Regiments of the Malta Garrison
5th (Northumberland Fusiliers)

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The 5th (Northumberland Fusiliers)


The Northumberland Fusiliers traces its origin to 1674 as one of the Holland Regiments in the service of the Prince of Orange. It became one of the regiments in the British Army in 1688 as Colonel Edmond Lloyd's Regiment of Foot.

In 1751, it was taken on the English Establishment as the 5th Regiment of Foot. The territorial title was bestowed in 1782, when until 1836, it was known as the 5th (Northumberland) Regiment of Foot.

In 1831 the 5th (Northumberland) Regiment of Foot was granted royal approval to resume the motto Quo Fata Vocant formerly borne on its Colours and appointments, in addition to its ancient badge of St George and the Dragon.

In 1836 it was converted into a Fusilier Regiment, as the 5th (Northumberland Fusiliers) for having defeated a French Division of Grenadiers at Wilhelmstahl (1762). From that date onwards it bore a badge of a flaming grenade with St George at its centre.

On 1 July 1881, it became Northumberland's county regiment, and in 1935, it became a Royal Regiment on the occasion of the silver jubilee of King George V.

In April 1968, the Northumberland Fusiliers merged with the 20th Lancashire Fusiliers, the 6th (Royal Warwickshire Fusiliers), and the 7th (Royal Fusiliers – City of London), to form the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.

The 5th (Northumberland) Regiment

1834 5th (Northumberland)

17 Oct 1834 19 officers, 480 men, 55 women, and 74 children of the 5th (Northumberland) Regiment arrived from Gibraltar on the transport Romney.

The following were baptised in Malta in 1834:

  • 28 Dec Jane West daughter of Sgt William West and Eleanor born on 11 Dec 1834.
  • 31 Dec William Arthur Clarke son of Sgt Major Arthur Clarke and Mary Ann born on 15 Dec 1834.

The following were buried in Malta in 1834:

  • 11 Nov L/Cpl James Summers aged 24 years.
  • 23 Nov CSgt Henry Brown aged 29 years.
  • 11 Dec Pte Joseph Mills aged 25 years.

1835 5th (Northumberland)

Every December the infantry regiments in the garrison rotated between the Valletta District and the Cottonera District. In the Cottonera District the 5th Regiment had three companies with Head Quarters, two companies at Francesco di Paolo Barracks and one company at Fort San Salvatore.

The regiment had to furnish men for 15 different guard duties daily. This required 112 men out of an average regimental strength of 480 men, excluding the sick in hospital, the band and drummers, staff, pioneers, tradesmen and officer's servants, a total of 112 men, who were excused guard duty. The posts or guards were all remotely located from HQ; the greater part were around the land front of the Cottonera, while others were by Dockyard Creek. They were all exposed to the cold northerly winds and to every change of weather. The guard rooms had no fire places and most swamped with water whenever it rained. January, February, and March of 1835 proved to be very cold with tempestuous rain. The increased sickness among the men was attributed to their exposure to the cold.

As there was no hospital in the Cottonera District the assistant surgeon stayed with his regiment, while the regimental surgeon took up quarters at the General Military Hospital Valletta. The sick were conveyed by boat to Valletta and afterwards had to walk the half mile distance to the hospital from the landing place at the marina.

In 1835 the battalion had 539 cases of sickness with five deaths. Of these 33 were due to Febris Continua Communis. The symptoms consisted of chills rather than rigors which were accompanied with mild to severe frontal headaches and congestion of the eyes. Fever was blamed on exposure of the men to the cold combined with intemperance. The treatment adopted by the surgeon was one of bowel cleansing. The stomach was evacuated with the use of the Tartarate of Antimony or Powder of Ipecacuan. Once the stomach became tranquil the bowels were well cleansed by the administration of Sulphate of Magnesia and Tartar Emetic. Purging continued for a maximum of 48 hours depending on the severity of each case. The submuriate of Mercury, in the proportion of two grains with four of James's Powder was given every second or third hour to produce a diaphoresis. The patient was then stimulated with quinine and wine and a nutritious diet.

There were 21 cases of Phlegmon, a skin infection with some cases progressing from furunculi to abscesses. Most were in the neck and axilla while others affected the legs.

Soldiers with pneumonia were admitted into hospital predominantly from the guard room at Zabbar Gate. This post was very cold and damp. The men were all bled repeatedly with the lancet until profuse perspiration with syncope was achieved. One unfortunate soldier had up to 48 ounces (1440 mls) of blood extracted. This represented almost half his circulating blood volume, and was more than sufficient to produce the early symptoms of hypovolaemic shock. The procedure was repeated on him, when another 48 ounces were removed. A third bleeding was carried out when 30 ounces (900 mls) of blood were extracted. Leeches were also applied coupled with the administration of the Sulphate of Magnesia and Tartarate of Antimony followed by Calomel, James's Powder and opium aided by a blister. Miraculously this patient survived his treatment, but two others did not. Their deaths being blamed not on the doctor's interference but on their dissipated character.

3 Apr 1835 Death of Regimental Sergeant-Major James Grant from a fractured skull. The RSM was convalescing from Rheumatism. He was sitting on a balustrade of a stone gallery at the Sergeant's mess house, when the balustrade gave way. He fell down a height of twenty five feet fracturing his skull and right ankle. The RSM had been with the regiment since his boyhood, and had served gallantly with the regiment in the Peninsular War without sustaining any injuries.

5 Aug 1835 A sudden death occurred in a soldier while employed on fatigue duties. The soldier was said to have been perfectly well when he, together with another 100 men, were ordered to move gun powder to the magazine at Fort San Salvatore. The ambient temperature was 83 F (28 C). The soldier dropped down suddenly and died from cerebral oedema.

June 1835 Officer Mr L' Estrange was thrown off his horse at the main barrack gate while on his rounds as orderly officer of the day. L' Estrange fractured his left thigh. In June 1835, he was invalided to England for change of climate on the transport Maitland.

23 Dec 1835 The regiment marched out of the Cottonera and returned to Valletta where it occupied Lower St Elmo Barracks.

The following were married in Malta in 1835:

  • 20 July Bachelor Pte Henry Mercer to Eliza Meredith, spinster daughter of Pte William Meredith 5th Regiment, deceased.
  • 4 Aug Bachelor Captain Gilbert Champain of the Parish of St Marylebone in the County of Middlesex to Harriet Isabella Adelaide Pennington, spinster daughter of Paymaster James Pennington 5th Regiment, of Kendal in the County of Westmoreland.
  • 4 Aug Bachelor Ensign Thomas Eyre of Hythe in the County of Kent to Agnes Charlotte Pennington, spinster daughter of Paymaster James Pennington 5th Regiment, of Kendal in the County of Westmoreland.

The following were baptised in Malta in 1835:

  • 11 Jan John Digby Sullivan son of Pte Paul Sullivan and Mary born on 21 Nov 1834.
  • 11 Jan William Arthur Clark son of Pte Arthur Clark and Mary Anne, born on 15 Dec 1834.
  • 1 Feb Margaret Anne Tayler daughter of Pte John Tayler and Sarah, born on 15 Jan 1835.
  • 15 Feb Elizabeth Stoops daughter of Pte Alexander Stoops and Mary, born on 29 Dec 1834.
  • 21 June Thomas Elliott son of Pte Archibald Elliott and Catherine, born on 24 May 1835.
  • 5 July Mary Ann Kennedy daughter of Cpl Frederick Kennedy and Mary, born on 9 May 1835.
  • 5 July John Charles Skillen son of Cpl John Skillen and Mary Ann, born on 29 May 1835.
  • 5 July Margaret Gregsten daughter of Pte Thomas Gregsten and Elizabeth, born on 1 Jan 1835.
  • 30 Aug Jessey Miller daughter of L/Sgt Gavin Miller and Jessey, born on 19 Aug 1835.
  • 6 Sep Robert Henry Lynch son of Cpl John Lynch and Elizabeth, born on 5 Aug 1835.
  • 6 Sep Hiram McGregor son of Pte Melville McGregor and Sarah, born on 10 Aug 1835.
  • 13 Sep Rebecca Mercer daughter of Pte Henry Mercer and Eliza Meredith (now Mercer), born on 30 June 1835.
  • 18 Oct Sarah Jane Kavanagh daughter of Pte Joseph Kavanagh and Jane, born on 4 Oct 1835.
  • 6 Dec William Robinson Chetwynd son of Pte George Chetwynd and Harriet Robinson, born on 14 Oct 1835.

The following were buried in Malta in 1835:

  • 5 Apr Sgt Maj James Grant aged 45 years.
  • 11 May Pte Edmund Lee aged 30 years.
  • 13 June Pte Murdoch Munro aged 25 years.
  • 24 June Olliffe Challinor aged 21 months, daughter of Thomas Challinor.
  • 19 July Elizabeth Stoops aged 5 months, daughter of Alexander Stoops.
  • 7 Sep L/Cpl Thomas Mason aged 25 years.
  • 25 Nov Surgeon Thomas Price Lea aged 48 years.
  • 26 Nov Mary Morgan aged 35 years, wife of Pte Philip Morgan.
  • 26 Nov Pte Joseph Manton aged 25 years.
  • 27 Nov Cpl John Wallis aged 25 years.

1836 5th (Northumberland Fusiliers)

1836 The regimental strength was 19 Officers and 488 men.

The following were married in Malta in 1836:

  • 13 Aug Bachelor CSgt George Raymond to Mary Ann Fallon, spinster of Galway, County Galway Ireland.
  • 21 Nov Bachelor Pte Stephen Aldington to Jane Murray, spinster of Windsor, Berkshire.

The following were baptised in Malta in 1836:

  • 24 Apr Mary Ann Wilkinson daughter of Pte Daniel Wilkinson and Catherine born on 4 Dec 1835.
  • 22 May William Thomas Gorman son of Pte Thomas Gorman and Mary Ann, born on 26 Apr 1836.
  • 5 Sep Thomas Alexander Lockhart son of Sgt George Lockhart and Mary, born on 19 July 1836.
  • 8 Nov Charles Challenor son of Pte Thomas Challenor and Susannah, born on 3 Nov 1836.
  • 21 Nov Harriet Annette Eyre Champain daughter of Capt Gilbert Champain and Harriet Isabella Adelaide, born at Valletta on 23 Oct 1836.

The following were buried in Malta in 1836:

  • 19 May Pte Charles Wilson aged 25 years.
  • 2 June Pte Thomas Dobson aged 23 years.
  • 16 June William Rogers aged 2 years, son of John Rogers.
  • 21 June Mary Anne Wilkinson aged 6 months, daughter of Pte D. Wilkinson.
  • 1 July Juliana Haylett aged 8 years, daughter of Robert Haylett.
  • 14 July Pte Thomas Cordy aged 26 years.
  • 18 July Pte John Williams aged 32 years.
  • 26 July William Robinson Chetwynd aged 9 months, son of Pte G. Chetwynd.
  • 2 Aug Hiram McGregor aged 11 months, son of Pte Melville McGregor.
  • 20 Aug Deborah Watt aged 35 years, wife of Sgt John Watt.
  • 28 Aug Sarah Jane Kavanagh aged 10 months, daughter of Pte Joseph Kavanagh.
  • 5 Sep Margaret Gregston aged 13 months, daughter of Pte Thomas Gregston.
  • 4 Oct Robert Henry Lynch aged 1 year, son of John Lynch.
  • 6 Oct Pte Mary Ann Rogers aged 6 years, daughter of John Rogers.
  • 24 Oct Cpl James McComb aged 28 years.
  • 15 Nov Caroline Tovey aged 32 years, wife of Lt Col George Tovey.
  • 28 Nov Pte John White aged 29 years.
  • 3 Dec Pte James Chapman aged 23 years.
  • 31 Dec Pte John Dayton aged 23 years.

1837 5th (Northumberland Fusiliers)

15 Mar 1837 The 1st Div consisting of 224 men left for Corfu.
28 Mar The 2nd Div consisting of 255 men left for Corfu.

The following were baptised in Malta in 1837:

  • 13 Feb William West son of CSgt William West and Ellenor born on 2 Feb 1837.
  • 15 Mar Frederick Kennedy son of Cpl Frederick Kennedy and Mary born on 23 Feb 1837.

The following were buried in Malta in 1837:

  • 16 Jan Pte Cli Loughton aged 27 years.
  • 30 Jan Pte Joseph Wright aged 28 years.

The Northumberland Fusiliers

1898 1st/Northumberland Fusiliers

Admissions and Deaths during 1898
Average Strength Admissions Hospital Deaths Admissions/1000 Deaths/1000
205 170 8 829 39
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.

The 1st/Northumberland Fusiliers, 788 strong, arrived in Crete from Egypt on 6 October 1898 following the Nile Campaign. It served in Crete for 3 months. In December, its HQ was at Floriana Barracks with a detachment at Mtarfa Barracks.

Its average constantly sick was 10.58 (51.61/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 18.81 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 22.71 days.

1899 1st/Northumberland Fusiliers

1 Jan 1899 Strength: Detachment of 211 men. HQ Coy was at Crete.
May 1899 The Fusiliers embarked for England.

The 1st/Royal Northumberland Fusiliers

1943 1st/Royal Northumberland Fusiliers

1944 1st/Royal Northumberland Fusiliers

The 5th/Northumberland Fusiliers

1900 5th/Northumberland Fusiliers

Feb 1900 The 5th Battalion arrived from England. It had a strength of 560 men. The men were quartered at Polverista.

May 1900 The 5th Northumberland Fusiliers together with the 3rd Battalion Royal West Kent took part in combined manoeuvres with the Royal Navy in landing troops and 12 pounder guns at Mellieha Bay. Two mules were attached to each gun to aid the ordinary gun crew and the poles for the mules were made afloat as it was found that the ordinary fittings were inadequate. The landings were made in the face of a gale which destroyed the landing stages.

The following were buried in Malta in 1900:

  • 27 Apr Bdms J Fraser aged 33 years, died at Cottonera and buried in Rinella Military Cemetery.
  • 22 June Alice Rosina Katy Walton aged 2 months, daughter of CSgt died at Cottonera and buried in Rinella Military Cemetery.

The following was buried in Mtarfa Military Cemetery in 1900:

  • 3 Nov 1900 CSgt Alfred Webb aged 35 yrs 3 months.

The following were buried in Pietà Military Cemetery in 1900:

  • 27 May Pte Andrew Anderson, aged 18 years 2 months.

1901 5th/Northumberland Fusiliers

27 June 1901 The 5th/Northumberland Fusiliers consisting of 10 companies, 21 officers, 49 sergeants, 15 buglers, 370 rank and file embarked for Southampton on the transport Dilwara. The men disembarked on 7 July.

The 5th/Northumberland Fusiliers was disbanded.

The following were baptised in 1901:

  • 3 Feb Richard Noel Jones born on 25 December 1900, son of Maria Jane Cooper and Cpl Richard Jones, resident at No 16 St Nicholas Married Quarters Cottonera.
  • 21 Aug Elsie Walton born on 7 August 1901, daughter of Rosina Kate and Sgt Peter Walton, resident at the Vicolo Strada Torri, Sliema.

The following was buried in Rinella Military Cemetery in 1901:

  • 17 Jan William Elliott Taylor aged 23 years 6 months, died at Cottonera.

The 1st/Garrison Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers

1915 1st Gar Bn/Northumberland Fusiliers

The 1st Garrison Bn Northumberland Fusiliers was formed in Aug 1915, and was sent to Malta on garrison duty.

1916 1st Gar Bn/Northumberland Fusiliers

1917 1st Gar Bn/Northumberland Fusiliers

31 Dec 1917 Baptism in the Zejtun Gate Church Room of Lt George Thomas Kirby 6th Northumberland Fusilier of Polverista Barracks, born on 13 Feb 1879, son of George and Mary Ann Letitia Kirby.

1918 1st Gar Bn/Northumberland Fusiliers

1919 1st Gar Bn/Northumberland Fusiliers

1 July 1919 Strength: 15 officers and 171 rank and file.
1 Dec 1919 Strength: 9 officers and 104 rank and file.

1920 1st Gar Bn/Northumberland Fusiliers

1 Jan 1920 Strength: 4 officers and 60 rank and file.
1 Nov 1920 The 1st Gar Bn/Northumberland Fusiliers left Malta.

The 30th/The Royal Northumberland Fusiliers

1944 30th/Royal Northumberland Fusiliers

1945 30th/Royal Northumberland Fusiliers

30 June 1945 Strength: 819 other ranks and 0 officers. In Mar 1945, the 30th Bn was the only infantry regiment listed in Malta.

1946 30th/Royal Northumberland Fusiliers


  • Farmer J. S., 1984. The regimental records of the British Army Reprint Edition, Trowbridge, Wiltshire: Crecy Books.
  • Rudolf R., 1988. Campaign histories of the Infantry Regiments of the British Army, Hayward and Sons, Polstead Suffolk.
  • TNA:WO 379/15. Stations of Regiments 1901–1920.
  • TNA:WO 334/12. Sick Returns and Reports for the Garrison of Malta from 1 January to 31 December 1835.
  • TNA:WO 156/121. Burial Register 1830–1837.
  • TNA:WO 156/115. Register of burials in the military cemetery Rinella from January 1890 to January 1908.
  • TNA:WO 156/600. Register No 19. Baptisms in the Chapel School of Margherita and in the Zejtun Gate Church Room between 29 April 1913 to 11 August 1918.
  • TNA:WO 156/594. No 2, Marriage Register 1 January 1820 to 12 June 1839.
  • TNA:WO 156/594. No 2, Baptism Register 2 January 1820 to 29 June 1839.