David Bruce Naval Hospital Mtarfa

Regimental Surgeons of the Malta Garrison
Thomson John Bathurst

Surgeon John Bathurst Thomson MRCS (Ed 1836) MD (Ed 1836)
22 Sept 1813 [Bengal] – 18 Sept 1850 [Malta]

John Bathurst Thomson

Memorial John Bathurst Thomson 1813-1850
(Upper Barracca Gardens Valletta)

John Bathurst Thomson

Memorial inscription at the front of the monument

John Bathurst Thomson John Bathurst Thomson

Memorial inscription on the back of the monument

John Bathurst Thomson

The Coat of arms are those of Charles Thomson of Edinburgh. The field shows a stag's head cabossed attired with ten tynes; in chief three Fleur de lis; the crest a dexter hand holding a cross crosslet fitchee; the motto Honesty is good policy

Born in Kishengunge Bengal. Son of Lt Col John Thomson East India Company of the Parish of Orwell in the County of Kinross shire and Bathurst Burrell of Edinburgh.4 Domiciled in Scotland. Religion: Presbyterian. Entered the Army Medical Services aged 24 years 4 months.

Feb 1821 Left Calcutta for Edinburgh aged 7 years with his brother George Ferguson Thomson aged 4 yrs 11 months but without their parents .

1 Sept 1836 Surgeon's Hall Edinburgh: Since 31 Aug 1835 he offered himself as a candidate for the Diploma of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and after producing satisfactory evidence that he had completed a course of study prescribed by the College had been admitted to examination and found fully qualified to practice the Arts of Anatomy, Surgery and Pharmacy and received the Diploma of Licentiates of the College.1

11 Jan 1839 Staff Assistant Surgeon. Commissioned without purchase.

Army Medical Department 7 Feb 1839 Director General James McGrigor to Lord FitzRoy Somerset KGB (Secretary to the C-i-C, The Duke of Wellington).
"My Lord, I have the honour to recommend for the approval of the General Commanding-in-Chief the following appointments: In the 61st Foot, Assistant Surgeon James Smith from the 17th Foot to be surgeon vice Walter Blake deceased, and Staff Assistant Surgeon John Bathurst Thomson to be appointed surgeon in the 17th Foot vice Smith appointed to the 61st Regiment". (Lieut General Lord FitzRoy Somerset KGB was the Military Secretary to the Commander-in-Chief, Field Marshal His Grace the Duke of Wellington.2)

15 Feb 1839 Assistant Surgeon 17th (Leicestershire) Regiment of Foot, by exchange.

19 Apr 1839 Death of his father from apoplexy brought on by heat at Shikarpur Upper Scind. His father was in command of troops guarding the pay chest for the troops when they were marching in temperatures of 57C.

11 July 1839–13 July 1847 On duty at Bombay, East Indies, Aden, and Arabia.

3 Sept 1847 Promoted surgeon on the formation of the Reserve Bn 69th (South Lincolnshire) Regiment of Foot.

Malta 11 Dec 1847 Arrived from England.

Malta 6 May 1848 Away on leave.

Malta 28 Sept 1848 Returned from leave.

Malta May 1849 Transferred to 1st/69th Foot.

Malta 18 Sept 1850 Died at Valletta of cholera after an illness of 10 days. He was unmarried, but left a sister and two brothers, Lt Col William Beveridge Thomson 67th Native Infantry Regiment, assistant commissary General 2nd Class Ferozopre, and Lt Thomas Hutchins Thomson 9th Native Infantry Regiment Hon. East India Company. The pay list of 69th Foot lists him as deceased on 17 September 1850.3

15 Oct 1850 Staff Assistant Surgeon Alexander Brown Cleland was promoted surgeon to fill the vacancy created by the death of Bathurst Thomson.


  1. Entry No: 4536. Johnston W. Roll of Commissioned Offices in the Medical Service of the British Army. Vol 1 (20 June 1727-23 June 1898), Aberdeen (1917).
  2. 1The Edinburgh Medical and Surgical Journal Vol 46, 1836. Edinburgh 1836.
  3. 2TNA WO 31/791, no 791 Memorandum to the Commander-in-Chief, 7th and 14th Foot, dated 7 Feb 1839.
  4. 3TNA WO 12/7745, (1850), Regimental pay list 1st/69th Foot and Depot.
  5. TNA WO 25/3902, (1790–1847); Records of Service - Officers of the Medical Department.
  6. TNA WO 25/199, Commission notification book.
  7. Obituary Malta Mail and United Service Journal no 429, 20 Sept 1850.
  8. TNA WO 76/246 f 26, Statement of service of officers 69th Regiment on full-pay.
  9. Burke B, (1884) The General Armory of England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales" London Vol 3, p.1008.
  10. 4The Peerage person page 43211, Pedigree of John Bathurst Thomson.
  11. The East India Register and Army List for 1855 corrected to 7 May 1855.
  12. Bonnici W, John Bathurst Thomson MD 1813-1850. An insight into the times of a regimental medical officer. J R Army Med Corps 1992; 138: 50-53.