RAMC

Medical Officers of the Malta Garrison
Tippets Alfred Malpas

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349 Brigade Surgeon Alfred Malpas Tippets MRCS (Eng 1853)
5 Apr 1832 [London] – 16 Aug 1904 [Southsea]

Introduction

Brigade Surgeon Alfred Malpas Tippets was the son of James Berriman Tippetts, solicitor of London and a grandson of Obediah Tippetts of London, a weaver.

Alfred M Tippetts qualified MRCS in April 1853 and entered as an undergraduate at the University of London. After completing all his lectures and hospital attendances he became an assistant to a medical gentleman in a large practice in Lincolnshire with the intention of improving his practical knowledge before attempting his first MB examination in August 1854. However, at the start of the war with Russia, the Director General of the Army Medical Department, placed a number of commissions at the disposal of the main London Hospitals. Tippetts was recommended for a commission by Dr Sharpey, Dean of University College London. Having passed the necessary examination, he proceeded to the Headquarters of the AMD at Fort Pitt Chatham, and was duly gazetted to the Royal Fusiliers on 7 April 1854.

He served with the with the 7th (Royal) Fusiliers throughout the Eastern Campaign of 1854–1855 including the cavalry affair of the river Bulganac, the Battles of Alma, Inkerman, and the Siege of Sebastopol.

He received the Crimea Medal with three clasps and the Turkish Medal.

Brigade Surgeon Alfred Malpas Tippets also served in the Second Afghan War of 1878–1880. He was present on both the Bazaar and Hissarik Expeditions, when he was mentioned in despatches and received the Afghan War Medal.

Service Record — Alfred Malpas Tippets

7 Apr 1854 Appointed Staff Assistant Surgeon. At the time Tippetts qualified as a surgeon, there was no open competition for a commission in the Army Medical Department. Tippetts had no army influence, and almost despaired of ever attaining the object of my ambition, that of becoming an army surgeon.1

28 Apr 1854 Assistant Surgeon 7th (Royal Fusiliers).

The Fusiliers had already proceeded to the East and were at Scutari. Tippetts proceeded to Dublin to take medical charge of a detachment of the 11th Hussars who were about to embark at Kingstown. It took six hired sailing ships to convey them to Varna. He embarked on the Paramatta with three officers, 39 rank and file, and 40 horses. The party arrived off Malta in June 1854. Tippetts spent just three hours in Malta. He visited St John's Co Cathedral, and went into a cafe where he and his friend had three tumblers of ice cream and a glass of brandy for which they were charged eleven pence. They sailed out of Malta in the face of a strong gale which almost shipwrecked them on the rocks on the eastern side of the harbour. The Hussars reached Constantinople after a voyage of 45 days, from where they proceeded to Varna.

July 1854 First appearance of Cholera at Camp Devna. The troops moved to Camp Monastir. Tippetts was in full dress singularly unsuitable for campaigning. It consisted of a scarlet coatee with large gold epaulets, pantaloons, and an enormous cocked hat whose sombre appearance was relieved by lace and plumes. His appearance was commented upon by Lt Col Lacy Walter Giles Yea, commanding the 7th Royal Fusiliers who said to him Tippetts you better take care and not get taken prisoner for the Russians want take less than a Field Marshal for you on exchange.

20 Sep 1854 Present at the Battle of the Alma. The 7th Royal Fusiliers had two officers killed and 11 wounded and about 200 rank and file killed and wounded.

5 Nov 1854 Present at the Battle of the Inkerman. Tippetts had spent the previous twenty four hours in the trenches during which time it had rained incessantly and was wet right through.

18 June 1855 Death of the commanding officer Lt Col L W G Yea while attacking the Redan during the siege of Sevastopol.

29 June 1855 Assistant Surgeon 16th Light Dragoons.

2 Nov 1855 Staff Assistant Surgeon.

1856–1859 Served in the West Indies.

1860–1861 At Winchester.

1861–1864 At Bengal.

18 Oct 1864 Staff Surgeon.

1864–1865 At Ceylon.

1866 At Athlone.

15 June 1866 Exchanged with Surgeon William Kilner Swettenham 5th Northumberland Fusiliers Regiment of Foot. Proceeded to India with the 1st Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers. He served as their medical officer until March 1878 when he moved on to the Staff at Bengal.

1870 Married Mary Isabella de Courcy daughter of Col Charles C Deacon CB 46th Regiment.

7 Apr 1874 Surgeon Major.

1878–1879 At Bengal. Served with the 2nd Division Peshawar Valley Field Force, Second Afghan War part of the time with the 5th Fusiliers and afterwards on the Staff as the Temporary Principal Medical Officer. He received special praise in General Order HQ Simla, dated 14 October 1879. He accompanied the expedition into the Bazaar and Hissarik Valleys for which he was mentioned in despatches and received his third medal.

1880–1881 Served at York. Birth of a daughter, Clarice Imogene.

25 Aug 1880 Brigade Surgeon.

Malta 13 Aug 1882 Arrived from Southampton in the twin-screw SS Tower Hill to set up a Base Hospital at Gozo during the Egyptian Campaign of 1882.

The idea of a Base Hospital, surgical and medical, at Gozo and Cyprus respectively during the Egyptian Campaign of 1882, was entertained as early as July. Some of the medical staff for the hospital at Gozo left Southampton on 4 August arriving at Malta on 13 August. Brigade-Surgeon Tippetts was in charge of the Base Hospital at Gozo. His second in command was Surgeon-Major Fitzgerald Edmund Maurice Downing.

By the 23 August, the Commissariat Staff under a Sergeant with stores and four nursing sisters moved to Fort Chambray Gozo, which was adapted as a hospital. Five medical officers including an apothecary and a subaltern from the Durham Light Infantry commanding a detachment for guard were located in the former Governor's house, which had been unoccupied since the abolition of that appointment. This was adapted as a small mess and officer's quarters. Mgarr Harbour Gozo served as a landing for small boats and farther out to sea afforded anchorage for the old Indian troopships, two of which put in at different times in September with wounded from Egypt.

With the collapse of Arabi's army at Tel-el-Kebir only two batches of wounded with less than a 100 men had arrived at Gozo. The role of the medical staff at Gozo was limited to the care and surgical treatment of the wounded which arrived in September 1882. On 10 November the convalescents were discharged and the hospital demobilised. The medical and nursing sisters and stores were dispatched to Egypt, to take part in the aftermath of the war at the large base and General Hospital near Cairo and Alexandria.

18 Nov 1882 Left for Egypt. On arrival at Alexandria on 23 November, the personnel of the Gozo Hospital were dispersed.

20 Nov 1884 Promoted Deputy-Surgeon General vice Deputy-Surgeon General Henry Bolton Hassard CB who became Surgeon General.

27 Dec 1891 Surgeon-Major General.

5 Apr 1892 Retired.

7 Oct 1901 Received an allowance of £100 from the grant for Distinguished or Meritorious Service.

16 Aug 1904 Died at 14 St Andrew's Road, Southsea. He was 72 years old. His obituary in the St George's Gazette of the 5th (Northumberland Fusiliers), dated 31 August 1904 said of him:

He joined the regiment in 1866, with a record of good service as a Crimean officer. Proceeding to India with the 1st Battalion he gained the esteem of all ranks as a kind friend and able surgeon; nor was this lessened by the interest he took in the sports and amusements which relieve the monotony of service abroad. He trained and rode his own horses, winning many good stakes, and was an invaluable secretary at race meetings in the good old days when the professional element in India had not handicapped the poor, but keen regimental sportsman. With him envy never marred emulation. He would give the soundest advice on the treatment of a competitor's horse, irrespective of his own racing interests. To him the 5th Fusiliers, owed many successful and enjoyable racing weeks. with no mistakes over rules or accounts and with every contingency quietly provided for. the cheeriest comrade at mess or in the field, whether holding his own at whist or saving a pal's horse injured by a boar, he was ever a welcome unit in the sporting gathering.

Bibliography

  • Drew R., 1968. Entry No: 5217. Medical Officers in the British Army 1660 – 1960. Volume I: 1660 – 1898. London: Wellcome Historical Medical Library.
  • RAMC/PE/3/27/Drew. Manuscript for Drew's Roll.
  • Succession Books Vol VII. Returns of service of medical officers in the Regular Army.
  • General Order Simla 14 October 1879. Military and Naval Medical Services, Br Med J (1879), 879 (Published 29 November 1879).
  • Obituary. Corps News. J Roy Army Med Corps (1904), iii; 3: (Published September 1904).
  • Obituary. St George's Gazette, A Regimental Paper for The Old and Bold (1904), 260; XXII: 142 (Published 31 August 1904) (RAMC/703).
  • 1Surgeon Major General Alfred M Tippett's memoirs of his experiences in the Army Medical Services in the Crimean War, April to November 1854. RAMC/703.
  • Malta. Br Med J (1882), 2: 390 (Published 26 August 1882).
  • Beamish J M, Notes on the Surgical Base Hospital at Gozo and of the General Hospital at Alexandria 1882–83. J R Army Med Corps (1913), xxi; 3: 361 (Published Sept 1913).