The Royal Army Medical Corps
And the Malta Garrison

The Malta Garrison – 1913

The Second Balkan War

The Second Balkan War broke out in June 1913 when Bulgaria suddenly attacked her former ally Serbia. It ended with the Treaty of Bucharest in Aug 1913.

On 6 June 1913 at 23:00 hrs, orders were received to mobilize "B" Section Field Ambulance under Major Marcus Hill Babington and Lt John Kennedy Gaunt. All embarked the following day on HMS Black Prince for Scutari.

On 7 June, three hundred officers and men of the 2nd/West Yorkshire Regiment left Malta for San Giovanni di Medua on the Albanian coast. Twenty four hours later the International Fleet was at the mouth of the river Boyana and shortly after dropped anchor in the Bay of San Giovanni.

The troops disembarked at dawn on 9 June and at midday commenced the 28 mile march to Scutari. The roads were in a shockingly bad state, but wound through delightfully picturesque and mountainous country.

Detachments of the Army Service Corps, Royal Army Medical Corps and Army Veterinary Corps were stationed at Scutari and Albania.

Morbidity 1913

During 1913, the average number of soldiers admitted to hospital was 116, out of an average strength of 6336 men. The average sick rate was 18/1000 with a death rate of 2.21/1000.

This favourable state was attributed to the almost complete disappearance of Mediterranean fever, the gradual fall in the enteric group of diseases due to improved sanitation, the spread of inoculation, and the gradual removal of troops from old and insanitary barracks to modern barracks at Mtarfa, St Andrew's and Tigné.

Kala Azar

From 1911 to 1913, 13 cases of Kala Azar occurred among the children of British soldiers serving in Malta.

One soldier was infected in 1910 and two cases occurred in 1913 in the family of a woman living in the military laundry where she worked. The dog was the reservoir of Kala Azar. In Malta, 10% of the dogs were found to be infected.


Fort Tigne
Fort Tigné and married quarters 1906 (RAMC/793/4/4).
St Andrew's Barracks
Married quarters St Andrew's Barracks

In 1913 the old wooden huts at Tigné Barracks barracks were gradually replaced with modern barrack blocks built of stone.

In 1913, work began on quarters for married soldiers at St George's and St Andrew's Barracks.

XII International Congress

The XII International Congress of Medicine was held in London in Aug 1913 to discuss changing the name of Malta fever to Mediterranean fever.

In 1896, the Royal College of Physicians had adopted the term Mediterranean fever. In their 1906 edition of the nomenclature of diseases, it used the name Malta fever, presumably so as to correspond with the name Micrococcus melitensis.

In 1911, the Malta Government lobbied the Royal College of Physicians to revert to the name Mediterranean fever, so as not to harm the interests of the colony.

Mediterranean Fleet

On 24 May 1913, the Governor Sir Leslie Rundle held a combined naval and military review at the Marsa on the occasion of the visit of the Prime Minister Herbert Asquith and the First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill who had returned to Malta to reconstitute the Mediterranean Fleet at the Grand Harbour.

Baptism Zejtun Gate Church Room 1913

  • 29 Apr Charles Peter Alford, born 5 April 1913, son of Annie Lisette and the Rev Charles Symes Leslie Alford Chaplain to the Forces, residing at Floriana.