Dr. Hugh Stewart Brander

Voluntary Aid Detachment page

Red Cross, St John Ambulance Brigade and Royal Army Medical Corpsbadges

Dr. Hugh Stewart Brander

Surgeon, RAMC

Dr. Brander is second from the right, alongside other Morton Banks staff. Photo courtesy of Keighley Library archives - BK424.

Early life:

Hugh Stewart Brander was born on 29th February 1880 in Auchindoun in Banffshire, Scotland. His father was John Brander, a ship's joiner, who sadly died before John was born, on 16th January.

It is useful (though frustrating) to note that only transcribed versions of Scottish records are available, not actual copies, so it is not possible to check spellings etc.

In 1881 John lived with his mother Ann and grandmother Margaret Dey, in addition to his older siblings Elizabeth (10), Jemima (8), John (7), William (4) and Ann Wilson (3) at Mewlack Cottage, Mortlach in Banffshire. He had another sister, Margaret, who was 14 at the time but not with the family.

In 1891 they lived at 15 Fife Street in Mortlach. Jemima, William, Ann and Hugh were with their mother, plus a visitor and four boarders.

In 1901 the Branders lived at 98 Broomhill Road in Mannofield, Aberdeenshire. The household consisted of Ann, daughter Margaret whose surname is Abel, sons William and Hugh, daughter Ann and two granddaughters Jannie Amy Brander and Margaret Winnie Abel. Hugh was 21 years old and described as an MA and medical student.

Various medical directories throughout the years describe Hugh's academic and medical career - he commenced his medical studies at the University of Aberdeen on 26th April 1897. He achieved his MA (Master of Arts) there in 1899, MB (Bachelor of Medicine) and Ch. B (Chirurgiae Baccalauareus, meaning  Bachelor of Surgery) in 1903 and his MD (Doctor of Medicine) with commendation in 1906.

Over his medical career Hugh was Senior Honorary Surgeon at Victoria Hospital in Keighley, Honorary Surgeon for Deaf and Dumb and Institute for the Blind in Keighley and St. John's Ambulance Brigade, Surgeon in Charge Ministry of Pensions Special Surgical Clinic in Keighley, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine, Member of the National English Gynaecological Society and Clinical Clerk at James Murray's Royal Asylum in Perth.

He authored 'An Investigation into the Causes of Post-Scarlatinal Diptheria Occurring in Isolation Hospitals', 'Note on Use of BIPP after Bone Grafting' in the British Medical Journal in 1917, 'Appendicectomy' in 1920 and 'Gastrectomy for Sarcoma of Stomach' in 1927.

Hugh married Helen Smart (known as Nellie) of Aberdeen in around 1906 and they moved to Keighley. They had two children, Dorothy Dey Wilson Brander and William Gordon Brander.

In 1911 the family were resident at Farfield House on North Street in Keighley. They employed a children's nurse called Jemima Milne, as well as a domestic servant called Joan Morrison, both from Aberdeen.

War service:
During the war Dr. Brander was the Registrar and Surgeon at the War Hospital from May 1915 and was still serving at the time of the VAD records' completion, with the rank of Major RAMC. The war hospitals in Keighley were said to be known as pioneers of war associated trauma surgery, where doctors from around the world would come and train, so it's not a huge leap to assume that Dr. Brander might have been instrumental in this.

Dr. Brander with Reverend Peck. Photo kindly provided by Joan Long

Later life and WW2:
Both of Dr. Brander's children also became doctors. Dorothy went into practice with her father at Farfield House and later her husband joined them and it became 'Brander and Hill'. William served with the RAMC during World War Two, initially as a regimental medical officer and then as medical specialist to a succession of General Hospitals. Promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel he served in the 27th General Hospital, Middle East Forces, and as consultant physician to a prisoner of war hospital. He later went to Zimbabwe (or Southern Rhodesia as it was at the time) and practiced medicine there.

Hugh died on 7th December 1939 at Sunny Mount Nursing Home in Keighley, just six weeks after his wife died at the Royal Infirmary in Aberdeen.

1881 Scotland Census
1891 Scotland Census
1901 Scotland Census
1911 England Census
Moray, Scotland, Local Heritage Index, 1623-2014
UK and Ireland, Medical Directories, 1845-1942
England and Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995
Keighley Library archives - BK424
Keighley News
Obituary, The British Medical Journal, Dec. 16 1939

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