RAMC

Regiments of the Malta Garrison
The 28th (North Gloucestershire) Regiment

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The 28th (North Gloucestershire) Regiment of Foot

Introduction

The 28th (North Gloucestershire) Regiment was raised in 1694, as Colonel Sir John Gibson's Regiment of Foot.

In 1751 it was numbered 28th in the order of precedence of the infantry. In 1782 it was granted its territorial association with North Gloucestershire.

On 1 July 1881, The 28th (North Gloucestershire) Regiment merged with the 61st (South Gloucestershire) Regiment of Foot to form the 1st Battalion The Gloucestershire Regiment.

The 28th had the unique distinction of wearing the Sphinx at the back of their head dress as well as at the front. This commemorates the action of 21 March 1801, when the men fought the French back to back under General Sir Ralph Abercrombie in the Egyptian Campaign. After 1815, officers wore a white metal rectangle with the Sphinx for Egypt over 28th on the back of their shako, which later became the white metal Sphinx. The Sphinx shown is a female one, a Greek creature and not the true Egyptian male Sphinx. The Egyptian male sphinx, had a beard and its tail laid on its back, whereas the female Sphinx had large breasts and a tail which stood up vertically over its back.

The 1st/28th (North Gloucestershire) Regiment

1818 1st/28th (North Gloucestershire)

Mar 1818 734 men embarked for the Ionian Islands.

1822 1st/28th (North Gloucestershire)

The following were baptised in 1822:

  • 1 Sep John Flower son of Pte William Flower and Mary, born on 20 August 1822.
  • 6 Oct Catharine Elizabeth Watter daughter of Sgt William Watter and Mary Anne, born on 22 September 1822.

1824 1st/28th (North Gloucestershire)

The following were baptised in 1824:

  • 4 Jan Maria O'Neil daughter of Pte Charles O'Neil and Margaret, born on 28 December 1823.
  • 7 Mar Mary Thurlow daughter of Pte James Thurlow 28th Regiment deceased, and Mary, born on 20 February 1824.

The 1st/ 28th (North Gloucestershire) Regiment

1854 1st/28th (North Gloucestershire)

4 Mar 1854 The 1st/28th arrived from England by steam navigation. It had a smooth passage with little discomfort. The regiment was quartered at Bighi, San Salvatore, Zabbar, and Valletta before its departure for Turkey and the Crimea on 7 April 1854.

In Nov 1854 the regiment had 21 officers and 561 serving in the Crimea. Bowel complaints were common and cases of cholera broke out. Some soldiers showed symptoms of scurvy.

Surgeon Marlow ascribed the prevalence of bowel complaints to the wet and cold weather, fatigue and insufficient clothing, the men being literally in rags. They had insufficient bedding, having only one blanket each.

1855 1st/28th (North Gloucestershire)

The following were buried in 1855:

  • 7 Mar Pte William Stent aged 34 years.
  • 5 Dec Pte Charles White aged 26 years.

1856 1st/28th (North Gloucestershire)

30 May 1856 The 1st/28th arrived from the Crimea. 883 men occupied Fort Lower St Elmo Barracks.

The following were buried in 1856:

  • 9 June Pte James Stenson aged 23 years.
  • 20 Aug Sarah Anne Lumsden aged 5 years, daughter of QM Thomas Lumsden 28th Regiment.
  • 1 Dec Elizabeth Hyde aged 22 years, wife of Pte Hyde 28th Regiment.
  • 6 Dec Pte Richard Touch aged 21 years.
  • 8 Dec Pte John Scofield aged 22 years.

1857 1st/28th (North Gloucestershire)

1857 782 men occupied Fort Lower St Elmo Barracks.

June 1857 In 1856–57, an epidemic of ophthalmia broke out in regiments stationed in Malta. The 14th Foot had 226 cases of ophthalmia out of a strength of 828 men. Eight tailors of the 28th Foot attached to the tailor's shop of the 14th became infected. The other six were removed from the shop and remained free of infection. The 28th Foot suffered relatively little, no cases appearing among the officers, women and children.

  • 19 Oct 1854 No 4239 Thomas Shepherd enlisted in the 28th Foot but transferred to the Army Hospital Corps on 30 November 1859.
  • 11 Feb 1857 On duty in Malta. Confined to barracks for 6 days with drill by Lt Col Butler for being drunk. Was brought into barracks by the piquet.
  • 31 July 1858 On duty in Malta. Confined to barracks for 10 days by Lt Col Adams for going out of camp without leave while under medical treatment and returning drunk to barracks.
  • 30 Nov 1859 Transferred to the Army Hospital Corps. His AHC number was 446.
  • 17 Sep 1863 On duty in Chatham. Confined to barracks for 7 days by Lt Col the Hon G Bourke for neglect of duty.

The following were buried in Floriana in 1857:

  • 18 Apr Frederick Lumsden aged 16 days, son of QM Lumsden 28th Regiment.
  • 11 June Charles East aged 2 months.
  • 7 Aug Sgt James Smith 28th Regiment aged 39 years.
  • 20 Aug Pte Samuel Jones 28th Regiment aged 25 years.
  • 16 Sep Child of Pte Edward Willingham 28th Regiment.
  • 5 Oct Anne Foster Crowley aged 3 years, daughter of Sgt Crowley 28th Regiment.
  • 20 Nov Elizabeth Farrell aged 5 years 4 months, daughter of Sgt Farrell.
  • 21 Nov Sgt Joseph Brett aged 35 years.
  • 29 Nov Sgt George Demery aged 27 years.

The following were married in the Collegiate Church of St Paul's Valletta in 1857:

  • 27 Jan Bachelor CSgt John Baristow son of Joseph and Benthia Baristow of York, England to Elizabeth Maskell, widow of William Maskell of the 3rd Regiment (The Buffs).
  • 17 Feb Bachelor Sgt and Orderly Room Clerk Walter Buchanan son of William and Anne Buchanan to Mary Elizabeth Fitzgerald, spinster daughter of Thomas and Catharine Fitzgerald.
  • 5 Mar Widower Pte William Veasey son of Mark and Sarah Veasey to Rebecca Atkins, spinster daughter of William and Harriet Atkins of Woodton, Norfolk.
  • 2 June Bachelor Lt Frederick Arthur Magenis son of Lt Col Henry Magenis and Elise his wife, to Marie Antoinette Judith Elena, spinster born at Novara Piedmont, daughter of Giuseppe and Rosa Elena.
  • 24 Aug Bachelor L/Cpl George Norris to Margaret Kennett spinster daughter of George and June Kennett born in Plymouth.
  • 17 Nov Bachelor Pte Samuel Mountain to Catharine Adams, spinster, born in Trichinopoly East Indie.

1858 1st/28th (North Gloucestershire)

1 Mar 1858 Strength: Rank and File 779 (Effective), 800 (Established). Together with 2nd Foot and the Royal Malta Fencibles, 28th Foot formed part of 2nd Brigade.

10 June In the Collegiate Church of St Paul's Valletta, bachelor Sgt John McCarthy married Anne Cordingly spinster of Leeds Yorkshire.

1 Sep Strength: 35 Officers, 47 NCOs, 21 Buglers/Drummers, 807 rank and file, 910 total all ranks. (Total garrison strength 4849 rank and file).

Nov 1858 The 1st/28th embarked for India.

The 1st/ 28th (North Gloucestershire) Regiment

1872 1st/28th (North Gloucestershire)

7 Mar 1872 The 1st/28th embarked at Gibraltar and disembarked in Malta on 12 March. The men were quartered at Isola Gate Barracks, Polverista Gate, and San Francesco de Paola Barracks.

In 1872, the 28th had an average strength of 551 men. It had 468 admissions (849/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 4 deaths in hospital and 1 out of hospital (9.07/1000 mean strength).

Its average strength from 30 June to 30 September was 677 men. During this third quarter of the year when fevers were prevalent, the regiment had a total of 175 hospital admissions with no deaths.

It had: 4 cases of enteric fever, 77 of simple continued fevers and 94 of febricula.

1873 1st/28th (North Gloucestershire)

In 1873, the 28th had an average strength of 663 men. It had 410 admissions (618.4/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 4 deaths (6.03/1000 mean strength).

The men were quartered at Isola Gate Barracks.

1874 1st/28th (North Gloucestershire)

The 1st/28th Regiment had an average strength of 636 men. It had 513 admissions (806.6/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 4 deaths including 1 among the invalids (6.29 deaths/1000 mean strength). It had 22 invalids returned to England. One man died of pyaemia, the primary lesion being an infection of the dorsum of his foot.

The 28th Regiment had 29 admissions for simple continued fever, most of which were of a mild character; a few were complicated with visceral lesions and several were very tedious, being followed by neuralgia and rheumatism.

1 Jan 1874 The men were at Lower St Elmo Barracks.

1 Dec The regiment moved to Fort Ricasoli.

1875 1st/28th (North Gloucestershire)

The 28th Foot had an average strength of 635 men. It had 508 admissions (800/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 8 deaths including 4 among the invalids (12.60 deaths/1000 mean strength). It had 36 invalids returned to England. Its average daily sick was 25.0 (39.37/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 14.36 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 17.96 days.

The men were at Fort Ricasoli.

18 Dec 1875 The 1st/28th embarked for Hong Kong where it arrived on 1 February 1876. It was replaced in the garrison by the 98th (The Prince of Wales's) Regiment which disembarked from the West Indies on 13 Dec 1875.

The 1st/Gloucestershire Regiment

1 July 1881 The 28th Regiment became The 1st Battalion The Gloucester Regiment.

1893 1st/Gloucestershire

1 Nov 1893 The 1st/Gloucestershire Regiment left Aldershot and embarked at Portsmouth. It disembarked in Malta on 11 November 1893.

It had an average strength of 118 men, 188 admissions (1593.2/1000 mean strength) into hospital and 3 deaths (25.42/1000 mean strength). 1 invalid returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 7.06 (59.83/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 21.84 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 13.71 days.

The 1st/Gloucestershire Regiment was quartered at Pembroke Camp for 2 months. The men were largely employed on leveling the camp, laying out gardens and rebuilding the musketry butts.

An outbreak of enteric fever took place at Pembroke Camp. The fever broke out 15 days after the heavy rains of 13 – 14 Nov 1893. The first case was admitted on 28 November. A commission was appointed by the Government to investigate the outbreak. The commission identified the introduction of milk into the camp by irregular vendors as well as contamination of the drinking water as a possible source of the epidemic. Open tanks collected rain water in winter and aqueduct water in summer. The tanks had no filter beds.

The following were buried in Pietà Military Cemetery in 1893:

  • 14 Nov J Keene 1st/Gloucestershire Regt.
  • 15 Dec J R Mustoe aged 20 years.
  • 31 Dec Henry Coonch aged 20 years.

1894 1st/Gloucestershire

The 1st/Gloucestershire Regiment had an average strength of 981 men. It had 818 admissions (833.8/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 4 deaths (4.07/1000 mean strength). 8 invalids returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 70.97 (72.34/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 26.40 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 31.66 days.

The 1st/Gloucestershire Regiment was in Pembroke Camp Barracks for 12 months.

The following were buried in Pietà Military Cemetery in 1894:

  • 15 Feb Albert Ireland aged 22 years.
  • 3 Sep John Preston aged 1 year, son of John Preston 1st/Gloucestershire Regiment Pembroke Camp.
  • 20 Oct Pte Albert Gardner aged 18 years.
  • 17 Nov Pte Harry Matthews, aged 20 years 6 months.

1895 1st/Gloucestershire

The 1st/Gloucestershire Regiment had an average strength of 906 men. It had 621 admissions (683.4/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 6 deaths (6.62/1000 mean strength). 19 invalids returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 45.78 (50.53/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 18.44 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 26.91 days.

21 Nov 1895 The 1st/Gloucestershire Regiment was in Pembroke Camp Barracks for 1 month and Isola Gate for 10 months. It embarked for Egypt in November 1895 and for Bombay from Egypt on 6 February 1897.

The following were buried at Rinella Military Cemetery in 1895:

  • 25 June Walter Thomas Harding aged 1 year, son of Pte Harding died at Cottonera.
  • 7 Aug Edith Elizabeth Muriel Keitley aged 4 moths died at Cottonera.
  • 30 Oct Robert George Hewitt aged 5 weeks son of CSgt Hewitt died at Cottonera.
  • 11 Nov Pte George Nurse aged 21 years died at Cottonera.
  • 16 Nov Pte Caroline Jane Mathews aged 33 years wife of Sgt Mathews died at Cottonera.

The following were buried in Pietà Military Cemetery in 1895:

  • 2 Jan Pte Edwin George Weyman aged 23 years 9 months.
  • 21 Jan Pte John Cleeve aged 21 years 7 months.
  • 4 Feb Pte Herbert Lacey aged 21 years 8 months.
  • 24 Feb Mrs Alice Williams aged 28 years, wife of Sgt Williams.
  • 5 May Pte Thomas Davis English aged 22 years.
  • 14 June Pte Ernest Boulton aged 23 years.

1896 Detachment 1st/Gloucestershire

The 1st/Gloucestershire Regiment left 19 men in Malta on the departure of the regiment.

The 2nd/Gloucestershire Regiment

1910 2nd/Gloucestershire

Oct 1910 The 2nd/Gloucestershire was at Portsmouth when it was warned off to embark for Malta.

4 Nov The battalion left Portsmouth and embarked at Southampton on the transport Rewa. It disembarked at Malta on 12 November 1910.

1911 2nd/Gloucestershire

1912 2nd/Gloucestershire

1913 2nd/Gloucestershire

12 Sep 1913 The 2nd/Gloucestershire Regiment embarked on the transport Soudan for Ching-Wang-Tao China, where it arrived on 18–19 October 1913.

Bibliography

  • 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.
  • RAMC/PE/3/20/DEFA Punishment Book Army Hospital Corps and Medical Staff Corps 1 July 1855 to 29 February 1860.
  • 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, Baptism Register 2 January 1820 to 29 June 1839.
  • Register No 13. Burials No 8, Pietà Cemetery 1887–1908.