The Army Medical Department
And the Malta Garrison

The Malta Garrison – 1895

Malta Garrison

The average strength of the Command was 8292 men, exclusive of colonial troops. There were 6397 admissions into hospital (771.5 admissions/1000 mean strength), with 57 deaths (6.87 deaths/1000).

122 men returned to England as invalids; 69 of whom were discharged from the service. The average number constantly non-effective through sickness (mean daily sick), excluding the RMA, was 440.85 men (53.17/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 19.40 days; the average duration of each case was 25.15 days.

There were 240 officers, with 173 attacks of illness and 2 deaths from enteric fever at Fort Ricasoli and from tuberculosis of the lung; 12 officers were invalided home.

Fever accounted for 1426 admissions into hospital with 22 deaths. Admissions were for:

  • 63 for nervous system diseases (14 mental)
  • 114 for circulatory diseases
  • 54 for respiratory conditions (1 death)
  • 610 for digestive diseases (6 deaths)
  • 13 for urinary problems (1 death)
  • 232 for generative disorders
  • 758 for cutaneous diseases
  • 177 for rheumatism (8 rheumatic fever)
  • 217 for primary syphilis
  • 184 for secondary syphilis (1 death)
  • 647 for gonorrhoea
  • 26 for phthisis (6 deaths)
  • 784 for accidents (9 deaths)
  • 15 for alcoholism (1 delirium tremens)
  • 13 for parasitic diseases (11 taenia solium)
  • 51 for debility

There were 2 admissions for eruptive fevers (scarlet fever), 23 for enteric fever (10 deaths), 45 admissions for dysentery (3 deaths). 27 of the cases of dysentery occurred in autumn in Gozo where the water supply was limited and of bad quality. 192 cases of venereal disease were in soldiers who had arrived from India.

There were 116 admissions for malarial fevers, of which ague provided 112 cases and remittent fever two cases (2 deaths).

There were 1401 admissions for simple continued fever with 13 deaths, including that of an invalid who had left the command. The increase in the number of admissions was attributed to the presence of unseasoned men, 4209 having less than a years' service in the Command. There were 27 admissions for neuralgia.

There were 5 admissions for heatstroke, 5 deaths from drowning, 1 death from strangulation by hanging (suicide). Gunshot wounds accounted for 5 admissions. Two were the result of splinters of bullets on the range, one wounded by a Morris tube bullet, one was shot in the thigh by a comrade who was declared to be insane, and another shot himself in the head while on sentry duty. Two deaths followed skull fractures, a man was thrown off his horse, another fell off the ramparts.

Military Families

There were 422 wives, with 264 attacks of illness and 11 deaths. Deaths were from enteric fever (1), puerperal sepsis (3), lung tuberculosis (2), simple continued fever (1), hemiplegia (1), inflammation of the heart (1), puerperal convulsions (1) and peritonitis (1).

There were 744 children, with 474 admissions and 46 deaths. Admissions were for: measles (29/2 deaths), whooping cough (15/3 deaths), simple continued fever (82/3 deaths), debility (16/2 deaths), conjunctivitis (60), bronchitis (62/4 deaths), teething (34/7 deaths), diarrhoea (39/5 deaths).

Deaths among children were from convulsions (4), inflammation of the intestines (6), diphtheria (2), debility (2), meningitis (2), tubercle (2), mumps (1), pneumonia (1), malformation atelectasis (1), asphyxia from submersion (1).

4 June Baptism by the Rev M Jones of John Hardy born 4 June 1895, son of Harriet and Barrack QM Sgt James Hardy of Floriana.

29 Dec Baptism by the Rev F G Wright of Marion Harrich Rutheven born 27 Nov 1895, daughter of Adelaide Elizabeth and Army School Master William James Rutheven of Kalkara.

There was no registration of deaths of soldiers and their families until 1895. Deaths were only reported to the police but not to the Registrar for the Registration of Deaths.

The following were buried in Pietà Military Cemetery in 1895:

  • 29 Jan Child Walter Charles Simmonds aged 1 year 3 months, son of Herbert Simmonds.
  • 7 Feb Infant Charles John Bosworthick aged 5 months, son of Thomas E Bosworthick.
  • 12 June Mrs Harriet Hardy aged 28 years, widow of QMSgt Hardy.
  • 26 Nov Twin Elizabeth Misie Burnside aged 2 hours, daughter of John Burnside.
  • 26 Nov Twin Christina Burnside aged 2 hours, daughter of John Burnside.
  • 25 Dec Infant Mabel Jelliott aged 6 days.

Dr Alfredo Marras MD

In April 1895, Dr Alfredo Marras MD was appointed Resident Superintendent and medical officer of the asylum of the aged and infirm at Marsa.

His salary was £160 a year, rising to £200 by £10 every five years. He was also allowed quarters and rations at public expense but not private practice.

Surgeon Alfred W Sturdee

Surgeon Alfred W. Sturdee, of HM Battleship Hood drowned at Marsalforn Bay, Gozo on 29 Apr 1895, while on a few days leave in Gozo.

The deceased had joined the naval service as a surgeon in Nov 1891. He had been appointed to HMS Hood in June, 1893.