Lieutenant Colonel Richard P Samut
MRCS (Lond 1880) FRCS
? — ?
Medical education at Guy's Hospital London.
15 May 1880 Passed the Membership Examination of the Royal College of Surgeons.
15 Sep 1884 Request by Mr R P Samut to be appointed to the Army Medical Department under Clause 303 of the Royal Warrant for Pay and Promotions. The application was supported by the Governor, General Sir John Lintorn Simmons. The governor enclosed a certified copy of Mr Samut's testimonials to the Earl of Derby. He stated that the testimonials were:
Highly satisfactory and having seen him, I am of the opinion from his manners and address that he is a very fit person for the employment he desires. As I consider it very desirable, on political grounds, that Maltese gentlemen who have gone to the expense and trouble by studying in England of qualifying for the Imperial Service should if possible be admitted into it, I shall be glad if your Lordship would forward the application to the Secretary of State for War with a recommendation in favour of it being granted. Mr Samut speaks, reads, and writes English, Maltese, Italian, and French languages, and also posses a slight knowledge of Arabic.
25 Oct 1884 The War Office would not countenance deviating from its policy of candidates to the Army Medical Department being selected through a competitive examination. It rejected the Governor's request, inducing him to remark that
the War Office could not take advantage of the clause to give a life to a Maltese.
The clause in the Warrant which authorises the Secretary of State to nominate gentlemen to fill vacancies in the Medical Staff was only inserted to guard against the possible failure of a sufficient number of competitive candidates - a contingency which at the time, seemed not impossible. The alterations made in the Warrant have had the effect of attracting a more than sufficient number of eligible candidates, and therefore it is not desirable to make use of a power only given to provide against a contingency which has not arisen.1
1 May 1889 Appointed Captain 1st/Royal Malta Regiment of Militia on the formation of the regiment.
1 July 1892 Promoted Major 1st/Royal Malta Regiment of Militia.
1893 Major Richard P Samut was Officer Commanding The Cadet Coy, Royal Malta Regiment of Militia. The Cadet Coy was formed in 1889 from among the potential officers of the RMRM. It consisted of 100 militia NCOs and private soldiers.
12 Mar 1897 On 12 March 1897, Horse Guards authorised the formation of the 2nd Bn/Royal Malta Regiment of Militia, and recruitment started on 3 April 1897.
12 March 1897 Transferred to the 2nd Battalion on its formation.
4 Nov 1897 Promoted Lt Col in command of the 2nd/Royal Malta Regiment of Militia.
1898 Commanding Officer 2nd Battalion The Royal Malta Regiment of Militia.
1899 Commanding Officer 2nd Battalion The Royal Malta Regiment of Militia.
11 Oct 1899–31 May 1902 Boer War.
Mar 1900 While still commanding the 2nd/Royal Malta Regiment of Militia, volunteered to serve in the South African War as a medical officer attached to the RAMC. Left Malta on the SS Carola on 3 April 1900 for England.
Samut was first attached to a hospital at Cape Town, and then to No 1 Stationary Hospital which had arrived at Natal on 26 October 1899. He remained with No 1 Stationary Hospital at Modderspruit and Charlestown. He was in charge of the ambulance train and of the troops at Laing's Nek Pietermaritzburg.
24 Apr 1901 Returned from South Africa via England and Italy on the SS Buda.
4 Dec 1901 Retired from the command of 2nd/Royal Malta Regiment of Militia.
7 Nov 1901 Following the retirement of Professor Salvatore Luigi Pisani, Samut was appointed Chief Government Medical Officer (CGMO) and Superintendent of the Public Health. His annual salary was £400.
Lieut General Sir Francis Grenfell was in favour of the appointment of Lt Col Richard P Samut. Samut had obtained his medical qualification in England. He had had a considerable practice among the English Community in Malta and spoke good English. In addition, he had served as a surgeon with the RAMC for a year in the Transvaal during the South African War.
Dr Samut, however, did not fulfil the expectations which were placed upon him in the administration of his department. Grenfell had passed over for promotion Dr Giuseppe Caruana Scicluna, the Senior Medical Officer of Health, as his knowledge of English was not considered to be good and his social standing did not appear to the Government of a standard required in an office in which there was frequent contact with other English members of the Council of Health.
6 Feb 1903 Presented with the South Africa medal at the Palace Valletta by Governor Lord Grenfell.
11 May 1903 Elected President of the Malta and Mediterranean Branch of the British Medical Association.
7 Sep 1904 Appointed an official member of the Council of Government of Malta and a member of the Executive Council.
29 Sep 1905 Lt Col Richard P Samut CGMO and Superintendent of Public Health, who had been on sick leave for a considerable time, asked to be superannuated. He was examined by a medical board, declared unfit, and was retired in November under Ordinance No 11 dated 1905.
9 Nov 1905 Samut was succeeded as CGMO and Superintendent of the Public Health by Dr Giuseppe Caruana Scicluna, on an annual salary of £400. By 1905, Caruana Scicluna's knowledge of English was
now quite equal to that of most other heads of departments, while his social standing is not inferior to that of other government officers who are equally brought into contact with naval and military officers. He was also appointed a member of the Executive Council and an official member of the Council of Government.
1909 Awarded a testimonial on vellum from the Royal Humane Society. On 15 Nov 1908 Lt Col Richard Samut attempted to save the life of a boy who while bathing in the sea off the Sliema Point Battery at Malta was driven out to sea and could not regain the shore. Samut entered the water but failed to reach the boy. Police Constable Giuseppe Cachia swam out to the boy and after fifty minutes in the water, succeeded in landing him to safety.
28 July 1914 Start of the Great War.
1 Aug 1914 Offered his assistance to DDMS Malta Command Colonel Michael William Russell in obtaining the services of civil doctors.
4 Aug 1914 Britain declares war on Germany.
24 Feb 1917 Lieutenant Colonel Richard P Samut FRCS, of the British Red Cross and Order of St John was brought to the notice of the Secretary of State for War for valuable services rendered in connection with the war.
- Wismayer J M, 1989. The history of the King's Own Malta Regiment First Edition, Valletta: Said International Ltd, p 128, 133.
- The War, Commended for Service Br Med J (1917), 1 (2932): 347 (Published 10 March 1917).
- Chesney A G, Historical Records of the Maltese Corps of the British Army. London 1897.
- Presentation of the South African Medal to Col R Samut Daily Malta Chronicle 7 February 1903.
- TNA:CO 158/269, No 196 Mr R P Samut dated 15 September 1884.
- 1TNA:CO 158/271, Office and individuals, Samut's application to join the Army Medical Department, dated 25 October 1884.