The Royal Army Medical Corps
And the Malta Garrison

The Malta Garrison – 1967

Service Rundown

In 1967, the Healey Defence Review decided to progressively reduce the size of the forces in Malta, by 31 Dec 1971. The army was to be reduced to one Signal Squadron and a Postal, Courier and Communications Unit Royal Engineers. Details of the run down plan were made public in 1969.

The Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force had responsibility for all logistic services in Malta. Consequently, the Royal Army Ordnance Corps (RAOC) disposed of its Laundry Depôt at Marsa and handed over responsibility for the Ammunition sub-Depôt at Fort Mosta to the RAF.

On 19 Feb 1967, Patrick Gordon Walker, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, arrived at Malta. He reported to the Cabinet that he had offered to suspend the reduction of force levels, provided the Maltese Government ceased its policy of harassment of British Forces, and suspended the passage of an amendment to the Visiting Forces Act under which the 1964 defence agreement would have been abrogated.

The Maltese Prime Minister Dr George Borg Olivier refused to cease harassment of British Forces until negotiations had reached an acceptable outcome. In Mar 1967, Patrick Gordon Walker announced the extension of the period for the defence run down.

David Bruce Royal Naval Hospital

David Bruce Naval Hospital
David Bruce Royal Naval Hospital

In 1961, a decision had been taken to use the David Bruce Military Hospital Mtarfa as the Combined Services Hospital. Work to modify the hospital did not start until Feb 1969.

The Royal Naval Hospital Bighi remained in use until the project was completed, though the maternity wing remained at Mtarfa. The Royal Naval Hospital Imtarfa opened on 3 Oct 1970.