On 18 Feb 1943, P/206305 Sister Muriel May Masters QAIMNS, Sister-in-charge 90 British General Hospital Families Section, was awarded the Royal Red Cross for exceptional devotion to duty at Malta. DDMS Malta Colonel William Kenneth Morrison wrote:
Bombs have dropped on numerous occasions in the immediate vicinity of the Families Hospital and the sister's quarters have been demolished by a direct hit resulting in much damage to the hospital and fear among the patients. At all such times, she has carried on her duties with courage and supervised the removal of patients to a place of safety without any consideration for herself. In addition her nursing ability is outstanding.
86248 Captain Ernest Edward Spring
On 18 Feb 1943, Captain (Temp Major) Ernest Edward Spring RAMC was appointed an Additional Officer of the Military Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in recognition of his gallant and distinguished services in Malta. DDMS Malta Colonel William Kenneth Morrison wrote:
As Registrar of 39 British General Hospital, this officer has carried out his duties with thoroughness and enthusiasm for work which has set an excellent standard for the unit. His sound judgement and shrewd common sense have been invaluable. On Saturday 25 Apr 1942, when the hospital was severely bombed on three separate occasions by a total of 80 to 100 enemy bombers, resulting in the deaths of four patients and eight RAMC personnel, his steadiness and coolness gave a fine example to all ranks as he organised rescue work and arranged for the evacuation of the patients.
Distinguished Service Malta Cmd
The following were mentioned for gallant and distinguished services in Malta (London Gazette 6 Apr 1943)
8216 Col W K Morrison DSO MB L/RAMC
56022 Maj T F Briggs MB RAMC
101005 Capt J G Pyper MD RAMC
750985 WO II (Qmr Sgt) H Woodhouse RAMC
90 British General Hospital
On 2 Jan 1944, naval patients ceased to be admitted to 90 BGH. They were instead transferred to the Hospital Ship Maine and to the Royal Naval Hospital Bighi. On 6 Mar 1944, Hospital Ship Oranje arrived to casevac 97 patients from 90 BGH to England.
No 2 (Basuto) Section which had been attached to No 90 BGH to looked after the Mauritanian Pioneers also left Malta.
45 (UK) General Hospital
On 2 Jan 1944, 26 naval patients still at No 45 GH were transferred to Royal Naval Hospital Bighi and to Hospital Ship Maine.
By mid January, the number of hospital beds were reduced to 257. On 15 Feb, 107 patients were transferred to No 90 GH so as to prepare 45 BGH for embarkation. No 45 (UK) GH sailed on HS Dorsetshire on 7 Mar 1944 and proceeded to Taranto.
RAF Station Hal Far
Some of the medical officers who served at RAF Station Hal Far in 1944 were:
Sqn Ldr C E Astley – SMO RAF Station Hal Far
Flt Lt J J McNair – MO 283 Squadron
Flt Lt H P Scurlock – Officer's Advanced Training School Kalafrana
Flt Lt A C Camm – MO RAF Station Hal Far
Flt Lt D N Kiff – Detached to RAF Luqa
Capt Van der Merwe – MO 27 Squadron SAAF left 20 Oct 1944
RAF Station Hal Far provided medical cover to men living in four main camps: Hal Far, Kalafrana, Marsaxlokk and Siggiewi. 16 Nissen Huts were erected at Hal Far to accommodate airmen formerly quartered at Marsaxlokk Camp, which was shut down in Nov 1944.
Sand fly fever incapacitated a number of troops between June to October. The RAF had 122 admission into hospital in Aug, 130 in Sept, but only 65 cases in October.
In early Nov 1944, St Paul's Bay Medical Inspection Room closed following the departure of No 841 Air Ministry Experimental Station (AEMS).
The last fighter sortie from Malta was flown in Aug 1944. At the end of the month all day and night fighters left Malta Group.
No 39 (UK) General Hospital Mellieha
On 13 Jan 1944, all British patients were transferred to No 45 (UK) GH so as to prepare the hospital to receive Yugoslav Partisan patients. 226 Yugoslav patients, of whom 13 were female patients, arrived on 16 January.
On 23 Jan, another convoy brought an additional 219 patients. The Yugoslav women patients were visited by Mrs Campbell, wife of the Lieut-Governor of Malta. On 31 Jan, an extra 175 Yugoslavs arrived at No 39 (UK) GH.
No 39 (UK) GH Mellieha closed on 25 Mar 1944 and all Yugoslav partisans were transferred to 90 GH. The unit embarked on 8 Apr for Naples and onwards to New Deckmont Camp, Cambuslang Near Glasgow where they arrived on 23 Apr 1944.
Mellieha Military Cemetery
39 (UK) GH opened at the former infantry barracks Mellieha on 14 Mar 1943. It had relocated from St Andrews Barracks following the bombing of the hospital on 25 Apr 1942. The hospital closed down on 8 Apr 1944.
On 14 July 1943 a cemetery at the lower end of Mtarfa Road was opened for the military hospital. In 1967, the graves at the cemetery were cleared, and the remains of 14 Yugoslav partisans were re-interred at Pieta Military Cemetery. On 25 March 1944, No 39 GH closed down and 357 Yugoslav partisans permanently unfit to fight were transferred to the Barrack Wing of No 90 General Hospital.
Sanitary Section Malta
On 19 July 1944, GO 888 dated 19 July 1944, authorised a change of title of No 57 Field Hygiene Section to Sanitary Section Malta with effect from 31 May 1944. The unit was located at St George's Barracks and was commanded by Captain F Lloyd RAMC.
Sanitary Section Malta supervised the hygiene arrangements for the 19,000 troops stationed in Malta in July 1944. Among its activities were: fly and rat control, disinfestation of bed bugs and flea infested bedding. It had four sanitary inspectors on detachments to other units.
Drew R: Commissioned Officers in the Medical Services of the British Army Vol II. Roll of Officers in the Royal Army Medical Corps 1898–1960. London The Wellcome Historical Medical Library 1968.
General returns of the strength of the British Army on 30 June 1944.
General returns of the strength of the British Army on 30 September 1944.
TNA:WO 373/78/281, Recommendation for award Service no 86248 Captain (Temp Major) Ernest Edward Spring 39 British General Hospital.
TNA:WO 373/29/358, Recommendation for award Service no P/206305 Sister Muriel May Masters QAIMNS 90 British General Hospital (Families Section).
TNA:WO 177/1886, War Diaries 30 Coy RAMC 1 January 1943 to 30 June 1946.
TNA:WO 177/1287, War Diaries No 45 General Hospital May 1941 to April 1946.
TNA:WO 177/1360, War Diaries No 90 British General Hospital Apr 1940 to September 1946.