Army Medical Services and the Malta Garrison

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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. These 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. Only a few attained the international recognition achieved by such officers 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 attempts to tell the story of the Army Medical Services in Malta. Each year, from 1800 to 1979, is represented twice. A page links to the infantry regiments based at Malta and their regimental surgeons. Other parallel pages denote medical staff officers and RAMC officers who served in the military hospitals at Malta. The service record of each medical officer is shown. In addition, there is a series of articles relating to the sanitary conditions and diseases faced by the garrison. These are updated editions of those formerly published in the Journal of the Royal Army Medical Corps and Melita Historica.

The material for this work was gathered from documents held at the National Archives, the Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine, the Royal Army Medical Corps Museum Library, the Museum of the Royal Army Chaplains' Department, Prince Consort's Library, the National Library of Malta, Archives of the Br Med J (18), and online resources. It is covered by copyright. I am 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 (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