Medical Officers
Of the Malta Garrison – 1830

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Malta Garrison – 1830

Malta Garrison

The average strength of the garrison on 25 Feb 1830 was 2,721 rank and file.

On 18 Feb 1830, smallpox was brought to Malta from Greece on HMS Asia. It spread rapidly throughout the island, despite the imposition of quarantine. The majority of the civilians had not been vaccinated, so that by 1 July, there were 1,274 infected, with 144 deaths. Between Mar 1830 and Aug 1831, smallpox attacked 8,067 Maltese and 2,284 Gozitans. There were 1,172 deaths in Malta and 351 in Gozo, a total of 1,523, or 1:68 of those attacked out of a total population in Malta of 105,367.

Baptisms and Burials

William Richardson born on 15 Dec 1829, son of Benjamin Richardson, Clerk in the Military Medical Department and his wife Sarah, was baptised on 20 Jan 1830.

The following burials took place in 1830:

  • 15 Jan: Gnr Thomas Admead Marine Artillery HM Bomb Cerberus.
  • 16 Jan: Assistant Surgeon A. J. Weinzierl, 27 years, Dutch Navy.
  • 16 Jan: Seamen John Russell, HMS Revenge.
  • 26 Jan: Yeoman Thomas Jones, HMS Britannia.
  • 30 Jan: Isaac Nilson, a Swedish seaman died in the Civil Hospital.
  • 13 Feb: Gnr John Moore, HMS Ocean.
  • 14 Feb: Thomas Hanies, 35 years died in the Civil Hospital.
  • 22 Mar: Pte Marine Thomas Hughes HMS Asia.
  • 24 Mar: Thomas Matherall HMS Britannia.
  • 16 Apr: Clerk Thomas Andrews, 25 years, HMS Samarany.
  • 22 Apr: Able Seaman John Fier, 25 years, HMS Samarany.
  • 3 May: Thomas Sparks, HMS Britannia.
  • 30 May: Seaman John Burrow, HMS Britannia.
  • 5 June: Sail Master Gibbons Pemberton, 34 years, HMS Weazle.
  • 19 June: Thomas Knight, HMS Melville.
  • 11 July: Pte Marine William Knight, HMS Favorite.
  • 11 July: Isaac Thorndike, 22 years, an American seaman, died in the Civil Hospital.
  • 18 July: Purser Thomas Harding, HMS Favorite.
  • 28 July: Able Seaman John Menay, HMS Britannia.
  • 2 Aug: Captain John Cole, HMS Gloucester.
  • 15 Sept: Pte Marine John Pain, 40 years, HMS Pelican.
  • 25 Sept: John Warrell, Shipwright in the Dock Yard.
  • 21 Oct: Jane Eliza Dombre, born on 2 Dec 1829, aged 10 months, daughter of Lt Jean David Dombre half pay De Meuron Regiment and his wife Marie Elise Bornand.
  • 29 Oct: Capt's Mate Robert Fowler, 44 years, HMS Madagascar.
  • 31 Oct: Seaman William Clifton, HMS Windsor Castle.
  • 24 Nov: Pte Marine Peter Ferguson, 30 years, HMS Windsor Castle.
  • 10 Dec: James Toole, 52 years, half-pay Deputy Commissary General.
  • 12 Dec: The Hon Sir Robert Spencer, 39 years, Capt HMS Madagascar.

Staff Medical Officers

The Royal Warrant of 29 July 1830 altered the ranks of Staff Medical Officers accordingly:

  • The rank of Apothecary to the Forces was abolished.
  • The rank of Hospital Assistant was changed to Staff Assistant Surgeon.
  • A Physician to the Forces became an Assistant Inspector of Hospitals.
  • An Inspector General became an Inspector General of Hospitals.
  • The rank of Deputy Inspector General of Hospital was re-introduced.

From 29th July 1830, an officer on half-pay with the rank of Inspector or Deputy Inspector of Hospitals became an Inspector General or a Deputy Inspector General, but the change was not to involve any additional expense to the public.

Bighi Naval Hospital

In 1827, Maj Gen Frederick Cavendish Ponsonby recommended the conversion of the country residence of Giovanni Bighi, situated on the San Salvatore Promontory into a Naval Hospital. The foundation stone of the North Pavilion of the new Naval Hospital was laid on 23 Mar 1830. The hospital opened on 24 Sep 1832, and was occupied by the Royal Navy until 1960.

Uniform – Medical Staff

General Order Horse Guards 18 Feb 1830: The King has been pleased to command an alteration in the uniform of the Medical Staff of the army. The coat to be plain scarlet throughout with a button on which the inscribed words Medical Staff encircling the letter GR, and gold epaulettes as worn by unattached officers and corresponding with the relative ranks in the army.

These regulation apply only to Inspectors of Hospitals, Deputy Inspectors of Hospitals, Physicians to the Forces, Surgeons to the Forces, Apothecaries to the Forces, Assistant Surgeons to the Forces, and Hospital Assistants. Purveyors of Hospitals and Deputy Purveyors of Hospitals to wear silver epaulettes.



  • TNA WO 17/2136, Returns of the General and Staff Officers of the hospitals attached to the forces in Malta (25 Jan–25 Dec 1830).
  • TNA:WO 156/121. Register of burials 1830 – 1837
  • Davy J., On the small pox of 1830–31 in Malta.
  • Aiton W., Dissertation on malaria, contagion, and cholera. London 1832 (chapter on small pox).
  • A list of all the officers of the Army and Royal Marines. War Office 31 January 1829.
  • A list of all the Officers of the Army and Royal Marines. War Office 1 February 1830.
  • United Service Journal and Naval and Military Magazine Vol XVI dated 16 April 1830, p 505.