Harold’s Labour of Love

“They did not even have a filing cabinet,” said Prof. Harold Hankins, CBE, FEng when he began researching the history of the Manchester and Salford Universities Officers Training Corps (MUOTC). Sometime later he had produced its 296-page definitive history which spanned the years 1898 to 2002, and for its Great War chapter incorporated much of his earlier monograph: The Manchester University Officers Training Corps – The Great War 1914-1919. He could not find a single Roll of Honour for the OTC, and so began to rectify this omission. The latter is dedicated to the 314 members of the MUOTC “who laid down their lives in the Great War 1914-1919 defending the freedoms we take for granted today.”

Poignantly he ends his preface by citing a survivor: 2nd Lieutenant J D Cockcroft [born 1897; MUOTC, Oct 1914; enlisted Nov 1915, Royal Field Artillery 1915-1918; B Sc Tech, 1920; M Sc Tech, 1921] who with Ernest Walton split the atom in 1932, and received the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1956. John died in 1967 aged 70.

Such were the opportunities available to those members of the MUOTC who had survived the War and who possessed the talent and inspiration to succeed. Sadly, such opportunities were denied to their 314 comrades in death, and we can never know what they might have achieved had they lived.

After graduating with a first in 1955, Harold worked in industry, then returned to lecture at ‘the Tech’, as the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST) was colloquially known. There he often passed the Great War Memorial to nearly 200 men. On retirement from UMIST in 1995 as its Principal he started to research in earnest the lives of those commemorated on the Memorial, an enormous project as he planned to visit their final resting places. His regular battlefield companion and tutor was Michael Seward, who along with his late wife, Harold and his wife, Kathleen, made many visits to the cemeteries and battlefields of northern France and Belgium. (Michael’s interest was in members of his old school, Uppingham.) They found that the only military grave in the communal cemetery of Briastre, a small village east of Cambrai, was that of Lieutenant A J H R Widdowson. The second MUOTC to fall, he was killed on 25 August 1914 after the retreat from Mons. Mr. Seward is full of praise for Harold’s work which is remarkable for the amount of detail, and he reckons that Harold’s son Nick deserves much credit too.

As a former Tech student I collaborated with Harold in his project, and was later described as ‘a colleague’. Had Harold not started down this path I fear few would have trod it. Thanks to our collective efforts we have ensured that the names of the fallen are not forgotten. For instance, Henry M Weyman once had no headstone in Philips Park, Manchester; now he has one. Similarly Harold Beard, who was a given a full military funeral before being buried in the family grave, was initially not recognised on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s website. Due to our efforts he is now.

I sense that all the men were real to Harold and like any good teacher knew their background intimately. On one occasion after he had given a talk to the OTC he was asked by the officer who had commissioned him to give the talk “where are your notes or the hand-outs?” He replied that when he was a lecturer at the Tech that was the norm, otherwise students thought that you did not know your subject.

Although Harold was of the belief that the work of the 196 Tech men could not be published until all had been identified, it is with a few uncertainties which are difficult to resolve that the work was published. It was dedicated to him and the men who fell. Initially Harold had paper copies of the War Office documents listing those who died in the Great War. With the advent in 1998 of the CD-ROM “Soldiers/Officers who died in the Great War 1914-1919” by Naval and Military Press, and the incredible Commonwealth War Graves Commission website the searching process was speeded up.

When Harold died in 2009 the Independent’s obituary described him as the “ultimate Manchester Tech man” because he had been a student and risen to become its Principal. He was always at pains to point out that our work will leave its mark by remembering the Tech men who gave their lives a century ago. Now Harold, the “ultimate Tech man,” has left his mark with three publications which details their educational, professional and military lives. You would need a filing cabinet to hold these records, but thanks to his labour of love he has brought their stories to life. We salute his enthusiasm and dedication in helping us to remember them.

Further reading:

A History of the Manchester and Salford Universities OTC 1898-2002

The Manchester University Officers Training Corps – The Great War 1914-1919


Anti-war activism

Walton Newbold (1888-1943) is one of the few University students known to have been active opponents of the War.  Unlike some other student pacifists, his motives for opposing war were strictly political, rather than religious or humanitarian.

Walton Newbold had graduated from the University with a masters degree in history in 1912.  During this period, he had been briefly engaged to his fellow student Ellen Wilkinson, the future Labour cabinet minister.

Newbold had been a very active student politician, and although he seems to have considered an academic career, he soon gave up research to become a campaigning journalist. Newbold wrote prolifically for the radical press, and published a series of works arguing that an arms race, caused by colluding governments and armaments companies, lay behind the international tensions which eventually led to war in 1914.

Newbold was prominent in various anti-war groups, including the No Conscription Fellowship. Although opposed to military service, his poor health meant that he was unlikely to have been called up.

His polemical journalism continued throughout the War, and soon got him into trouble with the authorities. In October 1915, he was fined by a police court in Buxton for comments he made in the American press and in private correspondence (which the authorities were monitoring) about British firms trading with the enemy through neutral companies. He had also called for a US trade boycott of all belligerents.

Newbold appears to have relished his day in court. In his unpublished memoirs, “Wars of this World Revolution”,  he recalled “Of course, I was guilty … I had sought to prejudice the relations of His Majesty’s Government with a Foreign Power, to wit, the United States…” (Walton Newbold papers, University of Manchester Library).

Newbold was by all accounts a difficult personality and it seems he tried the patience even of erstwhile supporters. Newbold’s only defence witness at his hearing, John Graham, the Quaker Principal of Dalton Hall, was a tireless defender of pacifists. Graham later wrote to his son giving a slightly different picture of events: “Newbold’s advocate and I succeeded in persuading the magistrates that he was a Quaker enthusiast with his knife into armament firms, and not a German spy or Anti-British. I did not pay his fine. His mother paid it… I have had an abusive anonymous letter sent in consequence…containing a big old rusty nail and an imitation handcuff. It will amuse thee when thou see it”. (John Graham papers, University of Manchester Library.)

Newbold later became a supporter of the Bolshevik Revolution, and was one of two Communist MPs elected at the 1922 general election.  His parliamentary career was brief, as he lost his seat at the next election.  In later years he turned against his former left-wing colleagues, and became a supporter of Ramsay Macdonald’s National Government.

Find out more about the University of Manchester Archives


Ellen Wilkinson’s wartime work

Ellen Wilkinson (1891-1947) is perhaps the most famous politician to have studied at our University. Her name is now indelibly associated with the Jarrow Crusade, the most prominent of the 1930s campaigns against unemployment and social deprivation.

Born locally in Ardwick, Ellen entered the University on a scholarship in 1910, and graduated in history in 1913. As a student, she was active in the Women’s Union and the University Fabian Society. Initially destined for a career as a teacher, Ellen chose to work instead for the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies.

Although critical of Britain’s entry into the War in 1914, Ellen became an organiser for the Stockport Relief Committee and later was secretary of the Women’s War Interests Committee, which supported women working in wartime industries.

This provided an entry into the world of trades unionism and national politics; in 1915 she was made national women’s organiser for the Amalgamated Union of Co-operative and Commercial Employees (AUCE), many of whose members were women ‘substituting’ for male workers then serving in the War.

In letters kept at the University Archives, Ellen describes her wartime experiences to Phoebe Sheavyn, the University’s adviser to women students. In a letter of 13 August 1915, she expresses her pleasure in getting the AUCE post: “I have always wanted to do Trade Union work…which incidentally was better [paid] financially than my present work.”

Her job was a demanding, combining a campaigning role for fair pay for women, with the routine business of pay negotiations, arbitration and conciliation work.   As she wrote in another letter, “Continuous hotel life is the one drawback of the work, which otherwise is tremendously interesting”, adding that her job had changed her outlook on a future career: “I cannot help feeling very thankful that I did not enter the teaching profession…”

For some women such as Ellen Wilkinson, the War for all its horrors, also brought unexpected opportunities, leading to careers in the post-war period which might not otherwise have been available .

Ellen was first elected as a Labour MP in 1924; she lost her seat in the 1931 landslide, but was managed to get back as member for Jarrow in 1935. During the Second World War, she was a junior minister, and later, as minister of education, was a member of Attlee’s Cabinet. Ellen was made an honorary doctorate of laws by the University in 1946. She died after a brief illness in 1947.

A Forgotten University Memorial of World War One

Standing in a corner of Whitworth Park, adjacent to the newly-refurbished Whitworth Art Gallery, lies a seldom visited World War One memorial, commemorating those who lost their lives in the 7th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment. The majority of this territorial battalion’s recruits originated from the area of Manchester around the University and formed part of the renowned 42nd East Lancashire Division that distinguished itself in battles at Gallipoli, Egypt and on the Western front. Gerald B. Hurst, lecturer of law and special lecturer in colonial history, was one of many University men to serve with the 7th Manchester Regiment. He penned a battalion history covering the period 1914-early 1916 when it was serving Egypt and Gallipoli.

The original memorial from the McDougall Centre
The Centre Section of the Old Memorial in the McDougall Centre 1933
The Centre Section of the Old Memorial in the McDougall Centre 1933

The original war memorial that preceded the column situated in Whitworth Park was erected inside the Drill Hall and battalion headquarters which were located in the building now known as the McDougall Centre on Burlington Street. In 1933, the McDougall Centre was put up for sale following government defence spending cuts and the decision was made that a new memorial should be constructed. A design competition for the new memorial was subsequently held by Professor A.C Dickie, Chair of Architecture at the University of Manchester, and was won by Norman Wragge. His design was a tapered column made of black granite that stood on a base of white stone, with a floriated ‘fleur de Lys’ (the badge of the 7th Battalion) engraved on each of its four sides. The memorial was approved for construction by the Whitworth Trustees and Manchester City Council.

Side of the memorial in Whitworth Park
Side of the memorial in Whitworth Park

The memorial was unveiled by General Sir Reginald Wingate in September 1933 in front of a large crowd of veterans, present battalion members and relatives of deceased members of the battalion paying their respects.

If passing through Whitworth Park, do take a moment to admire this simple gesture of remembrance for the local Infantry Battalion and those who lost their lives in World War One.

Staff and students at Gallipoli

By late 1914 it was already apparent that a decisive victory on the Western Front was very unlikely. The Gallipoli campaign was conceived as a means to break the deadlock. It was hoped that an offensive in the Dardanelles peninsula would allow a passage to be forced into the Black Sea, therefore opening supply route to Britain`s ally Russia. It would also relieve pressure from Turkey on Russia`s Southern front and possibly force Turkey to the negotiating table. The major advocate of the plan was a young Winston Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty.

In February and March 1915 two attempts were made to force a passage through the narrow strait by a combined British and French fleet. Both failed due to the strong Turkish fortifications protecting the Dardanelles. It was decided, therefore, to land ground forces to capture the peninsula and so open the channel for the fleet. The initial forces available were the regular soldiers of the British 29th Division, Territorials of the 42nd East Lancashire Division, the Royal Navy Division and the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZACs).


On 25 April, the troops landed to stiff opposition. Despite heavy casualties, they established bridgeheads at Helles (British) and Gaba Tepe (ANZACs), but afterwards progress slowed. Fresh reinforcements including French, Indian and New Army (Pals) in May, June and August allowed further Allied offensives including a new landing at Sulva. Despite the bravery of the troops, failures in senior leadership, poor administration, and a lack of sufficient reinforcements combined with a strong and well-led opposition resulted in stagnation and trench warfare. Due to the failed offensives, General Hamilton was replaced by Lieutenant General Monro in October. With mounting casualties, deteriorating conditions and no opportunity to advance Monro took the decision to withdraw from the Peninsula. Even though there were substantial risks involved, the withdrawal was well planned and the troops were successfully evacuated by 9 January 1916.

The surviving units were reallocated to other fronts. The fighting at Gallipoli caused 213,000 Allied and 300,000 Turkish casualties. The campaign destroyed the career of its commander, General Sir Ian Hamilton, and stalled Winston Churchill’s political ambitions. It became a defining moment in Australian and New Zealand nationalism and had a huge impact in East Lancashire where so many of the units involved were raised. It was here that the regulars of the locally recruited 1st Lancashire Fusiliers won “Six V.Cs before breakfast” in their costly beach assault, and where the Terriers of the 1/7th Manchester Regiment made up of University staff, students and other local workers paid such a huge price in the four battles fought around the village of Krithia.

Officers of the 1/6th (Rochdale) Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers, pictured just prior to landing at Gallipoli, amongst them are Manchester University ex-students Eric Duckworth and Alfred Clegg both killed in the fighting at Krithia Vineyard in August 1915. (Image by kind permission of Martin Purdy & Moonraker Publishing:thegallipolioak.co.uk)
Officers of the 1/6th (Rochdale) Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers, pictured just prior to landing at Gallipoli, amongst them are Manchester University ex-students Eric Duckworth and Alfred Clegg both killed in the fighting at Krithia Vineyard in August 1915. (Image by kind permission of Martin Purdy & Moonraker Publishing:thegallipolioak.co.uk)

You can find out more about the University staff and students who died at Gallipoli in the roll of honour section, as well as stories about individuals such as Henry Moseley and Gerald Hurst.

Thomas Eric Peet

Thomas Eric Peet was born in 1882 in Liverpool to middle class parents, Thomas and Salome Peet. He was educated at Merchant Taylors’ School, at Crosby near Liverpool and at Queen’s College, Oxford. From 1909 onwards he conducted excavations in Egypt for the Egypt Exploration Fund (now known as the Egyptian Exploration Society). From 1909 to 1913 Peet was working on the dig at Abydos with Swiss Archaeologist Edouard Neville where he was instrumental in pushing for more scientific methodology to be used. From 1913 to 1928 he was a Lecturer and Curator in Egyptology at Manchester University and the Manchester Museum.

When the Great War broke out it initially seemed that it would be “…over by Christmas…” however by 1915 it became obvious that this was not the case and Peet  against the advice of friends and colleagues  made the decision to enlist as he saw it as his patriotic duty and one he would not shy from. He was commissioned in October 1915 into the 14th Battalion of the King`s Liverpool Regiment an infantry regiment from his home town. However, in an unprecedented move the Egyptian Exploration Fund considered him so important to their work that their controlling body agreed to pay him a retaining fee on top of his Army salary to ensure his return to Egyptology after the War!

By 1917 he was serving on the Salonica Front with the British Expeditionary Force with a unit of the Army Service Corps. This mountainous region overlapped the border between Greece and Bulgaria and lay within the boundaries of Alexander the Greats ancient kingdom of Macedonia. Here a combined British, Serbian, Greek and French force faced Bulgarian, German, Austrian and Turkish troops in a front that was made up of trenches and mountain top strongpoints. It was soon discovered by the troops digging in here that the area was rich in archaeology! Edmund Barrett a rifle bomber in the 12th Lancashire Fusiliers noted that “…you could hardly turn a shovel of earth without a piece of old pot coming out…..” At first the soldiers on the ground dumped them into sandbags with other rubble, though the more enterprising would pocket items they felt of value to sell to local traders or their officers later. It wasn`t long before a number of men and officers with pre-war archaeological experience realised the importance of what was being found and alerted the Force Head Quarters. Realising the importance of protecting these potentially valuable finds as much to placate a sometimes hostile Greek Government as for the furthering of historical knowledge both the British and the French forces decided to set up specialist archaeology units whose job it was to locate, catalogue and save these artefacts.  The British unit was initially under Lieutenant Commander Ernest Gardner a leading archaeologist who established B.S.F H.Q Museum as the unit became known. Man power was provided by the Royal Engineers who also ran a Museum to hold finds, while field teams were formed to retrieve and record finds. These were commanded by officers with archaeological backgrounds recruited from units in theatre. Peet with his huge experience was originally recruited as a field section commander, however in 1917 Gardner was recalled to London and Peet took over command of the Unit. One of its major finds was a battlefield site found by the 7th Royal Berkshire Regiment while digging trenches in the “Birdcage Line” when Private Reg Bailey literally put his pick through an ancient oil lamp before turning over “…..bones with ancient armour and helmets…” amongst the finds field team involved discovered the finest example of a 5th Century B.C Greek helmet ever discovered. At the end of the War, General Milne the British Commander negotiated with the Greek government its transfer to the British Museum where the collection resides to this day, a lasting reminder of Peet and the work of this unique wartime unit.

Peet himself remained a highly patriotic soldier who believed the War must be won and he would do his duty in that cause, but this was not without pangs of sadness for friends lost on both sides. Archaeology before the War had been well populated with German academics and many were close colleagues at the University and on sites such as Abydos. Many like Peet had decided it was their patriotic duty to enlist and so had returned to join the German Army and Peet found himself on opposite sides possibly trying to kill men who had been friends before the War. A letter sent home to his family reveals his dilemma when the Journal of Egyptian Archaeology recorded the death of man named Erman, an Egyptologist killed while serving with the German Army, and the anger this raised amongst two officers sharing his trench who thought it wrong to show regret for the death of a German soldier. Peet while understanding this hate from men who had lost friends and brothers to the Germans could not at the same time bring himself to hate an old colleague “…both asked me how my paper could……print obituaries of slain Germans with …..expressions of regret for their deaths. I had no answer.”

Demobbed in 1919 he returned to the University declining a post with the Egyptian Exploration Fund and in 1920-1 was involved on the Amarna excavations in Egypt. This would be his last major excavation as he began to concentrate on academic research. He became a noted expert and author on Egyptian Military Campaigns’, and in 1933 he was appointed Reader in Egyptology at the University of Oxford. He died in February 1934 aged 52 leaving a wife and daughter only weeks after taking up his new post. The Queen’s College, Oxford houses the University’s Egyptology library, and it is named the Peet Library in his honour.


Researched by Mike Whitworth (Manchester Museum), with grateful acknowledgment to Clare Lewis at UCL and to the Peet family for excerpts from letters and images.


Clare Lewis (2014) Peet, “The JEA And The First World War”,  Journal of Egyptian Exploration Society.

Alan Wakefield (2013),  “Archaeology Behind The Lines”,  “Mosquito” The Journal Of The Salonica Campaign Society.

Manchester Museum Annual Report 1915.

Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein

Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein was a student at the University of Manchester before the outbreak of World War One. Already a gifted philosopher, the War had a significant impact on his thinking.

Wittgenstein was born in Vienna in 1889 and is best known as the author of two of the philosophical masterpieces of the twentieth century – Tractatus Logico-philosophicus (1921) and the posthumous Philosophical Investigations (1953) – both of which are considered to have transformed the course of philosophy.

After graduating in Berlin and developing a keen interest in the emerging science of aeronautics, Wittgenstein enrolled at the University of Manchester to pursue his studies. In 1908, he registered as a research student in the department of engineering and became fascinated by the theories behind the foundations of mathematics. Wittgenstein continued his research at Manchester until 1911, working on the patented design of a jet-reaction propeller, but, significantly, it was here that his obsession with the fundamental problems of logic was ignited. He travelled to Cambridge at the end of 1911 and introduced himself to Bertrand Russell, a prominent British philosopher, who influenced and guided Wittgenstein to such an extent that within six months he was enrolled at Cambridge.

World War One

In the summer of 1914 Wittgenstein returned to visit family in Vienna. During his visit Austria declared war on Serbia. Despite not being liable for military service due to health issues, he volunteered and was assigned to an artillery regiment in Cracow. He actively participated in the Galician campaign in 1914 and was then called to the Russian front in 1916. Wittgenstein seemed to approach World War One as a personal test, being of the belief that he would only discover his full worth by facing death. Therefore, during the war he endeavoured to reach the front line in pursuit of maximum danger, typically volunteering for service at the artillery observation post at night when his life would be a the greatest risk.

During the war, Wittgenstein continued his philosophical thinking but his work appeared to progress from logical considerations to reflections on ethics, death and the meaning of life. After being decorated for bravery following the intense fighting of the Austrian retreat in the summer of 1916, Wittgenstein was sent for an officers training course. He returned to the Russian front as an officer in January 1917 before being transferred to Italy in 1918. During a period of leave in the summer, he completed the manuscript of Tractatus Logico-philosophicus, but was then promptly captured by the Italians upon his return to military action. It was during this stay in an Italian prisoner of war camp that Wittgenstein managed to contact his former colleagues and distribute manuscripts of his book. After the war ended, the publication of Tractatus in 1921 marked a decisive break with previous philosophical work on the nature of logic, inspiring the Cambridge School of analysis for the inter-war period and the logical positivism of the Vienna circle.


Wittgenstein continued to research and lecture at Cambridge for a number of years where his classes became legendary among philosophical thinkers. On 29 April 1951, Wittgenstein passed away from prostate cancer. His second ground-breaking publication, Philosophical Investigations, was subsequently passed posthumously in 1953 and was immediately hailed by leading philosophers as the work of a genius. Another fifteen volumes of his writing have been published as well as numerous collections of his lecture notes and conversations in the years after his passing. Wittgenstein’s influence on the development of philosophy is therefore virtually unprecedented for the quarter of a century after his death, with almost every branch of philosophy being profoundly affected by his revolutionary thoughts.

Sir James Chadwick

James Chadwick was a student at the University of Manchester before World War One and became a member of staff afterwards. During the War he was interned in a German camp where he formed scientific collaborations that would continue to be important throughout his working life. Born in Manchester to a working-class family in 1891, Chadwick made remarkable scientific discoveries throughout his life. Living through both world wars, Chadwick was both impacted by, and had a significant impact on, the course of World War I and World War II respectively.

Earlier years at Manchester

At just sixteen years of age James Chadwick won a scholarship to study physics at Manchester University where he quickly became captivated by the work of Ernest Rutherford and soon began working together on a number of radioactivity studies. Before long, Chadwick had been awarded a further scholarship to travel to Germany and study with Hans Geiger, learning German and meeting many other eminent physicists, including Albert Einstein, in the process.

World War One

Upon the outbreak of World War One, Chadwick’s work in Germany ceased abruptly as he was imprisoned in the Ruhleben internment camp, situated just outside of Berlin, for the duration of the war. Conditions were difficult and the food was appalling, but this did not inhibit Chadwick’s scientific endeavours. To prevent boredom, Chadwick and a number of his fellow prisoners established various societies including a science circle of which Chadwick was the secretary. Members of this scientific group gave lectures to one another and even managed to set up a rudimentary laboratory with the cooperation of some of the guards.

Even though many chemicals were hard to acquire, Chadwick located a type of radioactive toothpaste that was on the market in Germany at the time, which he convinced the camp guards to supply. Using this radioactive material and other resources he could find in the camp, Chadwick and his fellow internees managed to build an electroscope in order to carry out simple experiments. It is in this internment camp that Chadwick met Charles Ellis who became attracted to physics through Chadwick’s scientific endeavours in the camp and continued to become his long-term colleague. After the war, they worked together and in collaboration with Rutherford, published a classic monograph entitled ‘Radiations and Radioactive Substances’ in 1930. A lasting and remarkable professional relationship had been forged in the unlikely circumstances of war.

Post-war scientific discoveries

Upon returning to England after the war, Rutherford immediately offered Chadwick a part-time teaching job at the University of Manchester and it is here that he started using an alpha-particle scattering technique to make the first direct measurements of the charge of atomic nuclei.

Eventually, after many experiments, Chadwick published his full paper ‘The Existence of a Neutron’ in the Proceedings of the Royal Society in 1932 and was subsequently awarded the Nobel Prize in 1935 for his discovery. He went on to further investigate and advise international governments on the production of atomic weapons after the commencement of World War Two.

James Chadwick received a knighthood for his work on 1 January 1945 and further international honours from countries all over the world. He was known as a humble man who found public speaking difficult, but his staff and students always referenced his kindness and sense of overriding concern for his duty. He died in his sleep on 24 July 1974.


Private Pearce, the lab assistant

After my father left Manchester Grammar School in 1911, he was articled to an insurance company to be trained in the insurance business. When World War One started he, like many men, volunteered to join the Infantry and was accepted, subject to a medical examination. However, he failed the Medical because of poor eyesight and was not accepted.

He was so disappointed that he asked if there was any other unit of the army which he could join. It was suggested that he tried the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC), which he did and was accepted as grade C, which meant he could only serve in this country. He therefore became a private in the RAMC and was a stretcher bearer, meeting the wounded and taking them to the military hospitals. Soon after the War Office was concerned that, although the wounds of seriously injured soldiers appeared to be healing very nicely, they would then become septic and create worse problems than the original injury. They therefore asked the professor of pathology, at the University of Manchester, if he could increase the amount of research to discover the reason, and find a solution.

The professor replied was that he could, but only if he had enough lab assistants. But by then most of his lab assistants had been conscripted into the Navy, Army or Air Force. The War Office said that they could post some RAMC privates to the University if the professor could train them to be lab assistants. My father, (Private Raymond Maplesden Pearce) was posted to The University of Manchester. He spent the rest of the War as a lab assistant at the Manchester Medical School. When the war was over and he was about to be demobilised, the professor asked him what he was going to do. Since my father was not interested in returning to the insurance business, the professor of physiology said, “Why don’t you apply to the University Medical Faculty to take a medical degree and if you do I can give you a very good recommendation.”

That is how my father became a doctor. After he qualified in 1925, he became an assistant to a country GP in Halifax and in 1930 he returned to Manchester and set up his own GP practice at No. 2 Denmark Road. In 1934 he took on a partner who took over the surgery at Denmark Road and he moved to Altrincham Road, Wythenshawe.  Most of his patients were from the slums of Hulme and in the 1930’s and after World War Two, many of his patients were being re-housed in Wythenshawe. In the late 1940’s, his partner from Denmark Road moved into the first GP Medical Centre to be opened in Manchester. Eventually the house in Denmark Road was demolished and replaced by student accommodation.

Postscript from the University Archive: Dr Raymond Maplesden Pearce TD MB ChB (Manch) 1925, was an assistant in the Department of Bacteriology & Preventive Medicine and worked under Professor of Pathology, Henry Dean and Professor of Bacteriology, Topley. Pearce published papers in the British Medical Journal around 1929 on the use of the drug ‘SUP 36’ to treat infections. He also wrote two novels: Doctor Allen GP in 1930 & Deplorable Doctors 1965.