Medical Officers
Of the Malta Garrison – 1899

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Malta Garrison – 1899


An outbreak of enteric fever occurred at St Francis Barracks during the latter part of 1899.

The floor of the large venereal ward at the Station Hospital Valletta was concreted over. This eliminated the dust caused by the soft stone floor.

A new block of officers' quarters was under construction at Pembroke Camp. The PMO reported that the accommodation in the married quarters was most insufficient. Families of four and under lived in one room.

In 1899, the Citta Vecchia Sanatorium admitted 584 patients. Of these, 342 were admitted directly from Mtarfa and Mellieha Camp; the rest were transfers from various stations.

In Dec 1899, 9596 rats were killed. Regulations came into force to control the number of rats in an outbreak of plague.

The following were buried in Pietà Military Cemetery in 1899:

  • 9 Feb Infant John Charles Henry Cain aged 17 days, son of Drm Cain.
  • 12 Feb Still born male child of Cpl Anderson.
  • 14 Feb Child Edith Mary Craige aged 1 year 6 months, daughter of Sgt Craige.
  • 3 Mar Infant William Charles Mayall aged 9 months, son of Cpl Mayall.
  • 24 Mar Still born child of Francis Hully.
  • 30 Oct Thomas Richards, King's Royal Rifle Corps aged 27 years 11 months.

Malta Fever

In May 1899, Dr Themistocles Zammit showed that the Micrococcus brucei coagulated when treated with serum from the blood of a victim of the disease. This made it easier to differentiate brucellosis from other causes of fever.

Army Nursing

In March 1899, the Under Secretary for War told the House, that Army Nursing Sisters were required to have three years training in a civil hospital and six months probation in the Army Nursing Service before final appointment.

A private of the RAMC received instruction at Aldershot for five months; afterwards he was attached as a supernumerary to a large military hospital to learn nursing and ward work and remained there until efficient. His education was moreover systematically continued as long as he remained with the colours. The RAMC was responsible for all hospital duties; all the men were available for nursing duties and performed them in turn.

South African War

In Oct 1899, the British Empire went to war against the Boers in South Africa. On 9 Oct 1899, Paul Johannes Kruger, President of the Transvaal, demanded the withdrawal of British troops from the frontier.

The Boers advanced on Mafeking and Kimberley in the Cape Colony on 12 Oct, and on Ladysmith in the Natal. The two main British Forces were besieged, and an Expeditionary Forces left England on 20 Oct to their relief.


On 1 Oct 1899, the strength of the RAMC was 3,707 men, of whom 2,429 were at home, 318 in South Africa and the rest in the colonies. There were in addition 1,000 officers in the reserve.

In 1899, the establishment of medical officers, exclusive of India, had been fixed to 514 officers.

Royal Naval Hospital Bighi

On 19 Jan 1899, Deputy Inspector General James Hamilton Martin proposed to reserve the building shared between the nursing sisters and the dispenser as a nurses' home. The building was to have rooms for one head sister and five sisters. A new detached quarters was planned for a senior surgeon. Quarters were to be provided for a married dispenser and for a ward master.

In Aug 1899, DIG Martin was succeeded by DIG Richard P Griffiths.


  • Drew R Commissioned Officers in the Medical Services of the British Army Vol II. Roll of Officers in the Royal Army Medical Corps 1898–1960. London The Wellcome Historical Medical Library 1968.
  • Hart H. G. 1899. The New Annual Army List for 1899 corrected to 31st December 1898. London John Murray.
  • The Army List January 1900. War Office 30 Dec 1899.
  • TNA:WO 73/58, Distribution of the army - Monthly Returns of the Malta Garrison (1 January – 1 June 1899).
  • TNA:WO 73/59, Distribution of the army - Monthly Returns of the Malta Garrison (1 July – 1 December 1899).
  • TNA:WO 156/116, Burial Register No 17, Imtarfa Cemetery from 1 June to October 1899.
  • TNA:ADM 121/44, Records of the Mediterranean Stations, Malta 1885-1901.
  • Army Medical Department Report for 1905 Vol XLVII Lond 1906.
  • Distribution of RAMC Officers. Corps News Vol IV June 1905: No 6.
  • Army Medical Department. Statistical, Sanitary and Medical Reports for 1899 vol XLI. London 1901.