Title: Neville Howse – Australia’s First Victoria Cross Winner
Author: Tyquin, Michael
Edition: 1st Edition
Publication Date: 1999
Cover: Hard Cover with Dust Jacket – 212 pages
Comments: The biography of Major-General Neville Howse VC – Australian Army Medical Corps.
One of Australia’s most outstanding soldier-surgeons, Sir Neville Howse was awarded the Victoria Cross for heroism during the Boer War, the first time it had been conferred on a member of an Australian military unit. He remains the only Australian medical officer to have received the V.C.
He later became Orange’s leading citizen and served two productive terms as Mayor. He volunteered again in 1914 and was Senior Medical Officer at Anzac Cove, where he was chiefly responsible for saving the life of 2000 wounded men during the first three days of the landing alone. Always fearless and controversial, he accused the British medical authorities of ‘criminal neglect’ in his evidence to the Dardanelle Commission. Soon before the evacuation from Gallipoli, he was promoted to Major-General and appointed as Director of Medical Service for the whole of the AIF. He was knighted three times for his services.
In 1921, Sir Neville Howse was appointed Director General of the Medical Services of the Australian Military Forces and made significant reforms. He entered Parliament in 1922 and held several portfolios – Defence, Health, Home and Territories, and Repatriation (now Veterans’ Affairs), on which he set a stamp of caring concern which has continued to this day. He initiated the move of the Public Service to Canberra in 1928 and gave strong support to the establishment of the Australian War Memorial.
As Minister of Health he encourage medical research, notably cancer research, setting up one of the world’s first radium banks. He died in 1930, a truly great Australian.