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News > OH News > OH surgeon publishes his memoir

OH surgeon publishes his memoir

David Clarke, OH 1954-61, has published the first volume in September 2023
25 Oct 2023
OH News

David Clarke was born in Ivy Terrace, Barnsley Street, in November 1942, as the Second World War raged across Europe.  He attended Hymers College senior school from the age of 11 years old in 1954 and continued there, completing his A-levels in 1961.  From Hymers College, he went on to study medicine.

Now, a retired surgeon, he has published the first volume of his memoir, detailing his early days in bombed-out, post-war Hull, his journey through medical school and the beginning of his career as a hospital doctor.  In Opening Up: The Making of a Surgeon, David tells the story of what it was like growing up in Hull in the 1940s and 50s as the city tried to recover from the heavy bombing from Hitler’s Luftwaffe.

Sadly, he never met his father, who was killed six months later when he was struck by fragments of an Italian bomb that landed close to his ship, the destroyer HMS Ilex.  But despite being brought up in difficult circumstances, he won a scholarship to Hymers College and earned a place at medical school in Newcastle.

After qualifying, he had a long and distinguished career as a consultant surgeon in Middlesbrough, where he was admired and respected by patients and colleagues alike.

The book has received glowing reviews on Amazon, with readers praising the “gripping medical detail” and “wonderfully written stories”.

Part one of two volumes, it is an abridged version of an autobiography David wrote shortly after his retirement. Written out longhand and then “typed laboriously with one finger”, it came to 220,000 words and was published privately for family and friends. 

The motives for a memoir are various, but all driven by the fact that after one departs this life, the knowledge and experience of a lifetime will be lost forever, unless it is recorded.

I have led an interesting life, enriched by an association with a wide variety of characters and I have been fortunate in having a good memory, evidenced by the comments of several of my contemporaries over the years of ‘You should write a book, David’! 

During my time there have been more advances in medicine than since the time of Hippocrates, and I hope the historical digressions will prove informative and entertaining.  

Despite their associations with disease and death, in my day hospitals were happy places in which to work, with great camaraderie. And I hope this has been successfully conveyed in this narrative.

Published by McGeary Media, Opening Up: The Making of a Surgeon is available in hardback (ISBN ‏‎978-1915187130), paperback (ISBN 978-1915187086) and ebook from Amazon and other ebook retailers and can be ordered from all bookshops and libraries.

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