Regiments of the Malta Garrison 53rd (Shropshire) Regiment
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 1st Battalion The King's Light Infantry (Shropshire Regiment). The 85th became the 2nd Battalion.
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.
7 Apr 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, 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 1834:
18 Dec Bachelor Sgt Edward Rickards to Mary Hurley, spinster of the City of Cork, Ireland.
18 Dec Bachelor L/Cpl Samuel Ralphs to Margaret Kelly, spinster of the Parish of Kilcooley County Tipperary.
18 Dec Bachelor Pte Robert Fletcher to Jane Bladen, spinster from Liverpool in the County of Lancaster.
18 Dec Bachelor Pte Thomas Lambden to Ellen Stokes, spinster of the Parish of St Brides in the City of Dublin.
19 Dec Bachelor Pte Joseph Purslow to Bridget Kilfoyle, spinster of the Parish of Fethard, County Tipperary.
19 Dec Bachelor Pte Henry Donington to Ellen Counery, spinster of the Town of Carrick-on-Suir, County Waterford Ireland.
19 Dec Bachelor Pte Thomas Hitchen to Margaret Toohay, spinster of the Parish of Emly, County Tipperary.
The following were baptised in 1834:
19 AprThomas Hitchen son of Pte Thomas Hitchen and Margaret, born on 22 March 1834.
12 MayMatilda Ingold daughter of Pte John Ingold and Bridget, born on 15 April 1834 was privately baptised by Archdeacon John Thomas Howe Le Mesurier Chaplain to the Forces. She was publicly received into the church on 23 May 1834.
20 MayAlice Chart daughter of Pte William Chart and Elizabeth, born on 20 May.
7 JuneEdward Fletcher son of Pte Robert Fletcher and Jane, born on 5 June.
30 OctMaria Cooper daughter of Sgt William Cooper and Maria, born on 28 July.
2 NovCharlotte Elizabeth Dunning daughter of CSgt William Dunning and Anna Maria, born on 26 June.
7 DecEliza Anne Carroll daughter of Pte John Carroll and Dorothy, born on 22 November.
The following were buried in 1834:
12 AprWilliam John Flandis aged 5 years, son of William Charles Flandis.
20 May Pte Isaac Green aged 27 years.
30 MayAlicia Chart aged 9 days, daughter of Pte William Chart.
1 June Pte Francis Davidson aged 27 years.
4 June Pte Edward Dunn aged 34 years.
10 June Pte John Nicholson aged 29 years.
12 JuneEdward Fletcher aged 7 days, son of Pte Robert Fletcher.
19 June Pte Thomas Peace aged 29 years.
24 June Pte Edward Rhodes aged 29 years.
4 JulyChristiana Hillier aged 11 months, daughter of Thomas Hillier.
18 July Pte Robert Batty aged 27 years.
25 JulyJane Meat aged 5 months, daughter of William Meat.
27 JulyMargaret Frampton aged 5 months, daughter of Joseph Frampton.
17 Aug Pte William Boyd aged 25 years.
2 SepAlfred Wells aged 14 months, son of Henry Wells.
25 OctJames Purslow aged 16 months, son of Joseph Purslow.
5 Nov Pte James Cheshire aged 26 years.
15 NovMaria Cooper aged 3 months, daughter of Sgt William Cooper.
25 Nov Drm Thomas Coghlan aged 25 years.
8 Dec Sgt Band Master William Sinclair aged 26 years.
15 Dec Pte Henry Ellis aged 34 years.
29 DecEliza White aged 9 months, daughter of Pte D. White.
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.
15 June Eleven soldiers embarked as invalids on board the transport Maitland under the medical charge of Assistant Surgeon Munro 2nd Dragoons.
5 Oct Bachelor Cpl John White married Catharine Walsh, spinster daughter of Sgt Solomon Walsh 53rd Regiment.
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 were baptised in 1835:
31 JanRobert Osbrion son of Pte Abraham Osbrion and Mary, born on 12 January 1835.
14 FebWilliam Rickards son of Sgt Edward Rickards and Mary, born on 13 January.
6 MarThomas Sullivan son of Pte William Sullivan and Catherine, born on 1 February.
17 AprJohn Edwin Comes son of Sgt John Comes and Margaret, born on 8 March.
16 MayHenry O'Byrne son of Pte William O'Byrne and Mary Ann, born on 11 May.
8 JuneThomas Alexander Baxter son of QM Sgt Thomas Baxter and Mary Ann, born on 7 March 1834.
13 JulyWilliam Fletcher son of Pte Robert Fletcher and Jane, born on 9 June.
4 AugElizabeth Laff daughter of Pte William Laff and Elizabeth, born on 7 July.
30 AugAnne Pinlow daughter of Pte Joseph Pinlow and Bridget, born on 9 August.
21 OctJane Baker daughter of Cpl Thomas Baker and Hannah, born on 14 October.
The following were buried in 1835:
6 MarWilliam Rickards aged 7 weeks, son of Sgt Edward Rickards.
29 MarSarah Redgate aged 5 years, daughter of James Redgate.
11 MayFrances Valentine aged 31 years, wife of Pte William Valentine.
The 1st/Shropshire Light Infantry had an average strength of 150 men. It had 84 admissions into hospital with 3 deaths. 10 invalids returned to England.
Its average constantly sick was 10.65. The average sick time to each soldier was 25.91 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 46.27 days.
28 Feb 1885 The 1st/King's Shropshire Light Infantry embarked for Suakin where it disembarked on 11 March. The battalion was in Suakin and Cairo and embarked at Alexandria for Malta on 21 February 1887.
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 into hospital with 4 deaths. 7 invalids returned to England.
Its average constantly sick was 24.27.
The average sick time to each soldier was 16.34 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 28.12 days.
28 Dec 1887 L/Cpl A Jones aged 21 years was buried in Pietà Cemetery.
The following were baptised in the Garrison Church, Valletta in 1887:
22 MayMay Victoria Jackson daughter of Mary Ann and Sgt John William Jackson of St Nicholas Quarters Cottonera, born on 1 May 1887.
9 AugOwen Coore Mein born on 28 July 1887, son of Florence Katherine and Maj Frederick Coore Mein of, Adjutant Shropshire Rifle Volunteers, St John's House Malta. Florence Katherine died on 5 Aug 1887.
18 SepAgnes Mabel Mason daughter of Helena and Paymaster Sgt Alfred Mason of St Nicholas Quarters Cottonera, born on 20 Aug 1887.
22 DecRaymond Cecil Leslie Roe son of Jeanetta and Lt (QM) George Roe of Verdala Barracks Cottonera, born on 22 Oct 1887.
The 1st/Shropshire Light Infantry had an average strength of 868 men.
It had 408 admissions into hospital with 3 deaths. 12 invalids returned to England.
Its average constantly sick was 26.46. 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.
16 Dec 1889 L/Cpl W Ballanger aged 21 years, was buried in Pietà Cemetery.
The following were baptised in the Garrison Church, Valletta in 1889:
17 FebEditte Lilian Mason daughter of Helena and Paymaster Sgt Alfred Mason, born 16 Jan 1889.
7 AprWalter James Grady son of Annie and CSgt James Grady, born 15 Mar 1889.
13 AprElizabeth Jane Reynolds daughter of Eliza and Sgt Herbert Reynolds, of St Nicholas Bastion Quarters Cospicua, born 25 Mar 1889.
6 DecSarah Ellen Davenport daughter of Ellen and Band Sgt Joseph Davenport, born 17 Feb 1880.
11 DecEmily Ada Naish daughter of Elizabeth and Armourer Sgt John Naish, born 25 Nov 1889.
The 1st/Shropshire Light Infantry had an average strength of 205 men.
It had 94 admissions into hospital. 6 invalids returned to England.
Its average constantly sick was 6.32. The average sick time to each soldier was 11.25 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 24.54 days.
17 Mar 1891 The 1st/King's Shropshire Light Infantry was quartered at Pembroke Camp and Fort Chambray Gozo for 3 months. It embarked for Egypt where it arrived on 20 March 1891. It left Egypt for Hong Kong on 2 December 1891 arriving there on 8 January 1892.
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 156/121. Burial Register 1830–1837.
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.