Medical Officers
Of the Malta Garrison
John Webb
1772 – 1852

Assistant Inspector of Hospitals John Webb

CB (1850) KCH (1832) FRCS (1843)

25 Oct 1772 – 16 Sept 1852 [Woolwich]

Service Record

John Webb
John Webb
(Lt Col Foster's collection of Netley photos — courtesy AMS Museum).

14 July 1789 French Revolution.

17 Mar 1794 Regimental Mate 53rd (Shropshire) Regiment of Foot. He served on the continent with his regiment under the command of the Duke of York. he was present at the battle of Lannoy in May 1794.

June 1794 Hospital Mate in Flanders.

15 July 1795 Surgeon 53rd (Shropshire) Regiment of Foot. In Nov 1795, he accompanied the 53rd to the West Indies on Abercrombie's expedition. He was present at the capture of Morne Fortune, a precipitous mountain dominating an island which was the key to the Windward Island passage used by the convoy. It took four weeks of intense fighting to overcome French resistance on the mountain.

1796 Present at the capture of St Lucia and the expulsion of the Caribs from St Vincent in the West Indies. Took part in the capture of Trinidad and the descent on Porto Rico in 1797. During this campaign he came to the the attention of Sir Ralph Abercrombie and at the end was given a staff appointment in the Ordnance Medical Department.

1 Mar 1797 Staff Surgeon.

1798 Returned to England from the West Indies after two and a half years of active service.

1799 On the Helder Expedition under Sir Ralph Abercrombie and under the over command of HRH Frederick, Duke of York.

Aug 1800 Took part in the actions off the coast of Spain before being ordered to join Abercrombie's expedition.

2 Mar 1801 Part of the medical staff at Aboukir. Surgeon with the 79th Foot.

8 Mar 1801 Present at the landings at Aboukir Bay. Took part in the actions of 13 and 21 Mar, and the capture of Grand Cairo.

10 Apr 1801 Inspector of Field Hospitals.

7 June 1801 In charge of the General Hospital on the Nile, North of Cairo Egypt.

30 June 1802 Assistant Inspector of Hospitals.

Malta July 1803 Arrived from Egypt. Was in charge of the troop ships carrying plague victims.

Author: A narrative of facts on plague amongst British troops employed in the conquest of Egypt.

Malta 1804 On garrison duty.

Malta 1805 On garrison duty.

Malta 1806 Left Malta for England.

7 Sep 1807 Present at the siege of Copenhagen and the capture of the Danish Fleet.

6 July 1809 Inspector of Hospitals.

July 1809–Dec 1809 Principal Medical Officer of the expedition to capture the island of Walcheren in the Scheldt estuary. Invalided home from Walcheren.

At Walcheren an army of 40,000 men was almost entirely destroyed by fever due to a lethal combination of malaria, typhus, typhoid, and dysentery acting in combination in soldiers already debilitated by previous campaigning, an inadequate diet, and habitual drunkenness.

In September 1809 Webb had this to say on the low lying swamps of Walcheren: "The bottom of every canal that has direct communication with the sea is thickly covered with an ooze which, when the tide is out, emits a most offensive effluvia. Each ditch is filled with water which is loaded with animal and vegetable substances in a state of putrefaction, and the whole island is so flat and near the sea that a large proportion of it is little better than a swamp, and there is scarcely a place where water of tolerably good quality can be procured. The effect of all these causes of disease is strongly marked in the inhabitants, the greater part of whom are pale and listless".

20 Nov 1809 Inspector General Ordnance Medical Department.

1 Aug 1813 Director General Ordnance Medical Department.

1832 Elected a Knight Commander of the Guelphic Order of Hannover.

1 Apr 1850 Retired on full pay, aged 78 years.

1850 One of the first army surgeons to become a Commander of the Honourable Order of the Bath (CB Mil 1850).

16 Sep 1852 Died at his residence, Chatham Lodge, Woolwich Common. Was buried at St Thomas Church Woolwich.