The Royal Army Medical Corps
And the Malta Garrison

The Malta Garrison – 1970

David Bruce Royal Naval Hospital

Mtarfa Hospital
Reopening of the DBRNH by Lady Dorman 2 Oct 1970
Naval Hospital
David Bruce Royal Naval Hospital
Naval Hospital Bighi
Royal Naval Hospital Bighi

In Oct 1962, the RAMC severed its links with Malta and the Navy assumed responsibility for Service hospital facilities on the island.

The 100 bed Royal Naval Hospital at Mtarfa was opened by Lady Dorman on 2 Oct 1970. The ceremony was attended by a small gathering which included the Medical Director-General (Naval) Surgeon Vice Admiral Eric Blackburn Bradbury RN and the Deputy Director General Army Medical Services Maj-Gen Reginald John Gray, a former commanding officer of DBMH.

The naval hospital had modern operating theatres, a casualty and out-patient departments and a maternity unit for personnel of all three services, their families on the island, local troops, and visiting ships.

The Royal Naval Hospital Bighi, completed in 1832, was ideally located on the promontory overlooking the Grand Harbour when most patients were landed from ships. However, once the Naval Medical Services became also responsible for the medical care of the Army and Royal Air Force on the island, as well as wives and children, a more centrally located hospital had to be found. The Naval Hospital at Bighi shut its doors on 22 Sept 1970. The last PMO was Surgeon Captain Cyril T McClintock.

The navy retained the name David Bruce for their hospital. On the front of the building on either side of the naval crown are the emblems of the RAMC and the RAF Medical Service indicating the hospital's tri-service role. The hospital at Bighi was handed over to the Malta Government on 27 Oct 1970.

Service Rundown

In 1967, following the Healey Defence Review, the British Government 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.

In July 1970, HQ Royal Army Ordnance Corps (RAOC), and HQ Ordnance Depôt moved temporarily from Casement Barracks Floriana to St George's Barracks. Casement Barracks and the sites at the Ospizio and Sa Maison were handed back to the Maltese Government.


  • No RAMC officers or Other Ranks