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Regiments of the Malta Garrison
71st (Highland) Light Infantry

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The 71st (Highland) Light Infantry

Introduction

The 71st Regiment of Foot was raised in December 1777 by Major–General John Mackenzie, Lord MacLeod, as the 1st/73rd (Highland) Regiment of Foot (MacLeod's Highlanders). In 1786 it was re-numbered 71st Highland Regiment.

In 1809, the 71st Highland Regiment was made a Light Infantry Corps as The 71st (Glasgow Highland Light Infantry) Regiment. In 1810 its title altered to The 71st (Highland) Light Infantry.

In January 1837, the 71st was granted permission to bear on its Colours the word "Hindostan" in commemoration of its services in India from 1782 to 1798.

On 1 July 1881, the 71st (Highland) Light Infantry merged with the 74th (Highlanders) Regiment of Foot to form the 1st Battalion of The Highland Light Infantry.

On 23 September 1948, the 1st and 2nd Battalions united in Glasgow as the 1st Battalion Highland Light Infantry (71st/74th Foot).

In 1959, the Highland Light Infantry amalgamated with the Royal Scots Fusiliers to form The Royal Highland Fusiliers (Princess Margaret's Own Glasgow and Ayrshire Regiment).

The 71st (Highland) Light Infantry

1856 71st (Highland) Light Infantry

1856 957 men of the 71st Foot arrived at Malta and marched into Floriana Barracks. In 1855, the regiment had joined the Crimean War (1854–56), serving at Sevastopol.

The following were married in 1856:

  • 18 Aug In the Collegiate Church of St Paul's Valletta Bachelor QM Robert Anderson born in Glasgow Scotland, son of John and Jane Anderson to Mary Elizabeth Fox, spinster born in Carrick-on-Shannon Ireland, daughter of Patrick and Catherine Fox.
  • 14 Oct In the Collegiate Church of St Paul's Valletta Bachelor CSgt James Thompson of Rhynie Aberdeenshire Scotland, to Susannah Hawkes of the City of Dublin, spinster.

1857 71st (Highland) Light Infantry

1857 Strength: 785 men.

1858 71st (Highland) Light Infantry

1858 The 71st Foot embarked for India to suppress the Indian Mutiny (1857–59).

The 71st (Highland) Light Infantry

1873 71st (Highland) Light Infantry

24 Apr 1873 The 71st Foot embarked at Gibraltar and disembarked in Malta on 30 April. It replaced the 52nd Regiment which proceeded to Gibraltar.

In 1873, the 71st had an average strength of 430 men. It had 404 admissions (939.5/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 4 deaths (9.30/1000 mean strength).

1874 71st (Highland) Light Infantry

The 71st Regiment had an average strength of 633 men. It had 484 admissions (764.6/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 2 deaths including 1 among the invalids (3.16 deaths/1000 mean strength). It had 12 invalids returned to England.

A draft from the 78th joined the 71st at Malta. The 71st was the linked battalion of the 78th Foot. The men were at Floriana Barracks.

1 Dec 1874 The battalion was at Lower St Elmo Barracks.

1875 71st (Highland) Light Infantry

The 71st Foot had an average strength of 660 men. It had 651 admissions (986.3/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 4 deaths including 4 among the invalids (6.06 deaths/1000 mean strength). It had 17 invalids returned to England. Its average daily sick was 26.66 (40.39/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 14.74 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 14.94 days.

The 71st had a relatively large number of enteric fever at Lower St Elmo Barracks, with one at Fort Ricasoli and two at Pembroke Camp. The regiment had 10 admissions for remittent fever; 2 were subsequently altered as enteric fever, the remaining 8 were on average 31 days under treatment and were probably suspected by the regimental surgeon to have been all cases of enteric fever.

The battalion was at Lower St Elmo.

25 Oct 1875 A draft of 75 rank and file from the 78th Foot arrived to join the 71st Highland Light Infantry.

1876 71st (Highland) Light Infantry

The 71st Regiment had an average strength of 634 men. It had 653 admissions (1030/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 3 deaths including 1 invalid (4.78 deaths/1000 mean strength).

12 invalids were returned to England. Its average daily sick was 29.73 (46.89 /1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 17.12 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 16.62 days.

The 71st Regiment had the highest admission rate during the year. It exceeded the average of the force in the command by 227 per 1000 mean strength. Most of the admissions were due to febricula from among the men in Pembroke Camp.

1877 71st (Highland) Light Infantry

The 71st Foot had an average strength of 720 men. It had 832 admissions (1155.5/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 3 deaths (4.17/1000 mean strength). It had 14 invalids returned to England. Its average daily sick was 36.95 (51.32/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 18.75 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 16.22 days.

25 July 1877 A draft of 245 men of the 78th arrived to join the 71st Foot.

1878 71st (Highland) Light Infantry

The 71st Foot had an average strength of 441 men. It had 288 admissions (653/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 1 death (2.27 deaths/1000 mean strength). 24 invalids were returned to England. Its average constantly sick was 17.04 (38.64/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 14.10 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 21.60 days.

18 July 1878 The 71st left Malta on Sir Garnet Wolseley Expeditionary Force to Cyprus. The Expeditionary Force consisted of 2,643 British and 5,015 Indian troops including in the latter one company of European artillery. The troops disembarked at Larnaca on 24 July 1878. The Indian contingent remained on the island for a very short time before re-embarking for India.

The 71st were in Cyprus under canvas. Malaria was rife. There were 1083 admissions (1496/1000 mean strength) for disease with 5 deaths (7 deaths/1000 mean strength) from a regiment of 724 men. The 71st Foot embarked for Gibraltar on 15 December 1879.

The 1st/The Highland Light Infantry

1 July 1881 The 71st Regiment became the 1st Battalion The Highland Light Infantry.

1895 1st/Highland Light Infantry

9 Feb 1895 The 1st/Highland Light Infantry embarked at Southampton from Aldershot on the transport Pavonia. It disembarked in Malta on 18 February.

It had an average strength of 775 men. It had 820 admissions (1058.1/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 9 deaths (11.61/1000 mean strength). 7 invalids returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 47.36 (32.51/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 22.31 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 21.08 days.

The 1st/Highland Light Infantry was quartered at Verdala Barracks for 8 months and Fort Manoel and Hutments for 2 months.

It had 8 cases of enteric fever in Fort Manoel and Hutments; the barracks was evacuated as the drainage was defective.

The following were buried in Rinella Military Cemetery in 1895:

  • 2 Mar William Gilmour aged 4 months, son of CSgt Gilmour died at Cottonera.
  • 2 Mar Archibald Colville aged 6 months, son of Sgt Colville died at Cottonera.
  • 21 Mar Neil Alexander McPhee aged 8 months, son of Pte McPhee died at Cottonera.
  • 28 Mar James Miles Biggs aged 11 months, son of CSgt Biggs died at Cottonera.
  • 4 Apr Ellen Crawford McNeill aged 12 days, daughter of CSgt McNeil died at Cottonera.
  • 21 May Grace Mabel Martin aged 4 months, daughter of Sgt Martin died at Cottonera.
  • 24 May LCpl Alfred Harry aged 30 years died at Cottonera.
  • 7 June Thomas Faulkner aged 11 months, son of Sgt Faulkner died at Cottonera.
  • 24 June Sarah Amelia Simpson aged 25 years, wife of CSgt Simpson died at Cottonera.
  • 30 July Mary Ann Littlejohn aged 1 year 1 month, daughter of Sgt Littlejohn died at Cottonera.
  • 23 Aug Beatrice White aged 9 months died at Cottonera.
  • 25 Sep James Mills aged 41 years died at Cottonera.
  • 7 Oct Lillie Florence Phillips aged 15 months, daughter of Sgt Phillips died at Cottonera.
  • 14 Oct Thomas Henderson aged 20 years 4 months died at Cottonera.
  • 23 Oct Pte George Chalmers aged 20 years died at Cottonera.

The following were buried in Pietà Military Cemetery in 1895:

  • 12 Oct Mrs Agnes Hunter, aged 27 years, wife of Sgt Hunter.
  • 28 Nov Pte Arthur Wright, aged 21 years.
  • 7 Dec Pte John Phillips, aged 21 years.
  • 11 Dec Pte William Hootson, aged 19 years.
  • 14 Dec Pte Andrew Craig Forbes, aged 22 years.

1896 1st/Highland Light Infantry

The 1st/Highland Light Infantry had an average strength of 885 men. It had 681 admissions (769.5/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 12 deaths (13.56/1000 mean strength). 11 invalids returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 49.92 (56.41/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 20.64 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 26.83 days.

The 1st/Highland Light Infantry was quartered at Fort Manoel and Hutments for 12 months. It had 11 cases with 2 deaths for enteric fever, 9 in May, 1 in July and 1 in November. The outbreak in May was attributed to contaminated milk. It was alleged that the cows providing the milk were kept in two filthy yards and watered from a well in one of them. The huts and tents occupied by the companies attacked were vacated and thoroughly overhauled and the drainage relaid.

The following was buried in Rinella Military Cemetery in 1896:

  • 12 Nov Pte Walter Bootwright aged 23 years 3 months, died at Cottonera.
8 months

The following were buried in Pietà Military Cemetery in 1896:

  • 25 Mar Pte John Withers aged 20 years.
  • 20 Apr Pte Barnard McLelland aged 20 years.
  • 13 May Pte Murdock Cameron aged 19 years.
  • 2 June Pte Henry Deards aged 18 years.
  • 6 June James Thorne aged 25 years.
  • 1 July Pte Robert Forrester aged 26 years.
  • 23 July Infant John Alfred Edmonston aged 7 months, son of Sgt Edmonston.
  • 27 July Infant Ellen Mary Martin aged 3 months, daughter of Sgt Martin.
  • 28 Sep Pte William Bertram aged 21 years 4 months.
  • 24 Nov William Peter Kean, aged 25 years 9 months.
  • 28 Dec Archibald Campbell, aged 25 years 10 months.

1897 1st/Highland Light Infantry

The 1st/Highland Light Infantry had an average strength of 921 men. It had 721 admissions (782.8/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 4 deaths (4.34/1000 mean strength). 29 invalids returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 50.52 (54.85/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 20.02 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 25.58 days.

The 1st/Highland Light Infantry was quartered at Fort Manoel and Hutments for 12 months.

1898 1st/Highland Light Infantry

The 1st/Highland Light Infantry had an average strength of 698 men. It had 798 admissions (1143.3/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 16 deaths (22.92/1000 mean strength). 43 invalids returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 36.01 (51.59/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 18.83 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 16.47 days.

12 May Baptism of Walter James Cameron born on 14 April 1898, son of Pte Duncan Cameron and Frances, resident at Valletta.

31 July The 1st/Highland Light Infantry was at Lower St Elmo Barracks for 8 months. It left Malta for Candia, Crete to relieve the 2nd/Royal Welsh Fusiliers. It disembarked at Candia on 2 August and served in Crete for 3 1/2 months before embarking for Devonport on 16 December. It moved to Cape Town on 23 October 1899.

24 Sep CSgt J Grieg aged 30 years, died at Cottonera and was buried in Rinella Military Cemetery.

1 Dec 1898 A detachment of 89 men was under canvas at Floriana. It left for England on 16 Dec 1898.

1899 1st/Highland Light Infantry

1 Jan 1899 Detachment of 256 men. The 1st/Highland Light Infantry left Candia for Devonport on 16 December 1898.

The 1st/The Highland Light Infantry

1952 1st/Highland Light Infantry

Feb 1952 The 1st/Highland Light Infantry arrived from Tobruk Libya.

July–Aug 1952 The battalion was at Tobruk and in Egypt (Tel-el-Kebir) in Sept 1952.

The 2nd/The Highland Light Infantry

1923 2nd/Highland Light Infantry (City of Glasgow)

Oct 1923 The 2nd/Highland Light Infantry was evacuated to Malta from Turkey.

The 2nd/The Highland Light Infantry

1929 2nd/Highland Light Infantry

Sep 1929 The 2nd/Highland Light Infantry arrived on a short tour of Malta. It had 25 officers and 371 rank and file.

1930 2nd/Highland Light Infantry (City of Glasgow Regt)

1 Jan 1930 Strength: 27 officers, 365 rank and file.

1931 2nd/Highland Light Infantry

1 Jan 1931 Strength: 24 officers, 405 rank and file.

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.
  • The Cyprus Report 1 May 1879. Br Med J. (1879), 2; 966 11 (Published 5 July 1879).
  • United Service Journal and Naval and Military Magazine 1831, Record of the 71st Regiment Highland Light Infantry, pp 277-284, 422-429, 567-570.
  • Chronicle of the Highland Light Infantry 1907.
  • TNA:WO 156/115. Register of burials in the military cemetery Rinella from January 1890 to January 1908.
  • 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.
  • TNA:WO 156/598. Baptism Register No 16; Malta from 20 February 1898 to 17 July 1916.
  • TNA:WO 379/11. Stations of Regiments 1859–1900.
  • Register No 13. Burials No 8, Pietà Cemetery 1887–1908.