RAMC Officers
Of the Malta Garrison
Alan Francis Heber
1911 –1991

Brigadier Alan Francis Heber Keatinge

MC (1939) QHP (1969) MB BCh BAO (Dub 1935) DPH (Eng 1948)

13 July 1911 [Dublin] – 20 Aug 1991

Brigadier Alan Francis Heber Keatinge was educated at Trinity College Dublin, from where he qualified MB ChB in 1935. He was House Surgeon at Dr Steevens Hospital, Dublin when on 6 April 1936 he applied for a Short Service Commission in the RAMC.

From 23 October to 31 December 1936, he was seconded to Dr Steevens Hospital, Dublin under the provisions of Art. 213, Royal Warrant for Pay and Promotion, 1931. He entered the RAM College Millbank on 1 February 1937 and the RAMC Depôt on 1 January 1937. He was confirmed in rank in April 1937.

Service Record

23 Oct 1936 Appointed to a Short Service Commission Lieutenant RAMC on probation.

A F H Keatinge
Lt Alan Francis Heber Keatinge
RAMC Depôt January 1937

22 May 1937 Arrived from England.

Officer-in-medical charge of troops Tigné District.

1 Jan 1938 Promoted Captain RAMC with seniority from 1 January 1937.

Jan–Oct 1938 Officer-in-medical charge of troops Tigné District.

7 June 1938 Home leave.

GH Mtarfa
Military Hospital Mtarfa Malta.

3 Aug 1938 Returned from leave. Played cricket regularly for No 30 Coy RAMC.

9 Oct 1938 Left for Palestine. Regimental Medical Officer 2nd/Royal Irish Fusiliers (October 1938–March 1939).

5 Jan 1939 Awarded a certificate of distinguished conduct for his service in Palestine.

30 Mar 1939 Returned to Malta. RMO 2nd/Royal Irish Fusiliers (October 1938–March 1939).

14 Feb 1939 Was awarded the Military Cross for gallant and distinguished services in Palestine. Captain A F H Keatinge won the Military Cross for attending the wounded under fierce fighting near the village of Um-ad-Daraj on 28 November 1938.

Casemate Barracks Floriana
(Courtesy D Darmanin)

Apr–Aug 1939 Officer-in-medical charge of troops Tigné District.

29 July 1939 Home leave.

25 Aug 1939 Returned from leave.

1 Sept 1939 Acting Major RAMC. Registrar Military Hospital Mtarfa.

1 Dec 1939–12 Nov 1942 Temporary Major.

Jan–Feb 1940 Registrar Military Hospital Mtarfa.

Feb 1940–Nov 1940 Senior Medical Officer Malta East and Officer in charge ADS Floriana. The War Office would not sanction the rank of Lieutenant Colonel for SMO Malta East.

store Floriana
Casemate Barracks Floriana was fitted up in 1940 and used as an Aid Post. It is feasible that medics transposed the RAMC Badge from another location to adorned their Aid Post. (Courtesy D Darmanin)

Apr 1940 Medical officer in charge ADS Floriana. In his capacity as SMO Area West he inspected Medical Inspection Room Paceville, Delimara Camp and the M I Room at Wolseley Camp Delimara. He carried out embarkation duties on HT Devonshire (3 April 1940), HT Dilwara (5 April), and HMHS Vasna (6 April) when invalids were embarked. The late arrival of HMHS Vasna caused the patients to be kept waiting at Custom House Valletta. Eventually they were returned to Mtarfa Hospital and called back when the ship docked.

30 Nov 1940 The Malta garrison had increased to 16000 troops, excluding naval and Air Force personnel. On 29 November 1940, the War Office sanctioned a Deputy Assistant Director of Medical Services (DADMS) HQ Malta Command with the rank of Major. DDMS Colonel John Smith McCombe chose Major A F H Keatinge as his DADMS. Captain B C Jennings RAMC (T) took over the role of SMO Area East.

1941 DADMS Malta Command.

1 Jan 1942 Captain (Acting Major) A F H Keatinge was appointed to a Permanent Regular Army Commission Captain RAMC with retained seniority.

Jan–11 Feb 1942 DADMS HQ Malta. Was DADMS when Malta was awarded the George Cross.

11 Feb 1942 Relinquished his appointment as DADMS and became Registrar No 45 General Hospital vice Major Edwards Gordon Francis.

15 Nov 1942 Tour expired was replaced as registrar No 45 GH by Major E F Baggs.

A F H Keatinge
Staff and Cadets RAMC OCTU MEF 1944 (RAMC/2064/9)

12 Dec 1942 Left for Egypt.

1943–1944 Commanding Officer RAMC Base Depôt Middle East Force.

15 Feb 1943–19 Jan 1944 Temporary Major.

20 Oct 1943 Acting Lieutenant Colonel RAMC.

20 Jan 1944 War Substantive Major.

1944–1945 Commanding Officer 221 Field Ambulance.

A F H Keatinge
Staff and Cadets RAMC OCTU MEF 1944 (RAMC/2064/9)

1945 Assistant Director Medical Services (ADMS) HQ 6 Lines of Communication 21 Army Group.

1945–1946 Commanding Officer 130 Field Ambulance North West Europe.

1946 Commanding Officer 156 Field Ambulance.

1 Jan 1946 War Substantive Major A F H Keatinge was promoted Major RAMC.

1948 Senior Specialist in Army Health.

24 May 1950 Promoted Lieutenant Colonel RAMC.

1950–1952 Served in Cyprus with Middle East Land Force.

1953–1954 Served with the British Army of the Rhine.

8 Nov 1954 Temporary Colonel L/RAMC.

1954–1958 Deputy Director of Army Health HQ Eastern Command.

27 Jan 1959 Lieutenant Colonel (Temporary Colonel) A F H Keatinge was promoted Colonel L/RAMC.

1958–1960 ADMS HQ and Commanding Officer British Military Hospital Berlin.

1962–1963 Commanding Officer British Military Hospital Singapore.

1963–1965 ADMS HQ Singapore Base District.

1965–1966 Commanding Officer British Military Hospital Aldershot.

1966 DDMS HQ Scottish Command.

31 July 1966 Temporary Brigadier.

5 Mar 1967 Promoted Brigadier.

Sept 1969 Brigadier A F H Keatinge was appointed Honorary Physician to the Queen, in an existing vacancy.

Apr 1970 Appointed an Officer (Brother) of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem.

30 Oct 1971 Retired on retired pay.