The Royal Army Medical Corps
And the Malta Garrison

The Malta Garrison – 1915


Votive Offering
Votive Offering Tal Herba Birkirkara. The naval campaign to force the Dardanelles started on 19 Feb 1915. While attempting to force the Straits HMS Ocean hit a mine and sunk on 18 Mar 1915. Fireman Giuseppe Grech was saved from drowning on invoking the Virgin of Tal Herba.

The plan to force the Dardanelles was sanctioned on 28 Jan 1915. On 25 Apr, the British 29th Division landed on the beaches of Cape Helles at the southern tip of Gallipoli. The Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) disembarked to the north of Gaba Tepe in an attempt to capture the Kilid Bahr Plateau which dominated the Dardanelles.

On 6 Aug, the British 11th Division landed at Suvla Bay to the north of ANZAC Cove in support of the assault by ANZAC troops on Sari Bair Ridge.

On 28 July 1915, the Prime Minister stated in the House of Commons that the total number of casualties among the naval and military forces engaged in the Dardanelles from the landings between April and 18 July, was 37,982. Of these, 8,099 were killed (officers 562; men 7,537), while the wounded numbered 29,883 (officers 1,375; men, 28,508). Base hospitals were set up at Lemnos, Alexandria and Malta.

On 19 Dec 1915, ANZAC Cove and Suvla were evacuated. The troops at Cape Helles were withdrawn on 9 Jan 1916 bringing the Gallipoli campaign to an end.

1914–15 Star

Medical officers who had served in the transports in the Mediterranean, in Malta and in the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force were not entitled to the 1914–15 Star. The War Office had decreed that deployment to Malta did not count as service in a theatre of war for purposes of the award of this medal. This brought protests from medical officers.

An aggrieved medical officer grumbled that it was not my choice that I was sent to Malta. On the voyage out we were attacked by submarine, and just missed by the torpedo launched at us. Later the ship in which I sailed was sunk. I went from Malta to Sicily in a hospital ship, that ship was sunk, and the third ship in which I returned from Sicily to England was also sunk. Meanwhile in Malta we were exposed to dysentery, malaria, and diphtheria.

Casualties of the Dardanelles

John T Taylor
Pte John Thomas Taylor 1st Herefordshire Regt TF wounded at Suvla Bay 23 Aug 1915. He died of his wounds at Floriana Hospital on 2 Sept 1915, aged 19 years (Pieta' Military Cemet.)
Garnett J Knowles
Jerry Knowles Garnett 3rd East Lancashire Bde RFA (T); born 16 April 1895. He died on 6 Nov 1915 of enteric fever contracted on active service in the Dardanelles (Pieta' Military Cemet.)
John F Bradly
John Frank Bradly 1st/3rd South Wales Borderers, wounded at Gallipoli on 28 June 1915. He died on 2 July 1915 aged 27 years (Pieta' Military Cemet.)
J Quarry
No 55957 Pte Joseph Quarry N Coy RAMC. He died at Mtarfa Hospital on 5 Sept 1915, aged 19 yrs.
Joseph MacGowan
Joseph Mac Gowan died at Malta on 18 Sep 1915 aged 44 years.
Malcolm William Aberdein
William Aberdein Malcolm died at the Blue Sisters Hospital on 3 Oct 1915 (Pieta Military Cemetery)

Lt Joseph Mac Gowan was stationed at St George's Hospital where he was seized with fever and died after a short illness. He left a widow, Margaret Arnott MacGowan, of 63 Edgemount Gardens, Langside Glasgow.

Major William Aberdeine Malcolm RAMC (TF) was the fourth son of Mr George Malcolm of Dundee. He was educated at Edinburgh, where he graduated MB and CM in 1883. After filling the appointments of house-surgeon and general superintendent of the Ayr County Hospital, he became surgeon to the North Islington and Holloway Dispensary, and successively an anaesthetist, casualty officer, registrar, and clinical assistant in the skin department at the Great Northern Central Hospital.

Maj Malcolm was medical officer to the Post Office and Honorary Medical Officer to the Charity Organization Society. He was also a Fellow of the London Medical Society, a member of the Harveian Society and president of the North London Medico-Chirurgical Society.

He joined 11th (County of London) Battalion of the London Regiment (Finsbury Rifles) as Lieutenant and Medical Officer on 21 Oct 1902, and attained the rank of Major on 21 Nov 1914. He died in Malta of enteric fever contracted at the Dardanelles. Most cases of dysentery that had reached England from the Dardanelles were in the vast majority of cases bacillary or of some undetermined type, and not amoebic caused by Entamoeba histolytica.

87 Field Ambulance

Field Ambulance
A Field Ambulance on parade 1906

A Field Ambulance was divided into three sections: A Section, B Section and C Section. Each section was subdivided into two subdivisions a Tent Subdivision with nursing orderlies and general duty men and a Bearer Subdivision with stretcher bearers. In addition there was a transport section, one third of which was attached to each of the other sections.

87th Fld Amb was commanded by Lt Col J J O'Hagan with Capt R Stopford Taylor o/c A Section, Maj C H Lindsay o/c BSection and Maj A Hope Simpson commanding C Section. It was attached to the 29th Division.

87th Fld Amb embarked in Avonmouth, Bristol on 18 March 1915 for the Dardanelles. Its sections were distributed on the transports Dongola, Andania and Marquette, the latter also conveying the Transport Section with 70 mules, 6 riding horses, six ambulances and water carts and some general service wagons.

HMHS Dongola
Hospital Ship Dongola in the Mediterranean 1915 during the Dardanelles Campaign (RAMC/838).

Dongola reached Malta on 25 March 1915 and cast anchor in the Grand Harbour. It sailed the following day and arrived off Alexandria on 29th March. 87th Fld Amb disembarked and encamped in the desert four miles outside Alexandria. On 13 April, the tents were struck and it embarked for Mudros, a small town on the island of Lemnos. It landed on the beaches at Cape Halles on 25 April 1915.

Mtarfa Hospital

Mtarfa Hospital
Foundation stone Mtarfa Military Hospital.
Mtarfa Hospital
Mtarfa Military Hospital.
Mtarfa Hospital
Mtarfa Military Hospital with the badge of the RAMC on either side of the main door.

The foundation stone of Mtarfa Military Hospital was laid down on 6 Jan 1915 by Gen Sir Leslie Rundle (Aug 1909 – 12 Feb 1915).

During the Great War, the hospital was left unfinished and was not completed until the end of 1919.

In June 1920, the RAMC took possession of the new hospital which was called the Military Hospital Mtarfa Malta.

The hospital was to have six wards of 26 beds each on three floors with a central corridor running the length of each floor. The maternity block was in a wing some distance away from the main building.

Australian Hall

Australian Hall
Australian Hall as a cinema post WW II (Courtesy K Lowe)

The Australian Branch of the British Red Cross donated £2000 for the construction of a recreation hall for Commonwealth troops.

The building was erected in Nov 1915 by the Royal Engineers in a central site between St Andrew's and St Paul's Hospitals. It opened in Jan 1916 and could accomodate 2,000 convalescent patients.

1st/3rd East Anglian Fd Amb

On 5 Aug 1915, HMT Royal George arrived at Malta from Devonport with 3 officers and 179 men of 1st/3rd East Anglian Field Ambulance on their way to Gallipoli. The 1st/4th Northants Regiment and Cyclists were also on board.

After coaling, the Royal George left Malta on 7 Aug for Alexandria and on to Lemnos. The Field Ambulance stores and vehicles which were on HMT Royal Edward were lost when the ship was torpedoed. On 15 Aug 1915, it landed at Suvla Point in Suvla Bay with the 54th Division.

Edward Leopold Rowse

Dr Edward Leopold Rowse of Putney served in Malta from 1915 to 1918 as officer commanding Floriana and Ghajn Tuffieha Hospitals. He held the rank of Lt Col in the RAMC (T). In 1921, he was attached to the 1st London Field Ambulance.

Frank William Wesley

In 1915, Frank William Wesley received a commission in the RAMC and served first at Malta. He was later attached to an ambulance convoy in France, and subsequently commanded a casualty clearing station.

William Pringle Morgan

William Pringle Morgan received a temporary commission in the RAMC and served at Malta and Salonica.

Victor Jenner Batteson

Victor Jenner Batteson served for three years as a temporary captain in the RAMC where he held the post of sanitary officer at Malta.

E A Seale

E A Seale was at St Paul's Hospital at Malta. This had 850 beds in huts and treated patients from Salonica with malaria and dysentery (amoebic or mixed infection). Sand-fly fever, was also common and was treated with the early administration of opium.

Charles Singer

Dr Charles Singer held a commission in the RAMC from 1914 until late 1918. He undertook archaeological work in Malta and studied Byzantine Greek in Salonica.

Dr Oscar de Jong 1888 - 1924

Dr Oscar Dejong
1.Oscar de Jong, 2 Capt H C Smythe, 3 Capt H G R Jamieson, 4 Lt (QM) James Cotter, 5 Dr H G Johnson, 6 McShane, 7 McCormack. (Courtesy Dr M A H Stewart's collection - supplied by her grandchildren.)

Dr Oscar de Jong graduated MB ChB with honours in 1914 and took the Diploma in Public Health in the following year.

He was offered a research fellowship in the Faculty of Public Health of Manchester University, but was unable to accept it by reason of military duties. During the war he served in Salonica and Malta.

Hamilton Clelland Marr

Lt Col Hamilton Clelland Marr acted as specialist in nervous diseases for the troops at Malta from 1915 to 1916.

John McIlrath Gibson (8 Apr 1888–3 May 1963)

Dr J M Gibson graduated BA in 1910 and MB BCh from Queen's University Belfast in 1912. He proceeded to the MD and DPH in 1915. He joined the RAMC and became DADMS at Salonica. He was then appointed specialist sanitary officer in Malta (1915-18). Diagnosed a nursing sister serving at St George's Hospital with Kala Azar (Visceral Leishmaniasis), which she had contracted at Malta.

Arthur Dennison

Arthur Dennison took a temporary commission as Lt in the RAMC on 15 Oct 1915. He was promoted to captain after a year's service. He saw service in Malta and Salonica as sanitary section staff captain. In Malta, he was admitted to a tuberculosis sanatorium, from whence he returned to England in Christmas 1920. He died at Burley, Leeds, on 6 April 1921, aged 52.

John William Heekes

John William Heekes was attached to 46 CCS, later becoming surgeon to St Andrew's Hospital at Malta and to Queen Alexandra's Hospital at Millbank. After the war he was surgeon specialist to Belmont Hospital, where up to 1,400 German prisoners passed through his hands.

Herbert John Shirley

Herbert John Shirley enlisted and served with the British Expeditionary Force as Lt Col, 2nd/5 Lancashire Fusiliers. In 1917 he exchanged to the RAMC, as consulting anaesthetist in the Malta Command, and had charge of the Manoel Military Hospital. At the end of the war he was SMO in a motor transport division of the RASC. He retained his military rank as brevet colonel commanding Artists' Rifles.

John McAdam Hill 22 June 1882–24 Dec 196

Dr John McAdam Hill MB CHB graduated at Edinburgh in 1907. He served with the RAMC in France, Malta, India and Serbia. He was awarded the Order of St Sava for his work with the RAMC Serbian Mission. He demobilised in 1918.

Walter A Gilmour 1886–18 Nov 1957

Dr Walter A Gilmour CBE MD FRACP DPH graduated at Glasgow in 1908. He was a pathologist to Auckland Hospital New Zealand. During WW I he served in the RAMC as a pathologist and bacteriologist in Malta, Salonica and Italy.


  • Staff Officers
  • Surg Gen Whitehead Hayward Reader
  • Deputy Surg Gen Smith Lawrence
  • Local Col Sleman Richard Reginald
    DDMS Malta Command
  • Lieutenant Colonels
  • Dundon Michael
  • Greenwood Arthur Rowland
  • Maurice George Thelwall Kindersley
  • Scanlan Arthur De Courcy
  • St Vincent Ryan Edmond W
  • Majors
  • Cahill Robert John
  • Carmichael James Charles Gordon
  • Carr Charles Henry
  • Cumming Charles Chevin
  • Walker Francis Spring
  • Temp Local Maj Rust Arthur Bernard Wills - (dental officer)
  • Captains
  • Cameron Norman
  • Carlyle Robert Carlyle
  • Carr George de Rastricke
  • Cooke Owen Cunninghame Preston
  • Fitzwilliams D C L
  • Symons Vivian Hood
  • Webster William Leckie
  • Wilson Colin
  • Lieutenants
  • Malaher Bruce
  • MacGowan Joseph
  • McCall William Graem Denroche
  • Carlisle A.
  • Cole Reginald William
  • Coplans E
  • Donaldson E
  • Gauntlett Eric G
  • Consultants to the Army
  • Col Charles A Ballance MVO MS (Lond) FRCS – Surgeon St Thomas' Hospital
  • Col Archibald Edward Garrod –Physician St Bartholomew's Hospital. From 1915 till 1919, he acted as Consulting Physician to the Forces in Malta with the rank of Colonel in the Army Medical Service. He was awarded an MD (Honoris Causa) by the University of Malta.
  • Col Gulland G Lovell – Physician Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. Consulting physician to the Forces in Malta from 1916.
  • Col Purves Stewart – Physician Westminster hospital, the West-End Hospital for Nervous Diseases and the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital.
  • Col Charters James Symonds MS (Lond) FRCS – Consulting Surgeon Guy's Hospital.
  • Col William Thorburn Surgeon Manchester Royal Infirmary. Consultant Surgeon Malta and Salonica Commands.
  • Temp Commission RAMC Officers
  • Capt Anastasi J MBE RAMC – Stationed at Tigné Hospital
  • Alexander William Alister
  • Anderson James Robertson – Surgeon Malta 1916-19
  • Temp Lt Col Barker Arthur E. – Consultant Surgeon to the QA Military Hospital Millbank died at Salonica of pneumonia and nephritis
  • Batteson Victor Jenner
  • Buck Peter
  • Chapman Edward Seymour
  • Clarke Henry Milford – Surgeon Specialist
  • Clow David – married Dr Alice Sanderson attached to RAMC whom he met at Malta
  • Crofton W M
  • Major Duff Donald – Surgical Specialist and consultant surgeon to the Malta Command
  • Capt Dickin Edward Percival – Officer in charge of the medical division of a military general hospital
  • Fannin Edward M
  • Farrar Reginald Anstruther – Major. Specialist Sanitary Officer Malta 1915-16, until the work greatly increased and was taken over by the permanent service. He then returned to England.
  • Finny Charles Morgan
  • Fothergill, Claude Francis, BA, MB, B C Cantab, MRC S, LRCP (Lond), Imtarfa Hospital, Malta. In 1913, he was elected a member of the Medico-Psychological Association of Great Britain and Ireland.
  • Glover James Alison – Assistant Sanitary Officer Malta Command 1915-16
  • Hall Edward Wilson
  • Harrison Cyril Edward
  • Heekes John William
  • Hill John McAdam
  • Major Hillman George Brown – Officer in charge of the Spinola General Hospital and the Hamrun Hospital for officers.
  • Hodgson Albert Ernest
  • Huggins Godfrey Martin – Surgeon Valletta Hospital
  • Hughes Ernest William Shaw – At Malta and on a hospital ship on the Salonica front.
  • Hughes Norman Alexander Aylmer
  • Kinnersly George Edward
  • Mackenzie Thomas – Officer commanding Cottonera Military Hospital.
  • Mackinnon Frank Irvine
  • Martin James Sackville – In 1916 married Miss Florence A. Gladstone at Valletta.
  • Capt Martin Edwin William – Served at Malta and Gallipoli and was present at the evacuation of Suvla Bay.
  • Mathews Frank Edward
  • Mayo Thomas Alfred
  • Mills John
  • Mitchell James Murray Duff
  • Morgan William Pringle
  • Major O'Sullivan Alexander Charles – His work in Malta on malaria and dysentery obtained widespread recognition.
  • Patrick Adam – Specialist in Bacteriologist in Malta for 3 yrs
  • Temp Capt Phelps John Henry Dixon – Valletta Hospital
  • Pinchin Arthur John Scott – Physician Mtarfa Military Hospital.
  • Price G Basil – Physician Mtarfa Military Hospital.
  • Rendle Arthur Russel
  • Robertson James R
  • Russell Bertie Ronald Gordon
  • Shirley Herbert John
  • Sieger Albert Sophron
  • Capt Smyth Henry Carson – Served in Malta and Salonica, where he met and married Dr Janice Park Walton.
  • Studdert Augustine Fitzgerald
  • Sturridge Frederick Reginald
  • Thornton George Lestock
  • Walker William McNeill
  • Warrington Yorke
  • Weeks Courtenay Charles
  • Wemyss Herbert Lindesay Watson