Of the Malta Garrison
The 85th
(Buck's Volunteers)
(King's Light Infantry)

The 85th (Buck's Volunteers) (King's Light Infantry)

The 85th Foot was raised in Buckinghamshire in 1794 on the outbreak of war with revolutionary France.

In 1801, The Bucks Volunteers Militia was incorporated into the 85th Regiment of Foot. It became a Light Infantry Corps in 1808.

In 1815, it added to its title The Duke of York's Own after the Prince Regent's younger brother Frederick.

In 1821, the regiment was retitled The 85th (Buck's Volunteers) (King's Light Infantry) Regiment.

On 1 July 1881, the 85th amalgamated with the 53rd (Shropshire) Regiment to form the Second Battalion of The King's Light Infantry (Shropshire Regiment).

In 1920, the regimental name changed to The King's Shropshire Light Infantry.

On 10 July 1968, The King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, The King's Shropshire Light Infantry, The Durham Light Infantry and The Somerset and Cornwall Light Infantry, merged to form the Light Infantry.

The 85th (Buck's Volunteers) (King's Light Infantry)

1821 85th (Bucks Volunteers) (King's Light Infantry)

13 July 1821 The 85th arrived from England. Inspector of Hospitals John Hennen reported that the it was a Light Infantry battalion and the men were generally active and healthy, and in the prime of life.1

37 cases of ophthalmia were admitted to the ophthalmia hospital between July and December 1821. Among these were:

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1822 85th (Bucks Volunteers) (King's Light Infantry)

21 Mar–20 June 1822 The average strength of the 85th Regiment was 647 men. The regiment had been at Lower St Elmo barracks, Valletta since October 1821 where it furnished the guards for the garrison for four days in the week. The regiment stationed in Floriana covered the other three days. In September, the 85th moved from Valletta to Vittoriosa.

Ophthalmia was prevalent during the year, but no cases of pulmonary diseases were reported. Assistant Surgeon Whitney Luke attributed the comparative exemption of the Corps from pulmonary disease to the exclusive use of flannel shirts, to the exclusion of linen or calico, an assumption which I think there can be very little difficulty in admitting.

One men died during the Winter Quarter (21 Dec 1821 to 20 Mar 1822). Part of the regimental hospital was set aside for the admission of 27 ophthalmia patients so as to relieve the overcrowding of the ophthalmia hospital in the General Hospital. The ophthalmia hospital had been under the supervision of Staff Assistant Surgeon James Kennedy who had admitted 133 patients in the first half of 1822. Fifty three soldiers of the 85th Regiment were admitted with ophthalmia as compared to only 15 soldiers from the 80th Foot.

There were 9 cases of Continued or Summer fever, (Phlebotomus fever), with one death during the Spring Quarter (21 March to 20 June 1822), which the PMO John Hennen, attributed to an increased atmospheric temperature operating upon the bodies of those who are exposed to the unmitigated rays of the sun, the effects of which, especially on new comers, are in many instances rendered more violent, by the previous exhaustion from fatigue and intemperance.1 The fever usually subsided on the second or third day, while convalescence was established by the end of the third or the beginning of the fourth day. Overall, during 1822, the 85th had a total of 102 admissions for fever with 3 deaths.

The diseases in the 85th during the Autumn Quarter (21 Sep to 20 Dec 1822), were ascribed by the PMO to the cold temperature an intoxication. An invalid in the regimental hospital died of dyspnoea continua, another soldier from continued fever and a third from phthisis pulmonalis. Thirty seven soldiers were admitted with ophthalmia.

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1823 85th (Bucks Volunteers) (King's Light Infantry)

1823 The 85th had an average daily sick of 630 men. The ratio of sick to well was 1:20. The main diseases were ulcers and continued fever which was blamed on intemperance.The regiment had 50 admissions for fever with two deaths.

The regimental hospital of the 85th also looked after the sick of the Invalid Depôt from the Ionian Islands. Between 21 Sept and 20 Dec 1823, 205 invalids arrived at Malta from the Ionian islands.

Ophthalmia prevailed in the children of the regiment during the summer quarter (21 June to 20 Sep). Assistant Surgeon Luke whitney reported:

Ophthalmia among the children has been very prevalent, nearly the whole of the soldier's children have been affected, but in a slight degree. The cure was effected on an average in six days. The disease was attended for the first three days with considerable mucous discharge and a rose coloured appearance of the conjunctiva. Three of the women have been attacked rather severely. The measures adopted for their cure was confinement, perfect cleanliness, opening medicinal and alum lotion, 3 grains to an ounce of water.

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1824 85th (Bucks Volunteers) (King's Light Infantry)

1824 Strength: 550 men.

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1825 85th (Bucks Volunteers) (King's Light Infantry)

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1826 85th (Bucks Volunteers) (King's Light Infantry)

1826 The battalion was listed as being at Gibraltar.

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1827 85th (Bucks Volunteers) (King's Light Infantry)

16 Jan 1827 476 men, 44 women and 64 children embarked for Gibraltar.

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1828 85th (Bucks Volunteers) (King's Light Infantry)

5 Apr 1828 487 men returned from Gibraltar.

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1829 85th (Bucks Volunteers) (King's Light Infantry)

10 Jan 1829 Burial of Armourer Sgt William Walker 85th King's Light Infantry, aged 52 years. (Quarantine Bastion Cemetery Floriana).

25 Sep Strength 515 men (6 coys).

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1830 85th (Bucks Volunteers) (King's Light Infantry)

25 Feb 1830 Strength 513 men (6 coys).

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1831 85th (Bucks Volunteers) (King's Light Infantry)

1 June 1831 Strength: Six companies, Rank and File 475 (Effectives), 515 (Establishment).

3–20 Oct 1831 The 85th embarked for England through a direct order from the Horse Guards to the commanding officer, but without any order or communication to the Lieutenant Governor from the Secretary of State for the Colonial Department. It was replaced at Malta by the 42nd Royal Highland Regiment. The 85th arrived at Winchester in December 1831.

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The 85th (Buck's Volunteers) (King's Light Infantry)

1842 — 85th (Bucks Volunteers) (King's Light Infantry)

10 Feb 1842 Death of Lt Adams 85th Foot.