Jump to content
Free downloads from TNA ×
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

The Citadel and Dr Denny


Recommended Posts

Listening to the dramatisation of AJ Cronin's The Citadel, I pricked up my ears (as usual!) when a reference to the Great War was made.  The character of Dr Denny when serving in Mesopotamia (Kut) becomes a prisoner.  Rather than join the other officers for a softer captivity, he stays with the troops.


This separation of officers and men is of course a well-known aspect of the debacle's aftermath.  What I wonder if a Medical Services expert knows is, how many doctors (and padres) volunteered to accompany the troops on their deadly march and then into harsh captivity.


if you haven't not read The Citadel, it is a spot on read.  And to remain on topic, although it is set in the mid twenties, it has lots of GW references!



Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, BullerTurner said:

padres) volunteered to accompany the troops

Rev Harold Spooner may be one of these ? The link to Spooner mentions T. Mullen and A.Y.Wright as others who refused repatriation at the surrender of Kut.


These are the ICRC Kastamuni records for them. I am not sure whether they were actually allowed to stay with the ORS on the march. Spoooner I have seen mentioned many times. His Kut diary is with IWM.



Edited by charlie962
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Medical men:

I have the impression that the medical men were not given much choice. Spackman's account as a medical officer shows how difficult it was for the Doctors to get access to the men, even when housed close by. I suspect that because of this they generally took any chance for repatriation that was offered. Quite a few were repatriated from Baghdad in Aug/Sep 1916 including Col Hehir. Barber's account Besieged In Kut and After details this episode.


The ISMD Sub Conductors Assistant Surgeons such as William Fratel (of Bagtche notoriety) did march with the ORs and rendered what limited service they could. But they were hardly volunteers.

Edited by charlie962
Link to comment
Share on other sites

As a brief pendant to the original post, A.J. Cronin's GW service was as a Surgeon Probationer RNVR from 31 October 1916, aboard HMS MELAMPUS, which as far as I know served only in home waters.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...