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Biographical entry Marston, Jeffrey Allen (1831 - 1911)

CB (Mil) 1887; MRCS July 28th 1854; FRCS (elected as a Member of twenty years' standing) April 12th, 1888; LSA 1854; MD St Andrews 1854; MRCP Lond 1887.

31 December 1831
Martham, Norfolk
31 March 1911
General surgeon


Born at Martham, Norfolk, on Dec 31st, 1831, the son of Thomas Marston; studied at the University of Glasgow and at Newcastle Hospital, also in London. He entered the Army as Assistant Surgeon on Nov 10th, 1854, and for the following thirty-five years served with a steadily increasing reputation in important appointments.

In 1863 he gave in the Army Medical Department Report the first description of Mediterranean fever as a distinct disease. In 1873 he laid down the scheme and superintended the details connected with the fitting out of the hospital ship Victor Emmanuel for the Ashanti Expedition, from headquarters. In 1877, as Member of a Committee, he drew up the dietary for military prisons which long remained in use, and in December of that year was appointed Principal Medical Officer of the Indian Army. In that capacity he prepared a schedule of Field Hospital Organization which was deemed a success in the Afghan War, and he was on the Committee superintending the withdrawal of troops after the Treaty of Gundamat in the face of the prevalence of cholera on the Kabul-Khyber route. He was mentioned in General Orders and was appointed Hon Surgeon to the Viceroy of India.

He was next appointed, on Aug 1st, 1882, Sanitary Officer in Egypt with temporary rank as Deputy Surgeon General. After the Battle of Tel-el-Kebir, at which he was present, he received the Military CB, the Medal with Clasp, and the Osmanieh Order of the 3rd Class. Next he was made Head of the Sanitary and Statistical Branches of the Medical Department of the War Office from Dec 16th, 1882, until 1888, being the last to hold the post. He was a remarkably wide reader, well equipped for the formation of schemes. At very short notice in 1887 he lectured on Military Hygiene at Netley during the illness of Professor De Chaumont.

In August, 1887, he was sent by the War Office as a British Army Medical Delegate to the Ninth International Medical Congress at Washington, whence he wrote an excellent Report of the Proceedings which was discussed at length in the Lancet. One recommendation was the advocacy of small doses of opium for over-fatigue among soldiers. In 1888 he was appointed Principal Medical Officer of the British Army in Egypt, when he made the necessary medical arrangements for the expedition to Suakin under Sir F Grenfell. Promoted Surgeon General in 1889, he was transferred to Gibraltar, from which he retired on becoming President of the Army Sanitary Committee and a member of the Indian Medical Board on July 1st, 1890. Later he was a member of the Educational Commission on Queen's College, Ireland, and in 1899 was appointed Hon Surgeon to the Queen, later Hon Surgeon to King Edward.

He died at 56 Nevern Square, South Kensington, on March 31st, 1911, leaving a widow, one surviving daughter, and grandchildren. He was buried at Charlton Cemetery. His two sons, both in the Royal Artillery, predeceased him, as did his elder daughter. Mrs Marston was Annie, daughter of Mr C Webb, Hoddesdon, Herts.

The Medical Department in the Field.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Johnston's RAMC Roll, No 5386. Lancet, 1911, i, 974. Brit Med Jour, 1911, i, 848].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England