The Army Medical Department
And the Malta Garrison

The Malta Garrison – 1815

The Treaty of Versailles

Garden at Gudja opened by Alexander Ball for use of the Luogtenenti of the casal.

The Treaty of Versailles, 7 Mar 1815, conferred Malta and the Ionian Islands to the British Crown.

On 18 June 1815, Napoleon was defeated at Waterloo and was exiled on the island of St Helena, where he died in 1821. In Nov 1815, Sir Thomas Maitland became Lord High Commissioner of the Ionian Islands.

During the administration of Alexander Ball, each village had been placed under the authority of a headman or syndic. On 5 June 1815, Maitland abolished the power of the Luogotenente and created six Lord Lieutenants chosen from the nobility, to preside over a group of four to five villages.

Royal Malta Fencibles

General Order issued by Lt Gen Thomas Maitland dated 16 Feb 1815: From 24 Feb 1815, the three Maltese Corps, i.e. The Provincials, The Veterans, and The Coast Artillery, are to be incorporated into one corps of 700 men to be called the Royal Malta Fencibles commanded by Lt Col Rivarola.

Maitland had intended the Royal Malta Fencible Regiment to undertake the duties of a police force. It was to consist of between 400 to 500 men of Maltese and Italian nationality. The Corps remained under the control of the Colonial Department until June 1828, when it was placed on the establishment of the Regular Army.

The Veterans or Corps of Invalid was composed of old soldiers who had served under the Order of St John and during the blockade of Malta. Every soldier who subsequently became unfit for active service in other corps was allowed to continue his service in the Invalid Battalion.

In 1814, the Corps of Veterans consisted of four companies. Its duties were limited in assisting the Civil Government and police. Many died during the plague of 1813 while guarding the cordon around infected villages.

Maltese Military Artificers

On 17 May 1815, sixty nine men of the Maltese Sappers and Miners, then at Messina, embarked at Milazzo. They landed at Naples on 27 May.

On 2 July, the men re-embarked and proceeded to Genoa, where they arrived on 11 July. On 18 Oct, the Sappers and Miners were reinforced by the rest of the company from Messina. The whole reaching 101 men.

On 25 Oct 1815, the Maltese Military Artificers was raised. It consisted of 70 men employed in the following trades: carpenters, wheelers, and coopers (10), white Smiths, black smiths and lock smiths (4), stone cutters and miners (24), masons (16), plasterers (6), stone carriers and boatman (10).

Dress Regulations – Surgeons

Regimental Surgeon 1815 by E V Howell Nov 1927. (Courtesy AMS archives).

Regimental Surgeons and Assistant Surgeons wore the uniform of their regiment, the coat was straight, without facings, but with the Regimental Colour for the collar and cuffs.

A General Order, Horse Guards dated 19 Feb 1810, forbade surgeons and assistant surgeons from wearing epaulettes. In addition, they were to substitute a waist belt instead of a shoulder belt and were not to wear a sash.

The wearing of epaulettes by surgeons and assistant surgeons, of a similar pattern to the ones worn by captain and subaltern officers of the corps to which they belong, was allowed by General Order No 245 dated Horse Guards 10 May 1813.

Medical Staff Officers were only allowed to wear epaulettes after 16 Feb 1830.