RAMC

Regiments of the Malta Garrison
56th (West Essex)

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The 56th (West Essex) Regiment

Essex
The Castle and Key of Gibraltar are enclosed within an open scroll, bearing the motto of Gibraltar; a wreath of oak leaves lies outside the scroll, below which is another scroll inscribed Pompadours. (Main Guard Valletta)

The 56th Regiment of Foot was raised in 1755 as the 58th Foot, but was renumbered 56th Foot the following year when two of the intervening regiments disbanded.

In 1782, it was affiliated to the county of West Essex to become The 56th (West Essex) Regiment.

In December 1836, the 56th was permitted to bear the word "Gibraltar" on its Colours in commemoration of its distinguished service in the defence of Gibraltar in 1782. It also displayed the Castle and Key, being part of the armorial bearings of that fortress, together with the motto Montis Insignia Calpe.

On 1 July 1881 The 56th (West Essex) Regiment merged with the 44th (East Essex) Regiment of Foot to form The Essex Regiment.

The 2nd Battalion The Essex Regiment of Foot

1887 2nd/Essex

56th
TNA:WO 379/11 Movements 56th Regt. (Courtesy R Sellstrom BEM)

On 22 July 1878, an Expeditionary Force under General Sir Garnet Wolseley had landed at Larnaca and took over Cyprus. Britain's control of the island ended in 1960.

The 2nd/Essex Regiment embarked at Egypt on 27 February. It arrived at Malta on 3 March 1887.

The 2nd/Essex Regiment had an average strength of 688 men. It had 340 admissions (494.1/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 3 deaths (4.35/1000 mean strength). 2 invalids returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 18.43 (26.78/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 9.77 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 19.78 days.

1888 2nd/Essex

Frederick Gale
Sgt Frederick Gale died Citta Vecchia 21 June 1888, aged 25 years. (Pieta' Military Cemetery)

The 2nd/Essex Regiment had an average strength of 924 men.

It had 466 admissions (504.3/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 3 deaths (3.23/1000 mean strength). 9 invalids returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 24.94 (26.99/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 9.87 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 19.58 days.

The HQ was at Floriana. The battalion was at Valletta and Cottonera with detachments at Forrest Hospital and Citta Vecchia.

1889 2nd/Essex

The Essex
The Castle of Gibraltar, with the motto Montis Insignia Calpe from the Arms of Gibraltar. The Pompadours 1889. (Milorda Gardens Floriana)

The 2nd/Essex Regiment had an average strength of 677 men. It had 280 admissions (413.6/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 2 deaths (2.95/1000 mean strength). 13 invalids returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 17.85 (26.37/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 9.63 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 23.27 days.

The battalion was at Floriana Barracks and Citta Vecchia for 12 months.

Four companies left for Cyprus on 23 July 1889; another 155 men embarked for Cyprus on 9 December.

1890 2nd/Essex

Malta 1 Jan–1 June 1890 The main body of the 2nd/Essex Regiment was in Cyprus with a detachment of 4 coys at Malta.

It had an average strength of 254 men. It had 158 admissions (622/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 4 deaths (15.75/1000 mean strength). 3 invalids returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 9.16 (36.06/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 13.16 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 21.16 days.

The detachment was at Fort St Angelo for 12 months.

The following were buried at Rinella Military Cemetery in 1890:

  1. 10 February Leslie Sullivan aged 1 year 3 months, died at Fort St Angelo.
  2. 21 July C W Hicks aged 23 years, died at Cottonera Hospital.
  3. 29 August W Thoroughgood aged 21 years, died at Cottonera Hospital.
  4. 11 September Herbert Roe aged 21 years 7 months, died at Fort St Angelo.
  5. 17 November H Hooper aged 25 years, died at Cottonera Hospital.

1891 2nd/Essex

Chawner Honor Melita
Marie Honor Melita daughter of Jeanne and Capt Hampden Chawner died 29 June 1891 aged 4 mths. (Ta' Braxia Cemetery)

The 2nd/Essex Regiment was in Cyprus with a detachment of 4 coys at at Fort St Angelo and Vittoriosa.

It had an average strength of 389 men. It had 276 admissions (709.5/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 6 deaths (15.42/1000 mean strength). 11 invalids returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 20.28 (52.13/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 19.03 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 26.82 days.

The detachment was at Fort St Angelo and Fort San Salvatore for 11 months and in Gozo for a month.

The following were buried at Rinella Military Cemetery in 1891:

  1. 13 March William Evans aged 26 years, died at Cottonera Hospital.
  2. 4 May William Fox aged 25 years, died at Cottonera Hospital.
  3. 23 July Leslie Dyson aged 9 months, died at Fort Salvatore.
  4. 7 September William Cockerton aged 26 years, died at Cottonera Hospital.
  5. 19 October Louise Foreman aged 7 months, died at Cottonera.
  6. 26 October Francis Binks aged 25 years, died at Cottonera.
  7. 27 October James Brown aged 22 years, died at Cottonera.
  8. 2 November George Gumage aged 23 years 6 months, died at Cottonera.

1892 2nd/Essex

The 2nd/Essex Regiment had an average strength of 364 men. It had 175 admissions (480.8/1000 mean strength) into hospital with 6 deaths (16.48/1000 mean strength). 3 invalids returned to England.

Its average constantly sick was 10.58 (20.06/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 10.60 days. The average duration of cases of sickness was 22.23 days.

The detachment was at Fort Chambray Gozo for 9 months.

The 2nd/Essex embarked for Bombay on 28 Sept 1892, leaving in Malta a depot detachment of 67 men.

1893 2nd/Essex

Malta Sept 1893 The Depot Detachment of 67 men left Malta.

The following was buried at Rinella Military Cemetery in 1893:

  1. 27 April William Mills aged 5 months, died at Cottonera.

The 2nd Battalion The Essex Regiment of Foot

2nd Essex
TNA:WO 379/15 Troop Movements 2nd/Essex Regt. (Courtesy R Sellstrom BEM)
Young A W
2371 CSgt A. W. Young aged 36 yrs died 4 July 1904,
3106 Sgt E W Fenner died 12 July 1904 aged 30 yrs. (Pieta' Military Cemetery)

1904 2nd/Essex

28 Apr 1904 The 2nd/Essex embarked from Warley at Southampton on the Sicilia on 19 April 1904. It arrived at Malta on 28 April. The battalion moved into Lower St Elmo Barracks. Six companies remained at this location throughout the year except for short periods at Pembroke, Mellieha and Ghajn Tuffieha Camps. They returned from Ghajn Tuffieha Camp on 19 Dec 1904.

Malta 29 Apr–1 Sept "A" Coy and "B" Coy were in Fort Chambray Gozo. They were relieved by "D" Coy and "F" Coy which remained there until 8 May 1905, when they were relieved by "C" Coy and "E" Coy.

Malta 1904 The regimental strength was 698 men. In June, 9.6% of their strength was admitted with "simple continued fever"; in July 35%; in August 5%, in September 6.3% and in October 6%. That is 55% of the regiment was attacked with "simple continued fever" during the first summer of their residence in Malta.

1905 2nd/Essex

Surrey John
3294 Pte John Surrey aged 34 yrs died 2 Jan 1906. (Pieta' Military Cemetery)

Malta 8 May 1905 "F" Coy returned from Gozo and occupied Lower St Elmo Barracks. It remained at this location until 8 July 1905, when it marched to Mtarfa Barracks. There, it replaced the 2nd/Royal Sussex Regiment. Lower St Elmo was taken over by the 1st/Lancashire Fusiliers on 11 July.

While at Mtarfa, the Essex Regt had three cases of Mediterranean Fever. These occurred on the 13th, 24th and 28th July.

Malta 24 Sept 1905 Burial of Sgt William Terris aged 29 yrs 9 mths at Mtarfa Military Cemetery (Plot 4, Row 3, Grave 13).

Malta 19 Oct 1905 Burial of Violet Mary Hills aged 9 hours, daughter of Sgt Hills at Mtarfa Military Cemetery (Plot 2, Row 1, Grave 13).

1906 2nd/Essex

1907 2nd/Essex

Malta 24 Mar 1907 The 2nd/Essex Regiment left for Dublin on the Braemar Castle.

The 2nd Battalion The Essex Regiment of Foot

Steady John
48466 Sgt John Steady 2nd/Essex died 20 Dec 1919. (Mtarfa Military Cemetery)
Steady John
48466 Sgt John Steady 2nd/Essex died 20 Dec 1919. (Mtarfa Military Cemetery)

1919 2nd/Essex

9 Sept 1919 The 2nd/Essex arrived at Malta. It had 26 officers, 820 rank and file.

1920 2nd/Essex

Malta 1 Jan 1920 Strength: 26 officers, 810 rank and file.

12 Nov 1920 Ronald Frank Malyon son of Flora May and Sgt Drummer Frank Percy Malyon of St George's Barracks, born on 12 Nov 1920 was baptised at the Imtarfa Church Room.

14 Nov 1920 Dorothy Marion Jacob daughter of Elizabeth and Pte Herbert William Jacob of St Tigne Barracks, born on 12 Nov 1920 was baptised at the Imtarfa Church Room.

1921 2nd/Essex

Malta 1 Jan 1921 Strength: 25 officers, 883 rank and file.

Malta 1 Dec 1921 The 2nd/Essex left Malta by December 1921.

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.
  4. TNA:WO 379/11. Stations of Regiments 1859–1900.
  5. TNA:WO 379/15. Stations of Regiments 1901–1920.
  6. TNA:ADM 338/54. Baptisms in the Garrison of Malta in the Imtarfa Church Room.
  7. TNA:WO 156/115. Register of burials in the military cemetery Rinella from January 1890 to January 1908.