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illustration of a military medical tent

Friends of Millbank tackling military medicine

Written by Jason Grant
Published date 11 June 2020

This is truly unprecedent times and Covid-19 will be remembered as one of the most significant events of our history. It has changed the way we live and work forever.

There are thousands of frontline staff, particularly key workers, who have put the lives of others above their own. These unsung heroes who are working selflessly to ensure we’re safe, they treat patients and that a vaccine is developed.

These unsung heroes are nothing new and if we look through history we’ll see countless examples of selfless sacrifices. In fact, it’s during these times of uncertainly that we reflect on the past as a source of inspiration and encouragement.

The Friends of Millbank recently published a story about Major Howard Graeme Gibson who is a shining example of selfless efforts from the past. Born in 1883 Major Gibson studied medicine at Guy’s Hospital and appointed Lieutenant in the Royal Army Medical Corps. He studied here at the Chelsea building as it was the Royal Army Medical College in the past.

That very building is today known as the UAL Chelsea site where students are able to study and create amazing art.

During the outbreak of the influenza epidemic in 1918 Major Gibson was appointed head of a research team in the epidemic. Together with his colleagues he succeeded in proving that influenza was due to a filterable virus.

Major Gibson paid the ultimate price for his dedication and died in 1919 after contracting influenza himself. However, if it wasn’t for this selfless and dedicated work a vaccine was develop and countless lives saved.

It’s stories like these that offer us hope and inspiration during these unprecedented times.

'I am delighted to inform you, if you are not already aware, that several serving members of Friends of Millbank (both regulars and reservists) have been heavily involved in setting up the NHS Nightingale Hospital London to combat COVID-19.

Visit the Friends of Millbank site for to read more about Major Howard Graeme Gibson.

illustration of a military medical tent
Image courtesy of Friends of Millbank