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Walter Somerville CBE 1913–2005
  1. M Towers,
  2. R Emanuel

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Walter Somerville was born into a Roman Catholic family of modest means in Clontarf, just outside Dublin. He attended the prestigious Jesuit College–Belvedere. Prompted perhaps by the death of his mother from rheumatic heart disease, he trained as a doctor at The Mater Hospital. After house appointments and obtaining his MD in Dublin, he studied for the Membership at the Grosvenor Sanatorium in Kent. He had just accepted a junior appointment at St Mary’s Hospital London when war was declared. Against advice of friends, he volunteered for service in the RAF. However, he was made to join the Army and sent on a troop ship to India. He did not want to become an Army doctor and was quickly recalled and posted to the Chemical Warfare Establishment at Porton Down. The unit moved to Suffield in Canada and he was seconded to the US Army where he was involved in development of chemical warfare on an island off Panama. As the war drew to an end, his unit was preparing an invasion …

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