Liberation of Bergen Belsen
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Anthony Stedman Till – RAMC

Anthony Stedman Till, known as ‘Tim’, was a consultant surgeon in Oxford. He was born in London, on 5 September 1909, the eldest son of Thomas Marson Till OBE, an accountant, and Gladys Stedman, the daughter of a metal broker in the City.

Tim was educated at Ovingdean Hall, Brighton, and Marlborough, before winning a scholarship to Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, from which he went to the Middlesex Hospital to do his clinical training as a university scholar. After he qualified he was house physician, house surgeon, casualty officer and registrar, and then became an assistant to Sir Gordon Gordon-Taylor, who was a large influence on him. Tim also studied in Heidelberg and became fluent in German.

In 1940 he joined the RAMC, and in the same year married Joan Burnyeat, the daughter of Colonel Ponsonby Burnyeat, who had been killed in 1918. Tim was posted to the Middle East, via Cape Town and Suez. He was taken prisoner during the battle for Lemros and was shipped, via Athens, to Stalag 7A. While a prisoner-of-war he operated not only on his fellow prisoners but also on the local civilians, and later, possibly as a result of his services to the local population, he was repatriated to the UK. He was soon back on the continent with the 181st Field Ambulance, and was with the first medical group to enter Belsen. He was always reluctant to talk about the sights he saw, which made a huge impression on him, but did remember how he picked a flower there, finding this a symbol of hope.

Shortly after demobilisation in 1945 he was appointed as a registrar in Oxford and, soon afterwards, consultant surgeon. His special interests were thyroid and abdominal surgery, where he made notable contributions in both fields. He was President of the section of surgery of the Royal Society of Medicine, President of the Association of Surgeons, and a member of the Court of Examiners of our College.

Outside the profession, he served as a magistrate. He hunted with the Heythrop, and when he gave up riding he bought himself a mountain bike so that he could ‘ride out’ every morning. In retirement he was the District Commissioner – an onerous task. He was also a skilled fisherman and an accomplished artist in oils and watercolour. He had a long and happy retirement in the Cotswolds with his wife Joan, who gave him stalwart support. He died on 31 August 2006, leaving his widow, three daughters (the eldest predeceased him), ten grandchildren and twelve great-grandchildren.

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This archive has been established after my own relative, Reg Price, took part in the liberation and subsequent humanitarian effort of Bergen Belsen in April 1945. Reg produced this famous sign at Belsen. As part of the 113th DLI, Reg and his comrades were at Belsen for 5 weeks and left when the last hut was empty and ceremonially burnt down. This archive compiles all available resources to build a lasting tribute to all the men and women who helped - any unit, any nationality. If you have a relative, or any info, on the relief effort at Belsen, we’d love you to please get in touch. Email us: you Nick Price CreativesFacebookTwitter