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Regiments of the Malta Garrison
85th (Buck's Volunteers)
(King's Light Infantry)

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The 85th (Buck's Volunteers) (King's Light Infantry)

Introduction

The 85th Foot was raised in Buckinghamshire in 1794 on the outbreak of war with revolutionary France.

In 1801, The Bucks Volunteers Militia was incorporated into the 85th Regiment of Foot. It became a Light Infantry Corps in 1808.

In 1815, it added to its title The Duke of York's Own after the Prince Regent's younger brother Frederick.

In 1821, the regiment was retitled The 85th (Buck's Volunteers) (King's Light Infantry) Regiment.

On 1 July 1881, the 85th amalgamated with the 53rd (Shropshire) Regiment to form the Second Battalion of 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 Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, The King's Shropshire Light Infantry, The Durham Light Infantry and The Somerset and Cornwall Light Infantry, merged to form the Light Infantry.

The 85th (Buck's Volunteers) (King's Light Infantry)

1821 85th (Bucks Volunteers) (King's Light Infantry)

13 July 1821 The 85th arrived from England. Inspector of Hospitals John Hennen reported that the it was a Light Infantry battalion and the men were generally active and healthy, and in the prime of life. 1

37 cases of ophthalmia were admitted to the ophthalmia hospital between July and December 1821. Among these were:

  • 15 Aug 1821 Pte Patrick Carmichael, 22 years admitted with sore eyes from dirt entering his eyes while on guard on the 13th at the Botanical Gardens.
  • 24 Aug Pte William Mackenzie, 24 years, a Scotsman of occasional irregular habits and of a delicate constitution was admitted with pain around the globe of his left eye with intolerance of light.
  • 12 Oct Pte John Sutherland, 41 years, of a debilitated and worn out constitution and very irregular habits was admitted with a red sore left eye which came on while on guard. Eight leeches were applied to the left eye. When his symptoms recurred he was bled 25 ounces (750 mls), and given purgatives and mercury based sudorifics to reduce the force of the circulation. On 28 Oct, his right cornea ulcerated and the right iris contracted. He also developed a prolapsed left iris and opaque left cornea.
  • 12 Oct Pte John Wells, 28 years, with a prolapse of his left iris and contracted pupil.
  • 14 Sep 1821 Pte John Moran, 25 years with adhesions of his iris, opaque right cornea, a dense opaque left cornea with partial degree of vision.

The following were baptised in 1821:

  • 22 July Maria Sheridan daughter of Sgt John Sheridan and Mary, born on 19 June.
  • 29 July John Dickey son of Pte James Dickey and Jane, born on 3 June.
  • 26 Aug Sarah Louisa Thompson daughter of Paymaster George Ash Thompson and Emma, born on 19 August.
  • 4 Nov George Francis Atkins son of Sgt Major John Atkins and Eleanor, born on 21 September.
  • 4 Nov Jane Drake daughter of Pte James Drake and Sarah, born on 21 October.
  • 18 Nov Anne Jane Barre daughter of Cpl John Barre and Elizabeth, born on 15 November.
  • 2 Dec George Malsbury son of Sgt William Malsbury and Elizabeth, born on 23 October.
  • 9 Dec Samuel Furphy son of Sgt Samuel Furphy and Margaret, born on 18 November.
  • 9 Dec Thomas Taylor son of Pte Thomas Taylor and Elizabeth, born on 7 December.

The following were buried in 1821:

  • 10 Nov Ensign Hesse Maxwell Gordon youngest son of William Hesse Gordon of the Civil Service Madras, aged 17 years. (Quarantine Bastion Cemetery Floriana).
  • 22 Dec Henry Collins son of Sgt William Collins, aged 1 year 10 months. (Military and Civil Cemetery Floriana).

1822 85th (Bucks Volunteers) (King's Light Infantry)

21 Mar–20 June 1822 The average strength of the 85th Regiment was 647 men. The regiment had been at Lower St Elmo barracks, Valletta since October 1821 where it furnished the guards for the garrison for four days in the week. The regiment stationed in Floriana covered the other three days. In September, the 85th moved from Valletta to Vittoriosa.

Ophthalmia was prevalent during the year, but no cases of pulmonary diseases were reported. Assistant Surgeon Whitney Luke attributed the comparative exemption of the Corps from pulmonary disease to the exclusive use of flannel shirts, to the exclusion of linen or calico, an assumption which I think there can be very little difficulty in admitting.

One men died during the Winter Quarter (21 Dec 1821 to 20 Mar 1822). Part of the regimental hospital was set aside for the admission of 27 ophthalmia patients so as to relieve the overcrowding of the ophthalmia hospital in the General Hospital. The ophthalmia hospital had been under the supervision of Staff Assistant Surgeon James Kennedy who had admitted 133 patients in the first half of 1822. Fifty three soldiers of the 85th Regiment were admitted with ophthalmia as compared to only 15 soldiers from the 80th Foot.

There were 9 cases of Continued or Summer fever, (Phlebotomus fever), with one death during the Spring Quarter (21 March to 20 June 1822), which the PMO John Hennen, attributed to an increased atmospheric temperature operating upon the bodies of those who are exposed to the unmitigated rays of the sun, the effects of which, especially on new comers, are in many instances rendered more violent, by the previous exhaustion from fatigue and intemperance.1 The fever usually subsided on the second or third day, while convalescence was established by the end of the third or the beginning of the fourth day. Overall, during 1822, the 85th had a total of 102 admissions for fever with 3 deaths.

The diseases in the 85th during the Autumn Quarter (21 Sep to 20 Dec 1822), were ascribed by the PMO to the cold temperature an intoxication. An invalid in the regimental hospital died of dyspnoea continua, another soldier from continued fever and a third from phthisis pulmonalis. Thirty seven soldiers were admitted with ophthalmia.

The following were baptised in 1822:

  • 13 Jan Esther Collins daughter of Sgt William Collins and Hannah, born on 1 December 1821.
  • 3 Feb William Kirkham son of Pte John Kirkham and Jane, born on 19 January 1822.
  • 17 Feb Laura Mary Plunkett De Bathe daughter of Major William Plunkett De Bathe and Mary, born on 27 January.
  • 21 Mar John Clemens son of Pte Richard Clemens and Hannah, born on 21 March.
  • 24 Mar Elizabeth Aked daughter of Pte James Aked and Elizabeth, born on 12 March.
  • 2 Apr John Hargreave son of Pte William Hargreave and Margaret, born on 17 March.
  • 14 Apr Edward Orr son of Pte Thomas Orr and Sarah, born on 21 March.
  • 25 Aug Charlotte Kingston daughter of Pte William Kingston and Catharine, born on 2 August.
  • 29 Sep John Wilcox son of Pte William Wilcox and Margaret, born on 17 September.
  • 6 Oct James Wallace son of Pte Alexander Wallace and Mary, born on 28 September.

The following were buried in 1822:

  • 16 Sep Sgt James White 85th King's Light Infantry, aged 29 years, died of continued fever 3 days after his admission to the hospital. (Quarantine Bastion Cemetery Floriana).
  • 28 Sep Hannah Walker wife of Armourer Sgt William Walker, aged 45 years. (Quarantine Bastion Cemetery Floriana).
  • 1822 Richard Hilton aged 30 years, died of continued fever 14 days after his admission to the hospital.
  • 1822 James Devett aged 30 years, had concealed his illness and died of pneumonia 14 hours after his admission to the hospital.
  • 1822 J Richardson aged 33 years, died of phthisis 7 days after his admission to the hospital with acute catarrh.
  • 1822 Charles Williams aged 22 years, died of phthisis 109 days after his admission to the hospital with acute catarrh.
  • 1822 Cpl William McKee aged 28 years, died of phthisis pulmonalis 111 days after his admission to the hospital.
  • 1822 John Chiswick aged 25 years, died of phthisis pulmonalis 23 days after his admission to the hospital with chronic catarrh.
  • 1822 James Keating aged 29 years, died of chronic dysentery 57 days after his admission to the hospital.
  • 1822 John McCudden aged 23 years, died of diarrhoea secondary to phthisis on the 55th day of his illness.
  • 1822 William Barns aged 29 years, died of a diseased hip joint on the 275th day of his illness.

1823 85th (Bucks Volunteers) (King's Light Infantry)

1823 The 85th had an average daily sick of 630 men. The ratio of sick to well was 1:20. The main diseases were ulcers and continued fever which was blamed on intemperance.The regiment had 50 admissions for fever with two deaths.

The regimental hospital of the 85th also looked after the sick of the Invalid Depôt from the Ionian Islands. Between 21 Sept and 20 Dec 1823, 205 invalids arrived at Malta from the Ionian islands.

Ophthalmia prevailed in the children of the regiment during the summer quarter (21 June to 20 Sep). Assistant Surgeon Luke whitney reported:

Ophthalmia among the children has been very prevalent, nearly the whole of the soldier's children have been affected, but in a slight degree. The cure was effected on an average in six days. The disease was attended for the first three days with considerable mucous discharge and a rose coloured appearance of the conjunctiva. Three of the women have been attacked rather severely. The measures adopted for their cure was confinement, perfect cleanliness, opening medicinal and alum lotion, 3 grains to an ounce of water.

The following were married in 1823:

  • 14 Mar Bachelor Cpl George Brooks to Mary Keating, widow of Pte James Keating 85th King's Light Infantry Regiment.
  • 9 May Bachelor Pte Michael Coffee to Mary Wallace, widow of Pte James Wallace 85th King's Light Infantry Regiment.

The following were baptised in 1823:

  • 9 Feb Andrew Forbes son of Sgt Alexander Forbes and Mary, born on 6 February 1823.
  • 16 Feb Arthur Atkins son of Sgt Maj John Atkins and Eleanor, born on 15 January3.
  • 7 Mar Thomas Jones son of Pte Thomas Jones and Anne, born on 2 March.
  • 27 Mar Thomas Milne son of Cpl Samuel Milne and Eleanor, born on 3 March.
  • 11 May George Penwane Welling son of Captain George Welling and Anne, born on 24 April.
  • 17 July Henry Percival Plunkett De Bathe son of Major William Percival Plunkett De Bathe and Mary, born on 19 June.
  • 20 July John Richardson son of Pte William Richardson and Elizabeth, born on 29 June.
  • 21 Sep James Dickey son of Pte James Dickey and Jane, born on 11 September.

The following were buried in 1823:

  • 1823 Christopher Reilly aged 30 years, died on the 6th day of continued fever, the consequence of repeated intoxication.
  • 1823 James Dillon aged 35 years, of very intemperate habits died on the 11th day of continued fever.

1824 85th (Bucks Volunteers) (King's Light Infantry)

1824 Strength: 550 men.

The following were buried in 1823:

  • 1823 Thomas Wilkinson aged 37 years, a hard drinker of ardent spirits died from phthisis at the end of nine months from first complaining of dyspnoea.
  • 1823 Alexander Wallace aged 27 years, died of a pulmonary affection of an asthmatic nature on the 123rd day after admission. He was a habitual drunkard of a scrofulous habit.
  • 14 Oct Burial of William Collins infant son of QM Sgt Collins 85th Regiment. (Military and Civil Cemetery Floriana).
  • 29 Oct William Crewys aged 42 years, died of phthisis during the second month of his admission. He was a blacksmith of intemperate habits with his digestive and hepatic organs greatly disordered.
  • 18 Dec James Drake aged 29 years, died of dysentery.
  • 28 Dec Edward Williams aged 36 years, died from pulmonary consumption.

The following were baptised in 1824:

  • 11 Jan Mary Anne Sheridan daughter of Sgt John Sheridan and Mary, born on 27 December 1823.
  • 22 Feb William Dixon Collins son of Sgt William Collins and Hannah, born on 7 February 1824.
  • 22 Feb Andrew Forbes son of Sgt Alexander Forbes and Mary Anne, born on 2 February.
  • 7 Mar William Hargraves son of Pte William Hargraves and Margaret, born on 21 February.
  • 7 Apr Jane Atkins daughter of Sgt Major John Atkins and Eleanor, born on 9 March.
  • 31 May John Kirkham son of Pte John Kirham and Jane, born on 23 May.
  • 27 June William Adair son of Sgt Hugh Adair and Jane, born on 14 May.
  • 8 Aug John Williams son of Pte Walter Williams and Rosanna, born on 28 July.
  • 29 Aug Maria Beavis daughter of Pte George Watts and Mary Ann, born on 22 August.
  • 7 Nov William Clements son of Pte Richard Clements and Hannah, born on 5 October.
  • 20 Nov William Herbert Taylor son of Pte Thomas Taylor and Elizabeth, born on 13 November.

1825 85th (Bucks Volunteers) (King's Light Infantry)

The following were baptised in 1825:

  • 24 May Thomas Aked son of Pte James Aked and Elizabeth, born on 23 May 1825 was publicly admitted into the church on 29 May 1825.
  • 5 June William Milne son of Hospital Sgt Samuel Milne and Ellen, born on 21 May.
  • 12 June Thomas Kirkham son of Pte John Kirkham and Jane, born on 26 September 1819, and privately baptised at Lutterworth on 7 October 1819 was publicly received into the church on 12 June.
  • 3 Oct Sarah Forbes daughter of Sgt Alexander Forbes and Mary Anne, born on 3 October.

The following were buried in 1825:

  • 6 June Assistant Surgeon David Brown.
  • 10 Mar William Henshaw, son of Pte Henshaw King's Light Infantry, (Military and Civil Cemetery Floriana).
  • 19 July Sgt William Carr, aged 41 years. (Quarantine Bastion Cemetery Floriana).

1826 85th (Bucks Volunteers) (King's Light Infantry)

1826 Listed as being at Gibraltar.

The following were married in 1826:

  • 27 Mar Widower QM Sgt William Collins to Ann Elizabeth Martin, spinster daughter of Bdr William Martin RA.
  • 4 Apr Widower CSgt Joel Hooper to Mary Ann Webb, a widow of the Parish of St Martin in the Fields, Middlesex.
  • 25 Apr Bachelor Pte John Hart to Mary Ann Bradley, a spinster of Cheltenham in the County of Gloucester.
  • 16 May Bachelor Pte Samuel Jones to Isabella Hewett, spinster of the Parish of Kelton in the County of Galloway, Scotland.
  • 2 June Bachelor CSgt William Watson to Rachel McBryan, spinster daughter of Pte John McBryan 85th Regiment.
  • 21 July Bachelor Pte Richard Halford to Mary Pencile, spinster.
  • 16 Aug Bachelor Pte Frederick Simpson to Mary Needham, spinster daughter of James Needham of Messina, deceased.
  • 8 Dec Bachelor Cpl Andrew McClelland to Margaret McGuiggan, spinster daughter of Gnr James McGuiggan RA, deceased.

The following were baptised in 1826:

  • 16 Jan Harriet Emma Thompson daughter of Pay Master George Ash Thompson and Emma Dorothea, born on 20 December 1825.
  • 30 Apr Elizabeth Rose Williams daughter of Pte Walter Williams and Rose Hannah, born on 20 April 1826.
  • 23 July William Watts son of Pte George Watts and Mary Anne, born on 16 July.
  • 23 July William Miller son of Hospital Sgt William Miller and Elizabeth, born on 5 July.
  • 14 Aug Eliza Jane daughter of Sgt Major Hugh Adair and Jane, born on 26 July.
  • 10 Sept Robert Kirkham son of Pte John Kirkham and Jane, born on 30 August.
  • 17 Dec Mary Jane Williamson daughter of Pte Richard Williamson and Ellenor, born on 6 December.

The following were buried 1826:

  • 1 Jan Cpl Jeremiah Lodge, aged 34 years. (Quarantine Bastion Cemetery Floriana).
  • 9 Apr Pte Thomas Orr, aged 36 years. (Quarantine Bastion Cemetery Floriana).

1827 85th (Bucks Volunteers) (King's Light Infantry)

16 Jan 1827 476 men, 44 women and 64 children embarked for Gibraltar.

1828 85th (Bucks Volunteers) (King's Light Infantry)

5 Apr 1828 487 men returned from Gibraltar.

3 Sep Burial of Elizabeth Miller wife of Hospital Sgt William Miller 85th Regiment, (Quarantine Bastion Cemetery Floriana).

The following was baptised in 1828:

  • 18 May William Holford son of Pte Richard Holford and Mary, born on 8 May 1828.
  • 25 May Letitia Simpson daughter of Pte Frederick Simpson and Mary, born on 3 May.
  • 25 May Margaret King daughter of Bugle Major John King and Margaret, born on 4 May.
  • 25 May Daniel King son of Bugle Major John King and Margaret, born on 9 February 1826, was publicly received into the church. A doubt having subsequently arisen as to whether the child had been baptised in England by a lawfully ordained minister he was again brought to the font on 27 May 1828 and baptised in the form of words prescribed in such cases.
  • 6 July Joseph Kirkham son of Pte John Kirkham and Jane, born on 21 June.
  • 13 July Thomas John Morrell son of mess man to the officers' mess 85th Regiment and Catherine, born on 4 April.
  • 20 July Jane Clements daughter of Pte Richard Clements and Hannah, born on 5 July.
  • 4 Oct Henry Ash Thompson son of Pay Master George Ash Thompson and Emma Dorothea, born on 9 September.
  • 12 Oct George Porter son of Sgt Samuel Porter and Sarah, born on 22 September.
  • 20 Oct Richard Hooper son of CSgt Joel Hooper and Mary Ann, born on 5 October.
  • 2 Nov Elizabeth Allen daughter of Pte Francis Allen and Joanna, born on 20 October.
  • 30 Nov Frederick Cook son of Pte William Cook and Elizabeth, born on 9 November.

1829 85th (Bucks Volunteers) (King's Light Infantry)

10 Jan 1829 Burial of Armourer Sgt William Walker 85th King's Light Infantry, aged 52 years. (Quarantine Bastion Cemetery Floriana).

25 Sep Strength 515 men (6 coys).

The following were married in 1829:

  • 14 Mar Bachelor Lt John James of Little Shelford in the County of Cambridge to Susannah Amie Anne Gardner, spinster daughter of the Hon Colonel W H Gardner RA.
  • 21 Apr Widower Pte Michael Kelly to Mary Ann Murphy spinster, of the Cove of Cork, Ireland.

The following were baptised in 1829:

  • 28 Mar John Williamson son of Pte Richard Williamson and Ellen, born on 21 March 1829.
  • 17 May William George Kennedy Watts son of Pte George Watts and Mary, born on 6 May.

1830 85th (Bucks Volunteers) (King's Light Infantry)

25 Feb 1830 Strength 513 men (6 coys).

The following were married in 1830:

  • 5 Aug Bachelor Pte Ewan (Irwin) Armstrong to Hannah Birchall, widow of Pte John Birchall 85th Regiment.
  • 21 Nov Bachelor Pte Edward Johnson to Ellen Williamson, widow of Pte Richard Williamson 85th Regiment.
  • 20 Dec Bachelor Sgt Frederick Brown to Anne Mortimer, widow of the Parish of Cairnie Banffshire, Scotland.

The following were baptised in 1830:

  • 17 Jan John King son of Bugle Major John King and Margaret, born on 5 January 1830.
  • 2 Mar Mary Anne Porter daughter of CSgt Samuel Porter and Sarah, born on 11 February.
  • 14 Apr Margaret Louisa James daughter of Lt John James and Susannah Annie Anne, born on 16 March.
  • 27 June Rebecca Fraser daughter of School Master Sgt John Fraser and Sarah, born on 11 June.
  • 5 Sep George James Neill son of QM Sgt William Neill and Mary, born on 16 March.
  • 7 Nov Robert Hooper son of Sgt Joel Hooper and Mary Ann, born on 13 October.
  • 13 Dec Mary Holford daughter of Pte Richard Holford and Mary, born on 1 December.

The following were buried in 1830:

  • 18 Jan Elizabeth Cooke aged 31 years, wife of Acting L/Cpl W Cooke.
  • 18 Jan John King aged 14 days, son of Bugle Major John King.
  • 1 Feb School Master Sgt John McDonald aged 38 years.
  • 23 Feb Pte Thomas Rowe aged 21 years.
  • 23 Mar Pte Isaac Clayton aged 23 years.
  • 29 Mar Pte William Brooke aged 41 years.
  • 8 Apr Pte James Knutter aged 36 years.
  • 24 May Frederick Cooke aged 16 months, son of Cpl William Cooke.
  • 8 June Pte John Brichall aged 38 years.
  • 18 June Pte Thomas Tedford aged 38 years.
  • 5 July Robert Hooper aged 20 months, son of CSgt Joel Hooper.
  • 26 July Pte Robert Parker aged 38 years.
  • 7 Aug Margaret Seymour aged 2 years, daughter of Sgt J. Seymour.
  • 25 Aug Pte Richard Clements aged 42 years.
  • 27 Sep Pte Richard Williamson aged 23 years.
  • 12 Oct Jane Clements aged 2 years.
  • 14 Oct Pte William Bell aged 32 years.
  • 5 Nov Pte Henry Smith aged 32 years.

1831 85th (Bucks Volunteers) (King's Light Infantry)

1 Apr 1831 Strength: Six companies Rank and File 473 (Effective), 515 (Established).

3–20 Oct 1831 The 85th embarked for England through a direct order from the Horse Guards to the commanding officer, but without any order or communication to the Lieutenant Governor from the Secretary of State for the Colonial Department. It was replaced at Malta by the 42nd Royal Highland Regiment. The 85th arrived at Winchester in December 1831.

The following were married in 1831:

  • 5 Mar Bachelor Pte George Williams to Sarah Young, spinster of the Parish of Ballymoney County Antrim, Ireland.
  • 11 Aug Bachelor Sgt Major Alexander Patterson to Isabella Riddle, spinster.
  • 10 Oct Widower Pte William Miller to Martha Mellor, widow.

The following were baptised in 1831:

  • 6 Jan Mary Ann Seymour daughter of Armourer Sgt Joseph Seymour and Margaret, born on 6 November 1830.
  • 30 Jan William Henry Collins son of QM William Collins and Ann Elizabeth, born on 30 December 1830.
  • 13 Feb Sarah Kirkham daughter of Pte John Kirkham and Jane, born on 28 January 1831.
  • 4 Sep Olivia Mary Simpson daughter of Pte Frederick Simpson and Mary, born on 25 August 1831 was baptised by the Rev Edmond Winder Chaplain HMS St Vincent.

The following were buried in 1831:

  • 15 Feb Pte James Chadwick aged 42 years.
  • 25 Feb Pte James Walker aged 38 years.
  • 28 Feb Pte Richard Taylor aged 31 years.
  • 31 Mar Pte John Nixon aged 37 years.
  • 13 June Pte David Mellar aged 48 years.
  • 12 Aug Pte James Dunlop aged 32 years.
  • 5 Oct Pte George Finney aged 30 years.

The 85th (Buck's Volunteers) (King's Light Infantry)

1842 — 85th (Bucks Volunteers) (King's Light Infantry)

10 Feb 1842 Death of Lt Adams 85th Foot.

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.
  • Famous Units. The National Army Museum. Available from http://www.nam.ac.uk/research/famous-units.
  • 1Hennen J., Reports on diseases of the garrison of Malta 21 June-23 Sept 1823. Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine RAMC 374.
  • TNA:WO 156/121. Burial Register 1830–1837.
  • Hennen J., Quarterly Report of the diseases in the garrison of Malta from 21 Mar to 20 June 1822.
  • TNA:WO 156/122; List of gravestones at the Military and Civil Cemetery 1801–1865 and the Quarantine Bastion Cemetery 1819–1867 compiled by the Rev D B L Foster Assistant Chaplain General Western Mediterranean in May 1939.
  • Cannon J., 1990, The Quarantine Bastion Cemetery Malta. Bucks Cannon Associates.
  • 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.