My father was 28 when war broke out. He had qualified at St Thomas's Hospital and joined the Royal Army Medical Corps.


Above: My father operating in Graz

My father died in 1982, just three weeks before the birth of my daughter Katie-Jane and my knowledge of his war before he met my Mum is sketchy.

I know that in 1942 he had married his first wife, Kit . As a child I was told they married because he was about to

be posted overseas. I later discovered that they married in the parish of Davyhulme. He was living at the military hospital where he had been stationed in April 1941. The wedding was on 17 January 1942, he reported for overseas training on 23 January and on 5 February he sailed for the Middle East.

He was on a convoy for three months before he arrived in the Middle East.

February to April 1942

The convoy embarked from Gourrock in Scotland and sailed through the North Atlantic to Freetown in Sierra Leone. On 9 March 1942 my father crossed the Equator for the first time (see left) before rounding the Cape of Good Hope and heading up towards Durban. He eventually disembarked at Port Tewfik, the major war-time port of Egypt and for south-about convoys to and from the UK.


My father's imaginative solutions to the soldiers' injuries, including a decorated stump (below right).

Guest Night at 63 - Summer 1942

My father (tinted, far left) photographed during a drunken evening in the company of two men destined to become legends in the medical world: John Charnley (tinted, peering up from beside my father) who became a poineer in hip replacement surgery; and Richard Doll (tinted, right) who first confirmed the link between smoking and lung cancer.

My father heading for Almasa with John Charnley. Both of them continued with orthopaedics in peacetime, my father eventually establishing himself in Hereford, John Charnley in Oswestry. They remained close friends and John was godfather to my brother who also became an orthopaedic surgeon.

In November 1943 he embarked on the hospital ship Amra via Alexandria and Tripoli and spent the next three months in Algiers.


My father's panoramic view of 100 General Hospital in Jeanne d'Arc, Philipville in Algiers.

His Signature Sketch

He started using this little sketch of a pyramid and palm trees when he was in Egypt. It appeared in a series of different guises throughout his letters to my Mum when they separated during the Demob Days ... and on my letters as a schoolgirl when I was away at boarding school.

The Allied forces had invaded Italy on 8 September 1943. In March 1944 there was a massive eruption of Mount Vesuvius causing lava to flow for days.

My father flew to 70 General Hospital, CMF (Central Medical Forces) on 18 August 1944. He walked up the new lava as far up the volcano as he could go and remembered feeling the heat through the soles of his army boots.

70 General Hospital - Pompeii

My father (far left) in the plaster theatre. Before flying to Italy, he had been operating at 94 General Hospital, Beni Messouss in Algiers having moved from the 95th in Ben Aknoon a month earlier.

In 1945 he arrived in Graz, Austria.

Although in this photograph it seems to be Brigsie staring adoringly at my father, this trip to La Grotte in Austria with a group of fellow officers was the first time my father (far right) asked my mother out on a date.

Captioned First Snow, Dec. 1945

It is Brigsie this time who looks at the camera.

My father was very thin because he had recently recovered from hepatitis which he contracted in the Middle East. He took the girls skiing, my mum fell and broke her wrist and as he treated her their romance blossomed.

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