Regiments
Of the Malta Garrison
Rifle Brigade

The Rifle Brigade

Rifle Brigade
A cross as in the Order of the Bath with battle honours on its arms, thereon a circle inscribed The Rifle Brigade enclosing a bugle surmounted by a crown; the cross is enclosed within a wreath of laurel which has twined around it a number of scrolls inscribed with battle honours. Above the top arm of the cross is a tablet inscribed Waterloo surmounted by a crown. On the lower portion of the wreath is a scroll inscribed Prince Consort's Own. Outside the wreath are the dates 1st Bn 1905–06, 2nd Bn 1933–37.
(St Andrew's Barracks)

The Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own) traces its origins to an experimental Corps of Riflemen raised in March 1800. On 25 August 1800, three companies of this embryonic corps joined the expedition under General Pulteney against the Spanish at El Ferrol. Pulteney decided that El Ferrol could not be taken and he proceeded to reinforce the blockade of the French in Malta, where this part of the Corps was broken up.

On 18 January 1803, the Rifle Corps was placed among the numbered regiments of the line as the 95th or Rifle Regiment, but continued to retain the name The Rifle Corps.

On 16 February 1816, in recognition of its distinguished service in the Battle of Waterloo, the 95th was taken out of the numbered regiments of the line and granted the title The Rifle Brigade (London Gazette 23 February 1816). The battle honour Waterloo was granted to the regiment on 8 December 1815.

Following the death of Prince Albert on 14 December 1861, Queen Victoria ordered the regiment to be designated The Prince Consort's Own Rifle Brigade, (London Gazette 17 January 1862).

On 1 July 1881, the name changed to The Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own). In 1958 it became The 3rd Green Jackets, The Rifle Brigade, and in 1968, The 3rd Battalion, The Royal Green Jackets.

When in Malta, The Rifle Brigade marched to the tune of the Ninety Fifth arranged by their bandmaster William Miller in 1842.

The 1st/The Rifle Brigade

1840 1st/Rifle Brigade

10 Nov 1840 Embarked at Deptford for Malta where it arrived on 13 January 1841.

1841 1st/Rifle Brigade

13 Jan 1841 The 1st/Rifle Brigade consisting of 632 men, 40 women and 52 children arrived from England on the Abercrombie Robinson and relieved The 92nd (Highland) Regiment. The men were at Fort Manoel, St Salvatore Barracks, and Zabbar Gate. Latter in the year they were dispersed between Fort Ricasoli, Zejtun Barracks, Isola Gate Barracks, St Francesco de Paola, Lower St Elmo Barracks, St James Cavalier and Fort Tigne.

Marriages in 1841:

Baptisms in 1841:

Burials in 1841:

1842 1st/Rifle Brigade

29 Apr 1842 Strength: 585 men. On 29 April, the 1st/Rifle Bde moved from the right to the left wing of Lower St Elmo Barracks.

3 May On 3 May a company relieved the detachment of the Royal Malta Fencible Regiment at Fort Tigne.

22 Dec Some time between August and September, a private of the 19th Foot brutally assaulted a man of the Rifle Brigade. He was sentenced to a term imprisonment, but on his release he renewed his quarrel and enlisted some of his comrades to seek revenge. In mid-December, there was a fracas when the Rifle Brigade routed the 19th Foot. On 23 December, 150 men of the 19th turned out with their side arms and were involved in a running fight with 150 soldiers of the Rifle Bde from St James Cavalier to the bottom of Strada Mercanti. Several men were severely wounded, one so badly as to be considered in imminent danger. The 19th Foot were confined to their barracks but the animosity between them and Rifle Bde continued. The 19th stoned a picket of the Rifles and urged The 88th Regiment to join them, but the latter declined. The Governor and Garrison Commander Lt Gen Sir Henry Bouverie ordered a Court of Enquiry and placed a picket at Lower St Elmo under the command of a captain which was to remain on duty till 23:00 hours. The tattoo was called at 20 hours instead of 20:30 hours, and the men of the 19th were confined to barracks from sun set. They were forbidden to absent themselves with out a pass from the captain on duty.1

Marriages in 1842:

Baptisms in 1842:

Burials in 1842:

1843 1st/Rifle Brigade

2 Mar 1843 HQ Coy and the Right Wing of the 1st Bn consisting of 8 officers, 281 men, 27 women and 48 children left for Corfu on board the Boyne to replace the 77th Foot.

24 Mar Men from The 1st/Rifle Brigade gave a performance at the Opera House for the benefit of the poor. Seven pounds were distributed to infant schools, the Ladies Charitable Society, and to poor individuals.

1 Apr The Left Wing of the 1st Bn consisting of 8 officers, 264 men, 25 women and 31 children left for Corfu on board the Boyne to replace the 77th Foot.

Baptisms in 1843:

1845 – 1st/Rifle Brigade

Marriages in 1845:

The 1st/The Rifle Brigade

1855 1st/Rifle Brigade

Baptisms in 1855:

Burials in 1855:

1856 1st/Rifle Brigade

Burials in 1856:

The 1st/The Rifle Brigade

1898 1st/Rifle Brigade

4 Feb 1898 The 1st/Rifle Bde was returning to England from Hong Kong after more than 17 years service abroad when it was ordered to land at Malta. It reinforced the garrison following the departure of battalions for Egypt.

The 1st/The Rifle Brigade

1904 1st/Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own)

Baptisms in the Garrison Church in 1904:

20 Apr 1904 The 1st/Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own) left Portsmouth and embarked on the Plassy at Southampton on 12 April. It disembarked in Malta on 20 April 1904.

C Gunn
8522 Pte Charles Gunn 1st/Rifle Bde Permanent Staff Mounted Infantry died 6 Dec 1903 aged 20 yrs.
(Mtarfa Military Cemetery)

The men were quartered at Fort Manoel with detachments at Bahar-ic-Chaghak and Ghajn Tuffieha. Training was carried out at Pembroke and Mellieha.

6 May No 9308 Acting Cpl B. Rifle Bde arrived at Malta in April 1904. He was admitted to hospital on 6 May 1904 for treatment with mercury of his syphilitic ulceration of the tonsils and uvula. He was discharged on 6 June 1904.

10 Nov 1904 Cpl B. was admitted to the military hospital Valletta from Fort Manoel. He had been unwell for three days with headaches, backache and diarrhoea. Mild enteric fever was diagnosed. On 17 Nov he complained of abdominal pains. Cpl B died on 19 Nov 1904 from a perforation of his small bowel. A postmortem examination showed typical ulcers in the ileum with a perforated ulcer in the terminal ileum. The Micrococcus melitensis was also cultured from specimens of his spleen.

Burials in Pietà Military Cemetery in 1904:

Burials at Mtarfa Military Cemetery in 1904:

1905 1st/Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own)

June 1905 Up to the beginning of June 1905, The 1st/Rifle Brigade was at Fort Manoel and hutments. Seven of the barrack rooms in the fort were casemates, each accommodating 9 men. There were three other rooms accommodating 36 men in all. The hutments consisted of 28 huts each accommodating 18 men.

In June 1905, The 1st/Rifle Brigade moved to St Andrew's Barracks. The barracks were completed in the early part of 1905 and consisted of nine double storied company blocks, each rooms accommodating 14 men.

Burials in Pietà Military Cemetery in 1905:

1906 1st/Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own)

S Mitchell
Acting Cpl S Mitchell D Coy was accidentally killed at Mellieha 30 Mar 1905 aged 26 yrs.
(Mtarfa Military Cemetery)

1906 The 1st/Rifle Brigade was at St Andrew's Barracks.

6 Aug Pte Robert Sanderson 1st Rifle Brigade, aged 27 years fired a weapon at Sgt John Simpson Rifle Bde at St Andrew's Barracks. The bullet hit Sgt Simpson in his left chest, penetrated the thoracic cavity, and came out at the infra spinal process of the left scapula. Sanderson then proceeded to assault Simpson with a bayonet causing him further injuries to his right hand and right clavicle.

26 Sep Pte Robert Sanderson was found guilty before HM Criminal Court on a charge of Attempted Wilful Homicide. He was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment with hard labour and transferred to England, in accordance with Clause 2(b) of the Colonial Prisoners Removal Act 1884.2

15 Oct 1906 The 1st/Rifle Brigade consisting of HQ coy and 8 companies, 14 officers, 1 officer's wife and 5 children, 1 female officer's servant, 2 warrant officers, 39 sergeants, 15 buglers, 552 rank and file, 40 soldier's wives and 48 children, embarked on the Sicilia for Southampton.

Baptisms in 1906:

Burials in Pietà Military Cemetery in 1906:

1907 – 1st/Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own)

Baptisms in 1907:

1916 – 1st/Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own)

Adult Baptism in Mtarfa Church Room in 1916:

The 2nd/The Rifle Brigade

1826 2nd/Rifle Brigade

22 Feb 1826 515 men of The 2nd/Rifle Brigade arrived from Ireland on the Vibilia, Cato and Sovereign.

The battalion was at the Lazaretto and Fort Manoel, Lower St Elmo Barracks and Fort Tigne with a detachment at Fort Chambray Gozo. In October, the 2nd/Rifle Brigade moved to Isola Barracks, San Francesco de Paola and San Salvatore Barracks.

Baptisms in 1826:

Burials in 1826:

1827 2nd/Rifle Brigade

25 Oct Strength: Rank and File (Effective) 515, Rank and File (Establishment) 516.

Dec The 2nd/Rifle Brigade was at Lower St Elmo Barracks.

Marriages in 1827:

Baptisms in 1827:

Burials in 1827:

1828 2nd/Rifle Brigade

25 Aug Strength: 519 men (6 coys).

Marriages in 1828:

Baptisms in 1828:

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1829 2nd/Rifle Brigade

Dec 1829 The 2nd/Rifle Brigade moved to Floriana Barracks.

Strength: 521 men.

At the first meeting of the Loyal Orange Institution of Great Britain after the Duke of Cumberland became Grand Master held on 17 March 1829, a new warrant No 94 was granted to Hospital Sergeant Charles Owen Hames 2nd/Rifle Brigade at Malta to replace his warrant No 1734 granted to him under the Grand Lodge of Ireland.

In 1829, Master C O Hames broke up the lodge in compliance with an army order from the Commander–in–Chief forbidding Orange Lodges being held in regiments. However, several months later some members reassembled, but non–commissioned officers considered it prudent to stay away.

Marriages in 1829:

Baptisms in 1829:

Burials in 1829:

1830 2nd/Rifle Brigade

25 Feb 1830 Strength: 516 men (6 coys).

Dec The 2nd/Rifle Brigade was stationed at the Cottonera District.

On 25 March 1830, Master Francis Heaseman, Deputy Master David Killen, Secretary Willian James and Treasurer Charles Owen Hames of the Loyal Orange Association in a meeting of Lodge No 94 held in the 2nd/Rifle Bde in Malta, provided a testimonial certifying that:

Brother Robert Leithwaite has regularly received the degree of a true Orangeman and the Purple Order in 1725, in this our association and that he has conducted himself during his stay amongst us to the entire satisfaction of all our brethren; We therefore request that all regular associations of the universe do recognise him as such.

Baptisms in 1830:

Burials in 1830:

1831 2nd/Rifle Brigade

1 Apr 1831 Strength: Six companies Rank and File 493 (effective), 515 (established).

Marriages in 1831:

Baptisms in 1831:

Robert Simpkin
Pte Robert Simpkin died 3rd Mar 1831, aged 26 yrs (Msida Bastion Cemetery Floriana).

Burials in 1831:

1832 2nd/Rifle Brigade

10 Jan 1832 Lt Col George Brown 2nd Rifles was sworn in as acting Lt Governor and commander of the garrison. He took over the civil administration of Malta during the absence of the governor.

13–23 Feb 507 men of the 2nd/Rifle Brigade embarked for Corfu.

Marriages in 1832:

Baptisms in 1832:

Burials in 1832:

1833 2nd/Rifle Brigade

The Rifle Brigade were in Corfu.

Baptisms in 1833:

The 2nd/The Rifle Brigade

1841 — 2nd/Rifle Brigade

Mar 1841 Assistant Surgeon Henry Downes 2nd/Rifle Brigade, was most severely reprimanded by the Commander-in-Chief and Sir J W McGrigor for neglecting a child. It was only at the intercession of the commanding officer and Sir J McGrigor that Lord Hill refrained from bringing him to a Court Martial. Downes was censured in front of the whole regiment.

In 1843, the Principal Medical Officer Nova Scotia reported him to be somewhat idle and ineffective with lack of industry and firmness of purpose. In 1845, the report of his PMO stated that a great improvement had taken place.

In 1847, Mr Downes had an attack of insanity temporary brought on by domestic affliction and a fall from his horse. He was reported well two months later. Despite this adverse confidential report Henry Downes was promoted to the Staff on 1 Sept 1855. He served in the Crimea as the surgeon of 97th Regiment and retired on 7 Aug 1866 with the Hon Rank of Deputy Inspector General.

1853 – 2nd/Rifle Brigade

Burials in 1853:

1854 2nd/Rifle Brigade

8 Mar 1854 The 2nd/Rifle Brigade arrived from England. It encamped at St Clement's Parade Ground.

29 Mar The 2nd/Rifle Brigade left for Turkey and the Crimea.

Nov The 2nd/Rifle Brigade regiment had 16 officers and 684 men serving in the Crimea. In November, bowel complaints predominated with only 36 of the admissions from wounds. Men in the 1st/Rifle Brigade, which had 19 officers and 678 men in the Crimea, were also laid down with bowel disorders brought on according to their surgeon by exposure. 131 men were admitted to hospital; 13 died of gunshot wounds. 21 admissions and 1 death were ascribed to scurvy.

1855 2nd/Rifle Brigade

Burials in 1855:

The 2nd/The Rifle Brigade

1 July 1881 The 2nd/Rifle Brigade became the 2nd/The Prince Consort's Own (Rifle Brigade).

1897 2nd/Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own)

23 Sep 1897 The 2nd/Rifle Brigade left Aldershot for the Royal Albert Docks Woolwich, where it embarked on the Avoca. It disembarked at Malta on 3 October.

It had an average strength of 135 men with 108 admissions (800/1000 mean strength) into hospital. 1 invalid returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 5.58 (41.33/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 15.09 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 18.86 days.

The 2nd/Rifle Brigade was quartered at Isola Gate Barracks, San Francesco de Paola Barracks, St John's Cavalier Vittoriosa and Polverista Barracks, all on the Cottonera side of the Grand Harbour.

1898 2nd/Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own)

Admissions and Deaths during 1898
Average Strength Admissions Hospital Deaths Admissions/1000 Deaths/1000
682 894 32 1310 46.9
Admissions into hospital and deaths during the year with ratio of admissions and deaths per 1000 of strength. The average strength of the troops, exclusive of the Royal Malta Artillery, was 7,390 men.
Edward George Boyle
2nd Lt Edward George Boyle 2nd/Rifle Bde aged 23 yrs died 23 Oct 1898 of a fever contracted after the battle of Omdurman (Ta' Braxia Cemetery Pieta)

Its average constantly sick was 56.76 (83.23/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 30.38 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 23.17 days.

12 July 1898 The 2nd/Rifle Brigade was quartered at Verdala Barracks for 6 months. On 12 July, it left Verdala Barracks and embarked for Egypt on board the Nubia. The battalion disembarked in Alexandria on 16 July. It served in Egypt for 10 weeks.

22 Sep The 2nd/Rifle Brigade, 737 strong, left Alexandria for Crete after fighting in the Nile Campaign. It served in Crete for 3 1/2 months.

Baptisms in 1898:

Burials at Rinella Military Cemetery in 1898:

Burials in Pietà Military Cemetery in 1898:

1899 2nd/Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own)

Burials in 1899:

2 Oct The 2nd/Rifle Brigade left Crete for Natal on board the transport Jelunga.

The 2nd/The Rifle Brigade

Wilkinson A E
RSM Arthur Edgar Wilkinson MM 2nd/Rifle Bde. Joined 3 Mar 1911, served in the Great War, died at Mtarfa Hospital 28 Mar 1934 (Pembroke Military Cemetery)

1933 2nd/Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own)

29 Sept 1933 The 2nd/Rifle Brigade arrived from England on the Neuralia. It occupied St Andrew's Barracks, with detachments at Casemate Barracks Floriana.

31 Dec Strength: 549 men.

1934 2nd/Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own)

31 Dec 1934 Strength: 845 men.

1935 2nd/Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own)

30 June 1935 Strength: 839 men.

31 Dec Strength: 845 men.

1936 2nd/Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own)

30 June 1936 Strength: 563 men (short term).

1937 2nd/Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own)

30 June 1937 Strength: 508 men.

30 Dec The 2nd/Rifle Brigade left for India on board the Dunera.

Baptisms at the Barracca Garrison Church Valletta in 1937:

The 4th/The Rifle Brigade

1858 4th/Rifle Brigade

Rifle Brigade
Stylised regimental badge of the Rifle Brigade (Milorda Gardens Floriana)

11 Aug 1858 The 4th/Rifle Brigade embarked for Malta on 11 August 1858.

1 Sep 1858 Strength: 38 Officers, 38 NCOs, 18 Buglers/Drummers, 579 rank and file, 673 total all ranks. (Total garrison strength 4,849 rank and file).

Baptisms in 1858:

Burials at Floriana Cemetery in 1858:

1859 4th/Rifle Brigade

1 Jan 1859 The 4th/Rifle Brigade arrived from England on the Urgent, with 2 Coys on the Perseverance.

1 Jan Strength: 38 Officers, 34 NCOs, 20 Buglers/Drummers, 586 rank and file, 678 total all ranks. (Total garrison strength 4,537 rank and file).

msida bastion
Msida Bastion Cemetery Floriana (TNA:MFQ 1/220).

1 Feb Strength: 39 Officers, 37 NCOs, 20 Buglers/Drummers, 733 rank and file, 829 total all ranks. (Total garrison strength 4,771 rank and file).

rockgate
Fortifications of the Cottonera showing Rock Gate leading from Zabbar Gate between Windmill Bastion and Firenzuola Bastion (TNA:MPH 1/889).

1 Mar–26 Sep The men were at Lower St Elmo Barracks.

1 Jun Strength: 37 Officers, 39 NCOs, 21 Buglers/Drummers, 817 rank and file, 914 total all ranks. (Total garrison strength 6,937 rank and file).

1 Aug Strength: 37 Officers, 41 NCOs, 21 Buglers/Drummers, 799 rank and file, 898 total all ranks. (Total garrison strength 6897 rank and file).

26 Sep The 4th/Rifle Bde moved from Lower St Elmo Barracks and took over the quarters at Fort Ricasoli previously occupied by the 2nd/23rd Regiment.

27 Sep–31 Dec 1859 The men were at Fort Ricasoli.

In 1859, the regiment had 309.2 admissions from fever per 1000 of mean strength with 17.32 deaths from fever per 1000 of mean strength.

1 Dec 1859 Strength: 39 Officers, 43 NCOs, 21 Buglers/Drummers, 799 rank and file, 902 total all ranks. (Total garrison strength 7,044 rank and file).

Marriages in the Collegiate Church of St Paul's Valletta in 1859:

Baptisms in 1859:

Burials in Rock Gate Cemetery in 1859:

Burials in Floriana in 1859:

1860 4th/Rifle Brigade

Admissions and Deaths during 1860
Average Strength Admissions Hospital Deaths Admissions/1000 Deaths/1000
857 591 7 690 8.17
Admissions into hospital and deaths during the year with ratio of admissions and deaths per 1000 of strength. The average strength of the troops, exclusive of the Royal Malta Fencibles, was 5,950 men.

1 Jan 1860 Strength: 39 Officers, 43 NCOs, 21 Buglers/Drummers, 789 rank and file, 892 total all ranks.

In 1860, 254 soldiers were admitted with continued fevers with 1 death. A private soldier of the Rifle Brigade committed suicide by throwing himself from the balcony of the regimental hospital.

In June, when admissions from Continued Fevers from the 3rd Regiment became very numerous, tents were pitched for 200 of the men to sleep in with a view to diminish the over crowding in barracks. As this approach appeared to prove satisfactory, it was adopted in July by the 1st/22nd Foot, the 23rd Foot and Rifle Brigade and the rooms on the ground floor of Lower St Elmo Barracks were vacated by the married men of the 23rd Regiment. On 20 Sept, detachments were sent by the various regiments to Pembroke Camp for rifle practice and the barracks were thus relieved for the remainder of the year by about 1200 men.

The 4th/Rifle Bde was quartered in Forts Ricasoli and San Salvatore.

Burials at Rock Gate Cemetery in 1860:

1861 4th/Rifle Brigade

In 1861, the regiment had an average strength of 870 men, 432 hospital admissions (496 admissions per 1000 of mean strength) with 3 deaths in hospital and 3 death out of hospital and 1 death among the invalids (8.05 deaths per 1000 of mean strength).

Burials at Floriana Cemetery in 1861:

1862 4th/The Prince Consort's Own Rifle Brigade

In 1862, the regiment had an average strength of 864 men, 352 hospital admissions (407 admissions per 1000 of mean strength) with 5 deaths in hospital and 1 out of hospital (6.94 deaths per 1000 of mean strength).

The 4th/Rifle Brigade were quartered at Fort Manoel, Lazaretto, and Plague Hospital.

Burials at Floriana Cemetery in 1862:

1863 4th/The Prince Consort's Own Rifle Brigade

1863 The regiment had an average strength of 601 men, with 188 hospital admissions and 4 deaths in hospital.

17 Sep 1863 The 4th/The Prince Consort's Own Rifle Brigade embarked for Gibraltar. It was replaced in Malta by the 100th (Prince of Wales's Royal Canadians) Regiment of Foot.

The 4th/The Rifle Brigade

1905 4th/Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own)

16 Nov 1905 On 8 Nov 1905, The 4th/Rifle Brigade embarked at Southampton from Chatham on the Assaye. It disembarked at Malta on 16 November. The men were at Pembroke Barracks, Mellieha Barracks, and Ghajn Tuffieha, but then moved to Floriana Barracks and Fort Manoel.

Burials in 1905:

1906 4th/Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own)

1906 The 4th/Rifle Brigade was at St George's Barracks, Pembroke. 80 men fell ill with Simple Continued Fever, which was attributed to the battalion first exposure of the hot Maltese summer.

Baptisms in 1906:

Burials in Pietà Military Cemetery in 1906:

1907 4th/Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own)

1907 Four companies were at Floriana Barracks (HQ Coy), and four companies in the huts at Fort Manoel. During the summer of 1907, there was an outbreak of Simple Continued Fever. This assumed an epidemic form among the non-commissioned officers and men of "C" Company at Floriana Barracks. The number of admissions from simple continued fevers from the battalion was 119. Of these, twenty six were from Fort Manoel or from the companies of musketry camp; the remaining ninety-three were from Floriana. The companies were sent to Mtarfa for a change of air in an attempt to reduce the incidence of fever.

Burials in Pietà Military Cemetery in 1907:

1908 4th/Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own)

1908 The men were at St Andrew's Barracks. There were 17 cases of pyrexia of uncertain origin.

Baptisms in 1908:

Burials in Pietà Military Cemetery in 1908:

1909 4th/Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own)

22 Jan 1909 The 4th/Rifle Brigade embarked for Alexandria on the Braemar Castle.

Bibliography