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Regiments of the Malta Garrison
73rd (Perthshire)

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The 73rd Regiment of Foot

The 73rd (Highland) Regiment of Foot was raised in Perthshire in 1780 as the 2nd Battalion of the 42nd Royal Highland Regiment. In 1786, the Second Battalion became an independent regiment as the 73rd Regiment.

In 1862 the word Perthshire was added to its title to become The 73rd (Perthshire) Regiment.

On 1 July 1881, The 73rd (Perthshire) Regiment amalgamated with the 42nd Royal Highland (The Black Watch) Regiment to become the Second Battalion of The Black Watch (Royal Highlanders).

The 73rd Regiment of Foot

1828 – 73rd Foot

Between 10 October 1828 and 17 January 1829, the 73rd and the 23rd Royal Welsh Fusiliers were encamped on Europa Flats during the prevalence of the contagious fever which visited Gibraltar in 1828. Out of 9 officers and 196 men of the 73rd who fell ill, only 35 men and two officers died, one of which was Assistant Surgeon John Gordon Fraser who fell a victim to his zeal for the service.1

1829 73rd Foot

Malta 20 Dec 1829 On 8 December, HQ Coy 37th Foot embarked on the transport Henry Porcher. Its progress was hampered by severe weather. On 11 December HQ Coy had to return to Gibraltar. It sailed again on 15 December and disembarked at the Lazaretto on 1 January 1830. The Service Companies (504 men) embarked at Gibraltar on the transports Lord Suffield and Stentor and reached Malta on 20 December. They too performed quarantine at the Lazaretto.

1830 73rd Foot

Malta 1 Jan 1830 HQ Coy entered quarantine at the Lazaretto. The Service Companies remained at St Elmo Barracks during the year.

The following were baptized in Malta in 1830:

  1. 7 Feb Susannah Maxwell daughter of Bugler James Maxwell and Elizabeth born on 2 February 1830.
  2. 14 Mar Charles Begbie son of Cpl Charles Begbie and Catherine born on 1 March 1830.
  3. 12 Apr Mary Young daughter of Pte John Young and Ellen born on 1 April 1830.
  4. 23 May Joseph George Ritchie son of Pte Alexander Ritchie and Anne, born on 6 May 1830.
  5. 4 Aug Robert William Roberts son of Hospital Sgt John Roberts and Letitia, born on 13 July 1830.
  6. 16 Aug William Carey son of Armourer Sgt Thomas Carey and Grace, born on 4 August 1830.
  7. 30 Aug Alice Ashenden daughter of Sgt Major William Ashenden and Mary, born on 11 August 1830.
  8. 30 Aug Elizabeth Wylie daughter of Pte John Wylie and Mary, born on 18 August 1830.
  9. 26 Sept Elizabeth Rowland daughter of Sgt Henry Rowland and Elizabeth, born on 9 September 1830.
  10. 15 Oct Maria Conner daughter of Capt George Cornwallis Conner and Maria, born on 23 September 1830.
  11. 7 Nov George Coyne son of Pte John Coyne and Elizabeth, born on 30 October 1830.
  12. 19 Dec Elizabeth Reed daughter of Sgt Samuel Reed and Elizabeth, born on 3 December 1830.

The following were buried at Malta in 1830:

  1. 22 Mar Richard Sabbage aged 2 years, son of Cpl William Sabbage.
  2. 4 May Sarah Wardley aged 1 year, daughter of Pte William Wardley.
  3. 28 May Mary Young aged 7 weeks, daughter of Pte John Young.
  4. 5 June Charles Begbie aged 3 months, son of Cpl Charles Begbie.
  5. 18 June Pte William Henderson aged 23 years.
  6. 26 June Pte Joseph Clarke aged 28 years.
  7. 17 July Drm John Williams aged 26 years.
  8. 24 July Pte John Knowles aged 32 years.
  9. 28 July James Sabbage aged 9 months, son of Cpl William Sabbage.
  10. 6 Aug Pte Anthony Clynch aged 28 years.
  11. 23 Aug Louisa Carson, aged 19 years, wife of Sgt G. Carson.
  12. 2 Sept Pte George Daniels aged 28 years.
  13. 18 Oct Margaret Davies daughter of Pte Daniel Davies.
  14. 20 Oct Joseph George Ritchie aged 5 months, son of Pte Alexander Ritchie.
  15. 29 Dec Pte Thomas Jones aged 34 years.

1831 73rd Foot

Malta 1 Apr 1831 Strength: Six companies Rank and File 483 (Effective), 515 (Established).

The following were married in Malta in 1831:

  1. 5 Jan Bachelor Drum Major Thomas Osmond to Eliza Ashenden, spinster daughter of Sgt Major Ashenden 73rd Regiment.
  2. 20 Jan Bachelor Major John Yeeden Lloyd of the Parish of Elphin, County Roscommon Ireland, to Mary Elizabeth Nesham spinster of the Parish of Antony, County Cornwall, only daughter of Captain C J W Nisham RN of HMS Melville and grand-daughter of Admiral the Rt Hon Thomas Lord Graves..
  3. 3 Feb Bachelor John Follenns Master of the Band 73rd Regiment, of Worcester, to Jessie Riddle spinster daughter of John and Elizabeth Riddle of Woolwich in the County of Kent.
  4. 19 May Bachelor Cpl William Woolley to Anne Egan, widow of Sgt G Egan 73rd Regiment.
  5. 30 Oct Bachelor Pte Richard Kind to Mary Golding, spinster.
  6. 26 Dec Bachelor Ensign Francis Baring Atkinson of Temple Sowerby in the County of Westmorland to Mary Anne Stoddart, spinster and minor, with the consent of her guardian, daughter of Sir John Stoddart of Doctors' Commons in the Parish of St Benedict near Paul's Wharf London.

The following were baptized in Malta in 1831:

  1. 25 Jan John Smith Hickson son of QM John Annesy Hickson and Elizabeth, born on 18 November 1830.
  2. 2 Apr Walter Anstruther Bews son of Paymaster John Bews and Mary Elizabeth, born on 16 November 1830.
  3. 8 May Sarah Stowers daughter of Pte George Stowers and Mary Anne born on 26 April 1831.
  4. 8 May Eliza Nelson daughter of Sgt Edward Nelson and Eliza, born on 26 April 1831.
  5. 18 May Harriet Harris daughter of Pte James Harris and Jane, born on 10 May 1831.
  6. 2 Oct George McArthur son of Sgt Peter McArthur and Charlotte, born on 14 September 1831.
  7. 6 Nov William John Wardley son of William Wardley and Betsey, born on 9 October 1831.
  8. 6 Nov Emily Richie daughter of Alexander Richie and Anne, born on 7 October 1831.
  9. 6 Nov Susan Sabbage daughter of Sgt William Sabbage and Sophia, born on 24 October 1831.
  10. 24 Dec George Coyne son of Pte John Coyne and Elizabeth, born on 11 December 1831.

The following were buried in Malta in 1831:

  1. 8 Jan Margaret Darow aged 34 years, wife of Pte Daniel Darow.
  2. 16 Jan Sgt Humphrey Taylor aged 25 years.
  3. 16 Jan Drm Thomas Williams aged 27 years.
  4. 19 Jan George Coyne aged 3 months, son of Pte John Coyne.
  5. 23 Jan Pte William Bell aged 21 years.
  6. 25 May Harriet Harris aged 14 days, daughter of Pte James Harris.
  7. 10 Aug Sarah Stowers aged 4 months, daughter of Pte George Stowers.
  8. 14 Aug Alice Ashenden aged 12 months, daughter of William Ashenden.
  9. 2 Sept Margaret Kelly aged 32 years, wife of Charles Kelly.
  10. 14 Sept Robert William Roberts aged 14 months, son of John Roberts.
  11. 23 Sept Pte John Auld aged 21 years.
  12. 7 Oct Andrew Grimig aged 24 days, son of Band Sgt James and Mary Grimig.
  13. 11 Oct Cpl Thomas Stock aged 33 years.
  14. 30 Oct Michael Grimig aged 14 months, son of Band Sgt James and Mary Grimig.
  15. 5 Nov Pte Matt Powell aged 26 years.
  16. 4 Dec Frances Price aged 34 years wife of Pte John Price, warder at St Elmo Military Prison.

1832 73rd Foot

Malta 1832 The 73rd occupied the Cottonera District. Their commanding officer, Lt Col McNair, did his very utmost to prevent his men from frequenting the port area of the town, thereby reducing the incidence of venereal diseases in his corps.

The following were married in Malta in 1832:

  1. 2 May Bachelor Lt and Adjutant William Russell son of Michael Russell deceased of King's County Ireland, to Eliza Martin, spinster daughter of Surgeon George Martin 73rd Regiment.
  2. 1 Oct At the Palace Valletta Batchelor Major Robert Anstruther of County Fife, to Louisa Elphinstone, spinster and minor, youngest daughter of Colonel Sir Howard Elphinstone Bart. Royal Engineers of Ore Place in the County of Sussex, with the consent of her father.

The following were baptized in Malta in 1832:

  1. 29 Mar John Roberts son of Hospital Sgt John Roberts and Letitia, born on 1 March 1832 was baptized by Archdeacon John Thomas Howe Le Mesurier Chaplain to the Forces.
  2. 4 Apr John George Watson son of Pte James Watson and Elizabeth, born on 28 March 1832 was baptized by the Rev Charles William Dodd Chaplain HMS Madagascar.
  3. 10 June Amelia Rowland daughter of CSgt Henry Rowland and Elizabeth, born on 26 May 1832.
  4. 26 Aug John Stowers son of Pte George Stowers and Mary Ann, born on 21 August 1832.
  5. 4 Nov James Kind son of Pte Richard Kind and Mary, born on 23 October 1832.
  6. 30 Dec Charles Briggs son of Pte Timothy Briggs and Mary born on 17 December 1832.

The following were buried at Malta in 1832:

  1. 14 Feb Pte John Weston aged 25 years.
  2. 15 Mar Lt Charles H. Colston aged 23 years.
  3. 21 Mar Drm James Maxwell aged 31 years.
  4. 3 May Catherine Buchanan aged 13 months, daughter of Sgt D. Buchanan.
  5. 17 June Duncan Buchanan aged 3 years, son of Sgt D. Buchanan.
  6. 28 July Pte Alexander Cunningham aged 29 years.
  7. 29 July George McArthur aged 10 months, son of School Master Sgt McArthur.
  8. 3 Sept William Carey aged 2 years, son of Armourer Sgt Thomas Cary and his wife Grace. Buried at Msida Bastion Cemetery.
  9. 29 Sept Anne Thompson aged 26 years, wife of Pte Robert Thompson.
  10. 11 Dec Cpl William Sutherland aged 26 years.

1833 73rd Foot

St Elmo
Plan of Fort St Elmo dated 3 Dec 1836 showing both Upper and Lower St Elmo Barracks (TNA:MFQ 1/296).
Lower St Elmo
The three storey infantry barracks at Lower St Elmo Valletta.

Malta 1833 The 73rd occupied Lower St Elmo Barracks Valletta. The ground floor of the barracks was damp and not fit for habitation. It was used as school rooms, Sergeant's Mess rooms and Quarter Master's stores. Women and children also occupied one of the lower rooms due to insufficient accommodation in the barracks.

Between 1 January and 31 December 1833 the regiment had an average strength of 26 officers and 472 rank and file. Eleven soldiers died during the year:

  1. Pte Michael Coates aged 28 years died of pneumonia on 13 March 1833.
  2. Pte William Morgan aged 28 years died of pneumonia on 8 April.
  3. Drum Major Thomas Osmond aged 30 year died of phthisis pulmonalis on 20 April.
  4. Pte Thomas Keir aged 23 years died of phthisis pulmonalis on 3 May.
  5. Pte James Gilligan aged 29 years died of pneumonia on 16 August.
  6. Pte Joseph Robinson aged 41 years died of apoplexy pulmonalis on 21 August.
  7. Pte John Fallen aged 27 years died of phthisis pulmonalis.
  8. Pte Michael McLaughlin aged 35 years died of phthisis pulmonalis in August.
  9. Pte Peter McKinlay aged 36 years died suddenly from ulcerative epiglottitis.
  10. Pte William Frost aged 27 years died of phthisis pulmonalis on 9 December.
  11. Pte Andrew Malley aged 27 years died of phthisis pulmonalis on 24 December 1833.
  12. Pte Joseph Robinson was found dead in the regimental hospital. Robinson had been removed from the ranks because of persistent drunkenness. He was placed in the hospital as a clerk to assist the surgeon in copying the returns and reports. He was restricted from leaving the hospital, but willing colleagues provided him with spirits. So addicted was he to alcohol that he was caught drinking the liquor from an anatomical preparation of a cancerous uterus, which had been immersed in spirit for over a month.

The 73rd consisted predominantly of Irish soldiers (265 men); there were 122 Englishmen but only 85 Scots. Its troops were the most robust in the garrison; their average age being 27 years, their average height 5 feet 8 inches. Flogging was used to discipline the men. Four men were flogged during the year. A soldier who was punished for absenting himself from barracks while in a state of intoxication, did not seem to have learned his lesson. Following his recovery in hospital, he repeated his offence, and was flogged for a second time. Another was flogged for lifting his hand and striking the sergeant of the guard while being a prisoner at the time; a third for selling his uniform accessories; a fourth for striking a sergeant while at chapel while in a state of intoxication. Three-quarters of all the floggings in the army were related to drinking alcohol to excess. The men drunk in their regimental canteen or in the grog shops outside their barracks. Delirium tremens, a neurological condition associated with alcoholism, was as common among the officers as the men. It had been a particular problem when the regiment had been stationed at Gibraltar.

There were 813 admissions to the regimental hospital during the year. This was almost twice the admission rate for 1832, when 416 were under treatment. Their surgeon attributed the large number of cases of acute catarrh and the doubling of the incidence of venereal diseases, as compared to the previous year, on the insanitary state of the barracks.

Acute catarrh was very prevalent in the 73rd during winter and summer. The 94th Regiment, which was also quartered at Lower St Elmo Barracks, seemed to have escaped it. 130 cases of Catarrhus Acutus had been admitted within the year. The disease appeared in an epidemic form, affecting the native population as well as troops. It first appeared among the 42nd in the early winter of 1832, when the regiment was stationed at Floriana Barracks. It then spread to the 7th soon after the regiment relieved the 42nd at Floriana in the beginning of 1833. Acute Catarrh next appeared in the 73rd and 94th stationed at Lower St Elmo Valletta when it prevailed in the barracks of the 42nd; the officers of the corps almost entirely escaped it. In many instances catarrh was accompanied by a cutaneous eruption similar to urticaria. The PMO remarked that Acute Catarrh was the same disease as the influenza which had prevailed in Malta and in almost every part of Europe during that year.

During 1833 the regimental hospital recorded the following diseases:

  • Febris Continua Communis: 91
  • Phlegmon and Abscess: 19 (Total in garrison 139)
  • Cynauche Tonsillaris: 10 (Total in garrison 51)
  • Pneumonia 100: (Total in garrison 55). The large number of cases returned as pneumonia in the 73rd were cases of acute catarrh.
  • Acute Hepatitis: 13 (Total in garrison 20)
  • Chronic Hepatitis: 2 (Total in garrison 4)
  • Rheumatismus Acutus: 37 (Total in garrison 92)
  • Urticaria: 7 (Total in garrison 12)
  • Catarrhus Acutus: 136 (1 †) (Total in garrison 513)
  • Chronic Catarrh: 11 (Total in garrison 23)
  • Pneumonia: 98 (3 †) (Total in garrison 146)
  • Phthisis Pulmonalis: 12 (6 †) (Total in garrison 22)
  • Cholera: 8 (Total in garrison 21)
  • Diarrhoea: 37 (Total in garrison 184)
  • Dysenteria Acuta: 1 (Total in garrison 17)
  • Syphilis Primitiva: 6 (Total in garrison 196)
  • Ulcera Penis: 25 (Total in garrison 107)
  • Bubo Simplex: 25 (Total in garrison 74)
  • Gonorrhoea: 20 (Total in garrison 115)
  • Hernia Humoralis: 13 (Total in garrison 45)
  • Morbi Oculorum: 11 (Total in garrison 77)

Fever was very prevalent during the hot summer months. The disease was attributed to intemperance and exposure to the sun, or a combination of both. In most cases the fever was of the common continued type of the ephemeral kind. Remittent fever was rare among the troops in Valletta, and was often a relapse of malaria contracted out side Malta. Malaria had been known to have occurred at Marsa at the head of the Grand Harbour. Soldiers stationed at Floriana Barracks were recorded to have more remittent fever than troops quartered elsewhere.

The officers of the 73rd Regiment fell ill with remittent fever whenever they were stationed at Floriana. This was attributed to noxious air arising from the deposition of vegetable and marine effluvia emanating from stagnant water at the head of the Grand Harbour close to Floriana. Surgeon George Martin recorded that prior to 1833, malaria had been prevalent every autumn in the village at to the head of the harbour, from which the inhabitants had fled to escape its presence. Henceforth, the place became known as "the deserted village". Remittent fever subsided once the Marsa area had been drained and cultivated.

Thirty seven cases of rheumatism were in hospital in 1833. The sick were treated with warm baths, purgatives, antimonials, and Dover Powder. It was assumed that the condition was contracted while the men were on guard duty. Assistant Inspector of Hospitals John Davy described acute rheumatism as those cases such as commonly occur in Malta, and chiefly in the winter season, marked generally by pain and difficulty of motion, and some derangement of general health, and very rarely indeed attended either by redness or swelling of the affected part or by a pyrexial state. The texture affected appears to be more commonly the muscular fibre. The disease yields readily to treatment but is apt to recur.2

There were 65 women and 94 children in the regiment; 3 women and 7 children died in 1833. The deaths among the women were from hepatitis (2 †) and dysentery (1 †). An epidemic of measles prevailed during autumn and winter, few children escaping its ravages. Seven children died in 1833; two from chronic diarrhoea. Surgeon George Martin ascribed infant deaths to teething and parental neglect. Two deaths were due to dentition, and three from Febris complicating dentition. Surgeon Martin credited the high infant mortality in the garrison to dentition and worms. The former appears to be the most prominent noted Martin. In fact I put it down almost as a general rule that children in the act of dentition of a tender age, who are removed from the nurse, from whatever cause, have every chance of falling victims to the sufferings they experience in that process, particularly in summer, and I have invariably recommended the mothers on this occassion to either persevere in nursing as long as possible, or to procure another nurse for the infant. In summer, the process of dentition is attended with greater fatality than in winter, probably due to greater irritability produced by the exposed heat.2

Worms affected most children, as well as the whole garrison. Ascaris lumbricoides was the commonest species, but tapeworm was also frequent. Children infested with tapeworm became wasted and emaciated and died of malnutrition (tabes). An infusion of the root of the pomegranate, or oleum Terbinthine combined with mucilage given in a little milk, was effective in expelling the parasites.

The following were baptized in Malta in 1833:

  1. 15 Jan Richard William Erskine Dawson son of Capt George Dawson and Euphemia, born on 31 December 1832.
  2. 3 Apr Lydia Carey daughter of Armourer Sgt Thomas Carey and Grace, born on 10 March 1833.
  3. 20 Apr Alfred Malcolm son of Paymaster John Bews and Mary Elizabeth, born on 18 October 1832.
  4. 26 Apr William Emslie son of Sgt John Emslie and Ellen, born on 14 April 1833.
  5. 22 May Melita Mary Hickson daughter of J H Hickson and Elizabeth, born on 26 April 1833 was baptized by the Rev P J Harrison Chaplain HMS Malabar.
  6. 15 Sept Thomas Wardley son of Pte William Wardley and Elizabeth, born on 10 August 1833.
  7. 20 Oct Mary Ann Davis daughter of Pte Thomas Davis and Mary, born on 17 October 1833.
  8. 21 Nov Isabella Harriet Roberts daughter of Hospital Sgt John Roberts and Letitia, born on 29 October 1833.

The following were buried at Malta in 1833:

  1. 16 Jan John Nelson aged 10 years, son of Sgt Edward Nelson.
  2. 2 Apr Drum Major Thomas Osmond aged 29 years.
  3. 9 Apr Pte William Morgan aged 28 years.
  4. 4 May Pte Thomas Keir aged 23 years.
  5. 4 July Amelia Rowland aged 13 months, daughter of Henry and Betsey Rowland.
  6. 31 July Lloyd Davis aged 2 years, son of Thomas and Mary Davis.
  7. 3 Aug Susan Sabbage aged 5 months daughter of William and Sophia Sabbage.
  8. 23 Aug Pte Joseph Robinson aged 41 years.
  9. 8 Sept Melita Mary Nickson aged 4 months, daughter of QM J. Nickson.
  10. 20 Oct Grace Jones aged 37 years, wife of Pte Robert Jones.
  11. 22 Nov Emily Ritchie aged 2 years, daughter of A. Ritchie.
  12. 27 Nov William Wardley aged 2 years, son of William Wardley.
  13. 29 Nov William Emslie aged 7 months, son of William Emslie.
  14. 9 Dec Pte Peter McKinlay aged 36 years.
  15. 11 Dec Pte William Frost.

1834 73rd Foot

Malta 12 Apr 1834 The Service Companies, (17 officers, 466 men, 60 women and 94 children), embarked for Corfu on the transport Jupiter. The 73rd was relieved by the 53rd Foot from Gibraltar.

The following were buried at Malta in 1834:

  1. 6 Jan Pte William Johnson aged 27 years.
  2. 23 Jan Pte Alexander Ritchie aged 33 years.

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. TNA:WO 265/1. Quarterly Historical Reports, Headquarters Malta Command, 30 September – 31 December 1946.
  4. TNA:WO 379/11. Stations of Regiments 1859–1900.
  5. TNA:WO 156/121. Burial Register 1830–1837.
  6. 1Cannon R., 1851. Historical records of the 73rd Regiment, (2nd Battalion 42nd Royal Highlanders). London. Parker Furnwall and Parker, p 34.
  7. 2TNA:WO 334/10, Sick Returns and Reports of the Garrison of Malta from 1 January 1833 to 31 January 1834.
  8. TNA:WO 156/594. No 2, Marriage Register 1 January 1820 to 12 June 1839.
  9. TNA:WO 156/594. No 2, Baptism Register 2 January 1820 to 29 June 1839.