Medical Officers
Of the Malta Garrison – 1858

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Malta Garrison – 1858

Malta Garrison

Returns of the Distribution of the British Army to the Adjutant General dated 1 April 1858, show the garrison in Malta to have had an effective strength of 4,825 men against an establishment of 4,844 rank and file. The infantry were grouped into two brigades.

The 1st Bde consisted of: the 1st/14th (10 coys) 772 men, 1st/21st (10 coys) 805 men, and the 57th (8 coys with 2 coys at Aden) 604 men. (The 57th was ordered to Bombay).

The 2nd Bde had: the 2nd/2nd (10 coys) 783 men, 2nd/3rd (6 coys) 498 men, 28th (10 coys) 809 men, and the Royal Malta Fencibles (6 coys) 554 men.

The returns of the State of the Regular Army dated 1 April 1858 show the Malta Garrison to have been composed of 3,888 rank and file in the infantry, 577 men in the Royal Artillery, 149 men in the Royal Engineers. The infantry listed as present in Malta

Up to and including 1859, the system of army returns included the last 9 months of the preceding year and only the first 3 months of the current year (March 1857 to March 1858). The average strength of the garrison for the half year 1 July to 31 December 1858 was 6,305. There were 766 fever cases treated in hospital with 8 deaths.

Baptisms Burials 1858

3 Aug Baptism of Christopher Israel Clarke born 10 July 1858, son of Mary Anne and Garrison School Master Christopher Clarke.

11 Aug Baptism of Mary Jarratt Somerville born 11 July 1858, daughter of Mary Anne and Assistant Chaplain to the Forces Dudley Somerville.

25 Nov Burial of Mary Horn aged 26 years 11 months, wife of Major General Horn CB at Ta' Braxia Cemetery, Msida.

Sir John Gaspard Le Marchant

On 10 April 1858, Lt Gen Sir John Gaspard Le Marchant succeeded Sir William Reid as Governor of Malta and Commander of the Malta garrison. Under Le Marchant, the office of Governor and Commander of the Garrison was once again reunited under one head.

Army Medical Department

The Royal Warrant of 1 Oct 1858, Regulations for the Organisation of the Medical Department recognised four grades of Army Medical Officers: Inspector General of Hospitals, Deputy Inspector General of Hospitals, Staff or Regimental Surgeon. The ranks of Staff Surgeon 1st Class and Staff Surgeon 2nd class were discontinued. Military surgeons became known as either Staff Surgeons or Regimental Surgeons. After 20 yrs full pay service they were styled Surgeon Major, ranking as junior Lieutenant Colonels, and Staff or Regimental Assistant Surgeon.

Medical officers were granted relative rank which was to carry with it all the privileges of that rank. Thus, an Inspector General of Hospitals ranked as a Brigadier General; a Deputy Inspector General of Hospitals ranked as a Lieutenant Colonel or Colonel after five years' service; a Staff Surgeon or Regimental Surgeon ranked as a Major; and a Staff Assistant Surgeon or Regimental Assistant Surgeon ranked as a Lieutenant on appointment, and as a captain after six years' service.

The Royal Warrant stipulated that:
1. No candidate shall receive a commission as Assistant Surgeon, until he passes an examination in Military Medicine, Surgery, and Hygiene, after attending the authorised course in a General Military Hospital.

2. No Assistant Surgeon shall be eligible for promotion to the rank of Surgeon until he passes such examination as the Secretary of State for War may require, and shall have served on full-pay with the commission of assistant surgeon for 5 years, of which 2 years shall be with a regiment.

3. A surgeon must have served 10 years on full-pay, of which 2 years must have been passed with the rank of surgeon in or with a regiment, to be eligible for the next rank of DIGH.

4. A Deputy Inspector General of Hospitals must have served 5 years at home or 3 years abroad in that rank, before becoming eligible for the rank of IGH.

5. Assistant Surgeons shall be promoted to the rank of surgeon in order of seniority. In case of distinguished service, however, an Assistant Surgeon may be promoted without reference to seniority.

6. Six of the most distinguished medical officers shall be named Honorary Physicians to the Queen and six Honorary Surgeons to the Queen.

The Warrant of 1858 gave officers increased rank and pay and broadened their responsibilities. It organised a regular corps of orderlies and a staff of nurses; it increased and improved the supply of appliances and established a medical school at Chatham.

A separate school was required as the civil medical school did not provide the necessary training for a military surgeon. The school was opened in Oct 1860; the first competitive examination having been held the previous August.

The school moved from Chatham to Netley and then to Aldershot. A training depôt was established at Aldershot where a course of instruction in ambulance work and first aid to the wounded as well as infantry drill, military administration and law were taught.

Floriana Military Hospital

On 14 Oct 1858, the plans and estimates for a new military Hospital on St Francis Ravelin Floriana were submitted for approval. The estimated costs for the new hospital of 300 beds was £44,201 8s 5d. The hospital was not built as the site was found to be too small.

Ferdinando Vincenzo Inglott

On 17 Dec 1858, Mr Ferdinando Vincenzo Inglott was appointed Comptroller of the Charitable Institutions and a member of the Council of Government. The Offices of Comptroller of Contracts and of Inspector of Charities were amalgamated under Ferdinand Inglott.

On 27 Sept 1888, his salary of £400 was increased to £500 a year, but he never obtained his increase. Inglott reformed the Charitable Institutions and abolished the system of restraining lunatics in irons.



  • Hart H. G., The New Annual Army List 1858 corrected to 28 December 1857.
  • Hart H. G., The New Annual Army List 1857 corrected to 29 December 1856.
  • Malta Mail and United Service Journal 31 October 1850, no 435.
  • TNA:WO 17/2163, Office of Commander in Chief, Monthly Returns to the Adjutant General (1857).
  • TNA:WO 156/113. Register of burials September 1853 to June 1862.
  • TNA:WO 17/2155, Returns of the General and Staff officers of the hospitals attached to the Forces in Malta (1 January–1 December 1849).
  • TNA:CO 158/185, No 149, (14 October 1858), New Military Hospital Floriana.