The Royal Army Medical Corps
And the Malta Garrison

The Malta Garrison – 1937

Miss M D E Knight QAIMNSR

M D E Knight
Maria Dolores Elizabeth Knight ARRC QAIMNS, aged 66 years, died on 1 May 1937 of an illness contracted in the Great War. (Mtarfa Military Cemetery)

Miss Maria Dolores Elizabeth Knight ARRC died at Tigné on 1 May 1937. She was a former sister in the Queen Alexandra Imperial Military Nursing Service Reserve.

Knight had trained at the Royal Infirmary Liverpool. From 1908 to 1923 she served with great distinction as a sister and Acting Matron in the QAIMNSR in England, with the BEF in France, and in Malta from 1914 to 1919. In recognition of her valuable and devoted services she was mentioned in dispatches and appointed an Associate of the Royal Red Cross.

After giving up her nursing duties Miss Knight made Malta her home. Her house in Tigné was known as a place of rest for all who needed help and advice. In spite of failing health she maintained her courageous outlook and her kindly sympathetic nature endowed her with a wide circle of friends.

Medical and Health Department (M&H Dept)

The Malta M&H Dept was established in October 1937 through the amalgamation of The Public Health Department and the Charitable Institutions Department. Dr A V Bernard was appointed Chief Government Medical Officer (CGMO) and head of the new establishment.

The CGMO was responsible for the organisation of the Emergency Medical Services in the event of war, the administration of the hospitals and District Medical Service. The hospitals and asylums were:

  • Malta
    1. Santo Spirito Hospital Rabat
    2. Central Hospital Floriana
    3. Connaught Hospital Mdina for TB
    4. Hospital for mental diseases Attard
    5. Isolation Hospital Manoel Island
    6. Poor House including the hospital for Incurables, the Foundling Hospital and Magdalen Asylum
    7. Leprosy Hospital (St Bartholomew Hospital)
  • Gozo
    1. Victoria hospital
    2. St Theresa Hospital for TB
    3. Hospital for mental diseases
    4. Leprosy Hospital
    5. Isolation Hospital
    6. Ospizio (St John the Baptist Hospital)

The M&H Dept Malta had to face the problems of a high infant mortality rate which in 1937 stood at 243/1000 births among children under one year, overcrowding, an illiterate population, and a shortage of trained nurses. Steps had been taken to reduce the high infant mortality by increasing the number of District Nurses. To increase the number of trained nurses the department had sent women for training in England and had opened a school for the training of nurses.