The Royal Army Medical Corps
And the Malta Garrison

The Malta Garrison – 1936

HT Ship Dilwara

The trooper Dilwara was the first ship specially constructed for the movement of troops. It left Southampton in 1936 on its maiden voyage to Karachi via Basra. Hitherto, it had been the custom to adapt existing ships, but the Dilwara had been constructed to embody improvements suggested by years of experience. It compared very favourably with passenger lines sailing between England and the Far East.

The Dilwara was named after a village in Rajputan and was owned by the British India Steam Navigation Company. It was built on the Clyde by Barclay Curle and Co and was oil driven. It carried 104 first class passengers in one, two, or three berth cabins, a hundred in second class two, three, and fourth berth cabins. In addition it had hammock billets for 1,150 troops on the main and lower decks.

Mtarfa Barracks

On 11 Sep 1935, II AA Bde RA arrived from England. It occupied Mtarfa barracks which had been left unoccupied for the previous six years.

On 30 May 1936, the new Governor, Lt Gen Sir Charles Bonham-Carter visited Mtarfa Barracks and inspected the whole of the RA contingent.

The strength of the Malta Garrison on 30 June 1936 was 165 officers and 3,009 other ranks.

Plague 1936 – 1937

A small outbreak of plague broke out in Apr 1936 at Qormi. Plague was thought to have been imported in rodent infested hay and straw from the Barbary Coast.

By the end of May the infection had spread to the nearby village of Zebbug and a few scattered foci occurred at Rabat, Marsa and Attard. There were 33 cases with 12 deaths. The epidemic died out in May 1937.

Baptisms 1936

  • 25 Dec Peter David Athole Copeland born 9 July 1936, son of Mary and Chaplain to the Forces Norman Copeland of No 2 A, Piazza Miratore, Floriana.