The Royal Army Medical Corps
And the Malta Garrison

The Malta Garrison – 1925



In the latter parts of 1925 and the early months of 1926, smallpox reached Malta from Tunis through infected clothing. The disease spread through a partially protected population. The infection was only stamped out after compulsory vaccination was enforced throughout the island.


According to Surg Cmdr Rivaz RN, undulant fever and trachoma were prevalent in Malta, whereas typhoid was said to be endemic in the island. Rivaz maintained that the disease was not waterborne but was probably spread by mild asymptomatic carriers. As TAB inoculation was compulsory for those serving in Malta, servicemen developed a less severe form of typhoid.

Married Quarters

Married quarters were erected near the hospital at Mtarfa for the families of the RAMC. By Sept 1925, the quarters were practically complete. They were described as probably the finest and most up to date in the British Army. Army wives were highly delighted with them.

Sand-fly Fever

Sand-flies were regarded as regular pests in the vicinity of new buildings where rubble had been allowed to accumulate. Surg Cmdr Rivaz RN claimed that sand-fly fever was more prevalent in Sliema than elsewhere. This was due to a large amount of new buildings which had recently been erected.

Venereal Diseases

The strength of the garrison on 1 Jan 1925 was 139 officers and 1,810 rank and file. The military ran a treatment centre for VD at Msida. The Navy ran a clinic at Strada Fontana, Valletta while the fleet was in port.