The Army Medical Department
And the Malta Garrison

The Malta Garrison – 1899


Stephen Arnold Drew
SSgt Stephen Arnold Drew Army Gymnastic Staff died at the Valletta Station Hospital 10 Jan 1899 aged 35 yrs
(Ta Braxia Cemetery)

An outbreak of enteric fever occurred at St Francis Barracks during the latter part of 1899.

The floor of the large venereal ward at the Station Hospital Valletta was concreted over. This eliminated the dust caused by the soft stone floor.

A new block of officers' quarters was under construction at Pembroke Camp. The PMO reported that the accommodation in the married quarters was most insufficient. Families of four and under lived in one room.

In 1899, the Citta Vecchia Sanatorium admitted 584 patients. Of these, 342 were admitted directly from Mtarfa and Mellieha Camp; the rest were transfers from various stations.

In Dec 1899, 9596 rats were killed. Regulations came into force to control the number of rats in an outbreak of plague.

Burials 1899

The following were buried in Pietà Military Cemetery in 1899:

  • 9 Feb Infant John Charles Henry Cain aged 17 days, son of Drm Cain.
  • 12 Feb Still born male child of Cpl Anderson.
  • 14 Feb Child Edith Mary Craige aged 1 year 6 months, daughter of Sgt Craige.
  • 3 Mar Infant William Charles Mayall aged 9 months, son of Cpl Mayall.
  • 24 Mar Still born child of Francis Hully.
  • 30 Oct Thomas Richards, King's Royal Rifle Corps aged 27 years 11 months.

Malta Fever

In May 1899, Dr Themistocles Zammit showed that the Micrococcus brucei coagulated when treated with serum from the blood of a victim of the disease. This made it easier to differentiate brucellosis from other causes of fever.

Army Nursing

In March 1899, the Under Secretary for War told the House, that Army Nursing Sisters were required to have three years training in a civil hospital and six months probation in the Army Nursing Service before final appointment.

A private of the RAMC received instruction at Aldershot for five months; afterwards he was attached as a supernumerary to a large military hospital to learn nursing and ward work and remained there until efficient. His education was moreover systematically continued as long as he remained with the colours. The RAMC was responsible for all hospital duties; all the men were available for nursing duties and performed them in turn.

Soldier's Home

Floriana Home
The Home at Floriana.
Margherita Home
The Rest at Margherita Hill.
naval canteen staff
Staff of the Royal Naval Canteen showing canteen manager Mr Staton RN with his wife in 1899 and the former canteen manager Mr Young RN with his wife and son (1899).

Malta had a Soldier's and Sailor's Home at Floriana, a Soldier's and Sailor's Rest on the Margherita Hill and a Royal Naval Canteen at Bighi Naval Hospital providing a social centre for refreshment and indoor recreation. The Home and Rest were under the superintendence of the Rev J Laverack, a Wesleyan chaplain to the Forces at Malta. The instituions were self supporting, prohibited gambling and alcohol and provided spiritual support.

The Royal Naval Canteen at Malta could seat 1000 men. It had a reading room, a billiard room and a theatre for sing songs and smoking concerts. The canteen management included a staff of marines as canteen stewards under a married Chief Petty Officer.

Royal Naval Hospital Bighi

On 19 Jan 1899, Deputy Inspector General James Hamilton Martin proposed to reserve the building shared between the nursing sisters and the dispenser as a nurses' home. The building was to have rooms for one head sister and five sisters. A new detached quarters was planned for a senior surgeon. Quarters were to be provided for a married dispenser and for a ward master.

In Aug 1899, DIG Martin was succeeded by DIG Richard P Griffiths.