RAMC

Regiments of the Malta Garrison
Connaught Rangers (88th/94th)

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Introduction

The 88th Foot was raised in Connaught, Western Ireland, on 25 Sep 1793, on the outbreak of war with revolutionary France.

On 1 July 1881, the 88th (Connaught Rangers) Regiment, merged with The 94th Regiment of Foot to become the First Battalion of The Connaught Rangers.

The 88th became the 1st Battalion, the 94th became the 2nd Battalion of the Connaught Rangers.

The Connaught Rangers disbanded in April 1922 on the formation of the Irish Republic.

The 88th (Connaught Rangers)

1840 88th (Connaught Rangers)

1 Dec 1840 640 men, 44 women and 59 children embarked at Cork. Six companies of the 88th (Connaught Rangers) arrived at Malta on 1 January 1841 and relieved the 47th Foot which sailed for the West Indies.

1841 88th (Connaught Rangers)

5 Mar 1841 Death of Paymaster Hay 88th Foot.

10 June Adjutant Lieutenant Fowler aged 21 years drowned in Valletta Harbour. He was sailing with his brother officers and a Maltese seaman when a sudden squall capsized their boat. Of the whole party three reached a boat from HMS Calcutta, but the deceased, who was a strong swimmer, drowned having received a blow to his head. His body was recovered to Bighi hospital, where every means was tried to restore animation, but the vital spark was already extinct. He was interred at the Protestant Burial Ground Floriana with military honours.2

12 Oct 1841 Pte Edward McGahan, quartered at Floriana barracks, fell to his death from the bastion near the Capuchin Convent while in a state of intoxication. He had been observed by two capuchin friars at the edge of the wall and had just been pulled back from the brink, when he made a second successful attempt at going over.3

The following married in Malta in 1841:

  • 18 Nov Bachelor Sgt Schoolmaster James Berwick to Mary Joyce, spinster daughter of Pte John Joyce 88th Regiment.

The following was baptised in Malta in 1841:

  • 24 Dec William Dunning son of Sgt Major Samuel Dunning and Mary, born on 7 December 1841.

1842 88th (Connaught Rangers)

2 May 1842 The 88th Foot marched from Floriana Barracks to the Cottonera District on the morning of 2 May. It replaced the 19th (1st Yorkshire, North Riding) Regiment of Foot.

The following married in Malta in 1842:

  • 9 June Bachelor Cpl George McNally to Mary Mitchell, spinster daughter of Pte Patrick Mitchell 88th Regiment.

The following were baptised in Malta in 1842:

  • 5 June William McClure born on 24 May 1842, son of Pte Thomas McClure and Margaret.
  • 19 July Harry Leigh Townshend born on 27 June 1842, son of Capt Henry Townshend and Jane.
  • 2 Oct Eliza Beswick born on 15 September 1842, daughter of School Master Sgt James Beswick and Mary.
  • 25 Dec John Alfred Scott born on 17 December 1842, son of Acting Cpl Samuel Scott and Mary Ann.

12 Aug 1842 Strength 597 men.

1843 88th (Connaught Rangers)

6 Mar 1843 Inspector of Naval Hospitals Martin was shot and killed by Pt John Naylon 88th Foot. Naylon was acquitted on the grounds of monomania and was placed in a lunatic asylum.

May 1843 The 88th moved from Isola Barracks to Floriana Barracks, Fort Ricasoli and Tigne. It had 17 officers and 583 men at Cottonera with an officer and 58 men at Fort Ricasoli.

The following was baptised in Malta in 1843:

  • 2 Apr Mary McNally born on 15 March 1843, daughter of Cpl George McNally and Mary was baptised by the Rev Edward Kitson officiating Chaplain to the Dockyard and Naval Hospital.

1844 88th (Connaught Rangers)

1844 The regimental strength was 562 men.

Dec 1844 In December 1844 soldiers of the 88th complained of pulmonary symptoms.

1845 88th (Connaught Rangers)

28 Apr 1845 The 88th marched from Fort Lower St Elmo to Floriana Barracks which had been vacated by the 1st/42nd Foot.

1846 88th (Connaught Rangers)

May 1846 The 88th moved from Floriana Barracks to Fort St Elmo during the annual rotation of regiments in the command.

The following were married in Malta in 1846:

  • 2 Apr Widower Armourer Sgt Charles Carter to Margaret Holmes, spinster of the Parish of Clapham in Craven in the County of York England.
  • 12 May Bachelor CSgt John Frederick Grier born in Guernsey to Mary Donoghoe, spinster and minor born in the Parish of Rathkeale in the County of Limerick, Ireland daughter of Sgt Patrick Donoghoe with the consent of her parents.

1847 88th (Connaught Rangers)

1846–47 Two soldiers drowned, and another was accidentally killed.

14 Jan 1847 543 men, 36 women and 53 children embarked for the West Indies on the transport Herfordshire. The troops embarked at 08:00 hrs at Kalkara under a pelting shower. The band of the 42nd Regiment played on the square on the passing regiment as a sign of respect.1

The 88th was replaced in station by the 1st/97th (Earl of Ulster's) Regiment.

The 88th (Connaught Rangers)

1854 88th (Connaught Rangers)

18 Apr 1854 The 88th arrived from Liverpool by the Cunard Company's steamer Niagara.

Nov 1854 The regiment had 19 officers and 522 men serving in the Crimea. In November, it had a large number of men sick with bowel complaints and cholera. Surgeon James Guy P Moore attributed the disease to wet and exposure, severe duty, insufficient shelter, inadequate clothing, scanty rations with no means of cooking them, the young soldiers frequently eating their salt pork raw.

1855 88th (Connaught Rangers)

The following were buried at Malta in 1855:

  • 1 Nov Pte James Gates aged 19 years.
  • 4 Nov Pte E Scott aged 19 years.
  • 7 Dec Pte Joseph Barnaby aged 22 years.
  • 29 Dec Pte William Gilver 88th Regiment.

The 1st/Connaught Rangers

1 Dec 1899 The 1st/Connaught Rangers arrived in South Africa. It embarked in Capetown for Southampton on 28 January 1903, and served in Mullingar County Westmeath, Ireland, from 17 February 1903 until 12 March 1907.

1907 1st/Connaught Rangers

22 Mar 1907 The 1st/Connaught Rangers embarked on the Braemar Castle at Southampton on 13 Mar 1907. It arrived in Malta on 22 March.

1908 1st/Connaught Rangers

27 Feb 1908 The 1st/Connaught Rangers embarked on the Rewa for Karachi. It arrived at Karachi on 11 Mar 1908.

The 2nd/Connaught Rangers

1 Jan 1859 The 94th Regiment arrived in Bengal on 1 Jan 1859. It embarked in Bombay for Portsmouth on 23 January 1868. On 1 July 1881, it became the 2nd/The Connaught Rangers.

1889 2nd/Connaught Rangers

13 July 1889 The 2nd/Connaught Rangers embarked at Devonport from Aldershot. It disembarked in Malta on 22 July 1889.

The Battalion was quartered at Verdala Barracks Cottonera for 3 and a half months and at Pembroke Camp and Gozo for 2 months.

It had an average strength of 419 men with 378 admissions (902.1/1000 mean strength) into hospital and 6 deaths (14.32 deaths/1000 mean strength). 7 invalids returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 30.85 (73.63/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 26.87 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 29.79 days.

Surgeon General Duncan Alexander Campbell Fraser reported that the Connaught Rangers had arrived in July with a number of badly fed and immature boys, who knew nothing about the usual laws of regulation of health. The men exposed themselves recklessly to the sun and chills, idled away their day, and spent their evenings in low grog shops.

The PMO attributed the considerable number of sickness in the 2nd/Connaught Rangers, to the regiment having in its ranks a large number of lads between the ages of 18 and 20 years. The health of many of these youths rapidly gave way from week to week under the climatic changes consequent in their transfer to Malta, at an unhealthy season of the year.

The PMO requested that no man under 19 years of age be sent from England, and that troops should only arrive in Malta during October and the succeeding four months.

1890 2nd/Connaught Rangers

The 2nd/Connaught Rangers had an average strength of 866 men with 431 admissions (497.7/1000 mean strength) into hospital and 9 deaths (10.39 deaths/1000 mean strength). 36 invalids returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 31.51 (36.39/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 13.29 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 26.69 days.

The battalion was at Pembroke Camp and Fort Chambray Gozo for 11 1/2 months and in Valletta for 2 weeks.

The following were buried in Pietà Military Cemetery in 1890:

  • 6 Jan 1890 Boy George Lyne aged 15 years.
  • 10 Aug Sgt David Watts aged 40 years.
  • 17 Aug Infant Violet Maude Jamieson aged 11 months, daughter of QMSgt Jamieson.
  • 27 Aug Mrs Ellen Elliott aged 20 years, wife of CSgt Elliott.
  • 27 Nov Child John Henry Jones aged 2 years 5 months, son of Sgt Jones.

1891 2nd/Connaught Rangers

The 2nd/Connaught Rangers had an average strength of 957 men.

It had 751 admissions (784.7/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 9 deaths (9.40 deaths/1000 mean strength). 38 invalids returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 56.99 (59.55/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 21.73 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 27.70 days.

The 2nd/Connaught Rangers was at Verdala Barracks for 12 months.

The following were buried at Rinella Military Cemetery in 1891:

  • 2 July Edith Peppers aged 16 months, died at Verdala Barracks.
  • 17 July Jessie Cooper aged 25 years, died at St Nicholas.
  • 9 Aug William Clarke aged 19 years 3 months, died at Fort Salvatore Married Quarters.

1892 2nd/Connaught Rangers

The 2nd/Connaught Rangers had an average strength of 826 men.

It had 534 admissions (646.3/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 4 deaths (4.84 deaths/1000 mean strength). 25 invalids returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 27.21 (45.05/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 16.48 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 25.50 days.

The 2nd/Connaught Rangers was at Fort Manoel and Hutments with detachments at Fort San Salvatore for 9 months. Half the battalion was at Fort Chambray Gozo.

3 Oct 1892 The 2nd/Connaught Rangers embarked for Cyprus, but left four companies in Malta.

The following were buried in Pietà Military Cemetery in 1892:

  • 14 June Infant C A Stanway aged 5 months.
  • 18 June Infant Thomas James Harris aged 4 months, son of Pioneer Sgt Harris.

1893 2nd/Connaught Rangers

The 2nd/Connaught Rangers had an average strength of 454 men. It had 192 admissions (422.9/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 3 deaths (6.60 deaths/1000 mean strength). 9 invalids returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 12.68 (27.93/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 10.19 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 24.11 days.

The 2nd/Connaught Rangers was at Fort Chambray Gozo for 12 months.

1894 2nd/Connaught Rangers

In 1894 there were two epidemics of influenza at Fort Chambray Gozo, with 43 cases in the 2nd/Connaught Rangers in the early part of the year, and 65 admissions after the arrival of the 2nd/Leinster Regiment from England in November.

The 2nd/Connaught Rangers had an average strength of 447 men. It had 215 admissions (481/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 3 deaths (6.71 deaths/1000 mean strength). 3 invalids returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 12.22 (27.34/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 9.08 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 20.74 days.

The 2nd/Connaught Rangers was at Fort Chambray Gozo for 10 months and Fort Manoel and Hutments for 2 months.

1895 2nd/Connaught Rangers

The 2nd/Connaught Rangers had an average strength of 52 men. It had 41 admissions (788.5/1000 mean strength) into hospital. 1 invalid returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 2.37 (19.23/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 16.64 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 21.10 days.

The 2nd/Connaught Rangers was at Fort Manoel and Hutments for 1 month.

14 Feb 1895 The 2nd/Connaught Rangers embarked at Cyprus for Egypt. It left Egypt for Bombay on 26 Jan 1897.

Bibliography

  • 1Malta Mail no 237, 15 January 1847.
  • 2The Malta Chronicle and United Service Gazette for the Mediterranean No 22, Malta 10 June 1841.
  • 3The Malta Chronicle and United Services Gazette for the Mediterranean, No 49 Malta 12 October 1841.
  • Farmer J. S., 1984. The regimental records of the British Army Reprint Edition, Trowbridge, Wiltshire: Crecy Books.
  • TNA:WO 17/564. Returns of Infantry abroad, Malta 88th Regiment.
  • TNA:WO 156/113. Register of burials September 1853 to June 1862.
  • TNA:WO 156/115. Register of burials in the military cemetery Rinella from January 1890 to January 1908.
  • TNA:WO 156/595. No 3, Marriage Register 11 July 1839 to 14 May 1859.
  • TNA:WO 156/595. No 3, Baptism Register from 14 July 1839 to 25 December 1859.
  • TNA:WO 379/11. Stations of Regiments 1859–1900.
  • TNA:WO 379/15. Stations of Regiments 1901–1920.
  • Famous Units. The National Army Museum. Available from http://www.nam.ac.uk/research/famous-units.
  • The Malta Times or Broad Sheet of the Mediterranean, 5 September 1840; Issue No 31.