Military Surgeons Honoured with Memorial in Scottish Capital

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13 Feb 2020

Military surgeons have been honoured with the installation of a memorial in Edinburgh’s city centre. 

The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh has unveiled a new memorial bench and plaque in the gardens of its Nicolson Street headquarters, commissioned to commemorate the role of the College’s members and fellows in military conflict.

The steel bench, which is decorated to recognise those who gave their lives helping others, is flanked by two bronze plaques engraved with excerpts from the Letter of Exemption of 1567, penned by Mary Queen of Scots, indicating that surgeons wouldn’t have to act as combatants in warfare.

This letter marks the first time this was referred to in Scottish written vernacular, and represented a new role for surgical specialists. 

Surgeon Commander Adam Stannard RN visited the College to mark the unveiling of the memorial.

He said: “It’s truly touching that the College has commissioned this memorial.  It will certainly mean a lot to those whose lives have been impacted by military conflict, and I think it’s fantastic that people now have somewhere to go in Edinburgh to commemorate military surgeons.”

Professor Michael Griffin OBE, President of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, said: “We’re honoured to officially unveil the new bench and plaques at our gardens in Edinburgh. 

“Words cannot express how proud we are of our fellows and members, both past and present, who have joined the military, often putting themselves in extremely tough and dangerous circumstances and making the ultimate sacrifice in order to help those in need.” 


About The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh

RCSEd was first incorporated as the Barber Surgeons of Edinburgh in 1505, and is the oldest surgical corporation in the world with memberships approaching 25,000 professionals in over 100 countries worldwide. The College promotes the highest standards of surgical and dental practice through its interest in education, training and examinations, its liaison with external medical bodies and representation of the modern surgical and dental workforce. It is also home to the UK’s only Faculty of Surgical Trainers, open to all those with an interest in surgical training regardless of College affiliation. Find RCSEd on Twitter and on Facebook

The College is based at Nicolson Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9DW and can be reached on (0)131 527 1600 or In March 2014, a new base opened in Birmingham, catering to the 80% of the College’s UK membership who are based in England and Wales.

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