The Army Medical Department
And the Malta Garrison

The Malta Garrison – 1895

Malta Garrison

The average strength of the Command was 8292 men, exclusive of colonial troops. There were 6397 admissions into hospital (771.5 admissions/1000 mean strength), with 57 deaths (6.87 deaths/1000).

122 men returned to England as invalids; 69 of whom were discharged from the service. The average number constantly non-effective through sickness (mean daily sick), excluding the RMA, was 440.85 men (53.17/1000 mean strength). The average sick time to each soldier was 19.40 days; the average duration of each case was 25.15 days.

There were 240 officers, with 173 attacks of illness and 2 deaths from enteric fever at Fort Ricasoli and from tuberculosis of the lung; 12 officers were invalided home.

Fever accounted for 1426 admissions into hospital with 22 deaths. Admissions were for:

  • 63 for nervous system diseases (14 mental)
  • 114 for circulatory diseases
  • 54 for respiratory conditions (1 death)
  • 610 for digestive diseases (6 deaths)
  • 13 for urinary problems (1 death)
  • 232 for generative disorders
  • 758 for cutaneous diseases
  • 177 for rheumatism (8 rheumatic fever)
  • 217 for primary syphilis
  • 184 for secondary syphilis (1 death)
  • 647 for gonorrhoea
  • 26 for phthisis (6 deaths)
  • 784 for accidents (9 deaths)
  • 15 for alcoholism (1 delirium tremens)
  • 13 for parasitic diseases (11 taenia solium)
  • 51 for debility

There were 2 admissions for eruptive fevers (scarlet fever), 23 for enteric fever (10 deaths), 45 admissions for dysentery (3 deaths). 27 of the cases of dysentery occurred in autumn in Gozo where the water supply was limited and of bad quality. 192 cases of venereal disease were in soldiers who had arrived from India.

There were 116 admissions for malarial fevers, of which ague provided 112 cases and remittent fever two cases (2 deaths).

There were 1401 admissions for simple continued fever with 13 deaths, including that of an invalid who had left the command. The increase in the number of admissions was attributed to the presence of unseasoned men, 4209 having less than a years' service in the Command. There were 27 admissions for neuralgia.

There were 5 admissions for heatstroke, 5 deaths from drowning, 1 death from strangulation by hanging (suicide). Gunshot wounds accounted for 5 admissions. Two were the result of splinters of bullets on the range, one wounded by a Morris tube bullet, one was shot in the thigh by a comrade who was declared to be insane, and another shot himself in the head while on sentry duty. Two deaths followed skull fractures, a man was thrown off his horse, another fell off the ramparts.

Military Families

There were 422 wives, with 264 attacks of illness and 11 deaths. Deaths were from enteric fever (1), puerperal sepsis (3), lung tuberculosis (2), simple continued fever (1), hemiplegia (1), inflammation of the heart (1), puerperal convulsions (1) and peritonitis (1).

There were 744 children, with 474 admissions and 46 deaths. Admissions were for: measles (29/2 deaths), whooping cough (15/3 deaths), simple continued fever (82/3 deaths), debility (16/2 deaths), conjunctivitis (60), bronchitis (62/4 deaths), teething (34/7 deaths), diarrhoea (39/5 deaths).

Deaths among children were from convulsions (4), inflammation of the intestines (6), diphtheria (2), debility (2), meningitis (2), tubercle (2), mumps (1), pneumonia (1), malformation atelectasis (1), asphyxia from submersion (1).

Surgeon Alfred W Sturdee

Surgeon Alfred W. Sturdee, of HM Battleship Hood drowned at Marsalforn Bay, Gozo on 29 Apr 1895, while on a few days leave. He had joined the naval service as a surgeon in Nov 1891, and was appointed to HMS Hood in June, 1893.

Registration Military Deaths

Military deaths were reported to the police but not to the Registrar for the Registration of Deaths. When the Ordnance for the registration of deaths was framed in 1862, the military was granted an exemption. This was at the request of the Admiral Commanding–in–Chief who argued that the deaths of naval personnel were recorded in the naval registers and any registration for local purposes was unnecessary and might become a source of trouble.

Article 274 of Ordnance No 1 of 1873, dispensed with the registration of army and navy deaths. Although it was not absolutely necessary that military deaths should be entered in the records of the Public Registry, the usefulness of the local registry would have been much enhanced if it contained a regular and complete record of all deaths which occurred in the colony. In 1895, the military authorities expressed themselves in favour of registering deaths in the Public Registry, but the naval authorities objected and the status quo remained.

On 16 Oct 1909, the desirability of recording military deaths in the Public Registry of Malta was reviewed.

Baptisms in 1895:

  • 4 June John Hardy born 4 June 1895, son of Harriet and Barrack QM Sgt James Hardy of Floriana was baptised by the Rev M Jones.
  • 29 Dec Marion Harrich Rutheven born 27 Nov 1895, daughter of Adelaide Elizabeth and Army School Master William James Rutheven of Kalkara, was baptised by the Rev F G Wright.

Burials in Pietà Military Cemetery in 1895:

  • 29 Jan Walter Charles Simmonds aged 1 year 3 months, son of Herbert Simmonds.
  • 7 Feb Charles John Bosworthick aged 5 months, son of Thomas E Bosworthick.
  • 12 June Harriet Hardy aged 28 years, widow of QMSgt Hardy.
  • 26 Nov Twin Elizabeth Misie Burnside aged 2 hours, daughter of John Burnside.
  • 26 Nov Twin Christina Burnside aged 2 hours, daughter of John Burnside.
  • 25 Dec Mabel Jelliott aged 6 days.