Obituary Of Dr. Thomas Bond

Posted: November 2, 2008 in Obituaries
normal_bond (WinCE)Many Ripperologists have been requesting a detailed biography or obituary of Dr. Thomas Bond and I am happy to deliver one to you:
Consulting Surgeon to Westminster Hospital; Surgeon to the A Division Metropolitan Police
Mr. THOMAS BOND, whose tragic death on June 6th was briefly announced in our columns last week; was born at Durston Lodge, Somerset, on October 7th, 1841; he was therefore in his 60th year at the time of his death. His father was a well-known sporting farmer, who kept for some years a pack of harriers, and his son inherited to the full his father’s love of the West Country and outdoor pursuits.
Thomas Bond was educated at King Edward VI’s Grammar School at Taunton, and would probably have followed in his father’s footsteps had it not been for one of those unexpected circumstances which so often change the entire course of a man’s life. In 1856 he went to Southampton to stay with his maternal uncle, Dr. Edwin Hearne. The day after his arrival a railway accident occurred at Bishopstoke Station, and the youth accompanied his uncle to the scene of the disaster and rendered valuable assistance in treating the injured passengers. This proved to be the turning-point in his career, and thenceforth he set to work to prepare himself for the medical profession. He laid a good foundation by being apprenticed to his uncle, Dr. Hearne, and it was at this period of his life that he doubtless acquired much of the skill he afterwards evinced in the management of his practice.
In 1860, he passed the Matriculation Examination of the University and the following year he entered the Medical School of King’s College. After obtaining the diploma of M.R.C.S. in 1864 he was appointed House Surgeon at King’s College Hospital and in 1865 he passed the M.B. Examination of the London University. When the Austro-Prussian war broke out he received an appointment as Surgeon in the Prussian Military Service, and at the conclusion of the war he spent some time at various Continental Hospitals.
In the autumn of 1866 Mr. Bond returned to England and soon after passed the examination for the Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons and the Bachelor of Surgery of the University of London; at the latter he obtained the Gold Medal in Surgery. In 1867 he started practice in London; his first public appointment, and one which he held to the day of his death, was that of Surgeon to the A Division of the Metropolitan Police. In 1873 he commenced his long and intimate connection with the Westminster Hospital by being appointed Assistant Surgeon.
His disinterested action in allowing Mr. MacNamara to be placed over his head as surgeon resulted in his being left in charge of the out-patient department for twenty years; and as he was thus debarred from the opportunity of gaining a purely surgical practice, he drifted into a high-class general practice. His long residence in Westminster brought him into contact, both professionaly and otherwise, with many distinguished men; but in whatever rank of life his patients were, they all received the same cheerful attendance, and, as the writer has often had the opportunity of observing, his patients were devoted to their doctor. As might have been expected after twenty years spent in seeing out-patients, Mr. Bond did not take the same position on being appointed full Surgeon as if he had had charge of wards earlier in life. This he was the first to recognise, and, with the strong common sense which was so marked a feature of his character, he gladly availed himself of the asistance of his junior colleagues in cases of exceptional difficulty.
In 1899 he resigned the post of Surgeon, and was appointed Consulting Surgeon. He was also Surgeon to the Westminster Training School for Nurses. In the Medical School attached to the Westminster Hospital, Mr. Bond rendered valuable service as Lecturer of Forensic Medicine, and the wealth of material he had at his disposal made him an ideal lecturer on this subject. This post he retained up to two years ago. While on the subject of Forensic Medicine, it will suffice to mention some of the leading cases in which Mr. Bond’s services were retained for the Crown, to indicate his position as a medical jurist. Among these cases were those of Dr. Baddely, the Wainwright case, the Richmond murder, and the Lefroy and Lamson cases. Mr. Bond was an admirable witness – cool, collected, and not to be intimidated by the severest cross-examination. It might be said that he was too dogmatic, but it was part of his nature to see one side of the case, and having expressed an opinion he was not to be shaken.
In addition to all his other work, he was much in demand in railway cases, and at the time of his death he was Consulting Surgeon to the Great Eastern Railway and Surgeon to the Great Western Railway.
Mr. Bond was not a voluminous writer, but what he wrote was very much to the point. He contributed the article on Railway Injuries to Health’s Dictionary of Surgery. He also wrote papers on the Diagnosis and Treatment of Primary Syphilis, on Gonorrheal Rheumatism, and on Accidents and Emergencies in the Hunting Field. He had very decided views on the prevention of venereal affections, and contributed papers to the Lancet on the Contagious Diseases Act.
These facts will serve to indicate in part the varied range of Mr. Bond’s professional work, but another side of his busy life must not be neglected, and that was his devotion to field sports. For more than twenty-three years he had a place first at Minehead, and afterwards at Dunster, Somerset, and hunted with the Devon and Somerset staghounds. He was a member of the Badminton Hunt, and has been heard to boast that he had hunted with forty-three packs of hounds. Hunting was his great passion, and in fact it may be considered that his death was indirectly due to it, as his illness dates from last September, when he hunted contary to the urgent advice of his surgical attendant. Bond would think nothing of working all day and going down to Somerset by the night express, having a day’s hunting, and returning to London in the evening. He was a bold and straight rider, and never seemed so much at home as in the saddle. He was one of the founders and took a keen interest in the Hunter’s Improvement Society, and served on many of the Society’s Committees.
Of his family life it will not be becoming to say more than that he was an affectionate husband and a kind and indulgent father. Mr. Bond was twice married; by his first wife, a daughter of Mr. Justice Hayes, he leaves six children. He married his second wife, Mrs. Nairne Imrie, daughter of the late Mr. Lancelot Dashwood, of Overstrand, only a year ago.
As already mentioned, Mr. Bond’s health began to fail last September. The immediate cause of his illness was a contraction of the urethra extending back to the neck of the bladder, and causing most painful spasms and neuralgia. In the course of his illness he had several attacks of pyrexia attended with delirium. During the last fortnight, however, of his life the graver symptoms had abated, but the severe and almost constant pain he had suffered for so many weeks had evidently unhinged his mind, and in the momentary absence of the nurse he threw himself from his bedroom window, falling a distance of more than 40 feet. He was taken across to the Westminster Hospital, and died as he was being carried over. He was buried on Monday, June 10th, at Orchard Portman, near Taunton, the home of his ancestors, among the scenes he loved so well.
Of so many-sided a man it is difficult in a few words to sum up the character. He owed so much of his success as a practitioner to his business habits. He was exceedingly punctual – as a man with so many engagements must needs be. He was bright and helpful in the treatment of his patients, and though confident in his own powers was always ready to seek assistance in doubtful cases. That he would have distinguished himself as a surgeon there can be no doubt, but the necessity of providing for the needs of a large family compelled him to accept work which interfered with a purely surgical practice. As a colleague and friend he was a most delightful companion, full of fun, and with a large repertoire of stories he had picked up among the interesting or curious people with whom he had been brought into contact. The sad ending of a life so full of brightness and usefulness has come as a great shock to the large circle of friends who had been captivated by his attractive personality.
                                                                                                    F. De H. H.
 Source: The British Medical Journal, June 15, 1901, page 1523
Point to consider: Could Dr. Thomas Bond have been summoned to the Kelly murder scene in Miller’s Court not only for his surgical knowledge, but his hunting expertise as well? As a devoted hunter, he may have known if the corpse had been field-dressed.

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