John Hedley Cule

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: (Published 10 June 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h3100
  1. John Blair

This doctor’s life is a remarkable one and merits recognition and recording. John Hedley Cule was born in Ton Pentre in the Rhondda Valley. His father, Walter Edwards Cule, was a very successful draper in Ystrad Road, Pentre. John was at school first at the Rhondda Intermediate School for boys, and then at Porth County School, where he was a chorister in the local chapel. His father later sent him to Kingswood School in Bath, a Methodist school founded by John Wesley. Here his headmaster, A Barrett Sackett, kindled his interest in Wesley’s medical work, and it was this which stimulated his interest in history of medicine. In 1938 John went to Trinity Hall at Cambridge University to study medicine. During the London blitz of 1940, he and other students went to London to treat injured people. John recalled those days of fear, as the German bombs fell, and his early experience in seeing seriously injured people of all ages, of running along streets with houses on fire and crumbling after a bomb had done its huge damage. “But we all knew it had to be done, we used to say”—like all British people in those days. These young students did not flinch. They had the benefit of release from the bombing as they went back to the quietness of Cambridge, after their several days of …

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