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Derrick Henry Randall

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: (Published 13 April 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h1958
  1. Winston Leigh

Derrick Henry Randall was born in Luton, the second son of Joseph and Rose Randall. His elder brother, Frederick James (“Jim”) was killed in action during the Fall of Singapore in 1942. Derrick won a scholarship to Ashton Grammar School in Dunstable and, on leaving, decided to study medicine. He started his preclinical studies at King’s College London in September 1938 and his clinical training at Westminster Hospital in September 1940, and was evacuated for part of this time to Glasgow. By taking and passing the conjoint examination, rather than waiting for his university degree, he was able to qualify six months early, in April 1943.

Once qualified, he was called up for the army and in November 1943 was awarded his commission with the Black Watch, later transferring to the 1st Airlanding Anti-Tank Battery as regimental medical officer.

After preparing for numerous operations, which were aborted at the last minute, he first saw action in “Operation Market Garden,” when he was airlifted into Arnhem, hitching a lift on a jeep loaded in a Horsa glider. He ended up, at the age of just 23, running a divisional HQ regimental aid post in the basement of the Hartenstein Hotel in Oosterbeek from the beginning to the end of the battle. …

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