RAMC

Regiments of the Malta Garrison
68th Durham Light Infantry

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The 68th Durham Light Infantry

Introduction

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.

10 Dec 1851 Death of Elizabeth Lee daughter of John Lee 68th Light Infantry. (Military and Civil Cemetery Floriana). Strength: 527 men at Valletta.

1852 3rd/68th (DLI)

9 Jan 1852 Bachelor CSgt Joseph Thompson born at Lea Marston in the County of Warwickshire, son of Joseph married Catherine Thompson to Phoebe Elliott, spinster born at Killaloe in the County of Clare Ireland, daughter of John Elliott and Elizabeth his wife.

Sep 1852 The 68th moved from the Auberge de Bavarie to Cottonera where it replaced the 76th Regiment.

June 1852 Death of John Twigg son of Edward Twigg, aged 11 months and 13 days. (Military and Civil Cemetery Floriana).

1853 3rd/68th (DLI)

1 Jan 1853 In the Collegiate Church of St Paul's Valletta Bachelor Sgt Major James Liggatt born at Quebec, son of Joseph and Lucy Liggatt of Framlingham in the County of Suffolk England married Mary Ann Price, spinster and minor with the consent of her parents, daughter of John and Margaret Price born at Woolwich Kent.

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

The following were buried in 1853:

  • 9 Sep Harriet Lambert aged 3 years, daughter of Pte John Lambert.
  • 30 Sep Charles Humphries son of Pte Charles Humphries.
  • 3 Oct Maria Andrews daughter of Sgt Andrews.
  • 3 Nov Emma Gleeson aged 7 months, daughter of Pte John Gleeson.
  • 13 Nov William Henry Jones aged 2 years 10 months, son of Pte W Jones.
  • 30 Nov Pte Charles Taylor aged 30 years.
  • 4 Dec Maria Lawrence aged 6 days, daughter of Pte Thomas Lawrence.
  • 25 Dec Pte James Keating aged 19 years.
  • 31 Dec Christopher Hutchinson aged 3 months, son of Pte Christopher Hutchinson.

1854 3rd/68th (DLI)

3 Mar 1854 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.

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 1854 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.

The following were buried in 1854:

  • 9 Mar Pte Henry Boucher aged 24 years.
  • 13 June Margaret Ann Lee aged 1 year 8 months, daughter of Pte Mark Lee.
  • 21 July Henry James McCullagh aged 9 months, son of Sgt Patrick H McCullagh.
  • 28 July Pte Richard Sumpter aged 30 years.
  • 25 Aug Pte Joseph Marklove aged 29 years.
  • 28 Oct William Smith aged 9 months 2 weeks, son of L/Cpl George Smith.

The following were married in 1854:

  • 13 Feb In the Collegiate Church of St Paul's Valletta, Bachelor Paymaster Sgt Thomas Driscol born in Cork, son of Thomas and Ellen Driscol of Cork, to Mary Ann Gould, spinster and minor, with the consent of her father, born at Chatham Kent, daughter of Richard and Sarah Gould.
  • 18 Apr In the Collegiate Church of St Paul's Valletta, Bachelor CSgt William Henry Foster born in Warwick, son of John and Catherine Foster to Ann Baxter, spinster and minor born in Cork, Ireland, daughter of Joseph and Catherine Baxter, with the consent of her parents.

1855 3rd/68th (DLI)

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

18 July In the Collegiate Church of St Paul's Valletta, Bachelor CSgt George James Cooke born in Chillesford County Suffolk, son of George married Rebecca Cooke of Chillesford to Mary McCullogh, widow.

The following were buried in 1855:

  • 8 Jan Pte George Warmington aged 24 years.
  • 19 Dec Pte John McCann aged 22 years.

1856 3rd/68th (DLI)

The following were buried in 1856:

  • 25 May Pte James Moore 68th Light Infantry.
  • 29 June Pte William Cullen 68th Light Infantry.

The 1st/Durham Light Infantry

1942 1st/DLI

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.

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.

The following were 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 August 1882 A wing of the 2nd/Durham Light Infantry arrived from England.

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.

Bibliography

  • Farmer J. S., 1984. The regimental records of the British Army Reprint Edition, Trowbridge, Wiltshire: Crecy Books.
  • Edwards T. J., 1980. Regimental Badges First Edition, Tonbridge, Kent: Ernest Benn Ltd.
  • TNA:WO 177/1360, War Diaries No 90th General Hospital April 1940 to September 1946.
  • TNA:WO 156/122; List of gravestones at the Military and Civil Cemetery 1801–1865 and the Quarantine Bastion Cemetery 1819–1867 compiled by the Rev D B L Foster Assistant Chaplain General Western Mediterranean in May 1939.
  • TNA:WO 156/113. Register of burials September 1853 to June 1862.
  • TNA:WO 156/595. No 3, Marriage Register 11 July 1839 to 14 May 1859.