Fort Chambray - Gozo
Built in the mid-eighteenth century with funds provided by the French Knight Bali Jacques Francois de Chambray, Fort Chambray is situated high on a promontory overlooking the harbour of Mgarr. Since 1800 British troops have been stationed there.
By 1830 it had its own small hospital, when Dr.John Hennen, the Inspector of Military Hospitals made a visit and recorded :
‘The barracks are contained in one building three storeys high. The whole forms an establishment in which 250 men can be well accommodated. Within the walls of the Fort is a very comfortable and compact little hospital of four wards capable of accommodating 20 men extremely well, with kitchen, surgery, etc. but it has very rarely more than two or three inhabitants.’
During the period of the Crimean War, the hospital at Fort Chambray was greatly expanded by the erection of 30 large wooden huts each capable of housing 50 men. With the end of the war in 1856, it resumed normal duties, and over the course of the next twenty five years it was used by Maltese civilians as well as British soldiers and sailors, when various fever epidemics occurred throughout the islands.
Intense activity resumed in 1882, when it was fitted out a base hospital for the anticipated casualties from the conflict in Egypt. A detachment consisting of one Officer and 50 men of the Durham Light Infantry, together with Brigade Surgeon Tippetts, Surgeon Major Fitzgerald, Surgeons Freeman, Truman and Bevis arrived together with Army Hospital Corps staff. They were joined by five nursing sisters under the supervision of Sister J. King. Everything was ready when the wounded men started to arrive, especially after the battles of Kassassin and Tel-el-Kebir.
Normality resumed for about thirty years until Malta was involved in the next major conflict, World War I, which commenced in 1914. Casualties from the Gallipoli landings and Salonika Expedition were brought there in large numbers. October and November 1915 recorded an average of 2,000 men per week from Gallipoli, and during one week, from the 2nd to 9th December a record 6,341 wounded from Salonika arrived. Thankfully the numbers fell quickly, so much so that by the end of March 1916 the Convalescent Depot was closed down.
The military later gave up Fort Chambray, and from 1934 till 1983 it was used as a civilian mental hospital, with one section as a leprosy unit from 1937 till 1956.
There were three cemeteries associated with Fort Chambray, all starting from around 1800. A Protestant burial ground within the Fort itself near the doctor’s quarters, and two in the ditches outside. One for Roman Catholics on the left and one for Protestants on the right of the main entrance.
Permission to develop the Fort and surrounding area into a holiday complex was given in the early 1990’s, and the cemetery inside the Fort was cleared of graves and human remains on 1st July 1991.
The Times of Malta, 18th January 1993, printed a letter from the Managing Director of Fort Chambray Ltd., regarding the cemetery.
‘ .........In so far as the removal of the remains of members of the British Forces (and others) is concerned, the whole exercise was carried out as follows:
Each single grave was first of all opened and the remains carefully put away, each in a separate container and later re-interred in the cemetery of Santa Maria, near Xewkija in the presence of the Reverend Canon Philip Cousins, Dean of St.Pauls Anglican Pro-Cathedral in Valletta in representation of the Church of England and Fr.Zerafa, the parish priest of Ghainsielem.
The different tomb stones were set aside for permanent retention and are now lying in a secluded part of the Fort for future identification and a more permanent location.’
After some preliminary site work the project has been put on ‘Hold’, and no further building has taken place the Fort for the last few years.
The names which follow have been collected from several sources, each yielding one or just a few names. At the present time, no records or books have been found which give anything like a comprehensive list. Many of the surviving stones are badly worn therefore errors in deciphering the letters and figures may have occurred.
Buried 15th May 1904, Charles William ABBOTT, aged 8 months, the son of Lance Corporal G.Abbott, 2nd Battalion, Essex Regiment
Buried 17th September 1897, Thomas ANDREWS, aged 26 years, Private, Worcestershire Regiment
Died November….., Ann ASHBROOK, wife of Gunner George Ashbrook, Royal Artillery
Died 20th November 1850, W.T. BAILEY, aged one year, son of Bombardier Bailey, Royal Artillery
Died 13th July 1856, ...BALL, aged 27 years, Private, 31st (Huntingdonshire) Regiment
Buried 22nd July 1901, Anthony Moore BANKS, aged 8 months, the son of Army Schoolmaster Banks
Died 21st October 1856, Josiah BARKER, aged 24 years, Sergeant, 31st (Huntingdonshire) Regiment, of cholera
James BARTLETT, Private, 2nd Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles, died 18th October 1891, aged 24 years
Died……………..., No.2258, Private David BARTON
Died 13th August 1852, Charles Andrews BAYLEY, aged 70 years, Lieut-Colonel commanding troops on the island of Gozo
Died….. 1883, William James BLACK, Colour Sergeant, 54th Regiment
Died September 1882, T. BOND, Private, Army Hospital Corps
Died 20th December 1898, No.4756, John BRADSHAW, aged 24 years 11 months, Private, D Company, 2nd Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers
William Michael BYRNE, died 6th July 1895, aged 7 months and Johnnie, died at Aldershot 15th June 1893, aged 1 year 10 months, the children of Lance Corporal Denis Byrne and his wife Lilly Byrne, 2nd Battalion, Leinster Regiment
Thomas CLANCY, 4034, Private, A Company, 2nd Battalion, Leinster Regiment, died 3rd June 1895, aged 20 years
Died 1st March 1850, George CLARKE MD, aged 70 years
Died 20th March 1892, Frank CLAYDON, aged 23 years, Private, Pompadours
Buried 8th December 1902, Emily COCKRAM, aged 32 years, the wife of Sergeant Cockram, Royal Engineers
Died 30th June 1896, Walter COLL, aged 24 years, Private, 2nd Battalion, Leinster Regiment
Died 27th September 1897, No.8322, Arthur DAINES, aged 22 years, Private
Died 9th October 1849, John DAVID, aged 67 years, Deputy Assistant Commissary General, Purveyor to the Government Charitable Institutions in Gozo
Died 189*, Gwendolyn Grane DAVIDSON, the daughter of Captain T.S.C. Davidson, Leinster Regiment. Born May 18**
Died 6th November 1856, Anna Maria DEACON, aged 10 months, the daughter of Sarah and Sergeant-Major Deacon, 31st (Huntingdonshire) Regiment
David EASTON, 2258, Private, 2nd Battalion, Essex Regiment, died 11th July 1892, aged 23 years
Died……………. Henry EASTWOOD, ………..….
John FARRELL, Private, 2nd Battalion, Connaught Rangers, died 20th November 1890, aged 21 years
Buried 4th October 1903, Henry Charles FAY, aged 39 years, Private, 3rd Battalion, Royal Garrison Regiment
Died 20th April 1851, Edmund FRANCIS, Royal Artillery. Stationed at Fort Chambray, he went bathing and had a heart attack from which he never recovered. Buried by Lieut-Colonel Bayley, due to the absence of a Clergyman
Died 17th July 1856, Jas. GARRARD, aged 25 years, Private, 31st (Huntingdonshire) Regiment
Buried 10th March 1904, Frances Kate GRAY, aged 33 years 6 months, the wife of Private Gray, Royal Garrison Regiment
Died 28th July 18**, Ann GRIFFITT, wife of John Griffitt, aged 67 years
Buried 18th August 1906, Alfred HEATH, aged 29 years, Private, Worcestershire Regiment
Rose Ann HOSIE, the wife of Corporal J Hosie, Royal Engineers, died 25th March 1898
Died…………..., James HUNT, Gunner, 2nd Battalion, Royal Artillery
Alfred JONES, died 31st October 1895, aged 19 years
Elizabeth Ellen KELLY, daughter of James & Ellen Kelly, 2nd Battalion, Leinster Regiment, died 27th June 1895, aged 13 months
Died 10th September 1898, Kate KNEE, aged 28 years, the wife of Sergeant W. Knee, 2nd Battalion, Dorsetshire Regiment
Died 30th July 1895, E.C. LAWN, aged 21 years 3 months, Private, H Company, 2nd Battalion, Leinster Regiment
Died 3rd August 1856, Jas. LEAN, aged 23 years, Private, 31st Huntingdonshire) Regiment
Died 30th August 1856, H.E. LOYDE, aged 23 years, Private, 31st (Huntingdonshire) Regiment
Patrick LYONS, Private, 2nd Battalion, Connaught Rangers, died 22nd April 1894, aged 30 years
James McAULIFFE, Private, C Company, 2nd Battalion, Connaught Rangers, died 12th May 1894, aged 23 years
W. McCLYNN, Private, C Company, 2nd Battalion, Connaught Rangers, died 10th May 1892, aged 25 years
Buried 16th August 1902, Gordon James McLEAN, aged 1 year 6 months, the son of Private McLean, Royal Army Medical Corps
Died 21st July 1856, William MANN, aged 24 years, Private, 31st (Huntingdonshire) Regiment
Died 30th August 1841, George MILLAR, aged 15 years
Died 10th April 1888, Eugen NARR, aged 42 years. (Inscription is written in German)
Ronald Bruce NEARY, the son of Sergeant William Neary and his wife Rose Neary, 2nd Battalion, Leinster Regiment, died 26th July 1895, aged 14 months 3 weeks
James NELSON, Private, G Company, 2nd Battalion, Leinster Regiment, died 25th September 1895, aged 25 years
Timothy O'BRIEN, 2890, Bandsman, 2nd Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers, died 25th December 1898, aged 24 years 11 months
Died 22nd July 1856, Edward OWENS, aged 24 years, Private, 31st (Huntingdonshire) Regiment
Died September 1882, J. PARR, Private, Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry
Buried 19th December 1901, Walter PEMBERTON, aged 19 years, Private, 3rd Battalion, King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
Buried 12th November 1904, Walter PILNE, aged 20 years, Private, 2nd Battalion, Essex Regiment
Died 14th August 1856, Samuel ROBINSON, aged 23 years, Private, 31st (Huntingdonshire) Regiment
Died 15th November 1849, William SAXTON, aged 24 years, Bombardier, Captain Tylee's Company, 3rd Batt., Royal Artillery
Died 15th January 1886, James SCOTT, aged 24 years 3 months, Corporal, 1st Battalion, Gordon Highlanders
Died 13th January 1857, Jos. SELFIELD, aged 21 years, Private, 31st (Huntingdonshire) Regiment
Sarah SHEIL, the wife of Sergeant Patrick Sheil, 2nd Battalion, Leinster Regiment, died 6th April 1895, aged 21 years
Died 7th May 1895, Emma Mary SHORT, aged 25 years, the wife of Corporal Michael J. Short, 2nd Battalion, Leinster Regiment
Died 3rd December 1870, Jane SMITH, aged 1 year * months, the daughter of W. Smith, Royal Artillery
Buried 15th November 1904, William Henry SMITH, aged 2 years
Buried 26th March 1904, Ada Victoria TAYLOR, aged 2 years 6 months, the daughter of Private John Taylor, Royal Garrison Regiment
Buried 19th January 1904, Florence Edith TAYLOR, aged 6 months, the daughter of Private Taylor, Royal Garrison Regiment
Died 15th September 1893, Louisa Jane Merdon TREAYS, aged 31 years, the wife of Edward Treays, of H.M. Dockyard, Malta
J. F. WHITE, Army Schoolmaster, died October 1894, aged 39 years
John Thomas WHITE, the son of John & Bridget White, 2nd Battalion, Leinster Regiment, died 15th July 1895, aged 1 year 16 days
Died 24th September 18**, Thomas WILLIAMS, aged 25 years, Private, 2nd Battalion, King’s Own Light Infantry