RAMC

Medical Officers of the Malta Garrison
Gibbons John

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235 Assistant Surgeon John Gibbons CB (Mil 1879) MRCS (Eng 1849)
27 May 1826 [Westmeath] – 6 Dec 1882 [Dublin]

Introduction

Surgeon General John Gibbons served in the Eastern Campaign of 1854–1855. He was at the Battles of Alma, Inkerman and the siege and fall of Sebastopol where he was wounded on 20 October 1854 by a shell in the trenches. He took part in the attack and occupation of the Cemetery on 18 June. He was specially mentioned in Lord Raglan's despatches for his exertions during the siege. He received the Crimean Medal with three clasps, the Turkish Medal and was appointed a Knight of the Legion of Honour.

On 19 June 1855, Surgeon General John Gibbons was mentioned in the following orders issued by General Eyre of the Third Division of the British Army, for his gallantry in the action before Sebastopol.

Second Brigade Orders, Third Division June 19th: The Major-General commanding the Brigade requests that the officers, non-commissioned officers. and men, will accept his thanks for their conduct yesterday. He cannot sufficiently express his admiration of their coolness, gallantry and discipline during a most trying day. He must tender his thanks to the medical department for their judicious arrangements to provide for the wounded, which arrangements were most successful. To Assistant-Surgeon Gibbons 44th Regiment and Geeves 38th Regiment, especially, much praise is due for their zealous and humane exertions in the field while exposed to a galling fire from the enemy.1

In 1857–1858, Surgeon General Gibbons served in the suppression of the Indian Mutiny in medical charge of the 32nd Light Infantry. He was present in the successful attack on the entrenched position at Dehaygain, the capture of the fort of Duhool, the action at Doopore, the affair at Jugdespore and the surrender of the forts of Amethic and Luckerpoore. He also accompanied the column under Colonel Carmichael which drove Beni Madkoo across the Gazra. He was decorated with the Indian Medal.

Surgeon-General John Gibbons was made a a Commander of the British Empire (CB) for his services in the Afghan War. He served with the 1st Division Peshawar Valley Field Force as the Principal Medical Officer. During the return of the 1st and 2nd Divisions of the Peshawar Valley Field Force from India to Afghanistan through the Kyber Pass in June 1879, the army was severely affected by cholera, excessive heat, absence of shade and scarcity of water. From Peshawar, all the European troops from the front reached their respective stations, but not without considerable loss from cholera and sunstroke. The Base hospital, and officers' hospital in connection with it, which had afforded such relief and comfort to very bad cases passing through Peshawar were broken up in May 1881, there being no further use for either. It was urged by the medical authorities that one should be kept ready for service but the medical arrangements were as of old, on the regimental system. Within three months, another had to be hurriedly got ready; and in eighteen hours all the indents in duplicate or triplicate for the various requirements had to be made out, countersigned, presented, and, to a certain extent, complied with by the Commissariat, Ordnance, Transport, and Medical Departments; and the incongruous mass of stores, tents, carts, camels, mules, etc., arranged and started for the outposts with an infantry brigade. It was a rabble for several marches; and the bulk of the commissariat stores did not arrive for several days, for want of transport.3

In the farewell order of Lieutenant-General Sir Samuel Browne, commanding the First Division Peshawar Valley Field Force, the General tendered to the following medical officers, in common with the Divisional staff, Deputy Surgeon-General J. Gibbons, Principal Medical Officer, and Surgeons-Major G. Davie and J. H. Porter, his acknowledgments for the able and efficient manner in which they performed their respective duties, and the support and assistance they have invariably rendered him.2

Surgeon-General John Gibbons died at 8 Waterloo Road Dublin in December 1882 in his fifty-eight year.

Service Record — John Gibbons

22 Mar 1850 Acting Assistant Surgeon.

2 Aug 1850 Assistant Surgeon 44th (East Essex) Regiment of Foot.

Malta 20 Aug 1850 Arrived from England to replace assistant surgeon Gray John Caughey deceased. He took up his duties at Fort Ricasoli and was highly praised for his conduct during the cholera epidemic which had struck Malta during the year.

Malta 19 May 1851 Left for Gibraltar.

Malta 10 Mar 1854 Arrived from Gibraltar.

3 Apr 1854 Left for Turkey and the Crimea. Served in the Eastern campaign of 1854–1855.

16 June 1856 Was conferred with the Knight Legion of Honour from the Emperor of the French for his distinguished service during the war with Russia.

31 Oct 1856 Exchanged from 44th Foot with Staff Assistant Surgeon John Johnson.

1856 In Mullingar Co. Westmeath.

1857–1859 In the East Indies.

3 Nov 1857 Staff Surgeon of the 2nd Class. Served in the suppression of the Indian Mutiny in medical charge of the 32nd Light Infantry.

3 Feb 1860 Surgeon 95th (Derbyshire) Regiment of Foot.

20 June 1865 Surgeon Royal Artillery. He was with the 23rd Bde RA until 1871 when he moved to 17th Bde RA.

22 Mar 1870 Promoted Surgeon Major Royal Artillery.

1871 Moved to 17th Bde Royal Artillery.

Dec 1873 Appointed Surgeon Major to the 21st Bde Depot Royal Artillery from 17th Royal Artillery.

1874 Appointed to the 13th Bde Royal Artillery.

June 1876 In Meean Meer, India; in Rangoon and in Bengal.

5 Dec 1876 Promoted Deputy Surgeon General.

1877 In Allahabad, India.

1878 In Allahabad and Meerut.

1878 – 1879 Afghan War. Was present in the siege and capture of Ali Musjid.

19 July 1879 Served with the 1st Division Peshawar Valley Field Force as the Principal Medical Officer. He received a mention in despatches and was made a CB (London Gazette 7 November 1879).

1880 In Meerut and Allahabad.

1881 In Allahabad.

15 June 1882 Retired with the honorary rank of Surgeon General.

6 Dec 1882 Died at Dublin in his fifty-eight year.

Bibliography

  • Drew R., 1968. Entry No: 5018. Medical Officers in the British Army 1660 – 1960. Volume 1: 1660 – 1898. London: Wellcome Historical Medical Library.
  • RAMC/PE/3/27/Drew. Manuscript for Drew's Roll.
  • Succession Book Vol 5 (1 May 1846). Returns of service of medical officers in the Regular Army.
  • 1Gallantry of medical officers before Sebastopol, Br Med J (1855);s3-3: 645 (Published 6 July 1855).
  • 2The Afghan War. Br Med J (1879); 266 (Published 16 August 1879).
  • The Army Medical Service General Order, Simla 14 October 1879. Br Med J (1879); 2: 879 (Published 29 November 1879).
  • 3The Army Medical Department. Br Med J (1882); 2: 1234 (Published 16 December 1882).
  • Obituary Military and Naval Medical Services Br Med J (1883); 133 (Published 20 January 1883).