The Army Medical Department
And the Malta Garrison

The Malta Garrison – 1811


On 4 May 1811, Maj-Gen Lord William Bentinck replaced Sir John Stuart as Commander-in-Chief of the troops in Sicily. Bentinck took command on 24 July 1811, and was additionally HM Minister Plenipotentiary to the Court at Naples.

At the time, Sicily was held by the British in the name of Ferdinand, King of the Two Sicilies, so as to deny it to the French. However, Ferdinand so oppressed his Sicilian peasantry, that Bentinck was obliged to keep a large force on the island to suppress rebellion.

On 7 Dec 1811, Bentinck strengthened the garrison in Sicily by transferring troops from Malta.

On 23 Sep 1811, Dr Borland, the Principal Medical Officer in Sicily, sent one to two hospital mates from Sicily to augment the subordinate medical officers at Malta.

On 25 Oct 1811, the Malta Garrison consisted of 7 Field Officers, 29 captains, 98 subalterns, 4,481 rank and file, 107 on passage to Malta, 202 at Home, 4,616 Establishment.

Quarantine Department

From 25 Sep 1811, the duties of the quarantine department were conferred on to Deputy Inspector of Hospitals William Pym, then serving at Gibraltar. Pym replaced superintendent William Eton, who had been dismissed for improper conduct.

Physicians to the Forces

On 29 July 1811, in accordance with a circular from Horse Guards, the rank of Physician to the Forces was opened to Regimental and Staff Surgeons who held the MD degree of a university of Great Britain.

On 23 May 1811, Physician to the Forces William Irvine died in Malta. He was replaced on 1 Aug 1811 by Staff Surgeon Charles Farrell, who was promoted to the vacancy.

The rank of Physician to the Forces was abolished by Royal Warrant dated 29 July 1830.