Medical Officers of the Malta Garrison
Ivey William Frederick Torcato

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138 Deputy Inspector General William Frederick Torcato Ivey MRCS (Eng 1843)
25 Aug 1819 [Lisbon] – 12 Aug 1891 [Bayswater London]


Deputy Inspector General William Frederick Torcato Ivey was the son of Deputy Purveyor to the Forces William Ivey of Canterbury Place, Walworth, Surrey who was commissioned on 26 May 1814 and died circa January 1857.

Deputy Inspector General William Frederick Torcato Ivey qualified MRCS in 1843 and entered the Army Medical Department as a Staff Assistant Surgeon on 30 May 1845. He served with the army in Turkey and Bulgaria in 1854, and in the Crimea with the 31st Regiment in 1855. He was at the siege and fall of Sebastopol and received the medal with clasp and the Turkish medal)

He also served on the Medical Staff in Jamaica, Malta, Gibraltar, Zante, the East Indies and St Helena. In 1853, he was senior medical officer of the garrison at Newcastle during the cholera epidemic. Owing to the precautions adopted by him and Assistant Surgeon Henry Charles Boate 6th Dragoons, not a single case of death occurred among the troops. He received the thanks of the Sanitary Commissioners and a most complimentary letter from the Director General, stating that the exertion he had made to maintain the health of the troops was beyond all praise. A full account of the epidemic appeared in the Times of 28 October 1853.

Deputy Inspector General William Frederick Torcato Ivey retired on 15 February 1871. He became resident medical officer at the Tower of London and had vacated that position shortly before his death on 12 August 1891, at 3 Norfolk Terrace, Bayswater, aged 71 years. A memorial tablet was placed in the Chapel Royal of St Peter ad Vincula in the Tower of London.

Service Record — William Frederick Torcato Ivey

30 May 1845 Commissioned Staff Assistant Surgeon vice Staff Assistant Surgeon William George Swan who moved to the 93rd Foot.

1845 On duty in Dublin.

1846 – 1848 In Jamaica.

1849 – 1851 On duty in Dublin.

25 Apr 1851 Assistant Surgeon 6th (Royal 1st Warwickshire) Regiment of Foot.

Oct 1853 At Newcastle with the 6th Regiment during the cholera epidemic. The garrison of Newcastle had a total strength of 519 men, consisting of the 6th Dragoons and the 6th Regiment of Foot. The latter had 10 officers, 304 men, 29 women and 46 children; a total of 389 men. In 1853, cholera had spread to Newcastle and up to 26 October had claimed the lives of 1,534 inhabitants.

Assistant Surgeon, William Frederick Torcato Ivey reported on the measures taken to protect the troops:

Everywhere around us, the devouring plague has left its fatal impress, yet have we been hitherto most mercifully spared. Numerous cases have occurred in our immediate neighbourhood, and in some of the houses in which the soldier's families are accommodated, several deaths have taken place among the civil population. These are situated at distances varying from 50 to 200 yards from the barrack gate. In the village of Spital Tongues, about 250 yards to the north of the barracks, the disease prevailed to a frightful extent for many days and carried woe and desolation to almost every hearth, scarcely a cottage escaping without numbering one or more victims to the merciless grasp of the destroyer.

The barracks are situated about three quarters of a mile from the centre of the town and form part of the outskirts in a north westerly direction. Immediately on ascertaining that the fatal scourge was in our streets, we became impressed with a sense of fearful responsibility. Entrusted with the care of so many lives, we reflected on our means of defence against its ravages. We augured that the strict attention to cleanliness, ventilation and diet, with a careful watching for, and prompt treatment of the premonitory symptoms, and by forbidding the troops from going into infected localities, the pestilence might, perchance, to a certain extent be happily averted. Accordingly, aided by the ready co-operation of the officers, the following sanitary precautions were taken:

  • We made a thorough inspection of all drains, sewers, privies, ash pits and every other locality, both within and without the barracks, where filth was likely to accumulate, and had all offensive matters removed and effluvia corrected by the liberal and daily distribution of chloride of lime; the privies and ash pits by whitewashing. The custom of washing out the barrack rooms was discontinued and dry rubbing substituted.
  • The troops were medically inspected twice, and the women and children once daily.
  • The provisions were carefully examined. The mode of cooking the dinners varied occasionally, from boiled to roast or baked meat. The men were strictly enjoined to apply immediately on the approach of any diarrhoeal tendency, and the sergeants ordered to keep a careful watch, and to send any person to hospital who may be detected going more than once a day to the privy.
  • All hawkers of fish and fruit and vegetables were forbidden entry into the barracks and the men cautioned to abstain from any irritating diet, and to keep from all low and filthy parts of the town, as well as from situations where the cholera may be raging.
  • The men were confined strictly to barracks after evening roll call; flannel belts were taken into wear, and an extra allowance of fuel granted. Amusements in the vicinity of the barracks were encouraged and every endeavour made to procure from the troops a cheerful and ready compliance with our requirements without inspiring fear.
  • The families of such soldiers as were married without leave, not being accommodated in barracks, were daily visited at their lodgings and every means put in practice to enforce and maintain cleanliness and ventilation. The landlords applied to whenever necessary for the removal of nuisances and lime occasionally used for disinfecting purposes. In some instances families who had taken up their abode in situations which seemed objectionable, either as being overcrowded or as teeming with noisome effluvia, were advised to leave, and better apartments were procured for them. The miserable condition of many of these poor creatures had been ameliorated by the timely aid of a few friends to whom their distress was represented; and owing no doubt to the change thus effected, their health has been in a great measure preserved during the trying visitation.

15 Aug 1854 Promoted Surgeon 31st (Huntingdonshire) Regiment of Foot. Served in the Crimea with 31st Regiment in 1855. Was present at the siege of Sebastopol.

7 Dec 1855 Promoted Staff Surgeon of the 2nd Class.

Malta 7 Dec 1855 Arrived from England.

Malta 21 July 1856 Returned to England.

1856 – 1858 On duty at Pembroke and Great Yarmouth.

1859 – 1863 On duty in Gibraltar.

5 Feb 1861 Appointed Surgeon 6th Foot vice Surgeon George Hyde who was placed on half-pay.

1864 – 1865 On duty in Limerick, Ireland.

30 May 1865 Promoted Surgeon-Major having completed twenty years' full-pay service under the terms of the Royal Warrant 1 October 1858.

1866 – 1867 On duty in Bengal.

1868 On duty in Chatham.

1869 – 1871 On duty in St Helena.

15 Feb 1871 Retired on half-pay with the honorary Rank of Deputy Inspector General.

1 Apr 1871 –12 Aug 1891 Appointed resident Medical Officer Tower of London.


  • Entry No: 4811. Johnston W. Roll of Commissioned Offices in the Medical Service of the British Army. Vol 1 (20 June 1727-23 June 1898), Aberdeen (1917).
  • RAMC/PE/3/27/Drew. Manuscript for Drew's Roll.
  • Succession Book Vol 4 (1 May 1846). Returns of service of medical officers in the Regular Army.
  • Medical Staff Brit Med J (1891), 2; 499 (Published 29 August 1891).
  • The Cholera. Times [London, England] 28 October 1853: 9. The Times Digital Archive.