Nockolds, Humphrey

1883 to 16.12.1963

The Military Hospital, Lewisham

Humphrey Nockolds was born in London in 1883, the son of William Stephen and Alice Amelia Nockolds, and was baptised at St Thomas Shepherd's Bush on 10 May. His father was a surgeon and Humphrey qualified as a doctor at University College Hospital Medical School in 1907. When he signed his contract with the Friends Ambulance Unit he was single and working at the Military Hospital, Lewisham where he had been appointed as an assistant medical superintendent by the Board of Guardians to the then Poor Law Hospital in 1912.

Conscientious Objection during the First World War
In March 1916 he was given absolute exemption by the War Office on the grounds that he was indispensable (ref: Certificate 290 issued by the War Office). His Friends Ambulance Unit personnel cards show he was not a member of the Society of Friends and no other religion is recorded. He had been baptised into the Church of England and after the war was also married in an Anglican Church.


Alternative Service during the War
Humphrey Nockolds' contract with the Friends Ambulance Unit is dated 30 October, 1914 and lasted until 7 January, 1919. By the 24 November 1914 he was on the Western Front and had been appointed a Principal Medical Officer. He served in France and Belgium with the Unit throughout the war and ran six emergency hospitals. He was made an honorary Lieutenant of the British Red Cross in July 1915 and an honorary Captain in October 1917. He received the Silver Medaille d'Honneur (29.11.1917) and the Croix de Guerre with silver star from the French (13.4.1918), the Distinguished Service Order (3.6.18) from the British, and was made an honorary associate of the Order of St John of Jerusalem in England (17.3.1918) for his work in France. He was Mentioned in Dispatches by Sir Douglas Haig (7.4.1918).

After the First World War:
He married Josephine Louisa Wilson at St John the Baptist, Holland Road, Kensington, in 1919. They had two children Rosemary Frances Theresa born in 1922 and Geoffrey W. born in 1926.

On his return from the war in 1919, he was made deputy medical superintendent of Lewisham Hospital and soon afterwards was appointed superintendent. He was much admired and attracted many ambitious young doctors to work with him, because of the skills he had gained during the First World War. These skills were particularly important when dealing with traumatic injuries incurred during the second world war. He turned Lewisham Hospital from a poor law institution into the largest general hospital in the S.E Metropolitan area. After his reached the normal retirement age of 65 in 1948, he was persuaded to stay on, and he remained in post until 1951 when he retired.

He died aged 80 in one of Lewisham Hospital's wards on 16 December, 1963 after been admitted from his home at Priory Lodge, Priory Park, Blackheath. A “Best Nurse” Award book was to be presented every year as memorial to former Medical Superintendent Dr Humphrey Nockolds, from his wife.

Copy of his FAU Service Card, this is the copyright of the Religious Society of Friends as are the photographs on this page.
South London Press 20 December, 1963
Cyril Pearce, University of Leeds, Pearce Register of British Conscientious Objectors

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