Medical Officers of the Malta Garrison
Macartney James

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1210 Lieutenant Colonel James Macartney LRCSI (1864) MD (RUI 1865)
26 Jan 1842 [Dublin] – 27 Jan 1930


Lieutenant Colonel James Macartney joined the Army Medical Department as an Assistant Surgeon on 2 October 1866. He served in the Kaffir war in 1877–78, and was present in the engagement at Draaibosch on 30 December 1877.

He was mentioned in despatches as having zealously performed his duties with the wounded under a heavy fire (London Gazette 26 Feb 1878). He was awarded the South Africa Medal with clasp 1877–78.

Service Record — James Macartney

2 Oct 1866 Staff Assistant Surgeon.

1867 – 1870 Served in Bengal.

19 July 1870 Assistant Surgeon 4th/Rifle Brigade vice Assistant Surgeon Philip Patterson Lyons who moved to the Staff.

1 Mar 1873 Promoted Surgeon.

Apr 1873 Moved from 4th/Rifle Brigade to Staff Dublin.

1874 On duty in Aldershot.

May 1874 Posted to Mauritius.

1875 – 1878 On duty in Mauritius.

1877 – 1878 Served in South Africa.

2 Oct 1878 Promoted Surgeon-Major having completed twelve years' full-pay service.

Mar 1879 Moved to Armagh.

1879 – 1881 In Dublin.

Sept 1881 Posted to Bengal.

1881 – 1882 In Bengal. In medical charge of Sabathu and Dagshai Districts.

May 1886 Changed of station from Bengal to Dublin. Exchanged with Surgeon-Major Morgan David O'Connell.

2 Oct 1886 Promoted Surgeon-Lieutenant Colonel.

May 1888 Changed of station from Dublin to Curragh.

July 1888 Changed of station from Curragh to Newbridge.

15 Dec 1892 Promoted to the rank of Brigade-Surgeon-Lieutenant Colonel vice Charles Albert Maunsell promoted Surgeon Colonel.

Malta 1 Feb 1893 Arrived from Gibraltar.

Malta 31 July 1893 To England on sick leave.

Malta 1 Nov 1893 Returned to Malta.

Malta 17 July 1894 To England on leave. Attended the sixty-second annual meeting of the British Medical Association held in Bristol between 31 July and 3 August 1894.

Aug 1894 Read a paper at the Malta and Mediterranean Branch of the British Medical Association, on Mediterranean Fevers, where he drew a distinction between fevers of short duration lasting less than 20 days, and those of longer duration. These long lasting fevers, predominantly the result of Malta Fever, appeared in the returns under the heading of Simple Continued Fever.

In 1893, with an average garrison strength of 3,346, the number returned as Simple Continued Fevers was 481, but of these in only 83 did the fever last for over 20 days in hospital. Of the 83 cases, forty were invalided to England and a large proportion were send from the Valletta Hospital to the Sanatorium at Mdina. Medical officers rendered weekly returns of sickness and while one entered a fever as remittent another recorded it as Simple Continued. During 1893, 33 cases were returned as malarial from men who had served either in India or Mauritius. The average duration of the cases of simple continued fever, less than twenty days in hospital, was 6.7 days.1

Macartney held the view that Mediterranean Fever was a form of enteric fever as both fevers had multiple symptoms in common. He suggested that the disease should be called pseudo enteric fever.

8 Sept 1894 Reduced to temporary half-pay on account of ill health.

12 Nov 1895 Restored to the establishment, supernumerary, with precedence next below Brigade-Surgeon-Lieutenant-Colonel John Barry MD.

26 Jan 1897 Placed on to the retired list. The vacancy created by his retirement was filled by Surgeon- Lieutenant-Colonel Richard Gillham Thomsett who was promoted to Brigade-Surgeon-Lieutenant Colonel.

Sept 1899 Restored from the retired list and assumed medical charge of troops at Aberdeen.

Apr 1900 Transferred from Aberdeen to Canterbury.

Mar 1901 Relinquished the medical charge of troops at Canterbury.


  • Entry No: 6322. Johnston W. Roll of Commissioned Offices in the Medical Service of the British Army. Vol 1 (20 June 1727-23 June 1898), Aberdeen (1917).
  • RAMC/PE/3/27/Drew. Manuscript for Drew's Roll.
  • Succession Book Vol 14. Returns of service of medical officers in the Regular Army.
  • Macartney J., Enteric fever as seen in India and in other Tropical and subtropical countries. Br Med J (1887); 2: 761-62 (Published 8 Oct 1887).
  • 1Macartney J., Correspondence, Mediterranean Fevers Br Med J (1894); 1: 1332 (Published 16 June 1894).
  • Macartney J., Correspondence, Mediterranean Fevers Br Med J (1895); 1: 172 (Published 19 January 1895).
  • Macartney J., Correspondence, On the occurrence of Malta Fever in India Br Med J (1897); 1: 1384 (Published 20 May 1897).