Deputy Purveyor Joseph Gunson
? — ?
1795 Hospital Mate.
Malta 1800 Arrived from Minorca.
Malta 22 Feb 1800 Appointed Deputy Purveyor to the General Hospital Zejtun by Brig–Gen Thomas Graham. His return of service gives his promotion date from Hospital Mate to Deputy Purveyor as 8 April.
7 Apr 1800 Deputy Purveyor.
Purveyors and Apothecaries were selected from experienced assistant surgeons or senior hospital mates. They were appointed to the staff of General Hospitals by the Inspector of Regimental Hospitals. The Purveyor ensured that the hospital was furnished with every required item, and provided the diets to the patients as prescribed by the physician. In addition he kept weekly accounts of provisions and expenditure and make requisition for stores to the Surgeon-General.
Malta 1801 Moved from the Zejtun Military Hospital to the Military Hospital Valletta.
Malta 1802 Deputy Purveyor Malta.
Malta 1803 Deputy Purveyor Malta.
31 Dec 1803 Received the first payment of £43 4s 6d in prize money from the proceeds of the property captured ins Malta on 4 September 1800.
Malta 1804 Deputy Purveyor Malta.
26 July 1804 Received his second payment of £14 1s 0d in prize money from the proceeds of the property captured on the island of Malta on 4 September 1800.
Malta 1805 Deputy Purveyor Malta.
Malta 1806 Deputy Purveyor at Malta.
Malta Feb 1807 Left Malta to join the second Egyptian Expedition as Purveyor to the Forces in Egypt. Was recommended for promotion, but as no vacancy for a purveyor existed in the Mediterranean Command, Inspector of Hospitals Francis Knight, who appointed the purveyors, saw no reason why Mr Gunson would not be as usefully employed in Egypt with his present commission, as with the higher rank of purveyor. Mr Knight was
very favourably impressed with the length and nature of Mr Gunson's service which will not be overlooked by him when a due occasion offers.
4 Aug 1807 Received the first payment of £43 4s 6d in prize money from the the proceeds of the property captured on the island of Malta on 4 September 1800.
8 Sep 1807 War Office letter to Surgeon General Thomas Keate dated 8 Sep 1807:
I have the Secretary at War direction to refer to you a letter from Gen H Fox stating that in consequence of Dr W Franklin recommendation, he has approved of Deputy Purveyor Joseph Gunson acting as Purveyor to the forces in Egypt till HM pleasure is known.
26 Jan 1809 The Commander-in-Chief approves Mr Joseph Gunson being appointed Purveyor to the Forces. The pay of the purveyor was 20 shillings a day.
1808–Mar 1812 Accused of embezzlement during his time as head of the Purveyor's Department in the Peninsula. Much of his wealth was acquired through his association with the Portuguese merchant Lewis Moreira who supplied the hospital. It was alleged that Gunson has amassed a huge fortune by submitting false invoices for goods which the merchants denied were ever supplied, by pocketing the money for 45,123 diets for fictitious patients in Lisbon and by adjusting the hospital stoppages account in his favour.1
25 July 1814 Reduced to half-pay. Was replaced in the Peninsula by Purveyor George Dickson who far from putting a stop to the abuses perpetuated them to his own advantage.
15 Nov 1822 Dismissed from HM Services for fraudulent practices and gross misconduct in the Peninsula.
- Entry No: 1970. Johnston W. Roll of Commissioned Offices in the Medical Service of the British Army. Vol 1. London: Wellcome Historical Medical Library, 1968.
- TNA:WO 25/3909: f 185, Service Returns.
- TNA:WO 4/409, Out letters Medical Department dated 26 Jan 1809.
- TNA:WO 164/503, Malta 1800, Prize Records Royal Hospital Chelsea first and second payments (1804–1808).
- TNA:WO 164/134, Malta 1800, Prize Records Royal Hospital Chelsea first and second payments (1811–1840).
- 1Crowe K., (1976). Thomas Burn Catherwood and the Medical Department of Wellington's Army 1809–1814. Medical History; Vol 20 No 1 (Published 1 January 1976).