Regiments of the Malta Garrison
De Meuron's Regiment

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The De Meuron's Regiment


De Meuron's Regiment was the oldest of the three Swiss Regiments in British pay. The other two regiments were de Roll's Regiment raised in 1794 and De Watteville Regiment raised in 1797.

In 1781, Count Charles Daniel de Meuron raised a Swiss Regiment for the Dutch East India Company. The regiment formed part of the force which expelled the English from Trincomalee in 1783. However, the Dutch failed to pay them, and in September 1795, during the investment of Ceylon by the British, the Regiment De Meuron transferred its services to the British Crown.

His Majesty's Regiment de Meuron was shipped to India at the end of October 1795 during the height of the investment of Colombo by the British, which fell on 15 February 1796. It took part in operations against Tippoo Sahib and was present at the storming of Seringapatam on 4 May 1799.

On 11 October 1806, His Majesty's Regiment de Meuron left India for England. It disembarked at the Isle of Wight some eight months later, from where it moved to its depôt at Lymington. The regiment was next sent to Gibraltar.

In February 1808, Britain sent an army of 5000 men to Gibraltar and thence to join the Army of Occupation of Messina. Among the troops were 167 men of His Majesty's Regiment de Meuron, and 824 men of de Watteville Regiment. De Meuron's regiment passed two uneventful years at Messina until Murat's failed invasion of Sicily in September 1810.

De Meuron's Regiment was in Malta in 1809. It left for Canada in 1813, and was disbanded in July 1816 when 343 men including 79 women and 30 children remained in Canada as settlers.

The De Meuron's Regiment

1808 De Meuron's

June 1808 Arrived at Malta.

1 Aug Strength: 21 Commissioned and Warrant Officers, 56 NCOs, 242 rank and file fit for duty, 19 rank and file sick, 358 total officers and men, 504 establishment.

1 Sep Strength: 33 Commissioned and Warrant Officers, 47 NCOs, 256 rank and file fit for duty, 11 rank and file sick, 355 total officers and men, 504 establishment.

1 Dec 1808 Strength: 24 Commissioned and Warrant Officers, 47 NCOs, 265 rank and file fit for duty, 13 rank and file sick, 366 total officers and men, 504 establishment.

1809 De Meuron's

1810 De Meuron's

25 June 1810 Field officers present: 3; Captains present: 5; Subalterns present: 11; Rank and File (Effective): 780; Rank and File (Establishment): 1000; On passage: 9; At Home: 8.

1810 The regiment was composed almost entirely of French deserters of various nations. The men occupied Floriana Barracks.

1811 De Meuron's

6 Oct 1811 Letter to GOC Malta from Downing Street: The 7th Bn Kings German Legion is now embarking and will proceed to Malta when it will form part of the garrison. When they arrive the Regiment of De Meuron is to be embarked for Sicily.1

1812 De Meuron's

The men were at Vittoriosa.

25 Mar 1812 New uniforms arrived at Malta, the third change since it had entered British service. The former coatee, round hat and gaiters were replaced by a jacket, trousers and a shako with red, green or white plume in the case of the grenadier, chasseur, and fusilier companies respectively. The officers' full dress included a blue silk sash with an orange fringe.

21 Aug The regiment returned from Sicily and entered into quarantine at Malta.

25 Oct Field officers present: 1; Captains present: 6; Subalterns present: 14; Rank and File (Effective): 1030; Rank and File (Establishment): 1200; On passage: 0; At Home: 46.

25 Dec 1812 Field officers present: 2; Captains present: 6; Subalterns present: 14; Rank and File (Effective): 1028; Rank and File (Establishment): 1200; At Home: 56.

1813 De Meuron's

25 Feb 1813 Field officers present: 2; Captains present: 6; Subalterns present: 15; Rank and File (Effective): 1026; Rank and File (Establishment): 1200.

The regiment was at Cottonera.

5 May 1813 Embarked for Canada where it arrived in August 1813.


6 Jan 1829 Marriage of Jean David Dombre, Bachelor of Geneva, Switzerland, half-pay Lieutenant of De Meuron Regiment to Rose Elizabeth Bornand, spinster of the Commune de Donnatire, Switzerland both residing in Malta.


  • 21 Oct 1830 Burial of Jane Eliza Dombre, born on 2 December 1829, aged 10 months, daughter of Lt Jean David Dombre and his wife Marie Elise Bornand. (Note burial register gives different name from marriage register.)
  • Bibliography

    • 1TNA:CO 158/21, Malta Colonial Correspondence, Downing Street to Oakes dated 6 October 1811.
    • Davidson F.H.N., 1936. His Majesty's Regiment De Meuron, The Army Quarterly October 1936.
    • Forrer L., 1947. A few notes on Swiss officers and mercenary regiments in the pay of England. The British Numismatic Journal Vol XXV, 1947.
    • TNA:WO 156/594. No 2, Marriage Register 1 January 1820 to 12 June 1839.