RAMC

Regiments of the Malta Garrison
4th King's Own Royal Regiment

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The 4th The King's Own Royal Regiment

the 4th King's Own (Royal Lancaster)
The 4th (the King's Own Royal Regt) with the Battle Honours Salamanca, Peninsula, Alma, Sevastopol, Vittoria, Bladensburg, Inkerman, Abyssinia. (Main Guard Valletta)
the 4th King's Own (Royal Lancaster)
The Lion of England from the Royal Arms is believed to have been granted to the regiment by William III and confirmed by the Royal Warrant of 1 July 1751.

The 4th or The King's Own Regiment traces its origins to The 2nd Tangier Regiment of Foot. This was raised in 1680 to defend Tangier which had been ceded to Charles II on his marriage to Catherine of Braganza, Infanta of Portugal. The fort was blown up as it was impossible to defend it against repeated attacks by the Moors, and the 2nd Tangier Regiment was withdrawn in 1684.

In 1684 the 2nd Tangier Regiment was The Duchess of York and Albany's and when the Duchess became Queen Consort the following year this was altered to The Queen's. When George I came to the throne another alteration took place to The King's Own.

The 4th was the first regiment to join William of Orange after his landing at Torbay on 4 November 1688.

From 1704 to 1710 it served as a Marine Corps and was present at the capture of Gibraltar (1704–05). It reverted to a Foot Regiment in 1711 and was numbered 4th or The King's Own Regiment in 1751.

Between 1867 and 1881, the regimental title was The 4th (The King's Own Royal) Regiment. In 1881, it became Lancaster's County Regiment and adopted the Red Rose of Lancaster as one of its badges. From 1 July 1881 the 4th (The King's Own Royal) Regiment became The King's Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment).

In 1920 the regimental title changed to the King's Own Royal Regiment (Lancaster).

On 1 October 1959 the King's Own Royal Regiment (Lancaster) amalgamated with the Border Regiment, to form the King's Own Royal Border Regiment.

The King's Own Royal Regiment (Lancaster) bears the Battle Honour Malta 1941 – 42.

The 1st Battalion The 4th or The King's Own Regiment

1854 1st/4th Regiment

1st4th
TNA:WO 379/15 Troop Movements 1st/4th Regt. (Courtesy R Sellstrom BEM)

Malta 25 Mar 1854 The battalion arrived from Scotland with 814 men fit for duty. It encamped on the Horn Works outside Porte de Bombes.

Malta 10 Apr 1854 The battalion left for Turkey on board the Emue for service in the Crimea.

The following were buried at Malta in 1854:

  1. 5 April Pte James Billows aged 37 years.
  2. 13 April Pte Joseph Jones aged 19 years.

1855 1st/4th Regiment

The following was buried at Malta in 1855:

  1. 1 January Pte John Harvey 4th Regiment.

1856 1st/4th Regiment

The following was buried at Malta in 1856:

  1. 4 July Pte George McCartney 4th Regiment.

The 1st Battalion The 4th or The King's Own Regiment

The 1st/4th The King's Own Regiment arrived at Barbados from Gibraltar in January 1879. In November 1881, it returned to England from the West Indies having been ordered home on account of the prevalence of yellow fever at that station, and in consequence of the officers and men of the corps having suffered very severely from the disease.

1895 1st/King's Own (Royal Lancaster)

map mtarfa
Plan of Mtarfa Barracks 1911 (TNA:T 161/874).

The 1st/Royal Lancaster Regiment embarked at Portsmouth on 24 Sept 1895. It arrived from Bowerham Barracks, Lancaster on 4 October.

It had an average strength of 126 men with 152 admissions (1206.30/1000 mean strength) into hospital and 1 death (7.94/1000 mean strength).

Its average constantly sick was 8.37 (66.43/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 24.25 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 20.10 days.

The 1st/Royal Lancaster Regiment was quartered at Pembroke Camp for 3 months.

1896 1st/King's Own (Royal Lancaster)

John Kelly
4636 Pte John Kelly F Coy 1st Roy King's Own Regt died 6 Dec 1896 aged 20 yrs.
(St Margerita Cemetery Rabat)

The 1st/Royal Lancaster Regiment had an average strength of 872 men. It had 760 admissions (871.6/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 10 deaths (11.47/1000 mean strength). 20 invalids returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 51.09 (58.59/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 24.44 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 24.60 days.

The 1st/Royal Lancaster Regiment was quartered at Mtarfa Barracks for 12 months. It was the first regiment to occupy the newly constructed barracks. In July 1896, there were nine cases of enteric fever with five deaths at Mtarfa Barracks (Imtarfa).

The regiment also had 116 cases of malarial fevers in a large draft which had arrived from India in February. There were no deaths.

The following were buried at Rinella Military Cemetery in 1896:

  1. 11 August Pte Walter Crane aged 23 years, died at Cottonera.
  2. 17 August James Smith aged 20 years 9 months, died at Cottonera.
  3. 11 November Arthur Brown aged 24 years, died at Cottonera.

1897 1st/King's Own (Royal Lancaster)

Alfred Vincent Clarke
Alfred Vincent Clarke
QM Sgt 1st Bn King's Own Regt died 28 Aug 1897 aged 33 yrs. (Ta' Braxia Cemetery)

The 1st/Royal Lancaster Regiment had an average strength of 858 men. It had 714 admissions (832.2/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 6 deaths (6.90/1000 mean strength). 32 invalids returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 50.34 (58.67/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 21.42 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 25.73 days.

The 1st/Royal Lancaster Regiment was quartered at Mtarfa Barracks for 3 1/2 months and Lower St Elmo Barracks for 7 months. It embarked for Hong Kong on 25 Nov 1897, where it arrived on 26 December.

The following were buried at Rinella Military Cemetery in 1897:

  1. 24 June Pte John Jones aged 23 years, died at Fort St Angelo.
  2. 21 October Walter Lawrence Reeves aged 4 months, son of Sgt Fort St Salvatore.

1898 1st/King's Own (Royal Lancaster)

The 1st/Royal Lancaster Regiment left 12 men behind on its departure for Hong Kong.

The 1st Battalion The 4th or The King's Own Regiment

1901 1st/King's Own (Royal Lancaster)

1st Roy Lanc
TNA:WO 379/15 Troop Movements 1st Bn Royal Lancaster Regt. (Courtesy R Sellstrom BEM)

28 Nov 1901 The 1st Battalion embarked at Southampton on the Sicilia from Aldershot on 19 Nov 1901. It disembarked at Malta on 28 Nov 1901.

1902 1st/King's Own (Royal Lancaster)

John Jennings
Pte John Jennings C Coy accidentally shot on Pembroke Range on 11 Feb 1903.
(Pieta' Military Cemetery)

The following were buried at Rinella Military Cemetery in 1902:

  1. 21 January Pte Henry Gilling aged 19 years, died at Cottonera Hospital.
  2. 29 June Arthur William Shearer aged 10 months, died at Cottonera.
  3. 7 July Joseph Henry Hutchinson aged 1 month, died at Cottonera.
  4. 27 July Pte Charles Stirland aged 29 years, died at Cottonera.
  5. 28 December Alice Fitton aged 3 months, daughter of Sgt Fitton died at Cottonera.

1903 1st/King's Own (Royal Lancaster)

J Turner
6955 Pte John Turner accidentally drowned whilst bathing at Ghajn Tuffieha 27 Apr 1903 (Mtarfa Military Cemetery)

Malta 29 Apr 1903 Burial of Pte John Turner aged 19 yrs at Mtarfa Military Cemetery (Plot 4, Row 2, Grave 7).

Malta 17 Sept 1903 The 1st Battalion embarked on the Soudan for Bombay where it arrived on 2 Oct 1903.

The following were buried at Rinella Military Cemetery in 1903:

  1. 8 January John Chadwick Fitton aged 1 year 5 months, son of Sgt Fitton died at Cottonera.
  2. 24 April Francis Payne aged 24 years, died at Cottonera.
  3. 30 May W Cole aged 5 months, died at Zabbar.
  4. 19 July Pte Thomas C Hemus aged 32 years, died at Cottonera.
  5. 21 August L/Sgt William Thomas aged 24 years, died at Cottonera.

The 2nd Battalion The 4th or The King's Own Regiment

1864 2nd/4th The King's Own

4 June 1864 The 2nd Battalion arrived from Corfu.

In 1864, the regiment had an average strength of 450 men, 365 hospital admissions (811 admissions per 1000 of mean strength) with 3 deaths in hospital and 3 out of hospital (13.33 deaths per 1000 of mean strength).

1865 2nd/4th The King's Own

2nd4th
TNA:WO 379/11 Movements of 2nd/4th Regt. (Courtesy R Sellstrom BEM)
Floriana
Floriana Barracks
Floriana
Plan of Floriana showing barracks in 1865. Black dots denote cholera cases

In 1865, the regiment had an average strength of 743 men. There were 587 hospital admissions (790 admissions per 1000 of mean strength) with 21 deaths in hospital, 1 out of hospital and 1 death among the invalids (32.30 deaths per 1000 of mean strength).

The 2nd/4th Regiment occupied Floriana Barracks; their families were in old badly constructed and dilapidated huts on the Hornwork of Floriana, which they shared with the families of the 100th Regiment. Floriana Barracks had been an old casemated store house, which had been adapted to accommodate the infantry. It was bounded on one side by a parapet which overlooked on to the Ospizio dei Vecchi and St Salvatore Counter Guard. On the other side was the Civil Hospital.

On 13 July an officer's servant and the wife of a private soldier fell ill with cholera. Panic ensued in the barracks which lasted for two days and two nights, when men and women became very agitated and convinced themselves that they had caught the disease. The men were transferred from their barracks and placed under canvas on the Floriana parade ground, three companies moved into huts on Notre Dame Ravelin. A hospital marquee was erected as it was too far to admit patients to the General Hospital in Lower Merchant Street Valletta. Infected bedding was destroyed and the excreta disinfected and buried in pits.

Despite these precautions more cases followed. Surgeon Benjamin Lane urged the removal of the troops to St George's Bay or Citta Vecchia, but the PMO, Inspector General Arthur Anderson placed them under canvas upon the adjoining parade ground. The men persisted in using the barracks by day but slept under canvas at night. From 13 to 20 July, cholera raged among the families. Surgeon Lane suggested all the families to be moved under tents upon the same ground as that occupied by the men.

In July there was a total of 21 sick with 15 deaths. In August 9 fell ill with 7 deaths. The last soldier died on 16 September. The 2nd/4th had a total of 31 sick and 23 deaths. Deaths from cholera occurred at Floriana Barracks (5), Floriana Pavilion (1), Notre Dame Ravelin (4), Horn Works (3), Valletta Hospital (2), and Floriana Encampment (8).

Memorial erected at Quarantine Bastion Cemetery Floriana by B Coy 4th Battalion King's Own Royal Regiment to their comrades who died of cholera in August 1865:

  1. Pte Thomas Bell
  2. Pte Samuel Rood
  3. Pte Griffin Bond
  4. William Brooks 2nd/4th KORR died of cholera 16 Sept 1865 aged 26 years. (Quarantine Bastion Cemetery Floriana).

1866 2nd/4th the King's Own

In 1866, the regiment had an average strength of 157 men. There were 68 hospital admissions (433.1 admissions per 1000 of mean strength) with 1 death in hospital (6.37 deaths per 1000 of mean strength).

27 Mar 1866 The 2nd Battalion embarked for Nova Scotia where it arrived on 21 Apr 1866. It was relieved by 1st/8th Regiment.

The 8th Battalion The King's Own Royal Regiment (Lancaster)

Salkeld J
3717811 Pte Joseph Salkeld died 21 Apr 1942 aged 30 yrs. (Mtarfa Military Cemetery)

1941 8th/KORR (Lancaster)

2 Aug 1941 The 8th Battalion arrived at Malta. It had 33 officers and 810 men.

1942 8th/KORR (Lancaster)

1943 8th/KORR (Lancaster)

Malta 10 Oct 1943 The 8th Battalion left for Palestine. On 30 Jan 1944, it absorbed 58 survivors of the 1st Battalion. This had moved to Leros from Palestine in 1943 and was virtually annihilated in the German assault on the island.

References

  1. Farmer, J. S., 1984. The regimental records of the British Army Reprint Edition, Trowbridge, Wiltshire: Crecy Books.
  2. Edwards, T. J., 1980. Regimental Badges First Edition, Tonbridge, Kent: Ernest Benn Ltd.
  3. TNA:WO 379/15. Stations of Regiments 1901–1920.
  4. Boileau, J. P. H., A few remarks on yellow fever and on the movement of troops. Br Med J (1882), page 7, (Published 7 Jan 1882).
  5. TNA:WO 156/122; List of gravestones at the Military and Civil Cemetery 1801–1865 and the Quarantine Bastion Cemetery 1819–1867 compiled by the Rev D B L Foster Assistant Chaplain General Western Mediterranean in May 1939.
  6. TNA:WO 156/115. Register of burials in the military cemetery Rinella from January 1890 to January 1908.
  7. TNA:WO 156/113. Register of burials September 1853 to June 1862.