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Ross in Alexandria, 1915

Sir Ronald Ross & Hygiene at the Regina Hotel, Alexandria

Ross in Alexandria, 1915

Ross in Alexandria, 1915

By Elizabeth Shuck Between July and November 1915, during the hostilities of the First World War, Sir Ronald Ross was dispatched to Alexandria, Egypt by the War Office. Ross, the first British winner of the Nobel Prize in 1902, was there to investigate an outbreak of dysentery among troops stationed in the Dardanelles region, a narrow strait North West Turkey. It would seem, however, that conditions at his hotel, the Regina, did not always meet Ross' expectations. Ross' diary from October 1915 shows that he was disturbed repeatedly at night by work carried out on an open drain just outside of his window. Ross was so concerned by these activities that he took the measure of planting culture plates on the window sill in order to look for harmful microorganism. Apparently, the activities not only kept him awake, but also, so he believed, caused him to, 'be made ill of it' as he complained  in a letter to the manager of the hotel on the 8th of October 1915. Ross was so perturbed by these works that he also felt it necessary to write to the Major General who was commanding troops in Alexandria about the incident. In his letter of complaint to the General he argues that he, 'demonstrated dangerous germs in the air!'Perhaps Ross was correct in this assumption, according to the results of Ross' window sill culture plates B.Coli, a parasitic species that causes the intestinal disease balantidiasis, and 'a large number of molds', was found to be present. Fortunately, Ross did not succumb to serious illness and was able to leave Alexandria after four months when the outbreak of dysentery ceased.
Bill for Sir Ross from the Regina Hotel, Alexandria, 1915

Bill for Sir Ross from the Regina Hotel, Alexandria, 1915

  In the Archives there is a large collection of material on Ross’ work in Alexandria including photographs of the 21 General Hospital in Alexandria where Ross worked, garrison orders warning troops not to clean cutlery with unsterilized sand, nominal roll of admissions for dysentery for Number 17 General Hospital, post mortems on cases showing dysenteric ulcerationof colon at 21 General Hospital by George Bertram Bartlett and charts showing incidence of bowel complaints in the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force by David Thomson. For further information, please contact the Archives Service at archives@lshtm.ac.uk Read more

Explore your Archive: The Great War Bake Off 2015

Could you bake a Second World War Vinegar Cake, some Anzac Biscuits, a 1916 Gingerbread Sponge, or even a First World War Trench Cake?

Yes? Well now is your chance to show off your baking skills in LSHTM Archive’s Great War Bake-Off. As part of Explore Your Archive…

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Professor Major Greenwood

World Statistics Day 2015

Today marks the Royal Statistical Society (RSS) second World Statistics Day. In recognition of this, the Archives have looked on the life of Major Greenwood, an epidemiologist, statistician, former president of RSS, and professor of Epidemiology and Vital Statistics at LSHTM.

Major Greenwood was born in 1880 and was the…

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Sir Ronald Ross and the Suffrage Campaign

By Emma Fullerton-Frost

On the 18th March 1920, Sir Ronald Ross delivered a speech at the annual meeting of the British Women’s Patriotic League. He begins the speech by stating that whilst the First World War was in progress a revolution occurred, bringing the entry of women into…

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49th Session Oct-Dec 1915

Class of 1915

For all the new students this year, we thought it would be a great opportunity to meet the students from 100 years ago. In 1915, the School ran three sessions during the year; the 49th session began in October 1915 and ran to December. 9 students attended, made up entirely…

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Ross in Alexandria

In July 1915, Sir Ronald Ross was appointed Consulting Physician on Tropical Diseases and was sent to Alexandria in Egypt for four months to research disease among the troops in the Dardanelles. In his report at the end of his service, he states that on visiting seven large hospitals in…

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Sir Ronald Ross and the Hospitals for Indian Troops in England

In December 1914, Sir Ronald Ross, discoverer of the mosquito transmission of malaria, was appointed as the Consulting Physician in Tropical Diseases to the Hospitals for Indian Troops in England at a salary of £500 a year. This involved regularly visiting hospitals in Brighton, Bournemouth, Brockenhurst and Netley to treat…

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Dr H McCormick Hanschell

In June 1915, the minutes of the London School of Tropical Medicine show that Dr H McCormick Hanschell was called up for service in the Navy and then embarked on a very interesting mission in East Africa.
Hanschell was born in Barbados and received his primary education in Bridgetown. He…

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Sir Ronald Ross and the Gallipoli Campaign

Researched and written by Ian Walden, Archive volunteer.

As we commemorate the centenary of the Gallipoli campaign, the School’s archives remind us that in warfare, the doctor’s struggle to understand and combat disease is as significant as the general’s strategy and the soldier’s courage.

The campaign…

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1915 Bilharzia Expedition

In February 1915, three members of School Staff: Robert Leiper, Reginald Cockin and John Gordon Thomson, set off for Egypt to study bilharzia among the troops at the request of the War Office. Leiper, a helminthologist, led the expedition and had experience of studying this disease before the war. In…

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