A work in progress – the fuller biographies will emerge in due course: please sign up to the Newsletter (bottom of the page) and we’ll let you know when we’ve done more justice in writing up our extraordinary signatories.
Colonel MARTIN E M HERFORD MBE DSO MC* RAMC for the Royal Army Medical Corps, who lost 2,463 killed out of 12,000 officers & 83,000 other ranks; a most experienced front line doctor, he joined abroad without uniform, records or training, after disillusioned work in the international VOLUNTEER FORCE for FINLAND, this leading him via RUSSIA, TURKEY & the MIDDLE EAST to EGYPT.
Earlier he had worked with refugee children in the SPANISH CIVIL WAR & was a House Surgeon at Bristol in Mar 1939 when tried to join RAF; his distinguished work began from planning in CAIRO, then out with the MOBILE FTRT.D M,13@JTANCE UNW in organised DESERT MOTOR AMBULANCE CONVOYS, helping part treated CASUALTIES back to the FORWARD FIELD HOSPITALS and extended for TWO YEARS right across the DESERT CAMPAIGNS (including. GREEK CAMPAIGN with 189 LIGHT FIELD & 24 CASUALTY CLEARING STATION at THEBES, where he was bombed off his motorbike and organised, against high odds, an AMBULANCE TRAIN, for which exploits, initiative and his care for the wounded, he was awarded MBE) from 1941 to 1943 largely with No.7 MAC, then A/Major at 16 MAC & 2CCS into TOBRUK then retreat, then back westwards again from EL ALAMEIN to SICILY with 200 FIELD AMBULANCE & ADVANCED DRESSING STATION (with 4 CANADIAN DIV & DEVON & DORSET REGT SW of CATANIA) & at “instep” of ITALY at LAGONEGRO.
Later he was with 163 FIELD AMBULANCE in. NORMANDY & NW EUROPE, also ARNHEM, where, as a Lt Col CO of 163 FIELD AMBULANCE directly under XXX Corps, he crossed the Rhine from 43 (Wessex) positions on Sunday 24Sep44, frustrated, as some POLISH FORCES too, that he was unable to have crossed the previous day; once over, he went forward alone to parley with the Germans, under a Red Cross flag, but unsuccessfully to obtain safe passage over for further MEDICAL SUPPLIES to help the OOSTERBEEK garrison – however the Germans did allow a safe passage back for the remainder left on the bank, although Captain Percy LOUIS, a PARA medical officer, was somehow killed that night or later, without ever being found – Col H.ERFORD stayed with the Germans, realising quickly they too had a great casualty problem; he now renegotiated with a startling proposal, which they then accepted to relieve their own overstretched resources – an “AIRBORNE HOSPITAL” was opened at the DUTCH ARMY barracks at APELDOORN where all the 250 or so medical staff and the 1,700 wounded could be transferred, with COL.WARRACK in charge and Martin HERFORD as his Deputy – this functioned with four Surgeons & four Chaplains for a full month under British control – it closed before the end of October and several medical staff, including Cols Warrack and Herford, slipped away at the end to regain Allied lines. Within a few months and during the closing weeks of the war, Martin HERFORD was asked to join the. SPECIAL MEDICAL TEAM to enter BELSEN CONCENTRATION CAMP, perhaps the most gruelling time of his whole medical career
ARNHEM Some CASUALTY FIGURES: The historian, Martin Middlebrook (“ARNHEM 1944”) gives a total of 11,920 men as taking part “in the airborne operation to ARNHEM in the lst BRITISH AIRBORNE Division, the POLISH INDEPENDENT Brigade Group and various attached elements”. Deriving one Table from two of his, the casualties were as follows, showing how many evacuated formally but no breakout of POWs & EVADERS, which must also include the wounded, being merely a subtraction of fatalities and evacuated from the total.