Title: Surgeon and General – The Life Of Major-General Rupert Downes 1885 – 1945
Author: Howie-Willis, Ian
Edition: 1st Edition
Publication Date: 2008
Cover: Hard Cover with Dust Jacket – 400 pages
Comments: A Biography Of Major-General Rupert Downes
The life and career of Rupert Downes, a heroic figure in Australian military medical history. He was a surgeon and eminent pioneering paediatrician but he was also a life-long professional soldier. He joined the army at sixteen, while still at school and spent most of the next 40 years in uniform.
Australia’s youngest lieutenant-colonel at the beginning of WW1, Downes led a field ambulance to Gallipoli. Later, he became head of medical services in the Anzac Mounted Division and Desert Mounted Corps.
Post-war, Downes continued as part-time head of army medical services in Victoria until 1934, when he became Director General of Medical Services. As full-time head of the Army Medical Corps, he ensured that Australia was medically prepared for WW2. His great achievement was the construction of the military hospitals at Concorde, Daw Park, Greenslopes, Heidelberg and Hollywood.
He lost his position as DGMS in controversial circumstances in 1941 but continued serving conspicuously in other roles until his death in a plane crash in 1945.