Colonel Raymond Bencini Testaferrata was born in Rabat, Malta in 1942. He was educated by the Jesuits at St. Aloysius College and qualified as a doctor at the Royal University of Malta in 1967. After house jobs at St. Luke’s Hospital, he joined the British Royal Army Medical Corps in 1971 as a Captain. A quick posting to war-torn Northern Ireland soon followed. Dr. Bencini served in Cyprus during the 1974 coup d’etat and Turkish invasion. He was promoted to Major in 1975. Hitler’s Deputy, Rudolf Hess was his patient at the Allied Prison Spandau in Berlin 1976-9. Hess was a prisoner of the victorious Allied Powers, since World War II.
Constant vigilance was needed in the Seventies in Germany. The IRA and the German Baader-Meinhof terrorist organisations were very active. Further promotion to Lieutenant-Colonel occurred in 1983.
He helped with the intensive medical preparation of the British troops during the Falklands, Bosnia and Gulf Wars. The chemical and biological warfare threats were very real in the latter. Colonel Bencini was the last Commanding Officer of the New Territories Group Practice in Hong Kong, before it was handed over to China.
He took part and supplied medical cover for numerous British Army exercises, scuba diving and snow skiing expeditions worldwide. As a GP trainer, a GP and a Senior Medical Officer he served in Germany, UK, Hong Kong, Cyprus, Belgium, USA, Italy and Northern Ireland.
He obtained the Diploma in Child Health and the Membership of the Royal College of General Practitioners in UK, in the mid-Seventies. In 1981, he qualified as a GP Trainer of the British Armed Services General Practice Approval Board. (ASGPAB)
In 1993 he won the prestigious RAMC John Fry/Update award for excellence in General Practice; this was quickly followed by even further promotion to Colonel.
He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine in London, a Member of the Royal College of General Practitioners, the British Medical Association, the Malta College of Family Doctors and the GP Writers Association in UK.
The Colonel retired from the RAMC in 1998 after 27 years of service. He is married to German-born Marlena and has two sons and two daughters.