Troopships and the Regiment

Movement of troops

The Illustrated London News regularly printed information on the sailing of troopships and change of station of regiments.

One such item was published on the 7th August 1877 under the headline:-

Troops for the Mediterranean

The Illustrations on our front page show the second battalion of the 2nd (Queen’s Royal) Regiment leaving Aldershott, on Thursday week, and going on board the transport-ship Euphrates on the Watering Island Jetty in Portsmouth Dockyard. This battalion numbered twenty-four officers, thirty-six sergeants, and 835 rank and file, with seven horses. The men were mostly very young, but had a soldierly appearance. They were in heavy marching order, and each man carried the new pattern valise, mess-can, water-bottle, top coat, and haversack, with the Martini-Henry rifle, and side-arms; but the shako was left behind, and a light Glengarry cap worn instead, to be replaced by a pith helmet at Malta. The troops marched from the Factory Gate through the dockyard in fours, but without any music of the band, which has been found to distract the dockyard labourers from their work. An hour or two later came a detachment of the 104th Regiment, from the Curragh, part of which embarked in the Euphrates; the same vessel had already received, on the previous day, about 500 men of the 64th, the 108th, and the 27th Regiments. These troops did not like the 2nd Regiment, carry their own kits and rifles on board the ship. At seven in the evening when all the detachments had come on board, the Euphrates was towed from the jetty, amidst the cheers of the assembled spectators, the band playing and the troops cheering on the deck. These forces are to join the head-quarters of the 27th and 98th Regiments, forming the garrison of Malta. The transport-ship Crocodile also takes out from Portsmouth some draughts from the 104th Regiment, at the Curragh, the 79th Highland Regiment, from Fort George, and the 78th and 71st Highland Regiments, from Edinburgh. These arrived at Portsmouth and embarked in the Crocodile the same evening. The Malabar, the Jumna, and the Serapis will convey other detachments of troops.

The strength of the garrison of Malta about ten years ago, before the reduction of our military establishments in the colonies, was eight batteries of  Artillery, with an aggregate strength of 805 non-commissioned officers and men; two companies of Royal Engineers, numbering 178; six battalions of Infantry, 4232 strong; and the Malta Fencible Artillery, 591; the whole garrison numbering 5854 non-commissioned officers and men. The establishment of the present garrison, including  officers, is 5098-viz., Artillery, seven batteries, 1022; Engineers, two companies, 198; Infantry, five battalions, 3440; and the Malta Fencible Artillery, 371. The additions now being made consist of the second battalions of the 2nd Queen’s and the 13th Light Infantry, each 902 of all ranks, or 1804 altogether, with draughts as follows:- 195 to the 27th Regiment, 288 to the 42nd, 245 to the 71st, 239 to the 98th, and 231 to the 101st, making the total reinforcements 3002, and bringing the strength of the garrison up to 81000 of all ranks.


The regiments named in the text are (or were)
104th Regiment – 2nd Bn Royal Munster Fusiliers
64th Regiment – 2nd Bn The Staffordshire Regiment
108th Regiment – 2nd Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers
98th Regiment – The North Staffordshire Regiment
27th Regiment – The Inniskilling Fusiliers
79th The Highlanders
78th The Seaforth Highlanders
101st The Royal Bengal Fusiliers
42nd Regiment – The Black Watch

Note, spelling is as printed in 1877


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