The Army Medical Department
And the Malta Garrison

The Malta Garrison – 1809

Alexander John Ball RN

Alexander Ball
Sir Alexander Ball (1757 – 1809) (National Maritime Museum Vittoriosa)
Ball's vault
Ball's burial vault at Fort St Elmo and Ball's neoclassical temple at the Lower Barracca Gardens Valletta (1909)
Ball's memorial
Ball's burial vault at Fort St Elmo and Ball's neoclassical temple at the Lower Barracca Gardens Valletta (1909)

During the uprising of the Maltese against the French, Capt Alexander John Ball RN, was appointed the representative of the King of the Two Sicilies in Malta. He was temporary relieved from his naval duties by Lord Nelson so as to conciliate and unite the Maltese factions and co-ordinate the land blockade against the French.

Ball went back to sea on 19 Feb 1801, but was appointed Minister Plenipotentiary to the Order of St John following the signing of the Preliminaries of the Treaty of Amiens. He returned to Malta in July 1802.

Sir Alexander Ball, served as Malta's Civil Commissioner from 1802 to 1809. He died at San Anton Palace Attard on 25 Oct 1809, after a severe illness of short duration. A monument was erected to his memory at Lower Barracca Gardens, Valletta.

Medical Officers

From 1809, the names of medical officers started to appear in the monthly Returns of the General and Staff Officers of the hospitals attached to the Forces in Malta. Prior to 1809, only those absent from station had been listed.

Ionian Islands

In 1809, an expedition under the command of General Oswald and Vice Admiral Collingwood occupied Cephalonia and Zante with 1,857 men.

Corfu was too strongly defended and remained in the hands of the French until 1814, when the French garrison capitulated. On 5 Nov 1815, the Ionian Islands were placed under the protection of Great Britain.

Dispenser of Medicines

In July 1809, the Secretary-at-War approved the request of the Army Medical Board to appoint a set of men, with inferior qualifications, to act as dispensers of medicines.

Only such a number of persons as may be absolutely necessary to accompany the pending expedition, as dispensers of medicines to act in the depôts and hospitals under the immediate superintendence of the apothecary were to be engaged. These were to receive the pay of purveyor clerks at the daily rate of 5 shillings.