Regiments of the Malta Garrison The Queen's Own (Royal West Kent) (50th/97th)
The Queen's Own (Royal West Kent) Regiment (50th/97th)
The Queen's Own (Royal West Kent) Regiment was formed on 1 July 1881 from the union of the 50th (The Queen's Own) Regiment of Foot with the 97th (The Earl of Ulster's) Regiment.
The 50th became The 1st Battalion The Queen's Own (Royal West Kent) Regiment. The 97th became the 2nd Battalion.
In 1961, The Queen's Own (Royal West Kent) Regiment amalgamated with The Buffs (Royal East Kent Regiment) to form The Queen's Own Buffs Royal Kent Regiment> which in 1966 became the 2nd Battalion The Queen's Regiment.
In September 1992 the regiment merged with The Royal Hampshire Regiment to form The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment (Queen's and Royal Hampshires).
The 1st/Royal West Kent Regiment had an average strength of 950 men (8 coys). It had 482 admissions (507.3/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 7 deaths (7.36/1000 mean strength) including 2 among the invalids. 19 invalids returned to England.
Its average constantly sick was 29.11 (30.64/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 11.18 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 22.04 days.
The 1st/Royal West Kent Regiment was at Fort Ricasoli for 1 month and 3 weeks and at Fort Manoel for 10 months and one week. It had detachments at Pembroke Camp for 10 months.
The following were baptised in 1890:
19 JanSamuel Paradine born 29 Nov 1889, son of Frakita Rower nee Romana and Pte Samuel Paradine.
10 AprAnne Elizabeth Gregg born 21 Feb 1890, daughter of Agnes and Armourer Sgt Daniel Gregg.
20 AprAlfred William Gadney born 2 Feb 1890, son of Catherine and Cpl Thomas Alfred Gadney.
31 MayAlfred Turner born 22 Apr 1890, son of Margaret Emma and Sgt Alfred Turner.
8 JuneMaude Murphy born 21 Apr 1890, daughter of Rachel and Sgt William Murphy.
3 JulyMargaret Morton born 10 June 1890, daughter of Elizabeth and Sgt John Will Morton.
28 JulyRobert William Sanfion Pease born 4 June 1890, son of Alice and Mess Sgt Robert Pease.
22 OctJames Arthur King born 3 Oct 1890, son of Mary and Pte William King.
16 NovAdrian Oswald Semmence born 17 Sep 1890, son of Agnes and Sgt Master Tailor Crefaude Andrews Semmence.
The following were buried in Pietà Military Cemetery in 1890:
8 JanAlbert Henry Beckhuson aged 5 months, died at Fort Salvatore and was buried in Rinella Military Cemetery.
15 May Infant Elizabeth Reddersen aged 9 months, daughter of Sgt Reddersen.
9 June Pte Frederick Magness A Coy, aged 23 years.
16 June Cpl Henry John Sackree aged 23 years.
9 Oct Pte James McLaughlin aged 23 years 10 months.
24 Feb 1902 The 1st/Queen's Own (Royal West Kent) arrived in Aden on 15 October 1899. It embarked for Malta on the Sicilia on 13 February 1902, arriving in Malta on 24 February.
25 Nov 1902 The 1st/Queen's Own (Royal West Kent) consisting of 8 Coys, HQ Coy, 11 officers, 2 WOs, 37 Sgts, 15 Buglers, 467 Rank and file, 12 wives and 17 children embarked on the Dominion. It disembarked at Southampton on 13 December 1902.
The following were buried in Pietà Military Cemetery in 1902:
13 Aug Pte Charles William Jones, aged 21 years.
22 Oct Pte Kitty Burge, aged 8 months, daughter of CSgt Burge.
7 Apr 1904 The 1st/Queen's Own (Royal West Kent) embarked on the Soudan at Southampton. It disembarked at Malta on 15 April 1904.
The men were placed under canvass at Pembroke and Mellieha for a month prior to their move to Floriana Barracks. The Battalion remained at Floriana Barracks apart from a month in camp in Nov/Dec 1904, and three weeks in Mar 1905.
18 Oct 1904 Burial of Louisa Ermmaline Dark aged 25 yrs wife of Sgt Dark at Mtarfa Military Cemetery.
The following were buried in Pietà Military Cemetery in 1904:
17 May Infant Walter Henry William Bailey aged 5 months, son of L/Cpl Walter Henry Bailey.
14 June Bdsm Frederick George Barfoot aged 32 years.
28 July CSgt Harry George Eldred, aged 39 years.
1 Aug Twin Infant Harry Rogers, aged 1 month, son of SgtMaj Harry George Rogers and his wife Alice. The other twin born on 4 July died on 8 December 1904.
29 Sep Mrs Alice Johnson, aged 39 years of Floriana.
9 Dec Infant Jack Rogers, aged 5 months, son of SgtMaj Rogers.
28 Mar 1904 Burial of Pte Edward Gazzard aged 20 yrs 10 mths at Mtarfa Military Cemetery (Plot 4, Row 3, Grave 9).
The battalion occupied Floriana Barracks. This included Salvatore Counter Guard and Notre Dame Ravelin. The "Old Barracks" consisted of a range of 12 casemate rooms about 80 feet in length, each accommodating 30 men. There were no window openings. The Malta Civil Hospital occupied the upper part of a building, on the ground floor of which were the regimental stores. There was no communication between the ground and upper floors. 360 soldiers occupied the "Old Barracks". The barracks overlooked the Ospizio.
San Salvatore Counter guard consisted of small casemated rooms with a scarp wall in front of the rooms. It accommodated 30 signalers.
Notre Dame Ravelin Barracks was a single storey building consisting of a range of 16 small rooms on the ground floor with five men in each. It also had seven huts resting on a concrete platform each for 18 men.
One company was quartered in Notre Dame Ravelin Barracks, with another company split between one room in the "Old Barracks" and two huts in the Ravelin. The band occupied huts in the Ravelin. San Salvatore Counter guard and the Ravelin together held 245 soldiers out of a battalion strength of 923.
The New Barracks consisted of three separate two-storey blocks each accommodating one company. Each room held 26 men. Three companies (318 soldiers) were quartered in the "New Barracks".
1 Feb–1 May 1905 "B" Coy was in camp at Ghajn Tuffieha. 37 cases of Mediterranean Fever were admitted to hospital during the battalion's first nine months in Malta.
29 Nov Henry John Winter Royal West Kent Regiment, was refused permission by the ecclesiastical authorities of Malta to marry Rosina Spiteri unless he produced satisfactory evidence that he was not already married.
The following were buried in Pietà Military Cemetery in 1905:
4 Mar Pte John Smith, aged 20 years.
22 Mar Mrs Elizabeth Jeffery, aged 42 years, wife of Bandsman Jeffery.
25 Mar Bdsm William Roffe, aged 35 years.
28 Mar Pte John Humphreys Boylett, aged 20 years.
28 Mar Child of Sgt Penny.
19 May Infant Edward John Skiggs, aged 7 months, son of Sgt Skiggs.
26 Aug Cpl Frederick Russell, aged 23 years.
10 Oct 2nd Cpl Harry Knight, aged 22 years 9 months.
18 Dec 1906 The 1st/Queen's Own (Royal West Kent), consisting of 8 coys, HQ Coy, 18 officers, 1 officer's wife, 2 warrant officers, 39 sgts, 14 buglers, 429 rank and file, 32 wives and 56 children, embarked for Southampton on the Braemar Castle. The men disembarked on 27 December and moved to Dover, where they remained until 23 September 1909.
The following were buried in Pietà Military Cemetery in 1906:
21 Mar Still born child of Sgt Skiggs.
31 May Pte William John Richards, aged 20 years of Floriana Barracks.
11 June Infant Eileen Maud Shields, aged 3 months, daughter of L/Cpl Shields.
2 Aug Infant Percival Charles Penney, aged 4 months, son of Sgt Penney.
29 Aug Infant Florence Eliz May Harden, aged 11 months, daughter of L/Cpl Harden.
30 Oct Infant Alfred Henry Brown aged 11 months, son of Sgt and Elizabeth Brown who died on 23 October.
It guarded the only radar station on Dingli Cliffs and was responsible for the security of Luqa Airfield, and the training of the Home Guard. The 2nd Battalion was also entrusted with the defence of Marsaxlokk and the south coast, including Wied Iz Zurrieq and Ghar Lapsi. "D" Coy formed part of Northern Brigade under Brig W. H. Oxley.
27 Jan 1940 2nd/Royal West Kent moved into St George's Barracks from billets and Mtarfa Barracks. It handed over Mtarfa Barracks to 2nd/KOMR.
Apr 2nd/Royal West Kent lines were at St George's Barracks. In April 1940, the troops moved to their war stations except the Reserve Battalion 2nd/RWK which remained at St George's Barracks. On 16 May 1940, the Reserve Battalion was split to guard Ta' Qali, Luqa and Hal Far aerodromes.
20 May 2nd/Royal West Kent Bn HQ opened at Farsons Pavilion (GR 462235). The regiment was tasked with protecting Valletta against the ingress of parachutists. Rifle positions were set up at Marina Pinto, Dogs Home, Sa Maison and Portes des Bombes.
10 June 1940 2nd/Royal West Kent Regiment took over the Reserve Battalion from 2nd/Devon and all Passive Air Defence (PAD) responsibilities and duties in the Pembroke area from 2nd/Devonshire Regiment. It also took over the accommodation at Ta' Qali, and the garages and petrol stores in St Georges Barracks.
The battalion was tasked to deny Valletta to enemy parachutists in accordance with the Malta Command Defence Scheme Chap VII. Rifle Posts were set up at Marina Pinto, Dog's Home and Sa Maison. A Rifle and Light Machine Gun Post was established at Portes de Bombes, Floriana.
One Coy 2/RWK maintained troops for local defence of the landing ground at Marsa Sports Club. A carrier Plt of 2/RWK Regiment supported 2/RIF in defending the landing ground at Ta' Qali runway.
30 June Strength: 25 Officers and 678 men. The 2nd Battalion vacated Wolseley tented camp overlooking Delimara and moved into billets at Tarxien.
6 June 171516 Capt J C Seddon RAMC was RMO 2nd/Royal West Kent Regiment.
11 June 1943 The 2nd/Queen's Own (Royal West Kent) left for Samos in the Aegean Sea.
The 2nd/Queen's Own (Royal West Kent) had garrisoned Malta throughout the siege and was awarded the Battle Honour Malta 1940–42.
The 3rd/Royal West Kent (1st Kent Militia)
R de M Rudolf in his Campaign Histories of the Infantry Regiments of the British Army page 504 has this to say on the 3rd/Royal West Kent Regt:
During the South African War the 3rd Battalion was embodied, and after serving at Chatham was the first Militia Battalion to embark for service abroad, and as it was not then the intention of sending militia or volunteers to the seat of war, the 3rd Battalion was stationed at Malta in January 1900, where it remained until June 1901. Whilst at Malta, the battalion sent a detachment of mounted infantry to the war, consisting of 20 men, one of whom was killed, one died of disease and two wounded.
Jan 1900 The 3rd Battalion arrived from England. It had 1014 men.
May 1900 The 3rd Battalion Royal West Kent together with the 5th Northumberland Fusiliers 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.
1 July 1088 men were located at Verdala Barracks.
The following were buried in Rinella Military Cemetery in 1900:
30 Jan Sgt John Henry Gosling aged 43 years, died at Cottonera.
1 JuneEllen Lottie Fuller aged 43 days, daughter of Sgt died at Cottonera.
4 July Cpl William Savage aged 19 years, died at Cottonera.
15 SepKate Biscoe aged 2 years 5 months, daughter of Pte died at Cottonera.
21 July Pte Alfred Thomas Vaughan aged 20 yrs was buried at Mtarfa Military Cemetery (Plot 4, Row 1, Grave 1).
The following were buried in Pietà Military Cemetery in 1900:
16 Jan School Mistress Agnes Grellier, aged 24 years wife of Sgt Grellier.
31 May 1901 The main body of The 3rd/Royal West Kent consisting of 10 companies, 13 officers, 1 officer's wife and 2 children, 1 male and 1 female officer's servants, 51 sergeants, 17 buglers, 704 rank and file, 16 soldier's wives and 27 children, embarked for Southampton on the transport Formosa. The men disembarked on 9 June.
2 June 1901 The detachment of The 3rd/Royal West Kent consisting of 2 companies, 5 officers, 1 officer's wife, 11 sergeants, 2 buglers, 177 rank and file, 10 soldier's wives and 14 children, embarked for Southampton on the transport Dilwara. The men disembarked on 10 June.
The 3rd/Royal West Kent was disbanded.
The following were buried in Rinella Military Cemetery in 1901:
15 JanJames George Botting aged 2 years 8 months, died at Cottonera.
5 MarEdith R Theobald aged 2 years 11 months, died at Cottonera.
21 AprJoseph Hamfleet Eke aged 33 years, died at Cottonera.
7 JuneHenry Boxall aged 27 years 7 months, died at Cottonera.
Farmer J. S., 1984. The regimental records of the British Army Reprint Edition, Trowbridge, Wiltshire: Crecy Books.
Edwards T. J., 1980. Regimental Badges First Edition, Tonbridge, Kent: Ernest Benn Ltd.
Famous Units. The National Army Museum. Available from http://www.nam.ac.uk/research/famous-units.
TNA:WO 379/11. Stations of Regiments 1859–1900.
TNA:WO 379/15. Stations of Regiments 1901–1920.
TNA:WO 156/115. Register of burials in the military cemetery Rinella from January 1890 to January 1908.
TNA:WO 156/116. Burial Register No 17 Mtarfa Cemetery burials from 1 June 1899.