Doctor’s tribute to hero World War One Sheffield medics

Retired Consultant, Dr Derek Cullen
Retired Consultant, Dr Derek Cullen
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A retired doctor is appealing for help with an exhibition recognising the efforts of Sheffield medics who treated wounded soldiers during World War One.

Dr Derek Cullen, a former consultant physician at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, has joined forces with Sheffield University’s medical school to host a show commemorating the 100th anniversary of the conflict next year.

Now Dr Cullen wants people across South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire to share family stories, pictures and memorabilia to help tell the story of the city’s medical workers who played a vital role during the war.

More than 70,000 sick and wounded soldiers were brought back to Sheffield for treatment from 1914 to 1918, with doctors serving in the 3rd West Riding Field Ambulance in France as well as the 3rd Northern General Hospital, specially created for injured troops.

Dr Cullen said: “We have already collected a huge amount of intriguing material which really paints a heart-wrenching picture of the role of Sheffield doctors, nurses, orderlies, stretcher-bearers and chaplains who all played an equally heroic role in the care of the wounded and dying.

“The exhibition will reveal a fascinating picture of surgeons rotating between service at the front line and civilian practice and conspicuous bravery of newly qualified doctors, one of whom, William Barnsley Allen, was awarded the Victoria Cross.”

The event will also tell the story of Sheffield’s first female medical graduate, Lydia Henry, who worked with the Scottish Women’s Hospital in France and was awarded the prestigious Croix de Guerre.

A journal is set to be displayed called The Lead Swinger, which contains articles, poems and drawings penned by members of the Field Ambulance throughout the war.

The six-month exhibition, which will run from next June, will be accompanied by a booklet and lecture series.

“We would like to record the service of these doctors and medical volunteers as fully as possible and I really hope people come forward and share their family archives, personal accounts and pictures of their ancestors,” added Dr Cullen.

n Email to help out.