The link between the Maltese Islands and the medical services of the British Crown was forged in the Wars of Revolutionary France. On 10 December 1799, British troops, with their regimental surgeons, under Brigadier–General Thomas Graham, disembarked at St Paul's Bay to assist the Maltese in ridding the islands of the French. On 4 September 1800, the French surrendered and were replaced by British troops. Britain maintained a continuous presence in Malta until 31 March 1979.
Countless medical officers came to these shores. Some married locally and made Malta their home. Others succumbed to disease and rest within its soil. A few attained international recognition, such as Sir David Bruce, who in 1887, while a Surgeon Captain at the Station Hospital Valletta, discovered the Micrococcus melitensis, the cause of Mediterranean Fever. The majority of medical officers, not being renowned for any major scientific breakthrough, are unknown to history, their memories cherished only by their descendants.
This site is a tribute to the Medical Department of the British Army in Malta. Each year, from 1799 to 1979, is represented. It gives the local medical events for that year, the regiments serving in Malta, and the names of the staff medical officers and regimental surgeons. Links take the reader to the medical history of the regiments and to the service records of medical officers. A series of articles traces the story of the Army Medical Services in the Maltese Islands.
The material for this work was gathered from documents held at the National Archives Kew, the Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine, the archives of the Army Medical Services, Prince Consort's Library, the National Library of Malta, Archives of the Imperial War Museum, as well as the medical journals and textbooks now accessible in a digitalised format.
I am extremely grateful to all who contributed by providing material and assistance. In particular I would like to thank Captain Peter Starling, Curator AMS Museum, Mr Michael Rowe, Military Medical Librarian, Mr Tim Ward Librarian Prince Consort's Library and his dedicated staff, Mr Alan Keighley of Malta Family History, the late Mr Joseph Bonnici of the National Library of Malta, and many others who have produced nuggets of information on their web pages.
Colonel Walter Bonnici L/RAMC (retd)