The Royal Army Medical Corps
And the Malta Garrison

The Malta Garrison – 1902

Malta Garrison

The total in the Malta command was 9948 men. There were 245 officers, 551 females, and 868 children. Malta and Gozo had 8758 men; the Crete Detachment had 460 men.

The PMO, Surgeon General Thomas O'Farrell, regarded the working of the local Contagious Diseases Act as an important factor in the prevention and spread of venereal disease amongst the troops.

Lazaretto Hospital
Lazaretto Hospital 1906 (RAMC/793/4/4).

Some of the troops in the garrison were still accommodated in huts or under canvas. There were 35 huts located close to the Lazaretto Infectious diseases hospital on Manoel Island. Due to lack of sufficient accommodation the majority of married men from Fort Manoel lived in hirings in Sliema.

Burials in Pietà Military Cemetery 1902

  • 27 Jan Catherine Archer aged 43 years from Pembroke.
  • 3 Feb Infant son aged 7 months of Isaac Richardson from Valletta.
  • 15 Aug Twins Thomas Brown and Alice Brown from Sliema, who died within half an hour of their birth.
  • 18 Aug Annie Black aged 1 year 3 months of Pembroke Camp.
  • 20 Nov Alfred Wacle Burgis aged 7 months, son of W W Burgis.

Military Nursing

In 1881, an Army Nursing Service was introduced in the Royal Victoria Hospital Netley. In 1894, a proposal to form a Woman's Volunteer Medical Staff Corps was rejected by the War Office. A civilian reserve corps of the Royal British Nurses Association was formed instead.

In Mar 1897, the War Office formed the Army Nursing Reserve so as to exert control on the military nursing reserves. The South African War (1899-1902) revealed the need for a professional nursing service.

In March 1902, the Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service (QAIMNS) replaced the Army Nursing Service. Nurses, however, did not gain equivalent rank until 1926, and did not receive commissions until 1941.

In 1949, the QAIMNS became the Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps (QARANC).

Royal Warrant AMS 1902

In accordance with the Royal Warrant of 24 March 1902, lieutenants on probation were to be commissioned as lieutenants in the Royal Army Medical Corps. Their commissions bore the date of the officers' appointment as lieutenants on probation.

A lieutenant on probation who, at the time of passing the examination for admission to the RAMC, held a resident appointment in a recognized civil hospital was seconded for a period not exceeding 1 year. While seconded he did not receive pay from army funds, but his service was reckoned towards promotion, increase of pay, gratuity, and pension.

An officer was eligible for promotion to the rank of captain on the completion of 3 and a half years service, and to the rank of major on the completion of 12 years' service. Promotion to the rank of lieutenant-colonel was through selection from officers who had completed at least 20 years service.

Boer War Memorial

M L Hughes
The 1899-1902 RAMC Boer War Memorial on Gunhill Road Aldershot.

The Peace Treaty of Vereenigning signed on 31 May 1902 brought the War in South Africa to an end. The war claimed the lives of twenty-one officers and 293 men of the RAMC, who are commemorated in a memorial erected at Aldershot near the Cambridge Military Hospital in 1905.

The South African War Memorial on Gunhill Road Aldershot was designed by the architect Weir Schultz. The stone is Cornish Granite and the obelisk is in one piece. The fourteen bronze tablets bear the names of all those who fell in the campaign. The bas relief was designed by Mr Goscombe John. The memorial was unveiled by King Edward VII on Empire Day 24 May 1905. It commemorates 21 officers and 293 non-commissioned officers and men.

Advisory Board for Army Medical Services

The Army Medical Advisory Board was appointed in 1902 as a result of recommendations made by the War Office Committee on the reorganisation of the Army Medical and Army Nursing Services. Its purpose was to keep the Army Medical Services in touch with civilian developments, to ensure that military hospitals were up to date and to maintain standards with regard to examinations and appointments. To this end its membership consisted partly of representatives of the civil medical profession and partly of AMS officers, including the Director General who acted as chairman.

Following a recommendation of the Defence Medical Services Enquiry Committee, which met in 1973, the Board was absorbed into a joint services body, called the Armed Forces Medical Advisory Board in 1975.

Military Hospitals

Forrest Hospital
Forrest Hospital St Julians

Forrest hospital had insufficient accommodation which had to be supplemented by tents. It was unable to accept all the sick from St George's Barracks and Pembroke Musketry Camp, which had to be transferred to Cottonera and other hospitals.

Cottonera Hospital had hot water on the ground floor only. Orderlies had to carry hot water to the first and second floors.

Citta Vecchia Sanatorium treated 515 patients during 1902. Twenty female patients and 18 children were treated in the Woman's Sanatorium during the year.