Thursday, 1 November 2012


As it's now November the nation's minds begin to turn towards those who gave their lives in service of their country. Many British servicemen have made the ultimate sacrifice for my country over the years. Please bear with me, I do have a point. 
In nineteen seventeen Frederick Banting graduated from his medical school in Toronto. As many will know, the First World War was raging at this time. Banting was immediately called up to serve his country, Canada, who made a massive contribution as part of the Commonwealth Forces.
As a young medical officer Banting saw and dealt with the horrific realities of war. Something that my generation will not have to deal with on a similar scale. For heroic actions despite being wounded himself Captain Frederick Banting was awarded the Military Cross for his bravery. Here's the citation which gives the details of his heroism:

Military Cross - Deed of Action
Captain Frederick Grant Banting
13th Field Ambulance, Canadian Army Medical Corps.
Near Haynecourt on September 28th, 1918, when the medical officer of the 46th Canadian Battalion was wounded, he immediately proceeded forward through intense shell fire to reach the battalion. Several of his men were wounded and he, neglecting his own safety, stopped to attend to them. While doing this he was wounded himself and was sent out notwithstanding his plea to be left at the front. His energy and pluck were of a very high order.
Canada Gazette, Vol. 53, Part I, 1919: July-September. Supplement, p. 13
Now to many people who live with type one diabetes such as myself, Frederick Banting is a hero for his life saving discoveries. Please remember that there is always another side to a person. Here is Banting's relatively unknown heroism.
 Lest we forget.



In Flanders fields the poppies blow
      Between the crosses, row on row,
   That mark our place; and in the sky
   The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
   Loved and were loved, and now we lie
         In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
   The torch; be yours to hold it high.
   If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
         In Flanders fields.
 John McCrae 1872 - 1918  

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting story, thank you for posting this Tom.

    To win a Miltary Cross and a Nobel Prize by the age of 32 is quite an achievement, and you can't count the number of lives he has saved through his work.