Of the Malta Garrison
The 68th
Durham Light Infantry

The 68th Durham Light Infantry

The 68th Foot was derived from the 2nd/23rd Regiment of Foot. The 2nd Battalion was raised in 1756 in Leicester, but two years later became an independent regiment as the 68th Regiment of Foot. Its early recruiting took part in Durham.

In 1782, its county affiliation with Durham became formalised.

In 1808, the 68th became the third British infantry Regiment to be converted into a Light Infantry.

On 1 July 1881, the 68th (Durham Light Infantry) Regiment merged with the 106th (Bombay Light Infantry) Regiment of Foot to form the The Durham Light Infantry.

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

The 3rd/68th (Durham Light Infantry)

1851 3rd/68th (DLI)

20 Mar 1851 558 men, 44 women and 64 children arrived from Cork in the Troop ship Resistance.

Strength: 527 men at Valletta.

Baptisms in 1851:

Burials in 1851:

1852 3rd/68th (DLI)

Strada Torre
Strada Torre Barracks Valletta 1844 (TNA:MFQ 1/319).

Sep 1852 The 68th Light Infantry moved from the Auberge de Bavarie to Cottonera where it replaced the 76th Strength: 557 Effective men (6 Coys), 540 (Establishment).

Marriages in 1852:

Baptisms in 1852:

Burials in 1852:

1853 3rd/68th (DLI)

Plan of the casemates in Strada Torre Barracks Valletta (TNA:MFQ 1/330).

18 Jan A draft of one officer and 21 men left Nenagh Depôt for Dublin on 17 January 1853 to embark for Malta.

24 Jan A draft of two officers and 20 men embarked at Deptford on board transport John Oldham for Malta.

25 Jan Lt Lyon who was on leave of absence visiting several of the continental ports, broke his arm when he was thrown off his horse while hunting at Naples. He was unable to return to Malta by his yacht, the Wizard, but instead returned to his regiment from Naples on the French steamer.

13 Oct The 68th Durham Light Infantry moved from Floriana Barracks to Strada Torre Barracks. HQ Coy located itself at the Auberge de Castille.

Marriages in 1853:

Baptisms in 1853:

Burials in 1853:

1854 3rd/68th (DLI)

Crimea memorial
Crimea Memorial to the officers and men of the 68th (the Durham) Light Infantry who died in the Crimea during the Russian War 1854–56. Among those mentioned are Assistant Surgeon John Francis O'Leary and Alexander Johnston (Durham Cathedral).

1 Jan 1854 Strength: 545 Effective men (6 Coys), 540 (Establishment).

3 Mar Two companies of the 68th marched from St Elmo to Marsamxetto. 520 men were located at Cottonera.

18 Apr The 68th formed part of the Army of Reserve at Strada Torre Barracks until required in the east.

Apr The 68th sailed for the Crimea. It fought at Inkerman (1854), Alma (1854) and Sebastopol (1855).

20 May The Steamer Karnak left Cork on 20 May with 60 private soldiers, 3 women and 10 children of 3rd Regiment of Foot, 5 private soldiers, 7 women and 15 children of 9th Regiment of Foot, 102 private soldiers, 6 women and 9 children of 62nd Regiment of Foot, and 47 private soldiers, 2 women and 0 children of 68th Regiment of Foot. The ship was under the medical charge of Assistant Surgeon Andrew risk 23rd Regiment. It arrived at Malta on 31 May 1854. There had been no casualties or sick during the voyage other than a single case of measles.

1 June General Order Valletta to Staff Surgeon 1st Class Daniel Armstrong from Major and Assistant Military Secretary E H F Pocklington: Assistant Surgeons Woods and Risk 23rd Regiment having arrived at Malta, will be attached to the 68th Regiment until further orders.

An After General Order dated Head Quarters Valletta 1 June 1854 signed by Major E H F Pocklington stated that the attachment of Assistant Surgeon Woods 23rd Regiment to the 68th Regiment is cancelled and that officer will embark immediately on board the transport No 59 for the purpose of joining his Corps.

13 July The 68th moved to Fort Ricasoli in preparation for its departure to the east. The detachment of the 14th Regiment which had occupied Fort Ricasoli moved to Strada Torre Barracks.

Nov The regiment had 31 officers and 865 men serving in the Crimea. Bowel complaints leading into cholera among the young soldiers was ascribed to exposure and severe duty, scanty food and want of fuel to cook it. There were 40 admissions with 8 deaths from gunshot wounds received at Inkerman on 5 November 1854.

Marriages in the Collegiate Church of St Paul's Valletta in 1854:

Baptisms in 1854:

Burials in 1854:

1855 3rd/68th (DLI)

Marriages in 1855:

Baptisms in 1855:

Burials in 1855:

1856 3rd/68th (DLI)

Baptisms in 1856:

Burials in 1856:

The 1st/Durham Light Infantry

1942 1st/DLI

J W Dewhurst
J J Murray
S H Gardiner
W R Rogerson
R T Douglass
I R Harrold

26 Jan 1942 The 1st/DLI arrived at Malta from Egypt having been at Tobruk. Scabies and lice was common among them. A Coy reached Malta on 23 March.

The battalion was stationed at Verdala Buskett, Rabat, Dingli and near the airfield at Ta' Qali. It formed part of Malta's Central Infantry Brigade.

The 1st/DLI was issued with 400 bicycles and became the Mobile Reserve. D Company 1st/DLI, moved to Gebel Ciantar and the summer residence of the inquisitor to become the Battalion Fortress Reserve with anti-parachute responsibilities.

27 Jan 112065 Capt Robert Norman Lees MC RAMC was attached to 1st/DLI.

Inquisitor's summer palace built in the late 17th century at Ghirgenti near Casal Siggiewi.

21 Mar 1942 Between 10:00 and 11:00 waves of German Bombers attacked Ta' Qali airfield and the aircraft dispersal points. During this raid four bombs hit 90th General Hospital Mtarfa. Two dental patients (1st/DLI) and 3 soldiers of "D" Coy 1st/DLI, who were asleep in tents in Almond Gardens, after guarding German prisoners at night, died in the bombing. Three soldiers (1st/DLI) were seriously injured, with two subsequently dying of their injuries. The men were buried at Mtarfa Military Cemetery.

23 Nov–27 Nov 1942 Capt W. G. Timmis RAMC was attached to 1st/DLI.

Killed in Action in 1942:

3 Oct 1942 A large number of soldiers were admitted to 90 General Hospital Mtarfa with enteritis.

1943 1st/DLI

6 June 1943 152698 Capt T. L. Macdonald was posted as RMO 1st/DLI.

6 June War Substantive (WS)/Capt Thomas Arthur Gainsford Reed was posted from 1st/DLI to 90 GH.

June 1943 The 1st/DLI Regiment left for Egypt.

The 2nd/Durham Light Infantry

1882 2nd/DLI

18 Aug 1882 A wing of the 2nd/Durham Light Infantry arrived from England via Gibraltar.

The 2nd/Durham Light Infantry had an average strength of 133 men. It had 160 admissions (1203/1000 mean strength) into hospital. A soldier shot himself in the hand while on sentry duty. A court of inquiry was unable to determine whether the injury was the result of a negligent discharge or self inflicted intentionally.

1883 2nd/DLI

1 Jan – 24 Feb 1883 The 2nd/Durham Light Infantry had an average strength of 58 men, with 22 admissions (379.3/1000 mean strength) into hospital.

Its average constantly sick was 2.46 (42.41/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 15.48 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 40.81 days.