RAMC

Medical Officers
Of the Malta Garrison – 1958

search maltaramc

Malta Garrison – 1958

Samuel Gerald Weldon

Surgeon Rear-Admiral Gerald Weldon CBE MB BCh DPH, medical officer in charge of the Royal Naval Hospital and Command Medical Officer, Mediterranean Station, died suddenly in Malta on 11 Jan 1957, aged 57 years.

He had served int Malta in 1934 as a naval health officer and returned in 1956 as medical officer in charge of the RN Hospital Malta.

Malta Integration

In Jan 1958, the 41 year old Prime Minister Dominic Mintoff proposed a resolution in the chamber of Malta's Legislative Assembly to the effect that representatives of the Maltese people in parliament were no longer bound by agreements and obligations towards the British Government.

The declaration, which was passed unanimously was provoked by the Admiralty's decision to lay off 40 workers at the Royal Naval Dockyard, which, together with a NATO HQ, constituted the chief source of employment in the island.

Mintoff complicated the integration negotiations with Britain by insisting that whatever became of the dockyard, the British had also to promise to raise economic standards within 12 years to the same levels enjoyed by Great Britain itself. This threatened break with Britain endangered the jobs of all the 13,000 workers at the dockyard.

Mintoff cabled the Colonial Secretary Lennox-Boyd proposing a truce and urged the British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan to intervene with the Admiralty to get the dockyard redundancies cancelled. Britain responded by reducing the layoff to 30 from 40 and by offering alternative jobs to all 30 discharged workers. Lennox-Boyd bluntly warned the Maltese leader that with this move he had recklessly put the whole integration plan in jeopardy.

In Mar 1958, further talks on integration were held in London. In April, Mintoff declared Britain's terms for integration impossible. He resigned and called a national day of protest. Riots broke out on 28 April 1958. The Government declared a state of emergency and placed troops on standby to support the civil police.

In 1958, the United Kingdom Government suspended the constitution for the third time in Maltese history and Maj-Gen (Retd) Sir Robert Laycock governed Malta under emergency powers with a non political advisory council, until the end of his term of office in 1959.

Maternity Wing

For the second year running the 1000th delivery occurred at the maternity wing of Mtarfa Hospital. On this occasion the honour went to the RAF and the lucky baby was presented with a commemorative silver bracelet by the CO of the hospital.

RAMC Diamond Jubilee

The diamond jubilee celebrations of the RAMC commenced on 22 June 1958 with a parade in the grounds of the David Bruce Military Hospital and a church service at St Oswald's celebrated by the Rev E A Cooke CF. The lessons were read by DDMS Col Philip John Richards.

The officers of the RAMC and RADC held their traditional cocktail party in the hospital grounds which made a picturesque setting against a background of oleanders and hibiscus in full bloom and coloured lights. The guest were greeted by the DDMS and Mrs R G Gray, wife of the commanding officer DBMH. The families had their usual day out on 24 June at Paradise Bay.

Surg-Capt A E Flannery 1906–1964

Surg-Capt A E Flannery died in Malta on 10 Mar 1964 aged 57 years. He qualified in Dublin in 1931 and joined the navy on qualifying.

In 1958 he was made a medical specialist and proved his value in charge of the Families Clinic in Malta. He had settled in Malta on retiring.

Matron

Lt Col P Wilkins QARANC, Matron of David Bruce Military Hospital, left Malta in mid 1958.

3 Commando Bde

In Aug 1958, RAMC cover was required for 3 Cmdo Bde following the periodic Middle Eastern flare up. This was organised by making over No 1 MASCAS team (mass casualty) the nucleus of a Brigade Medical Support Group.

The members of the team had already taken part in amphibious exercise landings off the coast of Malta and Tripoli.

Bibliography

  • The Army List March 1958, London HM Stationery Office 1958.
  • The Army List September 1958, London HM Stationery Office 1958.
  • Obituary, S G Weldon, Br Med J (1958), 1; 5064:223 (Published 25 January 1958).
  • Obituary, A E Flannery, Br Med J (1964), 1; 5385:780 (Published 21 March 1964).