The Army Medical Department
And the Malta Garrison

The Malta Garrison – 1832

Malta Garrison 1832

Effective Strength Malta Garrison 1 Jan 1832
Col –
Surg Assist
Sgt Drm Rank
& File
76 4 4 3 5 121 43 1951
Returns of the Adjutant General's Office showing the Effective Strength of the Garrison including Colonial Corps, Artillery and Engineers.
Armoury Vittoriosa
The Knight's Armoury at Vittoriosa was erected under Grand Master La Sengle (1553–57). The first floor was built later in 1636. In 1800, the Armeria became the first British Naval Hospital. It served as a hospital up to 1832 and a barracks for British troops.
Plan Armeria Vittoriosa
Plan of the Vittoriosa Military Hospital dated 5 Oct 1835 (TNA:MFQ 1/296).

On 24 Feb 1832, Sir Howard Elphinstone RE was sworn in as Acting Lieutenant Governor and Commander of the Garrison. During the Governor's absence from Malta, it was standard procedure for senior military officers to temporary take over the administration of the island.

On 5 Mar, Sir Frederick Cavendish Ponsonby, resumed his duties as Lieutenant Governor and Commander of the Malta Garrison.

As a result of the outbreak of cholera in England, the Board of Health in Malta directed that all vessels arriving from a port in England were to enter quarantine for 10 days. The hammocks and clothing of the crew and passengers were to be aired on deck and the hold and cabins fumigated.

Loyal Orange Institution of Great Britain

On 10 August 1832, the Office of Worshipful Master in the Orange Institution of Great Britain granted a foreign warrant to Brother Orangeman Edward Nucella to visit established lodges in Malta and the Ionian Islands and to form others wherever he could. Brother Nucella arrived in Malta in late September 1833. He stayed at the Beverley Hotel and left for Corfu on 2 November 1833. He returned to Malta on 6 February 1834.

The Loyal Orange Institution was a Protestant Society which endeavoured by force of opinion to inculcate certain political principles in regard to the maintenance of the Established Church and loyalty to the Throne and the defence of the laws. The existence of Orange Military Lodges on the island was generally known by officers and men, who recognised Brother Nucella as a Commissioner of Prince Ernest Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, the Imperial Grandmaster of the Loyal Orange Association of England. This was despite an order from the Commander–in–Chief forbidding any officer or soldier from attending Orange Lodge meetings.

Only two out of the four regiments and companies of artillery stationed in the island in 1833 had warrants for their lodges. The 42nd Regiment (Lodge No 104) sat under warrant granted to Master John McKay, and the 94th (Lodge No 258) sat under warrant granted to Master Frederick Spooner.

Private Samuel Proctor 7th (Royal Fusiliers) was sitting as master under a precept granted to him by the lodge of the 42nd (Royal Highland) Regiment. As did Master Charles Staples 73rd Regiment. On 10 October 1833, Brother Nucella replaced their precept with a warrant for the 7th Regiment (lodge No 194 Z) and 73rd Regiments.

In July 1822, The Duke of York, being fully aware of the dangers of an organised political body within the ranks of the army undermining discipline, prohibited the introduction of Orange Lodges in the army. His order was repeated by Horse Guards in 1829, and again on 31 August 1835 when the Commander–in–Chief Lord Rowland Hill forbade any officer or soldier belonging to any regiment from attending at Orange Lodges, under pain of being brought to a General Court Martial for disobedience of orders.

In February 1834, Brother Nucella set up a permanent Orange Lodge for the Protestant British inhabitants in Malta. This was independent of the military lodges, over which the Commander–in–Chief had no power to prevent its assembling. Brother Nucella granted Captain Paymaster William Adair M'Dougall 42nd Regiment, a very staunch and zealous Orangeman for over 30 years, Warrant No 196 Z for this lodge. He also advanced him and Quarter Master Ensign John Annesley Hickman 73rd Regiment, a descendant of an old Orange family in Ireland, to the dignity of the Purple Order.

Marriages Baptisms Burials 1832

  • 17 Mar Marriage of Bachelor Charles William Dodd of the Parish of St Margaret, Westminster, Chaplain of HMS Madagascar, married Hester Louisa David, spinster daughter of John and Louisa David, born and residing in Malta.
  • 11 Apr Private baptism of Michael George Balneavis, born on 3 March 1832, son of Lt Col and Town Major Henry Balneavis and Georgina by Archdeacon John Thomas Howe Le Mesurier, Chaplain to the Forces.
  • 18 Apr Frances Eliza Robertson, born on 29 Sep 1823 and privately baptised in Dieppe on 7 Oct 1823, daughter of Sophia and Assistant Commissary General William Robertson, was publicly received into the church.
  • 17 Sep Baptism of Edward James Pritchard, born on 25 August 1832, son of Barrack Sgt Richard Pritchard and Mary.
  • 15 Jan Burial of William Richardson aged 2 years, son of W. Richardson, Clerk Medical Department.