Medical Officers
Of the Malta Garrison
Henry Foljambe
1836 – 1920

No 601 Surgeon Major General Henry Foljambe Paterson

L (1857) MRCS (1857) MD (St And 1858) FRCS (Ed 1868)

9 July 1836 [Ballater Aberdeenshire] – 11 May 1920 [London]

Surgeon Major General Henry Foljambe Paterson was educated at Marischal College University of Aberdeen from where he graduated MD in 1858. He took the MRCS (Edinburgh) in 1857 and the FRCS (Edinburgh) in 1868. He entered the Army Medical Department as an assistant surgeon in the Royal Artillery on 19 October 1857. He served the first sixteen years with the 5th, 14th, 11th and 19th Brigades Royal Artillery.

While serving as an Assistant Surgeon with 11th Brigade Royal Artillery at Cawnpore, he reported on two cases of small pox synchronous with vaccinia. On 13 January 1864, he vaccinated six children belonging to the Battery with lymph received from the Superintendent of Vaccination at Agra. Only one was successful and from this vesicle he revaccinated the other five children. One female child aged five months developed a varioloid eruption seven days after vaccination and died of small pox. Her mother also contracted small pox and died.

In 1891 he assisted in the formation of the Hong Kong and China Branch of the British Medical Association and was appointed its first president. In his address on retiring from that office he referred to the British Medical Association as the grandest medical brotherhood the world had ever seen.

Service Record

19 Oct 1857 Appointed Assistant Surgeon Royal Artillery.

15 Jan 1873 Promoted Staff Surgeon. The vacancy created in the Royal Artillery was filled by Staff Assistant Surgeon Thomas Sillery Cogan who was promoted Assistant Surgeon.

1 Mar 1873 Promoted Surgeon Major.

1873–1876 Served in Bengal.

Apr 1877–1878 On duty in Perth.

19 Oct 1877 Promoted Surgeon Major.

1879 Moved to Aldershot.

1880–1881 On duty in Aldershot.

Jan 1882 Moved to Bengal.

23 Apr 1883 Promoted Brigade–Surgeon.

7 Aug 1884 Death of a daughter from enteric fever at Murree, aged 19 years.

7 Aug 1886 Officiated on the Administrative Medical Staff of the of the Allahabad Division, Bengal Army, with the temporary rank of Deputy Surgeon General, vice Deputy Surgeon General Thomas Norton Hoysted, who was transferred to the Home Establishment on 29 May 1886, and during the absence on leave of Deputy Surgeon General Randolph Webb.

15 Jan 1887 Ordered to proceed to Dublin from Bengal on the troopship Serapis during the 1886–87 trooping season.

13 June 1888 Promoted Deputy Surgeon General afterwards Surgeon Colonel. Moved from Dublin to Colchester for general duty vice Surgeon Major William Gerard Don.

Sep 1889 Appointed Principal Medical Officer at Hong Kong vice Deputy Surgeon General Robert Lewer, who was ordered home. Moved from Colchester to Hong Kong.

1891 PMO Hong Kong. Assisted in the formation of the Hong Kong and China Branch of the British Medical Association, and became its first president.

1 Apr 1893 Promoted Surgeon Major General from Surgeon Colonel on the retirement of Surgeon Major General John By Cole Reade. The vacancy of Surgeon Colonel was filled by Surgeon Lieutenant Colonel William Nash.

Malta 2 Apr 1893 Arrived from Hong Kong as PMO Malta. After having served three and a half years in Hong Kong, Surgeon Colonel Paterson was expected to return home, but was instead ordered to proceed directly to Malta on promotion to replace Surgeon Major General Charles Dodgson Madden who was due to retire in August 1893. Madden refused to leave Malta as he was not prepared to forego up a free house, charge pay and allowances, amounting altogether to some £300 a year - not for any real or supposed good of the service, but simply to oblige the authorities.1 Malta for a short time had two Surgeon Major Generals, one of whom had no duties to perform.
(Charge pay was additional pay for officers in charge of a general or other hospital. It varied according to the number of hospital beds from 2s 6d a day if in charge of a least 50 beds, to a maximum 10 shillings a day for a hospital of 300 beds).

On 21st April 1893, Mr Campbell Bannerman, Secretary of State for War, made the following statement in the House of Commons: Last January the question of the succession to the post of Principal Medical Officer at Malta had to be considered, as Surgeon MajorGeneral Madden, was due to retire on account of age on 1 August. Unusual difficulty occurred, for of the Surgeon Major Generals on the roster for foreign service, one stood for immediate retirement, and two were ineligible by age. This brought the succession down to an officer who had only been appointed a few months ago to medical charge at Aldershot, and it was thought undesirable to disturb him in that important charge. Under the circumstances, it was thought best that Surgeon Major General Paterson, who was returning from Hong Kong, should succeed Surgeon Major General Madden, who was ordered home for the completion of his service. The Governor of Malta represented that this arrangement was inconvenient to Surgeon Major General Madden, and the Commander-in-Chief decided, as no additional expense to the public was involved, to allow him to complete his term at Malta. As a consequence, there were for two or three months two medical officers of the highest grade at Malta, but one was junior to and under command of the other; and, moreover, after his service at Hong Kong, he was entitled to leave of absence, so that no inconvenience was likely to arise from the exceptional circumstances.2

Malta 9 Feb 1894 Returned to England as PMO Aldershot. On 4 May 1983, in the House of Commons, the Secretary of State for War, Mr Campbell Bannerman, had stated that Surgeon MajorGeneral Paterson had completed twenty three years and three months service, and that he would be relieved at Malta on completing five years from the time he embarked for duty at Hong Kong.4

The officers of the Army Medical Staff at Malta gave a farewell dinner to Surgeon Major General Paterson, on the eve of his return to England to take up the duties of his new appointment as Principal Medical Officer Aldershot. After the usual loyal toasts, the health of the guest of the evening was proposed by Brigade-Surgeon-Lieut-Colonel Macartney, who, in a few appropriate words, expressed the regret felt by all the officers at the departure of a chief who during his short stay had won golden opinions from his staff.3

17 June 1895 Attended the annual dinner of the Army Medical Staff held at the Hotel Metropole with the Director General Sir William Mackinnon in the chair.

9 July 1896 Retired under the age rule on reaching the age of 60 years. He had served 24 years' service on full pay. He was succeeded as Principal Medical Officer at Aldershot by Surgeon Major General Alexander Ferrier Churchill. Surgeon Colonel William Nash was promoted Surgeon Major General to fill the rank vacancy created by the retirement of Surgeon Major General Paterson.

13 August 1912 At No 7, Walpole Road Brighton, death of the spouse of Surgeon Major General H F Paterson Army Medical Staff (R).

11 May 1920 Died in London aged 83 years.