December 11. Sir William Whitla, medical titan and generous benefactor. Roll of Honour

Today’s Roll is a reminder that a country’s response to war is the sum total of the contributions of individuals. Rebecca McCabe served as a WREN in Belfast in WW2. In 1941 Ian McCready and Norman Mitchell from Lurgan were serving in HMS Lady Shirley, a trawler converted for mine-sweeping and anti-submarine attack. On the same day Tom Lennox from Castledawson died in Egypt serving with the Derry Gunners. Veterans today include Ernie Moses who served in the RAF and Royal Signals and post-war built a reputation as a pig breeder who showed stock at Balmoral. Today is the anniversary of the most significant figure in Ulster medicine of any era, Sir William Whitla. Not only did he serve as a war surgeon, as Pro-Chancellor of Queen’s he represented the University in Parliament from 1918 to 1922. He and his wife endowed several of the most significant buildings in Belfast and at the university.

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