Regiments of the Malta Garrison The 20th (East Devonshire) Regiment
The 20th (East Devonshire) Regiment
The 20th (East Devonshire) Regiment was raised in 1688 in East Devon as Colonel Sir Robert Peyton's Regiment of Foot.
In 1751, the regiment became the 20th Foot to which East Devonshire was added in 1782.
In May 1838, the 20th was permitted to add on its Colours the words Vimiera and Corunna in commemoration of the battles in which it was engaged at Vimiera on 21 August 1808 and at Corunna on 16 January 1809.
On 1 July 1881, The East Devonshire became The Lancashire Fusiliers. As a Fusilier Regiment it wore the grenade as a badge, the distinguishing feature on the ball being the Sphinx with the word Egypt below, all within a laurel wreath. The Sphinx with Egypt was granted to the 20th Foot by Horse Guards Letter No 170 of 6 July 1802, for service in the Egyptian campaign of 1801. The laurel wreath was received in honour of the Battle of Minden of 1st August 1759. As one of the six Minden Regiments all ranks wear roses in their head dress on the anniversary of that battle (Minden Day).
In April 1968 the Lancashire Fusiliers merged with the 5th (The Royal Northumberland Fusiliers), the 6th (The Royal Warwickshire Fusiliers), and 7th (The Royal Fusiliers – City of London), to form The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.
General Orders issued by Maj Gen Villettes at Malta dated La Valetta 22 November 1802.
In consequence of the great addition which will be made to the strength of some of the regiments in this island, by the consolidations of their second battalions, and also in consideration of the extensive duty of this garrison, Major General Villettes finds it necessary to direct that a certain number of officers liable to be reduced to half pay, be retained as supernumeraries upon the strength of their respective regiments until further orders. The 27th Regiment to retain 1 Captain and 3 Subalterns.
All the regiments will retain their full establishment of three sergeants per company, considering those in England as supernumeraries, but from the above consideration, the Major General finds it expedient to order that the 20th, 27th and 35th Regiments can in like manner retain one sergeant per company as supernumeraries over and above the establishment of three sergeants per company until further orders.
The 20th Regiment was quartered in Minorca when it volunteered its services for the Egyptian Campaign. It reached Egypt after 20 March 1801. From Egypt the 1st/20th embarked for Malta, where it remained until Nov 1805. It then sailed for Naples.
Sep 1801 The men were severely affected with fever and ophthalmia.
6 Dec 600 men of the 1st/20th arrived from Egypt under the command of Lt Col Robert Ross. The regiment formed part of the Malta Garrison and was quartered at Vittoriosa.
1 Jan 1802 Strength: 31 Commissioned and Warrant Officers, 75 NCOs, 554 rank and file fit for duty, 91 rank and file sick, 768 total officers and men, 1123 establishment.
1 Mar Strength: 25 Commissioned and Warrant Officers, 75 NCOs, 553 rank and file fit for duty, 99 rank and file sick, 775 total officers and men, 1128 establishment.
1 May Strength: 23 Commissioned and Warrant Officers, 56 NCOs, 488 rank and file fit for duty, 80 rank and file sick, 660 total officers and men, 842 establishment.
4 May Col Bayliss 2nd/35th Foot, the commandant of the Cottonera District, shot and mortally wounded Capt Newman 20th Foot in a duel near Salvatore Gate. Newman was buried on 14 May at the burial ground near the Zabbar Gate (Rock Gate Cemetery).
21 July 176 men, 15 women and 6 children embarked on the men-of-war Haarlem and were withdrawn from Malta in compliance with the provision of the Treaty of Amiens.
1 Aug Strength: 15 Commissioned and Warrant Officers, 56 NCOs, 582 rank and file fit for duty, 102 rank and file sick, 776 total officers and men, 842 establishment.
Sep The battalion was at Vittoriosa where the men suffered greatly from fever. Villettes reported:
In the 48th the fever is I hope nearly subdued, but has increased in the 20th regiment. Tho every pain has been taken to check it, and their loss during the last month (August) has been considerable, I trust however, that as the weather grows cooler, we shall get the better of it. Though the season is generally very unhealthy, the other regiments have not materially suffered.1
1 Nov 1802 Strength: 19 Commissioned and Warrant Officers, 56 NCOs, 612 rank and file fit for duty, 109 rank and file sick, 814 total officers and men, 843 establishment.
Dec 1879 A detachment of 1st/20th arrived from Cyprus. In 1878, the Ottoman Empire ceded Cyprus (1878–1960) to the British for the purpose of defence and administration, but the Sultan retained ownership of the island.
The 1st/20th Regiment had an average strength of 173 men. It had 163 admissions (942.2/1000 mean strength) into hospital with no deaths. 4 invalids were returned to England. Its average daily sick was 8.27 (47.80/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 17.45 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 18.52 days.
The 1st/20th Foot had an average strength of 403 men. It had 382 admissions (947.9/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 3 deaths (7.44 deaths/1000 mean strength). 6 invalids returned to England. Its average constantly sick was 17.57 (43.59/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 15.95 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 16.83 days.
11 Oct 1880 The second wing of the 1st/Lancashire Fusiliers disembarked in Malta from Cyprus which had been occupied by British troops between 1878 and 1960.
26 Feb 1905 About 700 men of the 1st Battalion arrived from Gibraltar on the Dilwara. In Mar they were reinforced by another 100 men. On their arrival the troops were quartered in Polverista Barracks Cottonera. On 20th Mar the men marched to Pembroke Camp, and on 30th Apr 1905 to Mellieha Camp.
8 Mar L/Cpl Jasper Gordon aged 25 years 10 months, died at Polverista Barracks and was buried in in Rinella Military Cemetery.
5 Apr The battalion reported its first case of Mediterranean Fever 37 days after its landing at Malta. It had its second admission on 17 April. Another 18 admissions occurred following their move to St Elmo Barracks. During the same period the Essex Regt had had 50 admissions.
8 May The men of the 1st Battalion returned to their barracks at Polverista from Mellieha training Camp. They remained at Polverista until their removal to Lower St Elmo Barracks. Six companies occupied Lower St Elmo Barracks and replaced the 2nd/Essex Regt which marched to Mtarfa Barracks on 8th July. B Coy and D Coy 1st/Lancashire Fusiliers moved into Fort Manoel Hutments.
9 Aug 1905 From 9 Aug to the end of Sept, 19 cases of Mediterranean fever occurred in the six companies stationed at Lower St Elmo Barracks, and 3 cases in the two companies occupying Manoel Island Hutments. H Coy had 7 cases between 11 July and the end of Sept following their occupation of Lower St Elmo Barracks.
The following were buried in Pietà Military Cemetery in 1905:
8 MayWilliam Puliford aged 26 years.
12 Aug Pte James Counsell aged 24 years 10 months.
4 Sep Sgt James H Ashforth, aged 33 years 6 months.
15 Sep Pte Henry Ledgerton, aged 20 years 6 months of St Elmo.
30 Apr 1906 The 1st Battalion was suddenly ordered to proceed to Egypt with the 4th/Worcestershire Regiment. It embarked on the Dilwara and the SS City of Athens and arrived in Alexandria on 3 May 1906.
14 Dec 1906 The battalion left Alexandria and returned to Malta on the Braemar Castle.
13 Nov Mrs Florence Fenton aged 26 years, wife of Sgt Fenton of Valletta was buried in Pietà Military Cemetery.
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.
8 Dec 1898 The 2nd/Lancashire Fusiliers, 720 strong, arrived at Crete from Egypt on 11 Oct 1898 following the Nile Campaign. It had served in Crete for 2 1/2 months. It embarked for Malta on 4 Dec, arriving in the island four days later.
Its average constantly sick was 16.77 (89.68/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 32.73 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 12.78 days.
10 Dec 1898 Pte William Henry Whitehead aged 24 years, died at Cottonera and was buried in Rinella Military Cemetery.
1 Jan 1900 The battalion was located at Mtarfa Barracks. It had 828 men.
2 Jan Mtarfa (Imtarfa) Cemetery was consecrated by the Rt Rev the Bishop of Gibraltar on Tuesday 2 Jan 1900. HE the Governor General Sir Francis Grenfell and Major General Lord Congleton commanding the Infantry Brigade were present.
Also in attendance were: the Senior Chaplain the Rev Alfred Malim, The Rev D. Nickerson, The Rev W. C. Parr (in charge of Mtarfa), The Rev M. W. Churchward, and The Rev M Jones. The first recorded burial was that of Ada Wood, aged 3 mths, daughter of Sgt Wood 3rd/Lancashire Fusiliers. The service was conducted by the Rt Rev W C Parr on 1 June 1899.
19 Jan Pte John Henry Burns aged 20 years, died at Cottonera and was buried in Rinella Military Cemetery.
1 July The battalion was located at Lower St Elmo Barracks. It had 717 men.
The following were buried in Pietà Military Cemetery in 1900:
17 Jan Pte William Cort, aged 20 years 6 months.
5 Feb Infant Thomas Henry Evans, aged 25 days, son of L/Sgt Evans.
23 June Pte Robert Hammond, aged 20 years 6 months.
20 July Pte Charles Austin Bradbury, aged 24 years 2 months.
16 Aug Band Boy William West, aged 15 years 3 months.
16 Aug Infant Robert Edward Richardson, aged 16 days, son of Sgt Richardson.
16 Oct Pte Robert Wilson, aged 20 years 2 months.
26 Oct Pte Alfred Butler, aged 30 years.
17 Nov Sgt Thomas William Jones, aged 28 years 11 months.
25 July 1941 The 11th Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers arrived from Gibraltar. It had 38 officers and 833 men. The 11th Bn defended Valletta and the coastline from Sliema to St Julians. They also worked on the extension of the airstrip at Hal Safi.
20 Nov 160722 2nd Lt Owen Norman Makinson died in hospital following a bomb explosion during training on the ranges. One other rank was also accidentally injured.
10 Dec 1941 Captain G. Heap RAMC attached to 15th Fld Amb from 11th/Lancashire Fusiliers.