Medical Officers
Of the Malta Garrison
Benjamin Cowan
1834 – 1893

542 Brigade Surgeon Benjamin Cowan Kerr

LRCS (Ed 1855) MD (St And 1862)

2 Apr 1834 [Glasgow] – 3 Jan 1893 [Clifton]

Brigade Surgeon Benjamin Cowan Kerr entered the Army Medical Department as an Assistant Surgeon on 17 November 1855.

He served in the Kaffir war in 1879–1880, and was present in the operations against Sekukuni, including the capture of the Fighting Koppie. He was mentioned in despatches and received the medal with clasp.

Service Record

Benjamin Cowan Kerr
Surgeon Major Benjamin Cowan Kerr (RAMC/273)

17 Nov 1855 Appointed Acting Assistant Surgeon.

1 Nov 1856 Reduced but re-appointed on 22 January 1858. In 1856, there was a reduction of the Army Medical establishment when several junior medical officers commissioned in 1855 remained unemployed for some months. On their re-appointment, however, their commissions were antedated to the original state.

12 Feb 1858 Acting Assistant Surgeon Benjamin Cowan Kerr was commissioned Staff Assistant Surgeon, vice John Henderson Whittaker who became Assistant Surgeon 69th Foot. Kerr's commission was antedated to 17 November 1855.

26 Feb 1858 Became Assistant Surgeon 2nd/6th (Royal 1st Warwickshire) Regiment of Foot.

Oct 1866 Attended as a witness for the prosecution in the General Court Martial held in Jamaica of Ensign Francis James Cullen 1st West India Regiment.

Cullen was charged with scandalous conduct, unbecoming the character of an officer and a gentleman, in having, on the 21st October 1865, in the county of Surrey, in the island of Jamaica, during continuance of martial law, and in a district over which martial law when prevailed, which had been proclaimed there for the purpose of suppressing an insurrection, and for the preservation of the public peace in the said island, cruelly, wantonly, and wrongfully, caused three men to be shot to death; the said act not being done by him, the said Ensign Cullen, in good faith, for the purpose of suppressing the said insurrection or for the preservation of the public peace in the said island.

22 Apr 1871 Promoted Staff Surgeon vice Staff Surgeon Tertius Ball appointed to the Royal Artillery. The vacancy left in 6th Foot was filled by Staff Assistant Surgeon Henry Skey Muir MD.

21 June 1871 Promoted Surgeon 74th (Highlanders) Regiment of Foot from 2nd/6th Foot. He served as their medical officer until 1876 when he moved to the Staff Woolwich.

17 Feb 1872 Arrived from Gibraltar.

1 Mar 1873 Promoted Surgeon–Major 74th Regiment.

19 Sep 1874 To England on leave.

Dec 1874 Returned from leave.

1875 On garrison duty.

26 June 1876 Returned to England.

1877–1879 On duty in Edinburgh.

1879 Moved to the Cape South Africa.

1879–1880 Served in the Kaffir War, South Africa.

1880 Moved to Hamilton.

Dec 1880–1882 On duty in Bengal.

10 Mar 1882 Promoted Brigade–Surgeon.

Oct 1885 Serving in the Bengal command. Tour expired during the trooping season of 1885–1886. Was granted permission to return to England during the ensuing trooping season.

Apr 1886 Change of station from Bengal to Dublin.

Aug 1886 Change of station from Enniskillen to Fermoy.

2 Apr 1889 Was granted retired pay having completed 26 years' full-pay service. Surgeon Major Richard William Davies was promoted Brigade Surgeon ranking as Lieutenant Colonel vice Kerr.