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Hopkins, Herbert Leslie

Hopkins, Herbert Leslie, Lieut., R.A.M.C. entered Guy's October 1905, taking the Open Scholarship in Arts, Junior Efficiency Prize in 1908. Secretary of Guy's Physiological Society. Qualified M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P., and M.B., B.S. in London, 1911. Killed in action October,(sic) 1914.

H.L. Hopkins, who was just 28 years old at the time of his death, entered Guy's in September, 1905, with an Open Scholarship in Arts. He obtained the M.B., B.S (Lond) in October 1911 having also passed the Conjoint and the Primary F.R.C.S. In addition to the curriculum he had filled the positions of Assistant Demonstrator in Anatomy and Physiology, Pathological Assistant to the Surgical Registrar, and had dresserships in all the special departments. On qualifying, he determined not to go for the House appointments which would have fallen his way, but became House Physician at Derby Infirmary. He filled this position for twelve months, during which time he came into contact with several old Guy's men. He then determined that Public Health was his sphere of action, and spent six months at the City of London Chest Hospital.

In August, 1913, he became Assistant M.O.H. and Assistant Inspector of children to West Suffolk, and Clinical Tuberculosis Officer to the West Suffolk Insurance Committee. He was prevented from sitting for his D.P.H. Oxon. In May, 1914, but successfully obtained the M.D. Lond (in State Medicine) in July 1914.

There must be many Guy’s men who have a kindly recollection of Herbert Leslie Hopkins, who was killed “somewhere in France” on September 19th. With a view of bringing up to the time of his death the life history of one of the best of “Guy’s men,” the writer, who was privileged to become one of his intimate friends, has compiled these few notes of a career that promised so much.

A few days later, on the outbreak of war, he obtained a temporary commission in the R.A.M.C., and was at once appointed Sanitary Officer to Devonport Barracks. A few days later he was despatched to the front as Sanitary Officer to No.11 Base Hospital, in which position his friends did not feel any great anxiety about him. Since his death the writer's family have received a letter in which he states that he has been attached to the 1st Devon Regiment. Further details are at present impossible to gather. 

Lieut. Hopkins was an indefatigable worker, with a large amount of business sense. His clinical knowledge was remarkable, and he was at the same time a good surgeon. His record in the public health service seemed to point to a highly distinguished career in the future.
A man of sterling worth, he achieved a solid popularity with those who met him, and he will be mourned by those who knew him in West Suffolk as sincerely as by his older friends.
Guy’s Hospital Gazette, 10 Oct., 1914



First name(s)Herbert Leslie
Date of birth1887
Place of birthSouth Hackney, London
Family detailsSon of Alfred Richard Hopkins and Emma Hopkins. 39 Darnley Road, Hackney (1905)
Previous educationOwen's School
CollegeGuy's Hospital
Dates at college1905-1911
Dept / coursePrelim. Scientific M.B.
QualificationsM.R.C.S., L.R.C.P; M.B., B.S. Lond, 1911; M.D. Lond. 1914
Military unitR.A.M.C.
Date enlistedAugust 1914
War / conflictWorld War One (1914-1918)
Decorations / medalsMentioned in despatches
Date of death19 September 1914
Age at death27
Rank at deathLieutenant
Cause of deathKilled in action
Burial placeVailly British Cemetery, Aisne, France
Commemoration(s)Guy's Hospital Memorial

Mrs Hopkins, mother of the late Lieutenant Hopkins, has received the following letter from an officer of the Devonshire Regiment. Lieutenant Hopkins was Assistant Medical Officer of Health for West Suffolk, and had recently passed his examination for the M.D. of the University of London in State Medicine, being the only successful candidate. He obtained leave from the County Council, left his appointment on August 15, and was killed on September 19, his name being mentioned in Sir John French’s dispatches:- 

“We were entrenched on the hills just north of the Aisne at a place called Vailly, and had been under a steady shell fire for a week continuously. Your son behaved with most extraordinary courage and bravery, as our men were being hit every minute, and he did everything in his power to bandage their wounds and relieve their pain, all the time under the heaviest of shrapnel fire.

On September 19 one of the enemy’s shells pitched just behind a small trench, completely burying one man and smothering him; your son immediately dashed to the place and did all he could to bring the man round to life, when the unlucky shell came that killed him instantaneously. He was buried that night in a small copse by the river, close to the village, with another of my brother officers.

I may add that during his short stay with us your son became most popular both with the officers and men, as he was always doing what he could for us all, and his death was a great grief to us all. I most sincerely hope that the knowledge that he died in such a really heroic manner may in some way compensate you for your great loss, which I can assure you you share with all the officers and men of my regiment who knew your son.” Reprinted from The Times, Tuesday, November 17th, 1914. 


SourcesGuy's Hospital Medical School Records, King's College London Archives; Commonwealth War Graves Commission; Soldiers Died in the Great War

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