Medical Officers
Of the Malta Garrison
Arthur Brooke
1779 – 1845

Physician Arthur Brooke Faulkner

Kt (1815) BA (Dubl 1800) MD (Ed 1803) BA (Can 1805) MA (Oxon 1806) FRCP (Lond 1808)

29 June 1779 [Castletown Co Carlow] – 23 May 1845 [Edington]

Service Record

1795 Arthur Brooke Faulkner commenced his academic studies at Trinity College Dublin.

1799 Commenced his medical studies at Trinity College Dublin.

1800 Arts degree at Trinity College Dublin.

1801–1805 Medical studies at Edinburgh.

Sept 1803 MD Edinburgh University.

Became a Permanent Pupil at the London Hospital and subsequently at Westminster Hospital. Took a degree in Physic at the University of Oxford, and an MA at Cambridge.

1806–1807 Graduated MA, MB and MD Cambridge.

28 July 1808 Admitted Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians.

28 July 1808–14 Sept 1808 In England.

28 July 1808 Commissioned Physician to the Forces. Appointed by the Physician General Sir Lucas Pepys, on the strength of his academic qualifications and without further proofs of his competency.

15 Sep 1808–22 Jan 1809 Served in the Peninsular War as physician on the Expedition of Sir David Baird. On 13 Oct 1808, Sir David Baird's Expedition reached Corunna in northern Spain to link up with Sir John Moore in support of the Spanish. On 17 Jan 1809, the army having retreated to Corunna, embarked for England.

23 Jan 1809–9 July 1809 In England where he attended the sick of the Peninsula at Haslar Hospital.

10 July 1809–22 Dec 1809 Served at Walcheren.

23 Dec 1809–Dec 1810 Served at Deal Hospital until his appointment to Sicily and Malta.

28 Jan 1811 Arrived at Sicily.

24 Sept 1811 Brooke Faulkner spoke his mind out and did not hold back if he saw something amiss. Thus a letter from the Army Medical Board to Inspector of Hospitals Borland says that "your letters of 20 and 21 July relative the conduct of Dr Faulkner, Physician to the Forces, have been duly laid before us and we cannot but express much regret that this officer should have been guilty of such insubordinate conduct as is declared in your correspondence. We however hope that it may have proceeded from inexperience and that he will in future conduct himself accordingly to the rules of the service".3

11 Dec 1811 Letter dated 19 Nov 1811, from the Army Medical Board to Inspector of Hospitals James Borland notifying him of the appointment of Physician to the Forces A Brooke Faulkner's to the Staff of the Army in Malta vice Dr William Irvine deceased.2

Apr 1812 Proceeded to Gibraltar for the benefit of his health.

Malta Dec 1812 Arrived at Malta.

Malta July 1813 Physician to the military pest hospital. Visited the regimental hospitals and attended the civilian plague hospital to gather experience on the local treatment of the plague.

Malta Feb 1814 Left to join Lord William Bentinck's expedition to Italy. Returned to Malta on 11 March, as the Board of Health in Sicily would not allow him to perform quarantine there.

Malta 4 May 1814 Granted 2 months leave and returned to England. Failed to return to Malta when his leave expired.

July 1814–24 Sep 1814 In England.

25 Sep 1814 Retired to half-pay. Became physician to the Duke of Sussex.

Author: Besides his contributions to medical literature, Faulkner wrote books of travel: Rambling Notes and Reflections, giving an account of a visit to France (London, 1827); Visit to Germany and the Low Countries in 1829-1830-1831 (London, 1833); and Letters to Lord Broughamn, describing a visit to Italy (London, 1837). Faulkner was also the author of miscellaneous pamphlets, among which is a Letter to the College of Physicians (1829), urging upon that institution the expediency of giving up antiquated privileges and assuming new duties.1

1819 In his evidence to the Select Committee of the House of Commons, Brooke Faulkner stated that the only opportunity of seeing the plague was in the island of Malta in 1813 as physician to the forces. He attended officially when the army became infected, but was not permitted to attend in his professional capacity Maltese ill with plague as his services might be needed for the army. The sick were under the care of their regimental surgeons. Brooke Faulkner was at first called in for his medical opinion. He only had the care of the plague victims when they were admitted to the pest hospital.

Brooke Faulkner believed the plague to be generated or produced by a contagion, sui generis, quite peculiar and specific, and that it is communicated only by contact or close association with the person or thing infected. Where ever quarantine regulations were imposed with firmness, steadiness or promptness, they seemed to be altogether effectual in preventing the extension of the contagion, but the quarantine system seemed to me to be so extremely lax from the beginning, for several months, that it would have been next to impossible the disease should not have been widely disseminated through the island. There was not a complete and sufficient corps of trusty guards until the month of August, the people were not shut up in their houses until August, that is not universally shut up, probably partial. It is notorious that contact constantly took place in the streets previous to the organisation of this corps of guards and shutting up of the inhabitants in their houses. The plague in Malta was arrested the moment an adequate and a regularly organised police was established and the inhabitants shut up in their houses and other strict measures of quarantine enforced.5

5 May 1825 Presented to Earl Henry Bathurst, Secretary of State for War and the Colonies (1812-1827), a copy of his work on the plague which was published after Brooke Faulkner's appearance before the Select Committee of the House of Commons in 1819. In his treatise on the plague, Brooke Faulkner claimed that he was the only British physician employed during the whole of the most destructive period of the plague which visited Malta in 1813. His work, claimed Brooke Faulkner, was based on indisputable testimony which will appear to his lordship as conclusive in establishing the contagious character of the malady.4

1 July 1838 Age 60 years. One of eighteen Assistant Inspectors on half pay. Total Service: 29 years 10 months, Total Full Pay Service: 6 years 0 months.

1845 After retiring from the service, Arthur Brooke Faulkner settled as a physician at Cheltenham, and died at his residence at Edington, near that town, in 1845.