The Army Medical Department
And the Malta Garrison

The Malta Garrison – 1892

Malta Garrison

The average strength of the Command was 7,847 men, exclusive of colonial troops. There were 5,686 admissions into hospital (724.6 admissions/1000 mean strength), with 67 deaths (8.54 deaths/1000). The Garrison Staff had 64 men with 10 hospital admissions and 1 death.

181 men returned to England as invalids, of whom 110 were discharged from the service. The average number constantly non-effective through sickness (mean daily sick), excluding the RMA, was 371.84 men (47.38/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 17.34 days; the average duration of each case was 23.93 days.

Soldiers' Families

The Command had 319 wives, with 251 attacks of illness and 0 deaths. The main diseases were: continued fevers (85), debility (46), respiratory diseases (19) and digestive disorders (27).

There were 510 children with 550 cases of sickness and 41 deaths. The main diseases were: measles (81/5 deaths), fever (83/4 deaths), eye disorders (42), respiratory (91/4 deaths) and digestive (141).

Child deaths were from dysentery (1), debility (3), premature birth (3), convulsions (1), enteritis (3), tubercular disease (2), epilepsy (1), pneumonia (1) and diarrhoea (14).

There were 189 officers in the Command, with 101 attacks of illness. There were no deaths, but 5 were invalided home. Admissions were for: continued fevers (25), debility (56), rheumatism (12), digestive disorders (10) and injuries (21).

13 Nov Baptism of Herbert Reginald Holbrooke born 4 Oct 1892, son of Elizabeth Lilian and Sgt Frederick Holbrooke Gymnastic Staff Cottonera.

Health of the Garrison

Fever accounted for 1,446 admissions into hospital with 36 deaths. Admissions were for:

  • 84 for nervous system diseases (1 death)
  • 48 for circulatory diseases (3 deaths)
  • 222 for respiratory conditions (6 deaths)
  • 615 for digestive diseases (7 deaths)
  • 13 for urinary problems
  • 344 for generative disorders
  • 338 for cutaneous diseases
  • 199 for rheumatism
  • 131 for primary syphilis
  • 146 for secondary syphilis
  • 656 for gonorrhoea
  • 16 for phthisis (4 deaths)
  • 717 for accidents (4 deaths)
  • 20 for alcoholism
  • 8 for parasitic diseases (taenia solium)
  • 79 for debility

There were 3 admissions for eruptive fevers (measles), 74 for enteric fever (25 deaths), 15 admissions for dysentery and 8 for malarial fevers.

The greatest number of admissions for enteric fever were from Pembroke Camp and Sliema. Infection was blamed on the impure water in the many grog shops frequented by the soldiers. During the autumnal heavy rains a branch of the aqueduct became contaminated with water from a nearby cesspit.

There were 1,369 admissions for simple continued fever with 14 deaths including 3 invalids after leaving the command. Influenza caused 34 admissions and diphtheria 1 admission which proved fatal.

There were two deaths from asphyxia, one from drowning and one from strangulation (suicide), a death from heat apoplexy and one from a fracture of the base of the skull following an accidental fall.

The following were buried in Pietà Military Cemetery in 1892:

  • 31 Jan 1892 J Slyfield East Surrey Regt aged 39 years was landed from HMS Crocodile and died ashore.
  • 19 Feb Charles Vickers aged 8 years, son of Sgt Northumberland Fusiliers.
  • 3 Mar Margaret Vickers aged 2 years 9 months, daughter of Sgt Northumberland Fusiliers.
  • 21 June Child Annie G Midlane aged 3 years 7 months, daughter of Charles Midlane.
  • 4 Aug Still born child of William and Mary Murray.
  • 2 Nov Still born male child of W Chalfont.
  • 4 Nov Mrs Fanny Price aged 33 years of 1st Worcester Regt disembarked from HMS Serapis and died ashore.
  • 19 Nov Mrs C Weymont aged 22 years of Gloucester Regt disembarked from HMS Euphrates and died ashore.
  • 21 Nov Still born male child of E Montgomery.

Poor House

St Vincent De Paul Hospital
St Vincent De Paul Hospital

On 23 May 1892, an asylum for the aged and incurables was opened at Mgieret which replaced the Ospizio at Floriana.

Dr Gustavo Busuttil, resident superintendent at Floriana, became the resident superintendent and medical officer of the new poor house. His annual salary was £110.

Dr William R Rapinet MD, formerly resident assistant physician and surgeon of the lunatic asylum, was appointed resident assistant superintendent and medical officer of the new poor house, on an annual salary of £70.

The Ospizio at Floriana closed on 1 Oct 1892. The site was transferred to the military for use as an Ordnance Depôt.