Roll of Honour


Thomas Strain


Thomas Strain was born on the 19th July 1885 at 167 Main Street, Wishaw, Lanarkshire, the eldest son of William Strain (1840-1920), a Provision Merchant, and his wife Margaret Strain (née Marshall) (1843-1933), who had married on the 2nd July 1861 in Shotts, Lanarkshire. In 1900, when he was just fifteen, he began his medical studies at the University of Glasgow. Clearly he was ready, and he steered a course through all the professional exams without much difficulty, graduating MB ChB in 1906. He was of an academic bent and went on to research for a postgraduate degree, graduating on the 17th November 1910. His MD thesis was ‘A Contribution to the Epidemiology of Infectivity; and a Mode of Treatment’.

Image of Thomas Strain

The following year he married Minnie Bennett and the couple set up home in London. Their first daughter, Eileen Margaret, was born there in 1913. A sister, Jean, followed in 1913. Thomas had a number of posts before the war as a Bacteriologist, Medical Officer of the Tuberculosis Dispensary in Barnes Urban District Council, Medical Officer and School Medical Officer in Isleworth and Consulting Physician to Heston and Isleworth Joint Isolation Hospital Committee.

Dr. Thomas Strain had a very successful academic and professional career in Medicine before war began in 1914. His public health background must have been invaluable to the Royal Army Medical Corps, to which he was commissioned first as Lieutenant on 12th April 1915, and promoted to Captain a year later. He served in Unit No. 6 Mobile Laboratory. These labs made a vital contribution to the medical war effort, improving diagnosis and treatment, and pioneering sanitation and infection control measures in the field.

When he died in the service of the Royal Army Medical Corps on 16th September 1916 he was 31, a married man with two small daughters. His death was as the result of an accident. His grave is at the Ancien Cimetiere de Lillers. The village, near Bethune, was a hospital centre used by several casualty clearing stations.