The Army Medical Department
And the Malta Garrison

The Malta Garrison – 1830

Malta Garrison 1830

Effective Strength Malta Garrison 25 Jan 1830
Col –
Surg Assist
Sgt Drm Rank
& File
93 5 5 5 5 151 50 2644
Returns of the Adjutant General's Office showing the Effective Strength of the Garrison including Colonial Corps, Artillery and Engineers.

On 18 Feb 1830, smallpox was brought to Malta from Greece on HMS Asia. It spread rapidly throughout the island, despite the imposition of quarantine. The majority of the civilians had not been vaccinated, so that by 1 July, there were 1,274 infected, with 144 deaths. Between Mar 1830 and Aug 1831, smallpox attacked 8,067 Maltese and 2,284 Gozitans. There were 1,172 deaths in Malta and 351 in Gozo, a total of 1,523, or 1:68 of those attacked out of a total population in Malta of 105,367.

Staff Medical Officers

The Royal Warrant of 29 July 1830 altered the ranks of Staff Medical Officers accordingly: the rank of Apothecary to the Forces was abolished; that of Hospital Assistant was changed to Staff Assistant Surgeon; Physician to the Forces became Assistant Inspector of Hospitals; Inspector General became Inspector General of Hospitals; the rank of Deputy Inspector General of Hospital was re-introduced.

From 29th July 1830, an officer on half-pay with the rank of Inspector or Deputy Inspector of Hospitals became an Inspector General or a Deputy Inspector General, but the change was not to involve any additional expense to the public.

Bighi Naval Hospital

Bighi Hospital
Bighi Naval Hospital 1832–1960

In 1827, Maj Gen Frederick Cavendish Ponsonby recommended the conversion of the country residence of Giovanni Bighi, situated on the San Salvatore Promontory into a Naval Hospital. The foundation stone of the North Pavilion of the new Naval Hospital was laid on 23 Mar 1830. The hospital opened on 24 Sep 1832, and was occupied by the Royal Navy until 1960.

Uniform – Medical Staff

General Order Horse Guards 18 Feb 1830: The King has been pleased to command an alteration in the uniform of the Medical Staff of the army. The coat to be plain scarlet throughout with a button on which the inscribed words Medical Staff encircling the letter GR, and gold epaulettes as worn by unattached officers and corresponding with the relative ranks in the army.

These regulation apply only to Inspectors of Hospitals, Deputy Inspectors of Hospitals, Physicians to the Forces, Surgeons to the Forces, Apothecaries to the Forces, Assistant Surgeons to the Forces, and Hospital Assistants. Purveyors of Hospitals and Deputy Purveyors of Hospitals to wear silver epaulettes.

Baptisms Burials 1830

  • 9 Jan Baptism of Thomas Priestly Mitchison born on 29 Nov 1829, son of Harriet and Deputy Assistant Commissary General Thomas Robinson Mitchison.
  • 20 Jan Baptism of William Richardson born on 15 Dec 1829, son of Sarah and Benjamin Richardson, Clerk in the Military Medical Department.
  • 30 Jan Baptism of Emily Rose Bowman born on 12 Dec 1829, daughter of Eliza and Deputy Assistant Commissary General William Flockhart Bowman.
  • 7 Feb Baptism of Louisa Pritchard born on 24 Jan 1830, daughter of Barrack Sgt Richard Pritchard and Mary.
  • 10 Dec Burial of James Toole, 52 years, half-pay Deputy Commissary General.