Medical Students,  News

David Sells Hurwood: Guys Medical Student

In 1945, while still a medical student, David volunteered for service in Europe at Belsen concentration camp. Upon his return it was discovered that he had contracted tuberculosis and at one stage he was not expected to survive.

Hurwood front centre

Guy’s Hospital medical students who went to Belsen. From left to right: D. Davies, D. Strange, J. S. Jones, D. Rahilly, D. Westbury, M. E. Davys, D. S. Hurwood, D. H. Forsdick, J. V. Kilby, J. E. Mandel, J. L. Hayward and J. A. Turner


Liberation of Bergen Belsen
David Sells Hurwood was the elder son of Henry Hebden Hurwood, a parson, and his wife, Enid, née Sells. On his mother’s side he was the eighth generation of doctor.

David was educated at Denstone and Guy’s. In 1945, while still a medical student, he volunteered for service in Europe at Belsen concentration camp. Upon his return it was discovered that he had contracted tuberculosis. The treatment was prolonged, and at one stage he was not expected to survive.

After a prolonged period of convalescence, he completed his medical studies, qualifying in 1949.

In 1951 he married Mary, a Guy’s nurse, and in 1953 he entered general practice in Syston.

The family’s first home was in Thurmaston, where there was a branch surgery in the garden; later they moved to Syston, this home being semi-detached with the main surgery.

In his early years in practice, GPs were on call all hours, and home deliveries were the norm. It was unusual for patients to have cars or phones, and 20 home visits a day was not unusual. In return for this level of personal medical attention, patients almost universally liked and respected their doctors for their commitment and dedication to their patients and their profession.

In 1970 the practice agreed to move into a new health centre, the first in Leicestershire, and the principle of the primary care team was put into practice in Syston. The practice became a training practice for trainees and teaching practice for medical students.

During David’s 35 years in practice, the practice list size increased from 7000 to over 11 000 patients. He was chairman of the Leicestershire & Rutland Executive Committee for nine years. In his spare time he enjoyed the brotherhood of freemasonry, another family tradition. He was a founder member of the Royal College of General Practitioners, and in 1984 was elected a fellow.

His son, Richard, joined the practice in 1984; David retired in 1988. He and Mary enjoyed 17 years of retirement; he took pleasure in his grandchildren and model railway construction, as well as his freemasonry. Sadly, deteriorating health dogged his last two years, but Mary was ever present to care for him. He died peacefully at home, eight weeks after his brother, Tony, also a Guy’s man and retired GP, had died.

Former general practitioner Syston, Leicestershire (b 1924; q Guy’s Hospital, London, 1949; FRCGP), died from cerebrovascular disease on 22 May 2005.

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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