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Reckitt, Charles Edward

Reckitt, Charles Edward, Surg., R.N.  who died on January 29th as the result of illness contracted on active service, was 30 years of age, and the elder son of Lieut.-Col. J. D. T. Reckitt, R.A.M.C. He was educated at Bedford Grammar School and Berkhamstead School, entering Guy’s Hospital in October, 1905.  He qualified in 1913, was Assistant House-Surgeon at Guy’s and subsequently he had the post of Opthalmic House Surgeon at the Hull Royal Infirmary. 

He joined the Navy in April, 1915, and was Senior Medical Officer on H.M.S. Shannon. In December, 1916, he developed cellulitis of the forehead. After several operations, osteomyelitis of the frontal bone was followed by a subdural abscess, of which he died in Haslar Hospital. 

He was a well known and popular figure at the Hospital for many years, and we cannot do better than quote an appreciation of him sent by one who was for six months his House-Surgeon when Reckitt was dresser to Mr. Philip Turner and Sir Alfred Fripp. He writes as follows:-
“I first came across him in the Swimming Bath where I was struck by his neat, well-knit figure and his good diving, which won so many prizes at the Guy’s water sports. Later on he was a dresser to Mr. Philip Turner, when I was his A. H.-S., afterwards on Sir Alfred Fripp’s firm when I was H.-S, To all of us he was always “Charles” no surname seemed to be necessary, for he was the life and soul of any firm he was on. Quick and alert, merry and jovial through the longest night’s work of a heavy “take-in,” he seemed tireless and full of energy in the small hours when no one is supposed to be a hero.
His alacrity to carry out orders, without delay or question, showed clearly the discipline that becomes second nature to a soldier’s son.

With his patients he was painstaking and careful, but he added to his treatment a kindly word and a most infectious smile that will make him remembered for many a day amongst both Out- and In-Patients at Guy’s. A large basket of fish from Southend used to come regularly from a fisherman as a small recognition of “Mr. Rickittses kindness” when he was a patient in Job.

The bibulous bellicose Boroughite on Saturday night in the “Front” who defied alike the O.P.O., and the A.H.S., and the other dressers, became calm and reasonable under Charles’s jocund austerity; for Charles had an absolute fearlessness combined with tact that made the most hardened ruffian realise that he had someone to reckon with who was a sportsman to the finger tips.

How they must have loved him in the navy. I am certain that many a grateful bluejacket would have been proud to have had the chance of carrying him to his last resting place.

A heavy toll has been levied on Guy’s in this war, and though Charles Reckitt did not die in action, he was yet a son whom Guy’s could ill afford to lose. May he rest in peace, for “to live in the hearts of those we love is not to die.” Hospital Reports Vol.LXX, War Memorial Number and Guy’s Hospital Gazette 24 Feb., 1917


First name(s)Charles Edward
Family detailsSon of Lieut.-Col. J. D. T. Reckitt, R.A.M.C.
Previous educationBedford Grammar School and Berkhamstead School
CollegeGuy's Hospital
Dates at college19 March 1905-1913
Dept / coursePrelim. Science and Conjoint
Military unitRoyal Navy, H.M.S. Victory
War / conflictWorld War One (1914-1918)
Date of death20 January 1917
Rank at deathSurgeon
Cause of deathIllness contracted on active service
Burial placeEast Sheen 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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