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The First World War and LSHTM

Sunday is Armistice Day, a day where we remember those who fought and died in the First World War. Many of the staff and students of the School joined the war effort and to commemorate their efforts, the Library & Archives Service have selected four members of staff and outlined…

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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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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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Anzac Biscuits

In preparation for the Great War Bake Off, I have made Anzac Biscuits. These biscuits were popular with the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC). It was said that wives and girlfriends sent these cookies to their husbands and boyfriends as the ingredients didn’t spoil and would therefore…

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