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James Francis Hanratty

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: (Published 10 April 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g2538
  1. Irene J Higginson

As surgeon lieutenant in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, James Francis Hanratty served as the only doctor for six ships escorting convoys between Liverpool and the north Atlantic. He is mentioned in despatches for his calm leadership and medical competence when, on 18 July 1944, his ship was badly damaged in conflict. Among the crew were 46 injured, nine seriously, including executive officers. James, in addition to treating the wounded, took command and, aided by a tug, took the ship back to Portsmouth, where she was declared a total loss.

Before D Day, James, while duty officer on the ship in Falmouth, signed for a parcel. When he opened it, he was stunned to see plans for the D Day invasion, then a closely guarded secret. The parcel had been sent in error. He voluntarily confined himself to the ship, so that he could not inadvertently reveal the secrets.

In 1946 James went into general practice in the village …

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