RAMC

Medical Officers of the Malta Garrison
1856

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Malta Garrison – 1856

Regimental Medical Officers

Events 1856

Malta Garrison December 1856

The average strength of the garrison was 1,741 (5,792 with the Army of the Crimea). The garrison was vastly overcrowded with troops from the Crimea.

  • Royal Artillery 575 men
  • Royal Engineers 210 men
  • 1st Brigade
    • 28th Foot – Valletta, 575 men
    • 47th Foot – Valletta, 575 men
    • 71st Foot – Floriana, 575 men
  • 2nd Brigade
    • 2nd/1st Royals – Cottonera, 711 men
    • 14th Foot – St George's Bay, 749 men
    • 21st Foot – Floriana, 779 men
    • 57th Foot – Cottonera, 727 men
    • Royal Malta Fencibles – Cottonera, 514 men
  • 3rd Brigade
    • 31st Foot – Gozo, 788 men
    • 48th Foot – Fort Manoel, 703 men

In July 1856, the Highland Division had 685 men at Cottonera.

Diarrhoea prevailed during the hot summer months. On 18 July, cholera made its appearance in a company of sappers encamped in one of the ditches at Floriana.

On 1 Oct 1856, there were 8977 men in Malta. On 22 Oct, cholera broke out among the 31st Foot at Fort Chambray Gozo; there were was 32 deaths in 14 days. Cholera burnt itself out by mid November.

Proposed New Military Hospital

In Dec 1855, Inspector General of Hospitals Daniel Scott approved the area of Strada Torre Barracks and St James Cavalier in Valletta as an ideal location for a military hospital. The site was adjacent to the Auberge de Castille, was elevated with a free circulation of air all round it and well drained.

On 4 Nov 1856, work began on a new lunatic asylum at Wied Incita Attard. The estimated cost was £1500. In Nov 1856, Governor Sir William Reid agreed with Sir John Pennefather, General Officer Commanding Troops Malta, that the best site for a new military hospital was that occupied by the old civil lunatic asylum, known as Ta' Franconi on the Floriana Lines. Sufficient ground existed without having to incorporate the recently completed barracks of St Francis within the hospital.

St Francesco Barracks Floriana (St Francis) was constructed in 1856. The barracks was a civilian building given over to the military department.

Malta Burials 1856

The following were buried at Malta in 1856:

  • 29 Apr Louisa Abigail Weir aged 23 years, wife of Acting Assistant Surgeon Archibald Weir was buried by the Rev Henry Hare Chaplain to the Forces.
  • 15 July Pte Samuel Lilgrist aged 39 years.
  • 30 July William Woolfries Commissariat Branch of the Army Work Corps.
  • 5 Aug Pte Marcus Marschand 2nd/British Swiss Legion.
  • 9 Aug Gritton infant son of Sgt George Gritton Corps of Instructors.
  • 10 Aug Charles Keel Commissariat Branch of the Army Work Corps.
  • 14 Aug Mary Anne Churchet aged 20 years.
  • 23 Aug Henry Kelsey aged 4 months, son of Charles Kelsey Commissariat Baker.
  • 18 Sep Pte Ulrick Tucker British Swiss Legion.
  • 23 Nov Sgt William Armstrong Corps of Minie Rifle Instructors, aged 28 years.

Murder of Capt Thomas Graves RN

On 23 Sept 1856, Boatman Giuseppe Meli of Cospicua went on trial for the wilful homicide of Capt Thomas Graves RN on 25 Aug 1856. He pleaded not guilty.

Meli was accused of stabbing Capt Graves with a knife in his abdomen which perforating the small bowel. It was alleged that he bore a grudge against the Port Superintendent, who had ordered his boat to be hauled up for 15 days, for having overcharged a passenger.

The planks of the boat had dried while it was hauled up, rendering it unseaworthy. Meli's livelihood was thus ruined. It was alleged that Meli sought revenge against Graves.

His lawyer convinced the court, that it was not the knife that had killed Capt Graves but the negligent treatment administered to him by the doctors. After being stabbed, Graves was taken to the Dispensary of Dr Giuseppe Sammut where he was also seen by Dr Giuseppe Clinquant, Junior Physician at the Central Civil Hospital. Neither could assess the depth of the wound, which was dressed. Graves took to his bed at Floriana where he was seen by Dr Stilon and Surgeon William Simpson 71st Regiment. He died at his residence at Floriana on 28 August.

The jury unanimously found the accused guilty of wilful severe bodily harm on Capt Graves on which death ensued owing to supervening accidental causes, and not to the nature and natural consequences alone of such harm.

The Court sentenced Giuseppe Meli to nine years hard labour.

East Kent Militia

Sacred to the memory of the undermentioned individuals of the East Kent Militia who died at Malta while the regiment was serving in the islands between Apr 1855 and 4 June 1856:

  • Sgt Allwright Henry
  • Cpl Clements Griffin 21 yrs (8 Mar 1856)
  • Privates
    • Ashdown James – Bradford William – Braidley John
    • Clear Charles – Cooper Stephen – Dawkins Daniel
    • Fagg Henry 22 yrs (22 Feb 1856) – Gill Henry
    • Graham Frederick – Hillyer James – Hogben John
    • King William 21 yrs (7 Feb 1856) – Mount James
    • Priestman William 21 yrs (27 May 1856) – Rowcliffe John
    • Spillett Alfred 30 yrs (3 Mar 1856) – Thomas Henry
    • Vallins Henry – Wilkins John T
  • Wives
    • Brown Harriet
    • Carpenter Elizabeth
    • Gordon Anne wife of Pte Henry Gordon (9 May 1856)
    • Hardinge Frances
    • Hewer Mary
    • McConnell Susan
  • Children
    • Broadbridge William – Brown William
    • Clinton George – Clinton James
    • Mayner James – McEvoy Mary
    • Newton William – Newton Wils H
    • Richardson Alfred – Sullivan Ellen

Dr Borg

In Mar 1856, Dr Borg, a Maltese civilian medical practitioner, was temporarily appointed as a second medical attendant at the encampment at St George's Bay, as no military officer was available at that station.

Crimean War 14 Sept 1854 – 30 Mar 1856

On 30 Mar 1856, the Treaty of Paris brought the war with Russia to an end. Inspector General of Hospitals John Hall left the Crimea on 3 July 1856. The last of the medical staff was out of theatre by the end of July 1856.

The foundation stone for a memorial to medical officers who lost their lives in the Crimea was laid at the Royal Victoria Military Hospital at Netley, Southampton on 1 Aug 1864. The names of the deceased were recorded on seven panels, with the eighth panel bearing the following inscription:

In memory of the Officers of the Army Medical Department who died whilst serving with the Army in the East, during the war with Russia in 1854, 1855, 1856. This monument has been erected by their brother officers and friends.

  • Deputy Inspector General
    • McGrigor Alexander – Scutari 16 Nov 1855
    • Spence Thomas – Balaklava Bay 14 Nov 1854
  • Staff Surgeons 1st Class
    • Marshall John – Scutari 10 Feb 1855
    • Mitchell John – 24 Sept 1854
    • O'Connor Nicholas – Balaclava 7 June 1856
    • Ormerond Lawrence – Balaclava 20 June 1855
    • Pine Chilley – Balaclava 6 Mar 1855
    • Pitcairn George Kincaid – Varna 16 Aug 1854
    • Wishart James Alexander – Scutari 25 May 1855
  • Staff Surgeons 2nd Class
    • Jane Michael Allen – Scutari 7 Mar 1855
    • Anderson David – Scutari 4 Nov 1854
    • Mackey Peter – Balaclava 5 Oct 1854
    • Newton John – Scutari 26 Jan 1855
    • Bassano Christopher Bakewell 2nd/Rifle Bde – Balaclava 1 Feb 1856
  • Staff Assistant Surgeons
    • Ludlow Henry – Scutari 4 Apr 1855
    • Reid Alexander Rothney – Balaclava 5 Oct 1854
    • Macartney Frederick Arthur 2nd/Rifle Bde – Scutari 12 Feb 1855
  • Regimental Surgeons
    • Anderson William Abbott 41st – Balaclava 3 Jan 1855
    • Browne William 95th – Scutari 26 Nov 1854
    • Huthwaite Francis Cornelius Grenadier Guards – Balaklava 30 Sept 1854
    • Le Blanc Edward 9th – Sebastopol 17 Mar 1855
    • Macartney Christopher 77th – Sebastapol 11 Apr 1855
    • Simpson Walter 17th – 31 May 1855
    • Smith Francis 95th – Balaclava 10 Feb 1855
  • Assistant Surgeons
    • Ancell Malcolm Currie 11th Hussars – 10 Aug 1855
    • Beckwith Henry 49th – Sebastopol 17 Oct 1854
    • Boyle Edward Patrick 2nd/Rifle Bde – 8 Dec 1854
    • Gilborne John Henry 71st – Yenikale 25 Jan 1856
    • Grabham John 71st – Scutari 16 Apr 1855
    • Harrison Harry 95th – Sebastopol 23 May 1855
    • Jenkin Ebenezer Alfred 23rd – Varna 2 Aug 1854
    • Lamont James 41st – Sebastopol 5 Jan 1855
    • Langham John Phillipson 7th Royal Fus – Scutari 4 Feb 1855
    • Longmore John 2nd/Rifle Bde – Sebastopol 21 Aug 1855
    • Martel Philip Giffard 50th – 11 Sept 1854
    • Norris John James 55th Regt – Scutari 22 Nov 1854
    • O'Leary John Francis 68th – Sebastopol 17 Oct 1854
    • Renwick William 14th – Balaclava 2 Mar 1855
    • Shegog Frederick York 88th – 29 Aug 1854
    • Shorrock James Aloysius 1st/Rifle Bde – Alma 21 Sept 1854
    • Thomson James 44th – Balaclava 5 Oct 1854
    • Wason Edmund Sidney 13th – Scutari 8 Feb 1855
    • White John Horsley 3rd – Sebastopol 2 July 1855
  • Acting Assistant Surgeons
    • Graham F
    • Longmore J
    • Ludlow H
    • Mayne J
    • Mitchell T O
    • Struthers A
    • Simons R T
    • White J H
    • Wood H W
  • Principal Apothecary
    • Reade George Hume – Scutari 28 Nov 1854
  • Dispensers of Medicines
    • Beveridge J M
    • Whitwell J H
  • Hospital Dressers
    • Fell T
    • Harrison H
  • Civil Surgeons
    • McKenzie R J
    • Complin E J
  • Civil Dressers
    • Edmonds J H

On July 1856, a Select Committee on the Medical Department of the Army under Mr Stafford MP met to enquire into the organisation of the department, and the grievances of the medical officers regarding their pay and condition of service. The findings led to the Royal Warrant of 1858.

References

  1. Hart H. G., New Annual Army List dated 29 December 1856.
  2. Malta Mail no 629, 11 July 1854.
  3. Army Medical Department, Statistical, Sanitary, and Medical Report for 1863, Vol V; (London 1865).
  4. TNA:CO 158/179, Trial of Giuseppe Meli.
  5. TNA:WO 156/122; List of gravestones at the Military and Civil Cemetery Msida 1801–1865 and the Quarantine Bastion Cemetery 1819–1867 compiled by the Rev D B L Foster Assistant Chaplain General Western Mediterranean in May 1939.
  6. TNA:WO 17/2162, Office of the Commander in Chief, Monthly Returns of the General and Staff Officers Malta to the Adjutant General (1 January – 1 December 1856).
  7. TNA:WO 156/113. Register of burials September 1853 to June 1862.