b.11 August 1917 d.12 May 1991
MBE(1945) MRCS LRCP(1941) MA MB Chir Cantab(1942) DPH(1948) MRCP(1950) FRCPE(1958) FRCP(1975)
‘Sandy' Large was born in Bombay, where his father Brigadier David Large, RAMC, was stationed. After the end of the 1914-18 war he attended preparatory school in Edinburgh and went on to Cheltenham College and Caius College, Cambridge, where he won his half-blue as a miler. His clinical studies were undertaken at St Thomas’ Hospital, London, where he qualified in 1941; the year in which he married Janet Mary, daughter of Albert Collum Brooks. They had three sons - one of whom became a doctor.
He was commissioned into the RAMC in 1942 and was almost immediately posted to North Africa, where he was regimental medical officer to the Gordon Highlanders in the battle for Tunis. Following the invasion of Italy he served in field ambulances of the 8th Army and, at the age of 28, was promoted to lieutenant colonel commanding the 11th field ambulance, being awarded the MBE. He was in Austria when hostilities ended and then went on to be assistant director of medical services (ADMS) to HQ British Land Forces Greece, in 1946.
After the war, Sandy Large accepted a regular commission in the RAMC, reverting to the rank of captain, and immediately embarked on a period of intensive postgraduate training. Between 1947-50 he passed through Staff College, Camberley; came second in the senior officers’ course at Millbank, qualified DPH, and obtained his membership of the London and Edinburgh Colleges. He was then to spend the next 20 years first as a medical specialist and later as consultant physician in major home and overseas military hospitals, including the Cambridge, Fayid, Singapore and Rinteln. He was in Egypt and Malta in the first half of the 1950s when Anglo-Egyptian relations were at their worst and in Malaya during the counter-terrorist campaign.
It was during this period that he became particularly interested in pulmonary tuberculosis, which was a special problem among Gurkha soldiers. He was seconded to the Kind Edward VII Hospital, Midhurst, to work with Sir Geoffrey Todd [Munk’s Roll, Vol.VIII, p.509] and he subsequently took over the army chest centre at the Connaught, and later at the Cambridge, at a time when chemotherapy for tuberculosis was developing. He wrote several excellent papers on the subject which were published in Tubercle and Thorax.
It was clear that Sandy Large had been selected for accelerated promotion but at that time it meant moving out of clinical medicine into administration - a move that he resisted. Indeed, he dropped a rank as a consequence but in 1968 he was at last persuaded. He found himself in the Rhine Army as ADMS to the 4th Division and then DDMS in HQ BAOR. In 1973 he was promoted brigadier and DDMS 1st Corps; two and a half years later he was appointed DMS United Kingdom Land Forces with the rank of major general. He was Queen's Honorary Physician from 1974-78.
He retired in 1978 after 36 years in the Army and returned to chest medicine as director of medical services at King Edward VII's Hospital. This was a particularly happy appointment as, after all their service wanderings, Sandy and his family were able to settle in their pleasant home at Churt. He finally retired as director in 1983 but continued to see outpatients at Midhurst.
In spite of his obvious ability, Sandy Large was never a career man and never sought personal achievement. He maintained his youthful enthusiasm and remained unspoiled and natural in his manner, treating the private soldier with the same old-fashioned courtesy as he would a field marshal.
[Brit.med.J., 1991,303,465; The Times, 17 May 1991]
(Volume IX, page 304)
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