Regiments of the Malta Garrison
The Ancient Irish Fencibles

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The Ancient Irish Fencibles


The Irish (Ancient) Regiment of Fencible Infantry was enlisted during the French Revolutionary Wars. The term Fencible describes a form of militia raised for the defence of a particular district and for a limited time. The engagement on the part of the men is a voluntary one, and their service was restricted to the county in which they were raised. The Fencibles were, however, subsequently moved from their district and several Fencible Corps served in Ireland.

In 1801, the Irish (Ancient) Regiment of Fencible Infantry was ordered from Ireland to Minorca, but when more troops were required in Egypt, it was ordered to embark irrespective of its terms of engagement. In November 1801, a number of soldiers were left sick in the hospitals in Egypt and Minorca.

The Irish (Ancient) Regiment of Fencible Infantry had the following Companies:

  • Colonel's Coy commanded by Colonel Thomas Fitzgerald who was in England recruiting.
  • Lt Colonel's Coy commanded by Lt Col Charles Griffiths.
  • Major William Octavius Hamilton's Coy
  • Capt French's Coy
  • Capt John Loyd's Coy
  • Capt Thomas Sadlier's Coy
  • Capt Hogan's Coy
  • Capt Bartholomew Uniacke's Coy
  • Capt John Crampton's Coy
  • Capt Edward Atkin's Coy

The Ancient Irish Fencibles


Nov 1801 330 men of the Ancient Irish Fencibles arrived at Malta.

The following died between 25 August and 24 December 1801:

  • 25 Aug Pte James Brunman Capt Hogan's Coy.
  • 4 Oct Pte Martin Hayes Capt Uniacke's Coy.
  • 19 Oct Pte Patrick Page Capt Atkins' Coy.
  • 25 Oct Pte Patrick Cleary Capt Cramptons' Coy.
  • 26 Oct Pte James Gorman Lt Col Griffith's Coy.
  • 26 Oct Pte Patrick Binane Capt Atkins' Coy.
  • 5 Nov Pte John Carrole Major Hamilton's Coy.
  • 11 Nov Pte James Monahan Capt Atkins' Coy.
  • 13 Nov Pte Michael Kelly Capt Sadlier's Coy.
  • 17 Nov Pte Edward Lamon Capt Atkins' Coy.
  • 18 Nov Pte Charles Cowper Capt Cramptons' Coy.
  • 21 Nov Pte John Davern Capt Uniacke's Coy.
  • 24 Nov Pte Denis Hogan Capt Sadlier's Coy.
  • 18 Dec Pte William Dillon Col Fitzgerald's Coy.
  • 21 Dec Pte Michael McGurke Capt Loyd's Coy.
  • 21 Dec Pte Phil Kenny Capt Atkins' Coy.
  • 24 Dec Pte James Cain Capt Loyd's Coy.


1 Jan 1802 Strength: 21 Commissioned and Warrant Officers, 54 NCOs, 240 rank and file fit for duty, 93 rank and file sick, 421 total officers and men, 688 establishment.

17 Mar The day being St Patrick's day all the Irish Regiments were excused from mounting guard. The men had permission to get as drunk as they pleased. At a very early hour evident symptoms of inebriation were to be seen among the 27th and Ancient Irish Fencibles.1

18 Mar 1802 The Ancient Irish Fencibles embarked for England.

The following died between 25 Dec 1801 to 24 Feb 1802:

  • 30 Dec 1801 Pte John Reily Capt Uniacke's Coy.
  • 5 Jan 1802 Pte Robert Kelly Capt French's Coy.
  • 4 Feb Pte Samuel Armstrong Col Fitgerald's Coy.
  • 23 Feb 1802 Pte Michael Hartwell Capt French's Coy.


  • TNA:WO 13/3865, 1801 – 1802 Muster Books and Pay Lists Fencible Infantry, Irish (Ancient).
  • TNA:WO 17/2117, 1800 – 1844 Monthly Returns to the Adjutant General.
  • 1Register No 1 A, Journal of a voyage to Egypt kept by the Reverend D P Cosserat April 29th 1801.