Book tells the story of Douglas Bader's surgeonBy Laura McCardle
March 19, 2012
A book detailing the life and work of the surgeon who amputated RAF hero Douglas Bader’s legs following his crash at Woodley Airfield in 1931 has been launched at Royal Berkshire Hospital (RBH).
Authors Lionel Williams and Marshall Barr revealed ‘Leonard and John Joyce, Surgeons of Reading and Newbury’ to members of the Joyce family, who travelled from as far as Bristol and Yorkshire, at a ceremony at the Royal Berkshire Medical Museum on Sunday.
The family were shown various special exhibitions, including a full account of Leonard Joyce’s work at Reading War Hospital and RBH, a selection of the doctor’s most important medical publications and new photographs in the Douglas Bader display.
Mr Joyce began his career as a GP before becoming a surgeon during the First World War at Battle Hospital. He then went on to work at RBH, until he died in 1939.
The book also illustrates the career of his son John, who worked as a consultant surgeon at Newbury District Hospital from 1947 until he retired in 1977.
Talking about the launch, Mr Williams, 70, of Downs Way, Tilehurst, said: “We had 14 members of the Joyce family down and we showed them all the memorabilia we’ve got on Douglas Bader.
“We took them round the museum and the medical library. They were pleased because they learnt quite a lot about Leonard Joyce – who they didn’t know about.
“He was a well respected surgeon and if he hadn’t have been around at the time Bader had his accident Bader wouldn’t have been here. They thought it was a very worthwhile exercise – it was very nice to see them and talk to them about it.
“It’s only a small booklet but it’s an interesting little booklet. It tells a story that’s not well known – a lot of younger people don’t know who Douglas Bader was but older people know exactly thanks to the film Reach for the Sky.”
The Royal Berkshire Medical Museum is open on the first and third Sundays of every month, between 2pm and 4pm. Admission is free.
For more information, visit www.royalberkshire.nhs.uk/museum