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Regiments of the Malta Garrison
53rd (Shropshire)

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The 53rd (Shropshire) Regiment of Foot

53rd Regt
The 53rd Shropshire Regiment

The 53rd Regiment of Foot was raised in December 1755 as the 55th Foot, but was renumbered 53rd Foot in 1757 when two of the intervening regiments disbanded.

In 1782, the 53rd was assigned for recruiting to the county of Shropshire.

On 28 April 1829, the 53rd (Shropshire) Regiment was permitted to retain on its Colours the words Salamanca and Peninsula. This acknowledged the distinguished service of the 2nd Battalion 53rd Foot at Salamanca on 22 July 1812 and in the Peninsula from April 1809 to February 1813.

On 1 July 1881, the 53rd (Shropshire) Regiment of Foot amalgamated with the 85th (The King's) Regiment of Light Infantry (Bucks Volunteers) to become The King's Light Infantry (Shropshire Regiment).

In 1920, the regimental name changed to the King's Shropshire Light Infantry.

On 10 July 1968, The King's Shropshire Light Infantry (53rd Foot/85th Foot), The King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, The Durham Light Infantry (68th Foot /106th Foot), and The Somerset and Cornwall Light Infantry merged to form the Light Infantry.

The 53rd (Shropshire) Regiment of Foot

1834 53rd (Shropshire)

7 April 1834 18 officers, 481 men, 57 women and 84 children arrived from Gibraltar on the transport Jupiter. The 53rd relieved the 73rd Foot which embarked for Corfu.

In April 1834, fever broke out at Lower Fort St Elmo Barracks. The sick developed a deep yellow colour of their skin and tenderness of their epigastrium. This was probably viral hepatitis which is spread through fecal contamination of food and water.

The following were married in Malta in 1834:

  1. 18 Dec Bachelor Sgt Edward Rickards to Mary Hurley, spinster of the City of Cork, Ireland.
  2. 18 Dec Bachelor L/Cpl Samuel Ralphs to Margaret Kelly, spinster of the Parish of Kilcooley County Tipperary.
  3. 18 Dec Bachelor Pte Robert Fletcher to Jane Bladen, spinster from Liverpool in the County of Lancaster.
  4. 18 Dec Bachelor Pte Thomas Lambden to Ellen Stokes, spinster of the Parish of St Brides in the City of Dublin.
  5. 19 Dec Bachelor Pte Joseph Prinslow to Bridget Kilfoyle, spinster of the Parish of Fethard, County Tipperary.
  6. 19 Dec Bachelor Pte Henry Donington to Ellen Courney, spinster of the Town of Carrick-on-Suir, County Waterford.
  7. 19 Dec Bachelor Pte Thomas Hitchen to Margaret Toohey, spinster of the Parish of Emly, County Tipperary.

The following were baptized in Malta in 1834:

  1. 19 Apr Thomas Hitchen son of Pte Thomas Hitchen and Margaret, born on 22 March 1834.
  2. 12 May Matilda Ingold daughter of Pte John Ingold and Bridget, born on 15 April 1834 was privately baptized by Archdeacon John Thomas Howe Le Mesurier Chaplain to the Forces and publicly received into the church on 23 May 1834.
  3. 20 May Alice Chart daughter of Pte William Chart and Elizabeth, born on 20 May 1834.
  4. 7 June Edward Fletcher son of Pte Robert Fletcher and Jane, born on 5 June 1834.
  5. 30 Oct Maria Cooper daughter of Sgt William Cooper and Maria, born on 28 July 1834.
  6. 2 Nov Charlotte Elizabeth Dunning daughter of CSgt William Dunning and Anna Maria, born on 26 June 1834.
  7. 7 Dec Eliza Anne Carroll daughter of Pte John Carroll and Dorothy, born on 22 November 1834.

The following were buried at Malta in 1834:

  1. 12 Apr William John Flandis aged 5 years, son of William Charles Flandis.
  2. 20 May Pte Isaac Green aged 27 years.
  3. 30 May Alicia Chart aged 9 days, daughter of Pte William Chart.
  4. 1 June Pte Francis Davidson aged 27 years.
  5. 4 June Pte Edward Dunn aged 34 years.
  6. 10 June Pte John Nicholson aged 29 years.
  7. 12 June Edward Fletcher aged 7 days, son of Pte Robert Fletcher.
  8. 19 June Pte Thomas Peace aged 29 years.
  9. 24 June Pte Edward Rhodes aged 29 years.
  10. 4 July Christiana Hillier aged 11 months, daughter of Thomas Hillier.
  11. 18 July Pte Robert Batty aged 27 years.
  12. 25 July Jane Meat aged 5 months, daughter of William Meat.
  13. 27 July Margaret Frampton aged 5 months, daughter of Joseph Frampton.
  14. 17 Aug Pte William Boyd aged 25 years.
  15. 2 Sept Alfred Wells aged 14 months, son of Henry Wells.
  16. 25 Oct James Purslow aged 16 months, son of Joseph Purslow.
  17. 5 Nov Pte James Cheshire aged 26 years.
  18. 15 Nov Maria Cooper aged 3 months, daughter of Sgt William Cooper.
  19. 25 Nov Drm Thomas Coghlan aged 25 years.
  20. 8 Dec Sgt Band Master William Sinclair aged 26 years.
  21. 15 Dec Pte Henry Ellis aged 34 years.
  22. 29 Dec Eliza White aged 9 months, daughter of Pte D. White.

1835 53rd (Shropshire)

Floriana
Map of Floriana showing the old and new Floriana Barracks (TNA:WO 78/2459)
Floriana
Map of Floriana Military hospital called the Casa Santa dated 5 Oct 1835 (TNA:MFQ 1/296)
Calcedonius
House of Manresa or San Calcedonius Floriana used as a regimental hospital for the troops at Floriana Barracks.
sick returns
Sick Returns 53rd Foot (TNA:WO 334/12)

Malta 1835 Strength: 495 men. The battalion was made up of 437 Englishmen, 55 Irishmen, and 3 Scotsmen. The corps had been primarily recruited in the western and mid-land counties of England. The average age was 29 years, the average height 5 feet 8 inches.

Malta 15 June Eleven soldiers embarked as invalids on board the transport Maitland under the medical charge of Assistant Surgeon Munro 2nd Dragoons.

Malta 23 Dec 1835 The regiment occupied Floriana Barracks. In December, it moved to Cottonera on the opposite side of the Grand Harbour. Consequently the sick in the regimental hospital at Floriana were transferred to the General Hospital Valletta.

Floriana Barracks were a bomb proof barracks situated close to the eastern shore of the Quarantine Harbour between Valletta and the Floriana lines. The floors were flagged. It had an abundance of good water. The school, regimental workshops, stores, were within the barrack walls. There were also detached sheds for washing.

The regimental hospital at Floriana was part of the convent of "La Nostra Signora di Manresa" but that portion of the building used for military purposes was completely separated from that occupied by the ecclesiastical fraternity. The surgeon described it as admirably adopted for a military hospital. The site was elevated and close to the barracks. The wards were small and capable of holding only four patients, but were lofty, well ventilated and opened from a long and spacious corridor which in an emergency was capable of being converted into a ward. A long yard was connected to the hospital. It enclosed the cook house, privies and dead house and held a large water tank filled from the Wignacourt Aqueduct. Convalescent patients used the yard for exercise in fine weather, and walked the corridor in bad weather. The number of distinct wards in the hospital made it possible to separated patients according to different diseases.

In 1835 the average daily sick was 28, the majority having very mild illnesses. Simple Continued fever was usually of short duration. It was almost always attributed to excessive drinking. Those afflicted by it had a flushed face, complained of headache, nausea, rigors, back pain, general aches and suffusion of the eyes. 153 cases of simple continued fever were treated during the year, with one fatality. His postmortem examination revealed that death was the result of a liver abscess which had occupied most of his right lobe. There were no cases of intermittent or remittent fever.

The following deaths were recorded at Floriana during the year:

  • Pte John Taylor 4 Coy aged 30 years was admitted on 6 January 1835. He died on 13 March from chronic catarrh after an illness of 67 days.
  • Sergeant Major Francis Lane 4 Coy aged 33 years was admitted on 20 July, and died the same day from Delirium Tremens after a short illness of 3 days.
  • Pte Charles Lovell 2 Coy aged 38 years was admitted on 24 June. He died on 16 August from Febris Continua Communis after an illness of 54 days.
  • Pte Thomas Miller 3 Coy aged 31 years was admitted on 29 May. He died on 14 September from Phthisis Pulmonalis after an illness of 109 days.
  • Sgt James Stevenson 2 Coy aged 38 years was admitted on 1 October and died on 22 November from what was described as "Anasca" after an illness of 53 days.
  • Pte Thomas Hitchen 1 Coy aged 34 years was admitted on 7 December and died the same day from laryngitis. Hitchen had been ill for 16 days.
  • Pte B. Galoin 3 Coy aged 27 years was found drowned in a well on 6 May at the Civil Prison.
  • Pte I. Langford 3 Coy aged 25 years shot himself through the heart with a musket ball in the barrack room Floriana on 9 May.
  • Pte Dale 2 Coy aged 31 years died suddenly at Floriana on 3 August from a ruptured aneurysm.

The following was married in Malta in 1835:

  1. 5 Oct Bachelor Cpl John White to Catharine Walsh, spinster daughter of Sgt Solomon Walsh 53rd Regiment.

The following were baptized in Malta in 1835:

  1. 31 Jan Robert Osbrim son of Pte Abraham Osbrim and Mary, born on 12 January 1835.
  2. 14 Feb William Rickards son of Sgt Edward Rickards and Mary, born on 13 January 1835.
  3. 6 Mar Thomas Sullivan son of Pte William Sullivan and Catherine, born on 1 February 1835.
  4. 17 Apr John Edwin Cornes son of Sgt John Cornes and Margaret, born on 8 March 1835.
  5. 16 May Henry O'Bryone son of Pte William O'Bryone and Mary Ann, born on 11 May 1835.
  6. 8 June Thomas Alexander Baxter son of QM Sgt Thomas Baxter and Mary Ann, born on 7 March 1834.
  7. 13 July William Fletcher son of Pte Robert Fletcher and Jane, born on 9 June 1835.
  8. 4 Aug Elizabeth Daff daughter of Pte William Daff and Elizabeth, born on 7 July 1835.
  9. 30 Aug Anne Brislow daughter of Pte Joseph Brislow and Bridget, born on 9 August 1835.
  10. 21 Oct Jane Baker daughter of Cpl Thomas Baker and Hannah, born on 14 October 1835.

The following were buried at Malta in 1835:

  1. 6 Mar William Rickards aged 7 weeks, son of Sgt Edward Rickards.
  2. 29 Mar Sarah Redgate aged 5 years, daughter of James Redgate.
  3. 11 May Frances Valentine aged 31 years, wife of Pte William Valentine.

1836 53rd (Shropshire)

Malta 18 June 1836 HQ Coy 53rd Regiment with a detachment of 273 men embarked for Corfu.

Malta 11 July 1836 The 2nd Division of 231 men embarked for Corfu.

The following were baptized in Malta in 1836:

  1. 7 Feb William Neate son of Pte William Neate and Rebecca born on 11 January 1836.
  2. 14 Feb William John Cooper son of Sgt Major William Cooper and Maria born on 19 January 1836.
  3. 21 Feb Fanny Melita Hill daughter of Major Hill and Maria born on 17 February 1836.
  4. 13 Mar Samuel Wingfield son of Pte William Wingfield and Eliza born on 12 February 1836.
  5. 27 Mar Rhoda White daughter of Pte Daniel White and Isabella born on 16 March 1836 was publicly received into the church on 1 April 1836.
  6. 27 Mar Eliza Hillier daughter of Pte Thomas Hillier and Sarah born on 14 March 1836.
  7. 29 Apr Elizabeth Randall daughter of Sgt John Randall and Mary born on 13 February 1836.
  8. 15 May Francis Talbot son of Hospital Sgt George Talbot and Dinah born on 27 April 1836.
  9. 8 June Elizabeth Chard daughter of Pte William Chard and Elizabeth, born on 7 May 1836.

The following were buried at Malta in 1836:

  1. 7 Feb Pte Charles Eaton aged 28 years.
  2. 12 Mar Pte John George aged 27 years.
  3. 5 Apr Pte Joseph Newbury aged 34 years.
  4. 6 May Pte James Redgate aged 33 years.
  5. 17 June Sarah Jones aged 41 years, wife of Pte John Jones.
  6. 1 July Jane Baker aged 8 months, daughter of Cpl Thomas Baker.
  7. 6 Aug Pte James Gage aged 31 years.

1st/The King's Shropshire Light Infantry

53rd
TNA:WO 379/11 Movements of 53rd Regt. (Courtesy R Sellstrom BEM)
Jeannie Cole Hamilton
Jeannie wife of A. R. Cole Hamilton Esq died 7 Apr 1883 aged 18 yrs 7 mths
(Ta' Braxia Cemetery)

1883 1st/King's Shropshire Light Infantry

23 Feb 1883 970 men (8 coys) of the 1st/King's Shropshire Light Infantry embarked at Egypt on 18 Feb 1883. It arrived at Malta on 23 February.

The 1st/Shropshire Light Infantry had an average strength of 714 men.

It had 542 admissions (759.1/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 6 deaths including 1 among the invalids (7.00 deaths/1000 mean strength). 11 invalids returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 40.91 (57.29/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 20.91 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 27.55 days.

A soldier committed suicide by cutting his throat while in a state of temporary insanity.


1884 1st/King's Shropshire Light Infantry

W Ward
Boy W. Ward of the band 1st KSLI died on 30 Nov 1884 aged 15 yrs (Pieta Military Cemetery)

The 1st/Shropshire Light Infantry had an average strength of 845 men.

It had 500 admissions (591.7/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 8 deaths (9.46 deaths/1000 mean strength). 15 invalids returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 33.80 (45.82/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 16.80 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 28.40 days.

A sergeant shot himself in the head with his rifle while in a state of unsound mind, induced by domestic trouble.

1885 1st/King's Shropshire Light Infantry

The 1st/Shropshire Light Infantry had an average strength of 150 men. It had 84 admissions (560/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 3 deaths (19.99 deaths/1000 mean strength). 10 invalids returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 10.65 (71.0/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 25.91 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 46.27 days.

Malta 27 Feb 1885 The 1st/King's Shropshire Light Infantry embarked for Suakin where it disembarked on 11 March. The battalion remained in Egypt until Feb 1887.

1st/The King's Shropshire Light Infantry

1887 1st/King's Shropshire Light Infantry

Florence Katherine Coore Mein
Florence Katherine wife of Major F Coore Mein and only daughter of Mr George Owen of Park Issa Oswestry died on 5 Aug 1887. (Ta' Braxia Cemetery)

On 21 Feb 1887, the 1st/Shropshire Light Infantry returned to Malta from Alexandria.

It had an average strength of 542 men. It had 315 admissions (581.1/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 4 deaths (7.38 deaths/1000 mean strength). 7 invalids returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 24.27 (44.77/1000 mean strength).

The average sick time to each soldier was 16.34 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 28.12 days.

1888 1st/King's Shropshire Light Infantry

The 1st/Shropshire Light Infantry had an average strength of 797 men.

It had 316 admissions (396.5/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 6 deaths (7.53 deaths/1000 mean strength). 11 invalids returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 24.25 (30.42/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 11.13 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 28.08 days.

The battalion was quartered at Verdala Barracks, Cottonera with detachments at Forrest Hospital.

1889 1st/King's Shropshire Light Infantry

The 1st/Shropshire Light Infantry had an average strength of 868 men.

It had 408 admissions (470.1/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 3 deaths (3.46 deaths/1000 mean strength). 12 invalids returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 26.46 (30.48/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 11.12 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 23.67 days.

The battalion was quartered at Verdala Barracks, San Francesco de Paola Barracks for six and a half months and Floriana Barracks and Citta Vecchia for five and a half months. It had detachments at Pembroke Camp.

1890 1st/King's Shropshire Light Infantry

William Griffiths
Pte William Griffiths D Coy died on 2 Feb 1890 aged 20 yrs. (Pieta Military Cemetery)

The 1st/Shropshire Light Infantry had an average strength of 930 men.

It had 578 admissions (621.5/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 7 deaths (7.53 deaths/1000 mean strength). 24 invalids returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 38.80 (41.72/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 15.23 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 24.50 days.

The battalion was quartered at Valletta for 11 1/2 months with detachments at Pembroke Camp and Fort Chambray Gozo for 12 months.

1891 1st/King's Shropshire Light Infantry

The 1st/Shropshire Light Infantry had an average strength of 205 men.

It had 94 admissions (458.5/1000 mean strength) into hospital. 6 invalids returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 6.32 (30.83/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 11.25 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 24.54 days.

The battalion was quartered at Pembroke Camp and Fort Chambray Gozo for 3 months. It embarked for Egypt on 17 Mar 1891, where it arrived on 20 March. It left Egypt for Hong Kong on 2 Dec 1891 arriving there on 8 Jan 1892.

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. Wickes, H. L, 1974. Regiments of Foot Southampton Osprey Ltd, 14.
  4. TNA:WO 379/11. Stations of Regiments 1859–1900.
  5. TNA:WO 156/121. Burial Register 1830–1837.
  6. TNA:WO 156/594. No 2, Marriage Register 1 January 1820 to 12 June 1839.
  7. TNA:WO 156/594. No 2, Baptism Register 2 January 1820 to 29 June 1839.