Medical Officers of the Malta Garrison
Thomson John Bathurst

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Surgeon John Bathurst Thomson MRCS (Ed 1836) MD (Ed 1836)
22 Sep 1813 [Bengal] – 18 Sep 1850 [Malta]


Surgeon John Bathurst Thomson was born in Kishengunge Bengal. He was the son of Lt Col John Thomson East India Company of the Parish of Orwell in the County of Kinross shire and Bathurst Burrell of Edinburgh.4 He entered the Army Medical Services aged 24 years 4 months and died of cholera in Malta in Sep 1850.

Service Record — John Bathurst Thomson

Feb 1821 Left Calcutta for Edinburgh aged 7 years with his brother George Ferguson Thomson aged 4 yrs 11 months but without their parents.

1 Sep 1836 Surgeon's Hall Edinburgh: Since 31 Aug 1835 he offered himself as a candidate for the Diploma of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and after producing satisfactory evidence that he had completed a course of study prescribed by the College had been admitted to examination and found fully qualified to practice the Arts of Anatomy, Surgery and Pharmacy and received the Diploma of Licentiates of the College.1

11 Jan 1839 Commissioned Assistant Surgeon (Hospital Staff) without purchase.

Army Medical Department 7 Feb 1839 Director General James McGrigor to Lord FitzRoy Somerset KGB (Secretary to the C-i-C, The Duke of Wellington).2

My Lord, I have the honour to recommend for the approval of the General Commanding-in-Chief the following appointments: In the 61st Foot, Assistant Surgeon James Smith from the 17th Foot to be surgeon vice Walter Blake deceased, and Staff Assistant Surgeon John Bathurst Thomson to be appointed surgeon in the 17th Foot vice Smith appointed to the 61st Regiment.

15 Feb 1839 Assistant Surgeon 17th (Leicestershire) Regiment of Foot, on the promotion of Assistant Surgeon James Smith as surgeon 61st (South Gloucestershire) Regiment of Foot.

19 Apr 1839 Death of his father from apoplexy brought on by heat at Shikarpur Upper Scind. His father was in command of troops guarding the pay chest for the troops when they were marching in temperatures of 57 C.

11 July 1839 – 13 July 1847 On duty at Bombay, East Indies, Aden, and Arabia.

3 Sep 1847 Promoted surgeon on the formation of the Reserve Bn 69th (South Lincolnshire) Regiment of Foot.

Malta 11 Dec 1847 Arrived from England.

Malta 6 May 1848 Away on leave.

Malta 28 Sep 1848 Returned from leave.

Malta May 1849 Transferred to 1st/69th Foot.

Malta 18 Sep 1850 Died at Valletta of cholera after an illness of 10 days. He was unmarried, but left a sister and two brothers, Lt Col William Beveridge Thomson 67th Native Infantry Regiment, Assistant Commissary General 2nd Class Ferozopre, and Lt Thomas Hutchins Thomson 9th Native Infantry Regiment Hon. East India Company.

The pay list of the 69th Foot entered his demise as 17 September 1850 when he was credited with the sum of £70 0s 8d. No will had been left with the regiment.3

The Times dated 30 Sep 1850, announcing the death of Surgeon J B Thomson, reported that the Non-Commissioned officers and men requested permission to subscribe three days pay for the erection of a monument to him.5

15 Oct 1850 Staff Assistant Surgeon Alexander Brown Cleland was promoted surgeon to fill the vacancy created by the death of Bathurst Thomson.

16 Dec 1851 The Malta Times reported:

Recently at the Upper Barracca a monument has been erected, for the most part of common Malta stone, to the memory of John Bathurst Thomson, late surgeon of HM 69th Foot.
After his death, a design of this monument was presented to Major Cole by Mr W Martin which remained in his possession for three months. The design has previously been seen by intelligent persons and it is said that the alterations observable in the execution of the original has been declared by them to be very little to its advantage whether they be contemplated with regards to goos taste or the classical style of the monument, and the reason for this is further asserted to be the execution of the plans not having been confided to its first proposer, Mr Martin.


  • Entry No: 4536. Johnston W. Roll of Commissioned Offices in the Medical Service of the British Army. Vol 1 (20 June 1727-23 June 1898), Aberdeen (1917).
  • 1The Edinburgh Medical and Surgical Journal Vol 46, 1836. Edinburgh 1836.
  • 2TNA WO 31/791, no 791 Memorandum to the Commander-in-Chief, 7th and 14th Foot, dated 7 February 1839.
  • 3TNA WO 12/7745, (1850), Regimental pay list 1st/69th Foot and Depot.
  • TNA WO 17/625, Monthly Returns 56th to 70th Regiments 1850..
  • TNA WO 25/3902, (1790–1847); Records of Service – Officers of the Medical Department.
  • TNA WO 25/199, Commission notification book.
  • TNA WO 76/246 f 26, Statement of service of officers 69th Regiment on full-pay.
  • TNA WO 25/739, Staff Returns Foreign Stations 1849 to 1850.
  • TNA WO 25/1160, Embarkation returns.
  • TNA WO 25/2621, Casualty returns soldiers.
  • Burke B, (1884) The General Armory of England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales" London Vol 3, p.1008.
  • 4The Peerage person page 43211, Pedigree of John Bathurst Thomson.
  • The East India Register and Army List for 1855 corrected to 7 May 1855.
  • Obituary Malta Mail and United Service Journal no 429, 20 September 1850.
  • Upper Barracca Monument. The Malta Times No 461, dated 16 December 1851.
  • 5The Times, Monday 30 September 1850.