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Dr. Gerald Eade Bellamy and Dr. Edward Bellamy, Eythorne Doctors. Part 2, 1929-1973

Gerald Bellamy was joined by his son, Edward Bellamy, in General Practice. in 1929. Edward Bellamy was born on 20th February 1906 and educated at Wellington College and Guy’s Hospital, where he qualified with the Conjoint diploma in 1929. He immediately joined his father in general practice in Kent and remained with him until 1938, when he served in France with a field battery of the Royal Artillery and took part in the evacuation from Dunkirk. After a spell in England, he served for the remainder of the war in East Africa. A forthright man, Edward Bellamy found in the blunt miners of the Kent coalfield characters much to his liking. Though he gave short shrift to lead-swingers he gained a reputation for endless and conscientious patience with the genuinely sick, especially with children and the elderly. After 1929, its’ not generally possible to determine which Dr. Bellamy was involved in any reported case.
On the afternoon of Sunday 15th April 1934, a fatal accident occurred at the Studdal turning on the main Dover-Sandwich Road. It involved an eighteen years old lad, Douglas Ford Charles Inman, of the Astoria Travelling Theatre, then stationed at Aylesham, who was riding a pedal cycle down Studdal Hill with a ten years old boy (his brother Ashley) on the carrier. The bicycle collided with a Rover car driven by Mr. Norton, of Dover, who was turning to go towards Willow Woods. The boy on the carrier was thrown clear and escaped injury. Douglas Inman, however, was seriously injured. The Dover St. John motor ambulance was summoned, as well as the police and medical assistance, for Inman who was bleeding profusely from the neck, and when PC Eareham and Dr. Bellamy, of Eythorne, arrived he was attended to. The ambulance was soon on the spot and preceded by the Dover police car to clear the road, raced to the Dover hospital, time being most important owing to the nature of the injuries. They arrived back within half an hour of having received the call. Inman, however, died a few hours after his admittance to the hospital. Mr. Norton and Mr. Gosling, who was sitting beside him in the car, received scratches but the two ladies in the back seat escaped. A post mortem on the deceased revealed the muscles of the back of the neck on the left side were severed down to the cervical column, but the back structure itself was uninjured. There was a fracture of the skull on the left side and bleeding between the brain and its membranes on both sides. Death was due to shock combined with bleeding from the neck wound and the pressure on the brain. The cause of the accident was attributed to the deceased going too fast and being on the wrong side of the road on a blind corner. The impact must have been severe as the offside front head and side lights of the car were completely smashed as was it’s windscreen which was also torn away.
On November 2nd1935 Dr. Gerald Eade Bellamy had a letter published in the British Medical Journal on deaths of women in pregnancy. He advocated use of birth control to reduce death in pregnancy of women who were predisposed to potentially fatal illness due to hereditary factors or life acquired illness. This letter was seemingly written to defend the profession from the press who were quick at this time to blame the negligence of doctors or midwives as being the cause of fatality during pregnancy.
On the afternoon of Friday 15th January 1937 Robert Henry Barns, the 11 years old son of a gamekeeper, was found by his sister, Muriel, seriously injured by a gunshot wound in the back in woods near Nonington. He died later in Canterbury Hospital. Alfred James Barns, a gamekeeper, of Pinners’ Cottage, Nonington, Kent, identified the body of the deceased as that of his son. The gun (produced at the inquest) which had caused the accident was a small sporting gun belonging to Alfred Barns, who generally kept it locked up in a side room. His son knew how to use a gun and was an expert shot, but his father only allowed him to use the gun in his company and with his consent. On several occasions previously the boy had taken out the gun without his father’s knowledge, but he had been severely reprimanded. On the day of the accident the father had left this particular gun unloaded in the kitchen. The ammunition was kept in a box shut up in what the father called the gun-room. Violet Barns, wife of Alfred Barns, said that she did not know her son had taken the gun out, but if she had found that the deceased had taken his father’s gun out, she would have stopped him. She had kept him away from school to help with the “rough work.” They finished dinner about quarter to two. Her eldest son had already set off to school. Shortly afterwards, her daughter Muriel, who was outside, came into the house and told her that she had heard the deceased calling, and had gone up and had seen him lying under a beech tree. He had said, “fetch Mum, quick.” The 11-year-old Robert Barns was found by his sister, Muriel, seriously injured by a gunshot wound in the back. Violet Barns followed her daughter to the place, and found her son about 75 yards from the house, lying on his left side and he said, “Mum, I have shot myself”. He said that he had been going to shoot pigeons which feed under the beech trees. His mother said, “How did it happen?” and he said, “I slipped”. He was wearing light rubber shoes, and the roots of the tree were very wet. Mrs Barns sent her daughter to Captain Munns’ house nearby to ask them to telephone for the doctor. Mrs. Munns sent the gardener down to help, and Dr. Bellamy, of Eythorne, was here soon afterwards. When the doctor came, he plugged the wound and bandaged him up. As the ambulance was some time in coming, Dr. Bellamy motored the injured boy and his mother to Canterbury. They passed Snowdown pit at a quarter to three. Deceased was conscious all the time, and did not appear to be in great pain. The doctor at the hospital said that he was desperately ill. David Watson, M.D., D.Ph., Ch.B., junior House Surgeon at the Kent and Canterbury Hospital since October, 1936, said that he went to the ward where the deceased lay at about 3pm. The wound was a sharply defined one in the lower part of the back, the right side, about the size of half-a-crown. The direction was very slightly upwards. The depth was about one inch. An operation was performed. The condition of the child was not good enough for him to stand an anaesthetic. The shot was at point blank range, and there were traces of carbon on the clothes. When the deceased was admitted his body was cold and his pulse rate was low. Dr. Watson administered sedatives and applied radiant heat. At 8pm he gave deceased a blood transfusion of 600cc, over a pint, given by the father, but this did no good, and the child died at 9pm. The cause of death was haemorrhage, shock, oedema in the lungs, and cardiac failure, due to a gunshot wound. The Coroner, addressing the jury, said that it was a very sad case. They could imagine the grief the loss of this little child must be to his parents. The verdict should not give the jury any trouble; it should be one of misadventure.
In October 1938, “a very interesting lecture was given by Dr. Bellamy on general health, good health being the road to happiness, and this was not obtained by using other methods contrary to that prescribed by a physician, mental strain in many cases being the cause of prolonged illness”.
Thomas John Rees and Morgan John Griffiths, of Hyde Place, Aylesham, were “summoned for taking and driving away a car belonging to Dr. Gerald E Bellamy, at Aylesham, on 21st October 1940. Defendants pleaded guilty. Dr. Bellamy, Eythorne, said that he left his car outside the Mission Hall Burgess Road, Aylesham, at 3pm, and, returning at 4pm found it had been taken. It contained drugs and surgical instruments. The value of the car and contents was about £100. P.S. Robson, Aylesham said that with P.C. Starbuck, he interviewed defendants and they made statements. Griffiths said, “I admit taking the car. It was outside the Legion Club. Rees was with me”. Rees said, “We were together. I agree with what Griffiths said”. P.S Robson added that the car was found at 8.45pm the same night. Griffiths said that they took the car for joke and only drove it 200 yards. Rees said that he was very sorry. Dr. Bellamy, replying to the Chairman, said that gallon of petrol had been used. Supt. Wheatley asked the bench to take a serious view of the case as “that type of offence was getting very serious, and involved great deal of work by the police as they had to circularise the whole of the southern part of England”. Rees was 29 years of age, and had been working at Snowdown Colliery as a miner since 1936. He was described as regular and good worker. He was married, with three children, and nothing was known against him. Griffiths, a married man with two children, had been working at Snowdown since April this year. He was described as an indifferent worker, and there were previous convictions. Griffiths was sentenced to three months hard labour, and Rees was fined £3.
In 1942, a claim was lodged against the War Dept for £126 11s arising from a collision between a Bren gun carrier and a coal wagon as a result of which a new signal had to be obtained for £61 13s 0d, £27 had been spent on engine repairs and £5 13s 7d on fence repairs. It’s believed the incident occurred at Eythorne.
A serious accident resulting in an Eythorne schoolteacher’s car being dragged along a railway line for 20 yards after coming into collision with a train, occurred at the level crossing near the White Horse Eythorne on the morning of Wednesday 14th September 1949. The schoolteacher, Miss V. R. Parfitt of Dikushla (?) Sandwich Road, Eythorne who was driving to school at Goodnestone at about 8.15 had to be released from the wreckage of her car after the accident which involved the 7.45 goods train from Shepherdswell to Wingham. Miss Parfitt was later treated by Dr. Bellamy for injuries to her neck and face and abrasions to her leg. This level crossing has never had any gates to protect the crossing when trains are passing and this is by no means the only accident and incident at this crossing in the history of its existence (the picture shows the crossing with the car number plates dating his to pre 1963, the diesel D3671 was apparently built in 1959). For example, in February 1963, the car of John Brigham of Singledge Lane was stuck by a train at the crossing which shunted it 40 yards along the track. The driver was uninjured.
Gerald Eade Bellamy, retired in October 1963 and died, at the age of 86, in 1966. After his son took over the practice, Gerald lived in Westfields, next door to the practice in West End House which Edward then occupied.
During the years of partnership with his father, Edward Bellamy played a large part in village life, being actively involved in the local gardeners’ society. Initially living in Barham, he moved to Eythorne in 1957. In his spare time, he developed his keen interest in literature, especially in his eighteenth-century book collection. Edward Bellamy died on 29 January 1973. He was 66. Throughout his career he was supported by his wife, who survived him together with a daughter.

Vince Croud

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