Regiments of the Malta Garrison
88th (Connaught Rangers)

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The 88th (Connaught Rangers)

The Harp and Crown with the motto Quis separabit was the badge of the 88th from its formation.

The 88th Foot was raised in Connaught on 25 September 1793, on the outbreak of war with revolutionary France.

On 1 July 1881, the 88th (Connaught Rangers) Regiment, merged with The 94th Regiment of Foot to become the First Battalion of The Connaught Rangers.

The Connaught Rangers disbanded in April 1922 on the formation of the Irish Republic.

The 88th (Connaught Rangers)

1840 88th (Connaught Rangers)

1 Dec 1840 640 men, 44 women and 59 children embarked at Cork. Six companies of the 88th (Connaught Rangers) arrived at Malta on 1 January 1841 and relieved the 47th Foot which sailed for the West Indies.

1841 88th (Connaught Rangers)

Malta 5 Mar 1841 Death of Paymaster Hay 88th Foot.

Malta 10 June Adjutant Lieut Fowler aged 21 years drowned in Valletta Harbour. He was sailing with his brother officers and a Maltese seaman when a sudden squall capsized their boat. Of the whole party three reached a boat from HMS Calcutta, but the deceased, who was a strong swimmer, drowned having received a blow to his head. His body was recovered to Bighi hospital, where every means was tried to restore animation, but the vital spark was already extinct. He was interred at the Protestant Burial Ground Floriana with military honours.2

Malta 12 Oct 1841 Pte Edward McGahan, quartered at Floriana barracks, fell to his death from the bastion near the Capuchin Convent while in a state of intoxication. He had been observed by two capuchin friars at the edge of the wall and had just been pulled back from the brink, when he made a second successful attempt at going over.3

The following married in Malta in 1841:

  1. 18 November Bachelor Sgt Schoolmaster James Berwick to Mary Joyce, spinster daughter of Pte John Joyce 88th Regiment.

The following was baptized in Malta in 1841:

  1. 24 Dec William Dunning son of Sgt Major Samuel Dunning and Mary, born on 7 December 1841.

1842 88th (Connaught Rangers)

Malta 2 May 1842 The 88th Foot marched from Floriana Barracks to the Cottonera District on the morning of 2 May. It replaced the 19th (1st Yorkshire, North Riding) Regiment of Foot.

The following married in Malta in 1842:

  1. 9 June Bachelor Cpl George McNally to Mary Mitchell, spinster daughter of Pte Patrick Mitchell 88th Regiment.

The following were baptized in Malta in 1842:

  1. 5 June William McClure born on 24 May 1842, son of Pte Thomas McClure and Margaret.
  2. 19 July Harry Leigh Townshend born on 27 June 1842, son of Capt Henry Townshend and Jane.
  3. 2 Oct Eliza Beswick born on 15 September 1842, daughter of School Master Sgt James Beswick and Mary.
  4. 25 Dec John Alfred Scott born on 17 December 1842, son of Acting Cpl Samuel Scott and Mary Ann.

12 Aug 1842 Strength 597 men.

1843 88th (Connaught Rangers)

Memorial to DI Naval Hosp William Martin now at Ta Braxia but previously at the chapel of St Oswald's Mtarfa. (Courtesy D. Vassallo)
Frame for memorial plaque at St Oswald's Chapel Mtarfa.

Malta 6 Mar 1843 Inspector of Naval Hospitals Martin was shot and killed by Pt John Naylon 88th Foot. Naylon was acquitted on the grounds of monomania and was placed in a lunatic asylum.

Malta May 1843 The 88th moved from Isola Barracks to Floriana Barracks, Fort Ricasoli and Tigne. It had 17 officers and 583 men at Cottonera with an officer and 58 men at Fort Ricasoli.

The following was baptized in Malta in 1843:

  1. 2 Apr Mary McNally born on 15 March 1843, daughter of Cpl George McNally and Mary was baptized by the Rev Edward Kitson officiating Chaplain to the Dockyard and Naval Hospital.

1844 88th (Connaught Rangers)

Malta 1844 The regimental strength was 562 men.

Malta Dec 1844 In December 1844 soldiers of the 88th complained of pulmonary symptoms.

1845 88th (Connaught Rangers)

Malta 28 Apr 1845 The 88th marched from Fort Lower St Elmo to Floriana Barracks which had been vacated by the 1st/42nd Foot.

1846 88th (Connaught Rangers)

Malta May 1846 The 88th moved from Floriana Barracks to Fort St Elmo during the annual rotation of regiments in the command.

The following were married in Malta in 1846:

  1. 2 Apr Widower Armourer Sgt Charles Carter to Margaret Holmes, spinster of the Parish of Clapham in Craven in the County of York England.
  2. 12 May Bachelor CSgt John Frederick Grier born in Guernsey to Mary Donoghoe, spinster and minor born in the Parish of Rathkeale in the County of Limerick, Ireland daughter of Sgt Patrick Donoghoe with the consent of her parents.

1847 88th (Connaught Rangers)

Malta 1846–47 Two soldiers drowned, and another was accidentally killed.

Malta 14 Jan 1847 543 men, 36 women and 53 children embarked for the West Indies on the transport Herfordshire. The troops embarked at 08:00 hrs at Kalkara under a pelting shower. The band of the 42nd Regiment played on the square on the passing regiment as a sign of respect.1

The 88th was replaced in station by the 1st/97th (Earl of Ulster's) Regiment.

The 88th (Connaught Rangers)

1854 88th (Connaught Rangers)

Malta 18 Apr 1854 The 88th arrived from Liverpool by the Cunard Company's steamer Niagara.

Nov 1854 The regiment had 19 officers and 522 men serving in the Crimea. In November, it had a large number of men sick with bowel complaints and cholera. Surgeon James Guy P Moore attributed the disease to wet and exposure, severe duty, insufficient shelter, inadequate clothing, scanty rations with no means of cooking them, the young soldiers frequently eating their salt pork raw.

1855 88th (Connaught Rangers)

The following were buried at Malta in 1855:

  1. 1 November Pte James Gates aged 19 years.
  2. 4 November Pte E Scott aged 19 years.
  3. 7 December Pte Joseph Barnaby aged 22 years.
  4. 29 December Pte William Gilver 88th Regiment.


  1. Famous Units. The National Army Museum. Available from http://www.nam.ac.uk/research/famous-units.
  2. Farmer, J. S., 1984. The regimental records of the British Army Reprint Edition, Trowbridge, Wiltshire: Crecy Books.
  3. Edwards, T. J., 1980. Regimental Badges First Edition, Tonbridge, Kent: Ernest Benn Ltd.
  4. TNA:WO 17/564. Returns of Infantry abroad, Malta 88th Regiment.
  5. 1Malta Mail no 237, 15 Jan 1847.
  6. 2The Malta Chronicle and United Service Gazette for the Mediterranean No 22, Malta 10 June 1841.
  7. 3The Malta Chronicle and United Services Gazette for the Mediterranean, No 49 Malta 12 Oct 1841.
  8. The Malta Times or Broad Sheet of the Mediterranean, 5 Sept 1840; Issue No 31.
  9. TNA:WO 156/113. Register of burials September 1853 to June 1862.
  10. TNA:WO 156/595. No 3, Marriage Register 11 July 1839 to 14 May 1859.
  11. TNA:WO 156/595. No 3, Baptism Register from 14 July 1839 to 25 December 1859.