RAMC

Medical Officers of the Malta Garrison
Lindsay William

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Assistant Surgeon William Lindsay
? 1787 – 21 Sep 1830 [Plymouth]

Service Record — William Lindsay

6 Apr 1809 Assistant Surgeon 73rd Regiment of Foot.

18 May 1809 Assistant Surgeon 96th Regiment of Foot.

2 Nov 1809 Assistant Surgeon 36th (Herefordshire) Regiment of Foot.

1811–1813 Served in the Peninsular War.

Malta Sept 1817 Arrived from Portsmouth.

Malta 1818 On duty with 36th Regiment.

Malta 1819 On duty with 36th Regiment at Floriana. During the second half of 1819, he took over the medical charge of his regiment while surgeon Thomas Bouchier was relegated to the sick list.

Malta 1820 Fell ill with a violent inflammation of both testicles, which Lindsay said was brought on by the unusual heat and climate of that island, when the heat was much more intense than had been for some time.

It is possible that his orchitis was Malta Fever or Brucellosis, which like mumps also presents with an inflammation of the genitals.

Malta 23 Feb 1821 In England on sick leave till 22 Aug 1821.

Malta 1822 On duty with 36th Foot.

Dec 1823 On duty with the 36th Foot at Corfu.

Malta 4 Mar 1824 Promoted Surgeon 18th (The Royal Irish) Regiment of Foot and joined his regiment at Corfu.

On 15 Mar 1824, the Director General Army Medical Services encouraged Lindsay to donate to the Officers' Benevolent Fund. McGrigor wrote I am indeed happy to congratulate you on your promotion having appeared in the Gazette on Saturday, I beg to send you last year's report on our Charitable Institutions, that for the orphans and for cases of distress among officers of the Medical Department.1

On his promotion a faithful friend gave him a few words of advice on the new regiment that he was taking medical charge of. He warned him that they:

Are of very bad material and very troublesome as far as their hospital concerns go. The medical department has long been rotten on the 18th and you have very odd people to deal with. The hospital sergeant, who remains here, is apparently a very simple and ignorant fellow- but I believe him to be the reverse and I know that he acts as as spy upon all the actions and words of the medical officer. I therefore caution you to trust him in nothing. The apothecary, Mr Davies is a very poor creature. Not a word passes in your corps that is not reported to the chief. In short follow the precept of our Divine Master, be harmless as a dove, but it will, in a peculiar manner, be hove you to be wise as a serpent. Forbid in the most positive manner the admission of female visitors to your hospital.1

1825 On duty with 18th (Royal Irish) Regiment.
Returned to England on leave.

27 Jan 1826 Letter to Surgeon Lindsay 18th Foot, 19 Elizabeth Terrace Islington, reporting that the Commissioners of the Navy were unable to provide him with accommodation aboard the Transport Ship Egginton, and that they had no means of providing him with a passage to Corfu. Moreover, under the existing regulations, he was not entitled to any allowances to enable him to rejoin his regiment.

10 Mar Informed by letter from Horse Guards, dated 10 March, that the Commissioners of the Navy had obtained for him a passage to Corfu on board the Matilda which was shortly sailing from Deptford.

27 Mar 1826 Lindsay had complained that his health was exceedingly uncertain and precarious. He had a general derangement, a weak stomach, little appetite and continually torpid bowels. Consequently, the Director General of the Army Medical Department recommended him joining the Depôt of the 18th Regiment at Gosport on the expiration of his leave of absence.

1827 On duty at the 18th Regiment Depôt Hospital, Haslar.

14 Feb 1827 Memorial to the Secretary for War, The Most Honourable the Viscount Palmerston, written at Haslar Barracks. Lindsay sought renumeration for an illness contracted at Malta in 1820, while on active service with the 36th Regiment. After eight years he still suffered pain and inconvenience and hoped that his Lordship wouldl grant him some remuneration.

In 1820, after a violent inflammation of both testicles, the memorialist was bedridden for upwards of three months during which period he suffered extremely.
The memorialist, returned to England early in 1821, on the recommendation of a Medical Board, in a state of great debility and emaciation for the benefit of his health and change of climate. On his arrival in London, he was sent to Chatham by Sir James McGrigor, Director General of the Army Medical Department, and placed as a patient under the care of Staff Surgeon McDermott and Mr Davy by whom he was treated for the space of about five months.
The Memorialist recovered his general health in great measure but never the local affection, the right testicle continues to this day much enlarged, is at times extremely painful, is perfectly irremediable, and is attended by great inconvenience, as he cannot walk long at a time without suffering much pain, nor can he ride on horseback at all on account of it.
The Memorialist therefore humbly hopes that your Lordship will be graciously pleased to take the memorialist case into consideration and extend to him that pecuniary renumeration usually granted to officers of every rank who have contracted in the Service incurable disease calculated to injure their general health and to disqualify them from their professional pursuits.1

Unfortunately for surgeon William Lindsay, on the 20 Feb, he was informed by the War Office that his case did not qualify within the limits of the regulations for granting renumeration to wounded officers.

21 Sep 1830 Died at the Royal Hospital Stoke Plymouth aged 43 years.

Bibliography

  • Entry No: 2934. Johnston W. Roll of Commissioned Offices in the Medical Service of the British Army. Vol 1 (20 June 1727-23 June 1898), Aberdeen (1917).
  • Papers of William Lindsay. Letters claiming compensation for an infection contracted whilst on active service in Malta 1823-27: Wellcome Institute RAMC 262 Box 27, 1811-1829.
  • 1The trials of a Regimental MO – a flashback to the 1820's. The AMS Magazine (1955), vii; 2: 38-40 (April 1955).