

In November 1830, the name changed to The 60th (The King's Royal Rifle Corps).

On 1 July 1881, The 60th (The King's Royal Rifle Corps) became The King's Royal Rifle Corps.

The Maltese Cross is believed to have been derived from the badge of the old 5th Battalion. The motto Celer et Audax, Swift and Bold, was granted to the 60th for its services in North America in 1759, under Major–General James Wolfe (London Gazette 16 October 1824). The Battle Honour Peninsula was granted to the 5th/60th Regiment for its actions in the Peninsular War (1808–1814).

The 1st/The 60th (The King's Royal Rifle Corps)

1834 1st/60th (KRRC)

27 Oct 1834 18 officers, 512 men, 31 women and 70 children of the 1st Battalion 60th KRRC arrived from Gibraltar on the transport Jupiter. The 1st/60th replaced the 42nd Foot and moved into Lower St Elmo Barracks.

The following were baptised in 1834:

The following were buried in 1834:

1835 1st/60th (KRRC)

1835 There were 465 men in the Service Companies. The regiment was made up of 227 English, 168 Irish, and 70 Scottish soldiers. The average age was 28 years; the average height was 5 feet 8 inches. Ninety men had served for less than 7 years; 351 had served between 7 and 14 years; 24 soldiers had served from 14 to 21 years. In 1835 there were 592 sick treated in hospital with six deaths.

The 60th occupied Fort St Elmo but moved to Floriana Barracks in December. It had detachments at Forts Manoel, Tigné, Ricasoli and Fort Chambray Gozo. The regimental surgeon reported that notwithstanding the confined situation, want of ventilation of the quarters at St Elmo, and the exposure of the men to exhalations arising during the summer months from an open ditch passing close to the barracks, the men have escaped any fever of a severe type, and in no instance has the disease assumed a remittent or intermittent form.

There were 56 cases of Febris Continua Communis during the year. Most were mild in character. The predominant symptoms were moderate to severe headaches, pain in the loins, rigors with thirst, anorexia, nausea and occasional vomiting. Bowel complaints were common at Fort Manoel. There were 12 cases of dysentery.

There were 156 cases of acute catarrh, with one death. There were two cases of pneumonia, with one terminating fatally. There were two cases of Phthisis Pulmonalis, one being returned to England, but the other died at Malta from his disease.

27 Jan 1835 John Hyland aged 32 years was admitted on 15 January with pneumonia but died on 27 January.

27 Jan A soldier fell a height of 50 feet sustaining a compound fracture of his right wrist and an extensive compound fracture of the right thigh. The fracture extended from his knee joint to the middle of the thigh from which several pieces of bone protruded. The femur was completely shattered, as also were the patella and head of tibia. His jaw was also fractured. On the 28 January Surgeon Alexander Melvin decided to amputate the right leg. The patient endured the operation with fortitude but died on 30 January.

1 May 1835 George Dooling aged 38 years had been employed in the mess kitchen and was much addicted to drink. He was admitted to hospital on 29 April and died on 1 May 1835.

A soldier's wife died from of Phthisis Pulmonalis; another from acute dysentery. Soldier's wives were treated at the Civil Hospital and not at their regimental hospital. Assistant Surgeon Peter Lamond stated that the attention and care they received at the Civil Hospital by far exceeded that at regimental hospital where no nurses were employed. Three children died, one from dysentery and two from diarrhoea.

22 Aug Bachelor Schoolmaster Sgt John Dawson married Elizabeth Shaw, spinster from Gibraltar.

The following were baptised in 1835:

The following were buried in 1835:

1836 1st/60th (KRRC)

8 Feb 1836 A detachment of 56 men arrived at Malta.

14 July 494 men of the 1s/60th (KRRC) left Malta for Corfu on the Barrosa.

The following were baptised in 1836:

The following were buried in 1836:

1837 1st/60th (KRRC)

31 July 1837 Baptism of Frances Isabella Catherine Spencer daughter of the Hon Capt George Augustus Spencer and Charlotte born on 21 July 1837.

The 1st/The 60th (The King's Royal Rifle Corps)

1840 1st/60th (KRRC)

15 Apr 1840 The transport vessel Baretto Junior arrived from Cork with The 60th Rifles.

The 1st/The 60th (The King's Royal Rifle Corps)

1866 1st/60th (KRRC)

7 Mar 1866 The 1st/60th Regiment embarked at Kingston, Ireland on the Simoon, and disembarked in Malta on 17 March.

The 60th relieved the 1st/22nd Regiment which left for New Brunswick. It occupied the glacis of Fort Manoel, but moved to Floriana Barracks on 28 March 1866.

In 1866, the regiment had an average strength of 513 men. There were 669 hospital admissions (1304.1 admissions per 1000 of mean strength) with 1 death in hospital (1.95 deaths per 1000 of mean strength). It had 150 admissions (292/1000 mean strength) for continued fevers with no deaths. The cases of continued fevers in the 60th accounted for more than a quarter of the total number of admissions into hospital. The majority were of a mild type and were blamed on exposure to the sun.

One of the officers serving with the 60th Rifles was Francis Wallace Grenfell, who was to return to Malta in 6 January 1899 as Governor and Commander-in-Chief (1899 – 1903).

May 1866 Death of Pte William Webb 60th Royal Rifles, aged 32 years. (Quarantine Bastion Cemetery Floriana).

1867 1st/60th (KRRC)

In 1867, the regiment had an average strength of 442 men. There were 269 hospital admissions (608.6 admissions per 1000 of mean strength) with 4 deaths in hospital and 1 out of hospital (11.31 deaths per 1000 of mean strength).

30 Mar 1867 HQ Coy and 4 coys moved to Pembroke Camp; the other 4 coys went to Fort Manoel.

Several cases of cholera were reported in the 60th Foot during the epidemic of Sept 1867. On 30 Aug, a wife of a private soldier at Pembroke Camp who had been struck off the strength of the regiment because of her bad character, died from cholera. Her immorality was beheld a contributory factor in her becoming ill. It was thought that cholera was more likely to strike the immoral and those with an emotional or excitable character.

5 Sep 1867 The 1st/60th (KRRC) embarked on the Himalaya for Canada, where it arrived on 29 September. It was relieved int Malta by the 1st/31st Foot from Ireland. One fatal case of cholera and 14 of diarrhoea, two of which died, occurred on the voyage.

The 1st/The King's Royal Rifle Corps

22 Mar 1899 The 1st/KRRC arrived in South Africa.

1902 1st/KRRC

22 Sep 1902 The 1st/KRRC embarked in Cape Town South Africa on the Sardinia and arrived in Malta on 17 October 1902. It occupied Floriana Barracks, Mtarfa and Ghajn Tuffieha, where it formed part of 17th Mounted Infantry Coy.

1903 1st/KRRC

1903 The 1st/KRRC was at Floriana Barracks. This consisted partly of stone buildings and partly of huts, the latter being of modern construction. The families were at St Francis Xavier Barracks.

The 1st/KRRC had a higher incidence of Malta Fever than the rest of the garrison. Young, unseasoned soldiers were considered to be more susceptible to fall ill to fever during their first summer at Malta. The SMO reported that When the battalion first arrived, it contained a fair proportion of seasoned men, but during the winter its strength was increased, and in the places of old soldiers sent home, time expired, were filled by the arrival of two or three drafts from the depot. So that by the time the warm weather began, there were a good many young soldiers in the ranks who, by reason of their immaturity, may reasonably have been considered as specially liable to infection.1

A new block of married quarters overlooking the Quarantine Harbour had been completed just before the arrival of the regiment. It was occupied for the first time by married soldiers. For the first six months the occupants enjoyed good health. However, in mid June, Mediterranean Fever appeared, and the infection passed from quarter to quarter until a large proportion of the families were affected. This led to the theory that the disease was air-borne. Soil within a few yards of the affected buildings had been disturbed during the digging of the foundations for another block of quarters, allowing the virus to escape and infect the nearby quarters.

Single men living in the barracks also fell ill, the sick increasing as the summer progressed. The soldier's barracks were a mere three minutes walk from the married quarters, but were considered to be healthier as they were on elevated ground and protected by the ramparts of the old fortifications from air borne particles blowing from the direction of the Quarantine Harbour. Two new blocks of soldier's barracks were under construction in the vicinity of Floriana Barracks. The theory of air-borne infection from recently disturbed soil was accepted as an important factor in the causation of Malta Fever. It was advocated by the SMO in Valletta. Sanitary recommendations put forward to check the disease were based upon it. Captain James Crawford Kennedy, a specialist in Bacteriology who had won the University of Edinburgh Gold Medal for his thesis on Malta Fever, and who was in charge of the Valletta Laboratory, adhered to it.2

The following was buried in Mtarfa Military Cemetery in 1903:

1904 1st/KRRC

The following were buried in Mtarfa Military Cemetery in 1904:

1905 1st/KRRC

27 Feb 1905 The 1st/KRRC embarked on the Dilwara for Alexandria. Two companies landed in Crete and one company disembarked in Cyprus. It left Alexandria for Aldershot on 30 January 1909.

The 2nd/The King's Royal Rifle Corps

1841 – 2nd/KRRC

The following were baptised in 1841:

The 2nd/The King's Royal Rifle Corps

1 July 1881 The 2nd/60th Regiment became the 2nd Battalion The King's Royal Rifle Corps.

1895 2nd/KRRC

13 Jan 1895 The 2nd/King's Royal Rifle Corps embarked in Gibraltar on the transport Victoria and disembarked in Malta on 17 January 1895.

It had an average strength of 965 men with 724 admissions (730.3/1000 mean strength) into hospital and 9 deaths (9.33/1000 mean strength). 15 invalids returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 72.54 (75.17/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 27.44 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 36.57 days.

The 2nd/King's Royal Rifle Corps was quartered at Floriana and Notre Dame Barracks for 11 months. It had detachments at Upper and Lower Marsamxetto Barracks.

1896 2nd/KRRC

The 2nd/King's Royal Rifle Corps had an average strength of 528 men. It had 257 admissions (486.7/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 1 death (1.89/1000 mean strength). 17 invalids returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 25.0 (47.35/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 17.33 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 35.60 days.

16 July 1896 The 2nd/King's Royal Rifle Corps was quartered at Floriana Barracks and Notre Dame Ravelin for 6 1/2 months. It embarked for Cape Town, where it arrived on 5 August 1896.

1897 2nd/KRRC

A detachment of 6 men was left in Malta on the departure of the regiment.

The 3rd/The King's Royal Rifle Corps

1 July 1881 The 3rd/60th Regiment became the 3rd Battalion The King's Royal Rifle Corps.

1882 3rd/KRRC

23 Feb 1882 The 3rd/KRRC embarked in the Cape of Good Hope on the Orontes, and disembarked in Malta on 3 April 1882.

The 3rd/King's Royal Rifles had an average strength of 217 men. It had 151 admissions (695.8/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 2 deaths (9.21 deaths/1000 mean strength). 4 invalids returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 11.71 (53.96/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 19.69 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 28.30 days.

8 July 1882 The 3rd Battalion embarked for Egypt on the Agincourt.

The battalion was involved in operations in the Sudan from 16 February to May 1884. It left Egypt for Cyprus on 31 August 1884 leaving 4 companies in Egypt.

The 3rd/The King's Royal Rifle Corps

1908 3rd/KRRC

28 June 1908 2 coys of the 3rd Bn arrived from Crete on the Somali.

1909 3rd/KRRC

19 Jan 1909 The 3rd/KRRC embarked in Crete on the Braemar Castle, and disembarked in Malta on 22 January. The men moved into Verdala Barracks, Cottonera.

21 Sep The battalion moved into St George's Barracks.

1910 3rd/KRRC

Aug 1910 Towards the end of August 1910, there was a sudden outbreak of Paratyphoid B fever in the 1st/Suffolk Regiment. The outbreak was preceded by a few isolated cases earlier in the year. The first case was that of a soldier from St Andrew's Barracks who had been admitted to hospital on 29 May 1910 and discharged to barracks on 25 July 1910. Sixteen days later, a second soldier fell ill, followed by a further twelve, all from the Suffolk Regiment except one from the King's Royal Rifle Corps living in the adjoining St George's Barracks. The last case was admitted on 14 September and discharged on 12 October 1910. The duration of the pyrexia varied from 4 to 23 days. Bacillus paratyphoid was isolated on blood cultures.

12 Nov 1910 The 3rd/KRRC embarked on the Rewa and arrived in Karachi on 25 November 1910.

Bibliography