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Special Operations: Plastic Surgery and Disguise in WW2

Event date
26 October 2018 (6.30pm to 8.30pm)
Special Operations: Plastic Surgery and Disguise in WW2
Drawing on recently declassified records in British and American files, this talk illuminates a long-hidden feature of wartime medicine: the deliberate modification of bodies for the purposes of disguise. More specifically, it explores how Britain’s Special Operations Executive employed professional plastic surgeons to alter the appearance of agents assigned to dangerous missions in enemy territory. 

Today, records reveal not only the nature of the work done but also the range of reasons for which surgery was recommended. Whilst illustrating the lengths to which Allied agents were prepared to go in order to ensure their survival and contribute to the Allied war effort, the talk will also discuss the ethics of body modification for the purposes of waging war.

Between 1900 and 2000, Chelsea’s Millbank Buildings housed the Royal Army Medical College. This event is presented by Friends of Millbank, who work with Chelsea College of Arts to keep the history of the Millbank site alive. Talks are free, all welcome.

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