The Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own) traces its origins to an experimental Corps of Riflemen raised in March 1800. On 25 August 1800, three companies of this embryonic corps joined the expedition under General Pulteney against the Spanish at El Ferrol. Pulteney decided that El Ferrol could not be taken and he proceeded to reinforce the blockade of the French in Malta, where this part of the Corps was broken up.
On 18 January 1803, the Rifle Corps was placed among the numbered regiments of the line as the 95th or Rifle Regiment, but continued to retain the name The Rifle Corps.
On 16 February 1816, in recognition of its distinguished service in the Battle of Waterloo, the 95th was taken out of the numbered regiments of the line and granted the title The Rifle Brigade (London Gazette 23 February 1816). The battle honour Waterloo was granted to the regiment on 8 December 1815.
Following the death of Prince Albert on 14 December 1861, Queen Victoria ordered the regiment to be designated The Prince Consort's Own Rifle Brigade, (London Gazette 17 January 1862).
On 1 July 1881, the name changed to The Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own). In 1958 it became The 3rd Green Jackets, The Rifle Brigade, and in 1968, The 3rd Battalion, The Royal Green Jackets.
When in Malta, The Rifle Brigade marched to the tune of the Ninety Fifth arranged by their bandmaster William Miller in 1842.
13 Jan 1841 The 1st/Rifle Brigade consisting of 632 men, 40 women and 52 children arrived from England on the Abercrombie Robinson and relieved The 92nd (Highland) Regiment. The men were at Fort Manoel, St Salvatore Barracks, and Zabbar Gate. Latter in the year they were dispersed between Fort Ricasoli, Zejtun Barracks, Isola Gate Barracks, St Francesco de Paola, Lower St Elmo Barracks, St James Cavalier and Fort Tigne.
12 Oct Bachelor Sgt William Stillwell married Elizabeth Snow, spinster and daughter of Sgt Samuel Snow 1st/Rifle Bde.
The following were baptised in 1841:
28 MarElizabeth Cowan born on 19 December 1840, daughter of Pte Samuel Cowan and Catherine.
4 AprEdward Abraham Ackerman born on 14 March 1841, son of Pte George Abraham Ackerman and Rebecca.
2 MayMargaret Maria Davey born on 21 April, daughter of Acting Cpl Thomas Davey and Jane.
11 JulyRichard Rowland born on 23 March, son of Cpl Richard Rowland and Susannah.
15 AugFrances Chitty born on 3 August, daughter of Bugler Caleb Chitty and Eliza.
The following were buried in 1841:
10 JuneJohn Rowland son of Cpl and Master shoemaker Richard Rowland 1st/The Rifle Bde died 10 June 1841, aged 1 year 7 months. (Military and Civil Cemetery Floriana).
29 Apr 1842 Strength: 585 men. On 29 April, the 1st/Rifle Bde moved from the right to the left wing of Lower St Elmo Barracks.
3 May On 3 May a company relieved the detachment of the Royal Malta Fencible Regiment at Fort Tigne.
22 Dec Some time between August and September, a private of the 19th Foot brutally assaulted a man of the Rifle Brigade. He was sentenced to a term imprisonment, but on his release he renewed his quarrel and enlisted some of his comrades to seek revenge. In mid-December, there was a fracas when the Rifle Brigade routed the 19th Foot. On 23 December, 150 men of the 19th turned out with their side arms and were involved in a running fight with 150 soldiers of the Rifle Bde from St James Cavalier to the bottom of Strada Mercanti. Several men were severely wounded, one so badly as to be considered in imminent danger. The 19th Foot were confined to their barracks but the animosity between them and Rifle Bde continued. The 19th stoned a picket of the Rifles and urged The 88th Regiment to join them, but the latter declined. The Governor and Garrison Commander Lt Gen Sir Henry Bouverie ordered a Court of Enquiry and placed a picket at Lower St Elmo under the command of a captain which was to remain on duty till 23:00 hours. The tattoo was called at 20 hours instead of 20:30 hours, and the men of the 19th were confined to barracks from sun set. They were forbidden to absent themselves with out a pass from the captain on duty.1
29 Dec Bachelor Bugle Major William Miller married Hannah Frances Robinson, widow of the town of Blyth in the Parish of Earsdon County Northumberland, England.
The following were baptised in 1842:
2 JanRobert Baggs born on 19 December 1841, son of Pte John Baggs and Rachel.
18 AprSarah Ann Miller born on 15 December 1841, daughter of Pte Joseph Miller and Catherine.
15 MayElizabeth Legee born on 3 May 1842, daughter of Pte Frederick Legee and Mary.
9 JuneWilliam Atkins born on 22 May 1842, son of Pte John Atkins and Anne.
7 AugAnne Blythe born on 8 July 1842, daughter of Sgt Richard Blythe and Sarah.
21 NovWilliam Williamson born on 9 November 1842, son of Pte Robert Williamson and Margaret.
The following were buried in 1842:
4 Jan Pte Henry Corfield.
22 Jan Pte Walter Woodburn aged 21 years.
26 Jan Pte William Stephenson aged 21 years.
28 Jan Cpl William Knight aged 29 years.
24 Mar Pte George Henly aged 32 years.
29 Mar School Master Sgt Thomas Stevens aged 29 years.
2 Apr Pte R Silk aged 312 years.
24 Apr Infant Sarah Ann Miller daughter of Joseph Miller 1st/Rifle Bde, died 22 April 1842, aged 4 months and 2 days, (Military and Civil Cemetery Floriana).
27 MayGeorge Richard Herd son of Sgt George Herd 1st/Rifle Bde (Military and Civil Cemetery Floriana).
30 MayJane Herd aged 25 years, wife of Sgt George Herd died 27 May 1842 (Military and Civil Cemetery Floriana).
1 June Infant Richard Rowland aged 2 months, son of Richard Rowland and Susannah.
2 Mar 1843 HQ Coy and the Right Wing of the 1st Bn consisting of 8 officers, 281 men, 27 women and 48 children left for Corfu on board the Boyne to replace the 77th Foot.
24 Mar Men from The 1st/Rifle Brigade gave a performance at the Opera House for the benefit of the poor. Seven pounds were distributed to infant schools, the Ladies Charitable Society, and to poor individuals.
1 Apr The Left Wing of the 1st Bn consisting of 8 officers, 264 men, 25 women and 31 children left for Corfu on board the Boyne to replace the 77th Foot.
The following were baptised in 1843:
6 JanEliza Valletta Putman born on 24 December 1842, daughter of Pte William Putman and Sarah.
24 FebRichard Alfred Taylor born on 11 January 1843, son of QM Richard Taylor and Mary.
26 MarRobert William Wake Wheatley born on 6 March 1843, son of Pte Robert Wheatley and Mary Anne was baptised by the Rev John Cleugh Chaplain to Government.
31 MarWilliam John Miller born on 21 March, son of Pte Joseph Miller and Catherine was baptised by the Rev John Thomas Howe Le Mesurier Chaplain to the Forces.
1845 – 1st/Rifle Brigade
17 June Bachelor Bugle Major William Money 1st/Rifle Brigade married Mary Lindsay, spinster and daughter of John Lindsay Laboratory Foreman in the Ordnance Department.
4 Feb 1898 The 1st/Rifle Bde was returning to England from Hong Kong after more than 17 years service abroad when it was ordered to land at Malta. It reinforced the garrison following the departure of battalions for Egypt.
20 Apr 1904 The 1st/Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own) left Portsmouth and embarked on the Plassy at Southampton on 12 April. It disembarked in Malta on 20 April 1904.
The men were quartered at Fort Manoel with detachments at Bahar-ic-Chaghak and Ghajn Tuffieha. Training was carried out at Pembroke and Mellieha.
1 Apr Burial of Cpl Samuel Mitchell aged 27 yrs at Mtarfa Military Cemetery.
6 May No 9308 Acting Cpl B. Rifle Bde arrived at Malta in April 1904. He was admitted to hospital on 6 May 1904 for treatment with mercury of his syphilitic ulceration of the tonsils and uvula. He was discharged on 6 June 1904.
10 Nov 1904 Cpl B. was admitted to the military hospital Valletta from Fort Manoel. He had been unwell for three days with headaches, backache and diarrhoea. Mild enteric fever was diagnosed. On 17 Nov he complained of abdominal pains. Cpl B died on 19 Nov 1904 from a perforation of his small bowel. A postmortem examination showed typical ulcers in the ileum with a perforated ulcer in the terminal ileum. The Micrococcus melitensis was also cultured from specimens of his spleen.
The following were buried in Pietà Military Cemetery in 1904:
24 May Pte Arthur Hewer, aged 19 years 6 months.
31 July Pte Hassan, aged 20 years 3 months.
9 Aug Rfln James Cleat, aged 19 years 6 months.
24 Aug Rfln Sidney Percy Stocker, aged 23 years 6 months of Fort Manoel.
2 Oct Cpl Walter Knellor, aged 23 years 8 months of Fort Manoel.
20 OctWalter Bowles, aged 24 years 11 months of Fort Manoel.
June 1905 Up to the beginning of June 1905, The 1st/Rifle Brigade was at Fort Manoel and hutments. Seven of the barrack rooms in the fort were casemates, each accommodating 9 men. There were three other rooms accommodating 36 men in all. The hutments consisted of 28 huts each accommodating 18 men.
In June 1905, The 1st/Rifle Brigade moved to St Andrew's Barracks. The barracks were completed in the early part of 1905 and consisted of nine double storied company blocks, each rooms accommodating 14 men.
The following were buried in Pietà Military Cemetery in 1905:
18 Feb Infant Marion Betty Darvill, aged 5 weeks, daughter of Pte Darvill.
5 Dec Pte Joseph Thompson, aged 20 years of St Andrew's Barracks Pembroke.
1906 The 1st/Rifle Brigade was at St Andrew's Barracks.
6 Aug Pte Robert Sanderson 1st Rifle Brigade, aged 27 years fired a weapon at Sgt John Simpson Rifle Bde at St Andrew's Barracks. The bullet hit Sgt Simpson in his left chest, penetrated the thoracic cavity, and came out at the infra spinal process of the left scapula. Sanderson then proceeded to assault Simpson with a bayonet causing him further injuries to his right hand and right clavicle.
26 Sep Pte Robert Sanderson was found guilty before HM Criminal Court on a charge of Attempted Wilful Homicide. He was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment with hard labour and transferred to England, in accordance with Clause 2(b) of the Colonial Prisoners Removal Act 1884.2
15 Oct 1906 The 1st/Rifle Brigade consisting of HQ coy and 8 companies, 14 officers, 1 officer's wife and 5 children, 1 female officer's servant, 2 warrant officers, 39 sergeants, 15 buglers, 552 rank and file, 40 soldier's wives and 48 children, embarked on the Sicilia for Southampton.
The following was buried in Pietà Military Cemetery in 1906:
14 Oct Infant Charles Eric Small aged 4 months, son of QMSgt Small of Pembroke.
10 Jan 1832 Lt Col George Brown 2nd Rifles was sworn in as acting Lt Governor and commander of the garrison. He took over the civil administration of Malta during the absence of the governor.
13–23 Feb 507 men of the 2nd/Rifle Brigade embarked for Corfu.
The following was married in 1832:
30 Jan 1832 Bachelor Lt Sidney Beckwith of Halifax, Nova Scotia to Eliza Mary Harvey, spinster daughter of Samuel and Sarah Harvey of the Naval Arsenal in Malta, of the Parish of Portsea in the County of Southampton.
The following was baptised in 1832:
15 Oct 1832Catherine Frances Woodford daughter of Capt John Woodford and Penelope, born on 17 September 1832 was baptised on 15 October.
The following were buried in 1832:
2 JanWilliam Taylor aged 2 years, son of Sgt David Taylor.
6 JuneClementina Beckwith daughter of Lt Sidney Beckwith and Eliza Mary, born on 11 January 1833 and privately baptised at Corfu by the Rev H Leeves was publicly received into the church.
The 2nd/The Rifle Brigade
1841 — 2nd/Rifle Brigade
Mar 1841 Assistant Surgeon Henry Downes 2nd/Rifle Brigade, was most severely reprimanded by the Commander-in-Chief and Sir J W McGrigor for neglecting a child. It was only at the intercession of the commanding officer and Sir J McGrigor that Lord Hill refrained from bringing him to a Court Martial. Downes was censured in front of the whole regiment.
In 1843, the Principal Medical Officer Nova Scotia reported him to be somewhat idle and ineffective with lack of industry and firmness of purpose. In 1845, the report of his PMO stated that a great improvement had taken place.
In 1847, Mr Downes had an attack of insanity temporary brought on by domestic affliction and a fall from his horse. He was reported well two months later. Despite this adverse confidential report Henry Downes was promoted to the Staff on 1 Sept 1855. He served in the Crimea as the surgeon of 97th Regiment and retired on 7 Aug 1866 with the Hon Rank of Deputy Inspector General.
8 Mar 1854 The 2nd/Rifle Brigade arrived from England. It encamped at St Clement's Parade Ground.
29 Mar The 2nd/Rifle Brigade left for Turkey and the Crimea.
Nov The 2nd/Rifle Brigade regiment had 16 officers and 684 men serving in the Crimea. In November, bowel complaints predominated with only 36 of the admissions from wounds. Men in the 1st/Rifle Brigade, which had 19 officers and 678 men in the Crimea, were also laid down with bowel disorders brought on according to their surgeon by exposure. 131 men were admitted to hospital; 13 died of gunshot wounds. 21 admissions and 1 death were ascribed to scurvy.
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.
Its average constantly sick was 56.76 (83.23/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 30.38 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 23.17 days.
12 July 1898 The 2nd/Rifle Brigade was quartered at Verdala Barracks for 6 months. On 12 July, it left Verdala Barracks and embarked for Egypt on board the Nubia. The battalion disembarked in Alexandria on 16 July. It served in Egypt for 10 weeks.
22 Sep The 2nd/Rifle Brigade, 737 strong, left Alexandria for Crete after fighting in the Nile Campaign. It served in Crete for 3 1/2 months.
The following was baptised in 1898:
6 FebAgnes Simpson born 24 Jan 1898, daughter of Agnes and Sgt George William Simpson of Cottonera.
The following were buried at Rinella Military Cemetery in 1898:
31 Jan Pte Charles Hurren aged 22 years, died at Cottonera.
4 Feb Pte George Richard Carpenter aged 24 years 11 months, died at Cottonera.
14 Oct Pte J Scott aged 25 years, died at Cottonera.
28 Oct Pte G Edwards aged 28 years, died at Cottonera.
4 Nov Pte Henry Todd aged 23 years, died at Cottonera.
7 Dec L/Sgt William Albert Smith aged 23 years, died at Cottonera.
28 Dec Pte Albert Edward Vokes aged 23 years, died at Cottonera.
The following were buried in Pietà Military Cemetery in 1898:
5 Apr Pte James Monk, aged 24 years.
6 Oct Pte William Irvine, aged 26 years.
26 Oct Pte Charles Vincent aged 21 years 4 months.
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 Fencibles, was 5,950 men.
1 Jan 1860 Strength: 39 Officers, 43 NCOs, 21 Buglers/Drummers, 789 rank and file, 892 total all ranks.
In 1860, 254 soldiers were admitted with continued fevers with 1 death. A private soldier of the Rifle Brigade committed suicide by throwing himself from the balcony of the regimental hospital.
In June, when admissions from Continued Fevers from the 3rd Regiment became very numerous, tents were pitched for 200 of the men to sleep in with a view to diminish the over crowding in barracks. As this approach appeared to prove satisfactory, it was adopted in July by the 1st/22nd Foot, the 23rd Foot and Rifle Brigade and the rooms on the ground floor of Lower St Elmo Barracks were vacated by the married men of the 23rd Regiment. On 20 Sept, detachments were sent by the various regiments to Pembroke Camp for rifle practice and the barracks were thus relieved for the remainder of the year by about 1200 men.
The 4th/Rifle Bde was quartered in Forts Ricasoli and San Salvatore.
The following were buried at Rock Gate Cemetery in 1860 unless stated otherwise:
2 Jan Pte Richard Dunn aged 20 years.
18 Jan Pte Richard Goodge aged 20 years.
30 Jan Pte Richard Davis aged 23 years.
27 Feb Pte William Baldwin aged 23 years.
1 MarCharles Henry Jesse aged 8 months, son of Sgt John Charles Jesse.
12 MarElizabeth Milmoth aged 44 years, wife of Pte G Milmoth.
17 July Bugler Samuel Mullock aged 20 years 6 months.
In 1861, the regiment had an average strength of 870 men, 432 hospital admissions (496 admissions per 1000 of mean strength) with 3 deaths in hospital and 3 death out of hospital and 1 death among the invalids (8.05 deaths per 1000 of mean strength).
The following were buried at Floriana Cemetery in 1861 unless stated otherwise:
16 JuneJulia Harriet Vaughan aged 4 months, daughter of Sgt F Vaughan.
8 AugAnnie Dawson aged 1 year 7 months, daughter of Sgt William Dawson.
In 1862, the regiment had an average strength of 864 men, 352 hospital admissions (407 admissions per 1000 of mean strength) with 5 deaths in hospital and 1 out of hospital (6.94 deaths per 1000 of mean strength).
The 4th/Rifle Brigade were quartered at Fort Manoel, Lazaretto, and Plague Hospital.
The following were buried at Floriana Cemetery in 1862:
16 Nov 1905 On 8 Nov 1905, The 4th/Rifle Brigade embarked at Southampton from Chatham on the Assaye. It disembarked at Malta on 16 November. The men were at Pembroke Barracks, Mellieha Barracks, and Ghajn Tuffieha, but then moved to Floriana Barracks and Fort Manoel.
22 Dec Burial of Pte Alfred Henry Davis, aged 19 years of Pembroke Barracks in Pietà Military Cemetery.
1907 Four companies were at Floriana Barracks (HQ Coy), and four companies in the huts at Fort Manoel. During the summer of 1907, there was an outbreak of Simple Continued Fever. This assumed an epidemic form among the non-commissioned officers and men of "C" Company at Floriana Barracks. The number of admissions from simple continued fevers from the battalion was 119. Of these, twenty six were from Fort Manoel or from the companies of musketry camp; the remaining ninety-three were from Floriana. The companies were sent to Mtarfa for a change of air in an attempt to reduce the incidence of fever.
The following were buried in Pietà Military Cemetery in 1907:
22 Jan 1909 The 4th/Rifle Brigade embarked for Alexandria on the Braemar Castle.
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.
TNA:WO 379/11. Stations of Regiments 1859–1900.
TNA:WO 379/15. Stations of Regiments 1901–1920.
TNA:WO 156/121. Burial Register 1830–1837.
2TNA:CO 158/353, 1906 War and Colonial Department Correspondence Secretary of State.
Service of the Rifle Brigade in Malta – personal correspondence Museum of The Royal Green Jackets dated 18 June 1990.
Outbreak of Simple Continued Fever in a company 4th Bn Rifle Bde at Floriana Barracks. J Roy Army Medical Corps, (Sept 1909), vol xiii: 3; p 252.
Crawford Kennedy J., A case of double and simultaneous infection by the organisms of enteric fever and of Malta Fever Barracks. J R Army Medical Corps, (Mar 1905) vol iv: 3; p 364.
The Malta Times or Broad Sheet of the Mediterranean, 5 Sept 1840; Issue No 31.
1The Malta Times, 23 December 1842; Issues No 25 26.
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.
TNA:WO 156/115. Register of burials in the military cemetery Rinella from January 1890 to January 1908.
TNA:WO 156/113. Register of burials September 1853 to June 1862.
TNA:WO 156/595. No 3, Marriage Register 11 July 1839 to 14 May 1859.
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.
TNA:WO 156/595. No 3, Baptism Register from 14 July 1839 to 25 December 1859.