Lady Doctors
Of the Malta Garrison
Dorothy Christian Hare
1876 –1967

No 4 Dorothy Christian Hare

CBE (1919) MB BS (Lond 1905) MD (Lond 1908) DPH (Camb 1912) MRCP (1920) FRCP (1936)

14 Sep 1876 [Bath Somerset] – 19 Nov 1967

In May 1916, Dr Louisa Aldrich-Blake, Surgeon at the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital and Dean of the London School of Medicine for Women, approached all the women on the Medical Register asking them to say if they would be willing to serve with the Royal Army Medical Corps. From the replies received, 48 lady doctors were enrolled. The first 22 medical women embarked for Malta on 2 August 1916; another 16 lady doctors embarked on the Hospital Ship (H.S.) Gloucester Castle on 12 August 1916.

The Director General Army Medical Services, Sir Alfred Keogh, was responsible for employing medical women and for dealing with illnesses among them. Women doctors, also referred to as lady doctors, were classed as civilian surgeons attached to the RAMC. Women serving as full time doctors in the Army and doing precisely the same work as their male colleagues had neither military rank nor status, but received the same pay, rations, travelling allowances and gratuity as temporary commissioned male officers of the Royal Army Medical Corps. A uniform was not introduced until after April 1918. This was similar in appearance to that worn by the Queen Mary's Auxiliary Army Corps (QMAAC) but with an RAMC badge on both lapels.

In October 1916, on hearing from the War Office that fifty more medical women were needed for service with the RAMC in English hospitals, Aldrich-Blake again negotiated with all the women who had qualified in the preceding ten years, and secured the requisite number in a very short time. On 20 October 1916, eleven medical women embarked on H.S. Britannic for Malta.

The casualties from operations in Gallipoli (25 April 1915 – 9 January 1916), and Salonica (October 1915 – 30 September 1918), were initially treated in Malta and Egypt, but in 1917, submarine attacks on hospital ships made it unsafe to evacuate from Salonica and five General Hospitals, Nos 61, 62, 63, 64 and 65, mobilized in Malta for service in Salonica to which the medical women were attached.

Between August 1916 and July 1917, eighty two lady doctors served in war hospitals in Malta. They worked alongside their RAMC colleagues and carried out all but administrative duties. Their assistance was very highly appreciated. Their work was recognized in the King's Birthday Honours list of June 1918 when Dr Barbara Martin Cunningham MB ChB, Military Hospital Mtarfa, Mrs Katharine Rosebery Drinkwater MB BS, in charge of Military Families Staff and Department Malta and Miss May Thorne MD, in charge of Sisters' Hospital and Staff Department Malta, were awarded the Order of the British Empire for services rendered during the war.

Service Record

Dr Dorothy Christian Hare was the daughter of Deputy Inspector General of Hospitals Edward Hare, Indian Medical Service. She was educated at Cheltenham Ladies' College and the London School of Medicine for Women (LSMW), graduating MB, BS in 1905 and proceeding MD three years later.

After qualification she was Assistant House Surgeon New Hospital for Women London, House Physician at the Royal Free Hospital and the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital, Assistant Clinical Pathologist Royal Free Hospital, and an Assistant Pathologist Addenbrooke's Hospital Cambridge. She entered General Practice at Cambridge in 1910, and in 1912 she took the DPH.

1905 – 1906 House Physician Royal Free Hospital.

1906 – 1916 Entered General Practice in Cambridge. The Medical Directory of 1917 lists her address as 2 Gonville Place, Cambridge.

11 March 1916 Published an account with commentary of a case of splenectomy in Addenbrooke's hospital Cambridge under the care of Sir Clifford Allbutt KCB FRS, Dr L. Humphry MD FRCP, Dr F. Deighton MB MRCS and Dr Dorothy C. Hare MD BS (Lond).

July 1916 Dr Dorothy C. Hare was in the first group of women doctors to join the RAMC. She was contracted to work for 12 months as a Civilian Surgeon attached to the RAMC. Her salary was 24 shillings a day, including allowances, but excluding duty transport. A gratuity of £60 was awarded at the end of the contract, provided employment had not been terminated for misconduct. The majority of the medical women were invited to renew their contracts at the expiry of their first year's work.

2 Aug 1916 Embarked for Malta as part of the Women's Medical Unit RAMC.

30 Jan 1917 Attended the funeral of Dr Isobel Addy Tate.

27 May 1917 On duty at St George's Hospital Malta.
Dr Dorothy C. Hare served in the war hospitals in Malta until 6 February 1918.

6 Feb 1918 Returned to England, and renewed her contract for another six months.

1918 – 1919 Dr Dorothy C. Hare was appointed Assistant Director (Medical) of the Women's Royal Naval Service (WRNS). She became concerned for the plight of patients who acquired venereal disease, and during the next few years founded two hostels, with her friend Berenice d'Avigdor, which catered for pregnant and non-pregnant girls.

May 1919 Appointed a Commander (Military Division) in the Order of the British Empire, in recognition of her valuable services in connection with the war.

4 Nov 1919 A meeting of the London Association of the Medical Women's Federation, held at 11 Chandos Street London, discussed the Medical work in the Mediterranean area during the Great War. Several lady doctors, who had been attached to the RAMC gave an account of some of their experiences. Dr D. C. Hare reported on cases of paratyphoid fever occurring in Malta in the later months of 1916. The cases were all of mild uncomplicated character, and the chief interest lay in the diagnosis. The difficulty of basing a diagnosis on agglutination tests alone in inoculated patients was emphasised.

1920 Sat for her MRCP examination.

1921 Appointed a Medical Registrar at the Royal Free Hospital.

1925 With the aid of a research grant had been engaged at the Royal Free Hospital in the clinical investigation of the cardiovascular conditions of women during normal pregnancy. She published a paper on certain cardiovascular conditions in the pregnancy of normal women, including the response to efficiency tests, in the British Medical Journal of 7 November 1925, p. 841.

1929 Appointed to the staff of the Royal Free and Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospitals, eventually becoming a consultant physician.

1930 Co-secretary and latter president of the University of London Medical Graduates Society. The society was founded in 1928 by members of the Medical Faculty of the University of London. Its objects were (a) to bring medical graduates of the University of London into closer relationship with their University and with one another; (b) to keep in touch with over-sea medical graduates of the University; (c) to promote the interests of the University and its medical graduates. Members met three or four times a year at dinners or afternoon gatherings.

1933 Author of Simple Instructions for Diabetic Patients for the use of patients, nurses, and practitioners. A second addition was printed in 1935.

1936 Was the third woman to be elected Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, following the paediatrician Helen Mackay, and Hazel Chodak-Gregory.

10 Mar 1936 At a meeting of the Section of Therapeutics and Pharmacology of the Royal Society of Medicine, the president, Dr Dorothy C. Hare, chaired a discussion on the treatment of Addison's disease with salt.

13 Oct 1936 In her presidential address to the Section of Therapeutics and Pharmacology, Dr Dorothy C. Hare described a clinical trial of the effect of a raw fruit and vegetable diet in chronic rheumatic conditions.

3 Dec 1936 The annual dinner of the London (Royal Free Hospital) School of Medicine for Women was held at the Savoy Hotel, under the presidency of Dr Dorothy Hare FRCP, physician to the hospital. In recalling the outstanding events of the year, she said that the determination to keep the hospital in the forefront as regards its buildings, medical service, and equipment, though difficult to reconcile with the finances of the hospital at the moment, had led to a decision to erect a new isolation block for medical and surgical cases, and to complete the provision of obstetric isolation beds. The dean of the school had had a heavy task in stemming the flow of candidates for admission. The school had benefited by an endowment of £12,000, whereby there had been established a lectureship in clinical medicine. The interests of the hospital and the school were inseparable, and the more closely they could be identified the better.

1937 Retired. Settled in Falmouth with her life-long friend Elizabeth Herdman Lepper who was also a distinguished physician.

19 Nov 1967 Died, aged 91 years.