Assistant Surgeon George Peach
30 June 1778 [Leicestershire] – 21 July 1856 [Blandford Dorset]
7 Oct 1799 Hospital Mate.
4 Apr 1800 Assistant Surgeon 35th (Dorsetshire) Regiment of Foot.
Embarked on the Downs on a Secret Expedition under Lt Gen Henry Pigot to Minorca and Malta.
4 Apr 1800 The 2nd/35th Foot reinforced the 30th and the 89th Foot in the blockade of the French garrison which the Maltese insurgents had besieged since Sept 1798.
Present at the blockade and reduction of Malta.
1801 Assistant Surgeon 2nd/35th Foot.
Nov 1802 Ordered home in consequence of the reduction of the army following the cessation of hostilities with France.
14 Apr 1803 Left for England. On 11 Apr 1803, had been appointed Assistant Surgeon Royal Horse Guards.
15 Aug 1803 Appointed Surgeon 52nd (Oxfordshire) Regiment of Foot.
26 Nov 1803 Received his first payment of £43 4s 6d in prize money from the proceeds of the property captured in Malta on 4 September 1800. This was equivalent to that paid out to a lieutenant and ensign in the infantry.
9 Nov 1804 Received his second payment of £14 1s 0d in prize money from the proceeds of the property captured on the island of Malta on 4 September 1800.
July 1805 Surgeon 2nd/52nd Foot. The second battalion was formed in Nov 1804 at Bambury, Oxfordshire. On 9 June 1805, it was joined in Hythe Barracks by 500 volunteers from the Irish Militia. A number of soldiers of the Londonderry Militia had been infected with the Egyptian Ophthalmia by the 79th Foot, which had recently returned for Egypt and had been quartered in the same barracks as the militia.
In June 1805, Egyptian Ophthalmia spread to the 2nd/52nd Regiment and continued unabated until 23 December 1807. From July 1805 to July 1806, 606 cases of the disease, including relapses, occurred among a battalion of 700 men. Of these, 50 lost their sight in both eyes, and 40 the sight in one eye. On 9 May 1806, the 2nd/52nd Foot moved from Hythe Barracks to Riding Street Barracks, Romney Marsh Kent. Assistant Surgeon John Vetch 2nd/52d Foot believed that the disease was propagated
by contact of the discharge which takes place from the eyes of the diseased with those of the healthy. He attributed its severity to the influence of the moisture from the marsh.2
Surgeon George Peach was not exceptional in resorting to venesection, to the point of producing syncope, as a panacea for most diseases. His observations that the incidence of loss of vision in those copiously bled, (50 to 60 ounces of blood), was much lower than in those who had been lightly bled (20 ounces of blood), led him to proclaim liberal venesection
even ad deliquium animi, an infallible remedy, and
the sovereign remedy for this disease. In addition, the bowels were kept loose, the head was shaved and kept continually wet with water or vinegar, and the scalp blistered.1
1806 Served at Copenhagen.
1807 Surgeon 2nd/52nd Foot at Reading Street Barracks Kent. On 23 Dec 1807, the 2nd/52nd Foot moved from Riding Street Barracks to Shorncliffe.
15 Aug 1809 Surgeon 9th Dragoons.
1809 Served at Walcheren.
16 Feb 1815 Retired to half-pay.
1816 Married in Mapperton Dorset.
- Entry No: 1973. Johnston W. Roll of Commissioned Offices in the Medical Service of the British Army. Vol 1 (20 June 1727-23 June 1898), Aberdeen (1917).
- 1Peach G., Observations on the Egyptian Ophthalmia, as it affected the troops in Hythe Barracks. The Edinburgh Medical and Surgical Journal (1807); iii: 52–56.
- Peach G., Further observations on the Egyptian Ophthalmia in Shorncliffe Barracks. The Edinburgh Medical and Surgical Journal (1807); iii: 395–401.
- 2Vetch J., An account of the Ophthalmia which appeared in England, since the return of the British Army from Egypt. The Edinburgh Medical and Surgical Journal (1807); iii: 360–367.
- TNA:WO 25/3897, Records of Service - Officers of the Medical Department (1790–1847).
- TNA:WO 164/503, Malta 1800, Prize Records Royal Hospital Chelsea first and second payments (1804–1808).
- TNA:WO 164/134, Malta 1800, Prize Records Royal Hospital Chelsea first and second payments (1811–1840).