The Army Medical Department
And the Malta Garrison

The Malta Garrison – 1807

Malta Garrison

In July 1807, General Henry Fox resigned his command of the Army in the Mediterranean. In the absence of Lt Gen Sir John Moore, the command of Sicily was once again entrusted to Sir John Stuart who had arrived from England in April 1808.

On 1 October 1807, the Malta garrison consisted of a total of 5,325 officers and men. There were: 192 Commissioned and Warrant Officers, 412 Non Commissioned Officers, 4,395 Rank and File fit for duty. 64 Commissioned and Warrant Officers were absent and 251 Rank and File were sick.

Second Egyptian Campaign

In 1807, the British embarked on the Second Egyptian Expedition. Its objective was the overthrow of the Albanian backed Mohammed Ali, and the restoration of authority in Egypt to the Mameluke Beys, setting aside the territorial claims of the Turks.

On 18 Feb 1807, Maj Gen Fraser MacKenzie embarked with a small British Force at Messina consisting of the: 20th Light Dragoons, 31st Foot, 1st/35th Foot, 2nd/35th Foot, 2nd/78th Foot, De Roll's Regiment and the Chasseurs Britanniques. On 25 May, Maj Gen Fraser MacKenzie was reinforced by the 2nd/21st Foot, and 2nd/62nd Foot.

The Staff Medical Officers on the expedition were:

  • Deputy Inspector of Hospital Green Ralph
  • Physician to the Forces Moseley William
  • Staff Surgeon Brown Ebenezer
  • Staff Surgeon Porteus Edward
  • Deputy Purveyor Gunson Joseph
  • Acting Apothecary Goslie Henry
  • Hospital Mate Sutherland John
  • Hospital Mate Calvert J W

Alexandria was easily captured, but the expedition ended in failure; the troops being repulsed at Rosetta with heavy losses. The assistant surgeons of the 20th Light Dragoons, and the 2nd/78th Foot, were captured in the Siege of Rosetta and one of the medical staff officers was killed. The expedition left Aboukir Bay on 24 September, arriving at Messina on 17 October 1807.


A War Office letter dated 5 Aug 1807 to Inspector of Hospitals Francis Knight, who appointed the purveyors to the hospitals stated:

As the Services in the Mediterranean are now consolidated under one General Command, there is no necessity for retaining two full purveyors on that staff and as a Deputy Purveyor at Malta appears to you adequate to their insulate duty, that you may be so permitted to withdraw one of the purveyors from the Mediterranean, and to leave the charge of stores at Malta to the Deputy Purveyor on that station.