The Army Medical Department
And the Malta Garrison

The Malta Garrison – 1846

Malta Garrison

Plan of Valletta showing boundaries of proposed citadel.

The average strength of the garrison was 2,425 men.

In July 1846, the garrison commander Lt Gen Pennefather proposed that in the event of an uprising by the Maltese against their Protestant Masters, the British were to seek refuge in Fort St Elmo.

Pennefather recommended creating a citadel by cutting a ditch between the Grand Harbour and the Quarantine Harbour. Access to the citadel was to be only by a drawbridge. There was to be room for 4,000 English refugees. The plan called for re-supply from the sea, the use of water from the aqueduct, and escape by sea.

Army Medical officers of the Malta garrison were allowed private practice, unlike naval surgeons who were strictly forbidden to do so by their Admiral.

Baptisms 1846

  • 25 July 1846 Francis William Carpenter Major, born on 18 July 1846, son of Catherine and Deputy Commissary General Francis William Amiable Carpenter Major, was baptised by the Rev John Cleugh, Chaplain to Government.

Discharging and Invaliding of Soldiers

The chief ground for a soldier's discharge was infirmity, disease, or disability from wounds or injuries. Up to 1847, soldiers were enlisted for life, but were generally invalided after 21 years service in the infantry or 24 years in the cavalry. Worn out soldiers were examined at Chatham, Chelsea (Household troops), Kilmainham, and Woolwich (Artillery men). Medical officers found some disability to justify invaliding the soldier.

With the passing of the Limited Enlistment Act 1847, infantry soldiers could either obtain their discharge after 10 years service, (12 years in the Artillery), or re-enlist for another 11 years, (12 years in the Artillery). They were then entitled for a pension on the completion of 21 or 24 years service respectively.

In addition, soldiers could purchase their discharge, or in certain circumstances be allowed to leave with a view to settling in the colonies. Men were also release from the service on reduction of the establishment, or after repeated disciplinary episodes, usually associated with habitual drunkenness.