Major Howard Graeme Gibson MRCS (Eng) LRCP (Lond 1907)
20 May 1883 [Kidbrook Kent] – 12 Feb 1919 [France]
Major Howard Graeme Gibson was the only son of Mr Arthur Stanley and Mary Gibson of Newtown Isle of Wight. He was educated at Felsted School where he won Lord Rayleigh's prize for science. He graduated from Guy's Hospital, where he was in the Rugby XV, and took the diplomas of MRCS and LRCP (London) in 1907.
He was commissioned Lieutenant in the Royal Army Medical Corps on 28 January 1907. He came 6th, with 548 marks, in the examination held in London on 24 January 1907 for commissions in the Royal Army Medical Corps. Seventy eight candidates competed but only 30 were accepted. The highest score of 612 was that of Dr Winfrid Kelsey Beaman; the lowest score of 479, was that of Dr Francis Casement.
Major Howard Graeme Gibson specialised in pathology and bacteriology. On the outbreak of the Great War, he mobilized with the 12th Royal Lancers and deployed to France with the British Expeditionary Force in August 1914. He was seriously injured at the First Battle of Ypres when he sustained a concussion of the spine from the bursting of a high explosive shell. He was returned to England. On recovering from his injuries he was posted to the Vaccine Department of the Royal Army Medical College Millbank for two years, where he developed his anti-dysenteric sero-vaccine.
In November 1917, he was declared fit for service and joined Colonel William Leishman in France as Assistant Adviser in Pathology at headquarters. He investigated the effects of the typhoid-paratyphoid A and B inoculation and the use of antitetanic serum. On the outbreak of the influenza epidemic in autumn 1918, Colonel Stevenson Lyle Cummins, who had succeeded Sir W Leishman as Command Advisor in Pathology BEF, appointed him head of a research team in the epidemic. Together with his colleagues Major F B Bowman CAMO, Captain J J Connor AAMC and Major C E Sundell RAMC, he succeeded in transmitting the disease to monkeys and other animals by the inoculation of filtrates of infected material.
Major Howard Graeme Gibson died on 12 February 1919 at No 2 Stationary Hospital, Abbeville from the complications of influenza. He was 35 years old. He was buried at the Abbeville Communal Cemetery Extension. He left a widow and a daughter born in April, 1915.
28 Jan 1907 Appointed Lieutenant RAMC on probation; confirmed in rank in June 1907 and was posted to Eastern Command.
Mar 1908 Change of Station from Woolwich to Kingston upon Thames.
May 1908 Change of Station from Kingston upon Thames to New Cross.
Oct 1908 Change of Station from New Cross to Crown Hill.
4 Nov 1908 Change of Station from Crown Hill to Malta.
29 Dec 1908 Home leave.
3 Jan 1909 Returned from leave. On duty at Valletta Military Hospital.
May 1909 Passed his examination in technical subjects for promotion of Majors of the Royal Army Medical Corps.
1909 Volunteered to show that the sand-fly, which had eight days previously fed on a patient during the first day of his illness, transmitted sand-fly fever. A week after being bitten Gibson was seized with vomiting, severe pains in his head, back and limbs, and pyrexia, which continued for three days.2
Captain of the RAMC hockey team.
19 Jan 1910 Home leave.
17 Feb 1910 Returned from leave. On duty at Valletta.
28 July 1910 Promoted Captain RAMC.
1911 Officer in charge Station Hospital Valletta.
In June 1911, he married Ethel Beatrice, elder daughter of Brigadier General Winter CB CMG.3
26 Mar 1911 Home leave.
24 June 1911 Returned from leave.
29 Sep 1912 Left for the Irish Command by exchange.
Oct 1912 Change of Station from Malta to Irish Command.
Nov 1912 Change of Station from Irish Command to Queenstown.
Oct 1913 Change of Station from Spike Island Queenstown to Royal Army Medical College.
Spring 1914 Attended the Specialist class in Bacteriology at the promotion course at the Royal Army Medical College Millbank. At the end of the course Gibson obtained the highest marks in the specialist examination and, by his success in other subjects, as well as bacteriology, succeeded in qualifying for a year's acceleration of promotion.
17 Aug 1914 Mobilized with the 12th Royal Lancers. Was present at the Battle of the Marne and Aisne, and later, when the British Expeditionary Force was rapidly and secretly moved north tho defend the Channel Ports.
30 Oct 1914 Injured at the First Battle of Ypres. Suffered a concussion of the spine from the bursting of a high explosive shell. He was returned to England. On recovering from his injuries was posted to the Vaccine Department of the Royal Army Medical College Millbank for two years, where he developed his anti-dysenteric sero-vaccine.
Nov 1917–1919 Joined Sir William Leishman as Assistant Advisor in Pathology GHQ France.
1 Jan 1918 Promoted Brevet Major RAMC.
28 Jan 1919 Promoted Major RAMC. Assistant Advisor in Pathology GHQ France.
12 Feb 1919 Contracted influenza while part of a research team in the autumn epidemic of influenza. Died at No 2 Stationary Hospital, Abbeville France, aged 35 years.
- Entry No: 558. Drew R. 1968. Commissioned Officers in the Medical Services of the British Army 1690–1960. Vol. II. Roll of Officers in the Royal Army Medical Corps 1898–1960, London: Wellcome Historical Medical Library.
- Succession Books Vol XXIII, Returns of statement of service of RAMC Officers.
- Sandfly fever, Br Med J (1910); 1:877 (Published 24 September 1910).
- The owl midge and Mediterranean three-day fever. Br Med J (1909); 2:101 (Published 10 July 1909).
- G. G. H., The etiology of influenza Br Med J (1909); 2:101 (Published 22 March 1909).
- Obituary, Br Med J (1919); 1:331 (Published 8 March 1919).
- Obituary. J R Army Med Corps xxxii (1919); Corps News March 1919 page 77 (March 1919).
- The Times (London, England), Monday, 24 February 1919; pg 16; Issue 42032.
- Vassallo D. In Memoriam – Major H G G victim of pandemic spanish flu. (in website of the Friends of Millbank).