Colonel Benjamin Howard Vella Dunbar
DSO (1917) MD (Malta)
19 Sep 1878 [St Julians Malta] – 18 Nov 1965 [Yately Hampshire]
Colonel Benjamin Howard Vella Dunbar was commissioned in the Royal Army Medical Corps as a Lieutenant on probation on 31 January 1903. From 1901, the University of Malta held the privilege of nominating one graduate for a commission in the Royal Army Medical Corps. In October 1901, the Government of Malta nominated Dr Benjamin Howard Vella Dunbar MD.
On 5 October 1901, the Malta Government proposed to the War Office, that a limited number of graduates of the Malta University in medicine, with a thorough knowledge of English, should be selected at intervals for appointments to the RAMC, in the same way as nominations to it are made from the London hospitals.
On 31 October 1901, Mr Broderick, Secretary of State for War, regretted that as he had
in contemplation the revision of the regulations governing the conditions under which appointments to commissions in the RAMC have been made, he is unable at present to give a definite reply to your letter but wishes to state that these recommendations shall receive very careful consideration.2
On 26 September 1901, medical degrees granted by the University of Malta became recognised by the General Medical Council, and graduates of the University of Malta became eligible to compete for commissions in the RAMC. Consequently, the Secretary of State for War considered it inadvisable to make an exception in their favour to the rule of entry by competition. On 30 January 1902, he informed the officer administering the Government of Malta that he was unable to accede to the request of Mr Vella Dunbar for a commission in the Corps.
31 Jan 1903 Appointed Lieutenant RAMC on probation. One of the first two Maltese doctors to hold commissions in the Royal Army Medical Corps. The other was Lt Joseph Edward Henry Gatt MD MRCP who was born at Vittoriosa, Malta on 14 April 1876 and was commissioned on 31 January 1903.
1903 Married Helen Maud England.
Mar 1904 Moved to Bombay. Served in India until 1908.
31 July 1906 Promoted Captain RAMC.
Nov 1906 Change of station from Purandhar to Jubbulpore.
1908–May 1909 Served in Aden.
May 1909 Change of station from Aden to York (Northern Command).
Nov 1909 Change of station from York to Leeds.
Dec 1909 Change of station from Leeds to Richmond, Yorkshire.
8 Nov 1910 Birth of a daughter at Lynette Avenue, Clapham Common London.
July 1911 At Royal Army Medical College London.
Dec 1911 Change of station from Enniskillen to Belfast.
June 1912 Change of station from Belfast to Mosney.
Aug 1912 Change of station from Mosney to Belfast.
28 July 1914 Start of the Great War.
4 Aug 1914 Britain declares war on Germany.
Sep 1914 Reported to have been wounded in Northern France.
31 Oct 1914 Promoted Major RAMC. Served with the British Expeditionary Force in France (invalided).
5 Aug 1915–9 Aug 1917 Granted the rank of Temporary Lieutenant Colonel while in command of No 110 Field Ambulance.
4 Jan 1917 Acting Lt Col B H Vella Dunbar was mentioned in the dispatches of Sir Douglas Haig for distinguished and gallant services and devotion to duty, (London Gazette 4 January 1917).
4 June 1917 Became a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) (London Gazette).
9 Aug 1917 Relinquished the Acting rank of Temporary Lieutenant Colonel.
10 Aug 1917 Granted the Acting rank of Lieutenant Colonel while holding a special appointment.
Aug 1917–Dec 1917 Served in Italy as Senior Medical Officer (SMO) British Heavy Artillery attached to the Italian Army.
11 Dec 1917 Relinquished the Acting rank of Lieutenant Colonel on re-posting.
Nov 1918–Jan 1919 Granted Acting rank of Lieutenant Colonel while in command of No 2 Red Cross Hospital, Rouen.
6 Jan 1919–Mar 1919 Acting Lieutenant Colonel while in command of No 34 Casualty Clearing Station.
Mar 1919–7 Oct 1919 Acting Lieutenant Colonel while in command of No 19 Casualty Clearing Station.
Nov 1919 Relinquished the Acting rank of Lieutenant Colonel on posting.
1920–1923 Served in India.
1925–1927 Served with British Army of the Rhine (BAOR).
The BAOR was withdrawn on 15 December 1929 after ten years of occupation.
26 Dec 1925 Promoted Lieutenant Colonel RAMC on the promotion of Lt Col George Goslett Delap to Colonel.
1927–1931 Served in India.
1927–1930 Commanding Officer British Military Hospital Calcutta.
1930–1931 Commanding Officer British Military Hospital Quetta.
6 Dec 1930 Promoted Colonel L/RAMC on the retirement of Colonel Arthur Hunt Safford CBE.
1931–1934 Assistant Director of Medical Services (ADMS) HQ Home Counties (West).
6 Dec 1934 Placed on retired pay.
29 Aug 1939–1942 Re-employed as Assistant Director of Medical Services (ADMS) HQ West Lancs Area/District.
17 June 1942 Reverted to retired pay.
- Entry No: 313. Drew R. 1968. Commissioned Officers in the Medical Services of the British Army 1690–1960. Vol II Roll of Officers in the Royal Army Medical Corps 1898–1960, London: Wellcome Historical Medical Library.
- TNA:CO 158/343, RAMC and Malta Graduates War Office to Colonial Office dated 30 Jan 1902.
- TNA:CO 158/339, RAMC and Malta Graduates War Office to Colonial Office dated 31 Oct 1901.
- The Daily Malta Chronicle 30 January 1917.
- O'Moore C., and Humphris E. M., The VC and DSO Vol III from 1 January 1916 to 12 June 1923.