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Bond, Alexander Beckett

It is with very deep regret that we have to announce in these columns the death of Alexander Bond, who succumbed while a prisoner of war in Germany to wounds received in France.

Alexander Bond was born in London in 1891, he was educated at Lindinform Preparatory School at Blackheath, even at this early stage he distinguished himself in athletics and was captain of sports before he left Bradfield College with an exhibition. Here he not only distinguished himself in the world of games, but also showed great promise in his classical studies. He however, chose medicine as a profession and in 1910 won the Guy's Art's Scholarship. Finding the changes sudden from the world of art to the more rigid school of science that he now turned perhaps to the greater part of his attentions to sport, and showed himself not only an excellent cricketer but a boxer of great natural skill. In 1913 he was selected to play for the hospital 2nd Rugby XV, no mean achievement in those days, as he had not previously followed this code.

During this season he had the misfortune to have been severely concussed on the football field. The injury, originally thought to be slight, kept him away from his work for over a year. On his return to the hospital, although his charming disposition had not altered in the slightest, his capacity for work had been seriously impaired. In spite of this he settled down to work, but after three months is was realised that the mental strain involved was too great, and it was thought that a longer holiday might enable him to return to his studies. Accordingly he set sail for Australia in January 1915. Here with his ready adaptability he acted as Schoolmaster to the Emigrant Boys. He improved in health, and in 1916 was married. One had always discussed in the Club the possible date of his return, but no words can describe the surprise and admiration of his old friends when they found he had returned to England with an Australian contingent in January 1917. He spent but little time here as April 1917, was reported missing. He was a prisoner of war from this time until November 5th he succumbed to an operation for the removal of shrapnel which had been lodged in his femur.

In disposition he was one of the most charming men that one could wish to know, he represented the best type of man produced by the public schools. His interests were many and afforded pleasure not only to himself but to this circle of friends which rapidly gathered around him. The fearlessness, which characterised his play on the football field and in the boxing ring, was in strange contradiction to a lovable shyness which he displayed in the class.

Bond’s character as a man may be well appreciated by the following extract from a letter written to his father by the Chaplain of the troopship in which he sailed to England - His memory and friendship I shall never forget. He assisted me materially at Durban, South Africa, and I owe him a debt of gratitude and he will at all times be in my memory

He was of a most generous disposition, and it was rare to hear him speak ill of anyone, He possessed that power which sees good in the most unworthy of us. One recalls an incident in the Club a few days prior to his departure for Australia where, as a result of a rag, he was considerably hurt owing to the display of temper by one of the participants, one feared some catastrophe was about to take place when Bond, with that cheerful smile which seldom left him, offered an apology instead to the great astonishment of all, as he was certainly not to blame. One could quote other occasions on which the spirit of self-sacrifice helped to maintain the best traditions of the hospital. He combined with his knowledge of the Classics a true appreciation of good music and painting. He was the possessor of a very pleasant voice and although his shyness prevented him from performing at hospital concerts, he overcame this when his more intimate friends visited him at his home.

Another name has been added to Guy's Roll of Honour, and we feel sure that all those who knew him will join us in expressing our deepest sympathy with his family in their great loss. Guy’s Hospital Gazette 21 Sept. 1918

Biographical

Surname(s)Bond
First name(s)Alexander Beckett
Date of birth1891
Place of birthDeptford
Family detailsSon of James William (Doctor of Medicine) and Ella Bond; husband of Mrs. E. J. A. Bond, of Pinjarra Park, W. Australia. In 1910 his parents lived at 57 Pepys Road, New Cross S.E.
Previous educationLindinform Preparatory School, Blackheath; Bradfield College
CollegeGuy's Hospital
Dates at college1 October 1910
Dept / courseLondon M.B.
Military unitAustralian Infantry A.I.F., 16th Bn
Service number6456
War / conflictWorld War One (1914-1918)
Date of death5 November 1917
Age at death26
Rank at deathPrivate
Cause of deathDied from an operation to remove shrapnel in Germany
Burial placeCologne Southern Cemetery
Commemoration(s)Guy's Hospital Memorial
SourcesGuy's Hospital Medical School Records, King's College London Archives; Commonwealth War Graves Commission

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