March 1942

From the London Gazette:

Awarded the George Medal:—
Halstead Middleton Turnbull, M.R.C.S.,
L.R.C.P., Medical Officer, Works First Aid
Post, Birmingham.
Dr. Turnbull has been on duty during
every air raid on Birmingham.
He has shown cool courage and resolution,
without regard for his own safety and, by his
skill and resourcefulness, many lives have
been saved and much suffering alleviated.
When the building in which the First Aid
Post is situated was damaged by bombs, the
Doctor, despite the difficulties, searched for
and treated persons buried under debris.
On numerous occasions he has been called
to treat casualties trapped in wrecked
buildings. In order to administer morphia
to an injured woman, he lowered himself
head downwards into a narrow space regardless of the danger from a wall liable to
When an area was evacuated owing to the
presence of a time-bomb, Dr. Turnbull stayed
with a woman who was seriously ill until
such time as she could be moved with safety.

“Lowered himself” was actually Grandpa having the firemen loop a rope around his ankles and lower him down into the hole they’d dug looking for survivors.

He was a GP. But also a Major, and I’m not sure Major of what. He was too young for WW I. And certainly didn’t serve in WW II in the main Army. Perhaps Home Guard? He’d have been 37 or 38 in 1939. Would a doctor have been made straight up to Major? After all, doctors straight out of college are Captains, right?

5 thoughts on “March 1942”

  1. Yes professionals were often breveted as officers in order to be able to give orders.
    Captain and Major were common for doctors.
    Some sort of military involvement to get that rank – volunteer with the military perhaps?

  2. No risk assessment, I see…tut tut. Couldn’t he have just said “our thoughts and prayers are with her family at this difficult time?”

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