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Medals, awards and decorations of William Hunter

Identifier: Coll-1146

Scope and Contents

At E2008.33, the collection of Prize orders, medals, and medallions awarded to William Hunter is composed of:

  1. - the Serbian Order of St. Sava - bejewelled breast Star
  2. - the Serbian Order of St. Sava - Medallion/Badge with ribbon; the obverse of the cross bears an oval enamelled portrait of the bishop St. Sava, the centre of which is encircled by blue and the motto of the order in old cyrillic letters 'One's own work achieves all'; on the reverse is the cypher 1883
  3. - the Badge of a Companion of the Order of the Bath (Military Division)
  4. - the British War Medal , 1914-1920 - ribboned, St. George on horseback tramples an eagle on a shield
  5. - the Victory Medal, with oakleaf - ribboned with oak leaf for those personnel 'Mentioned in Despatches' between 4 August 1914 and 10 August 1920; obverse shows the winged, full-length, full-front, figure of Victory, with her left arm extended and holding a palm branch in her right hand; on the reverse of the medal 'The Great / War for / Civilisation / 1914-1919' in four lines, all surrounded by a laurel wreath
  6. - the 1914-1915 Star
  1. - Gold Medal 1886, Medicine, Edinburgh University
  2. - Bronze Medal 1878, Natural History, Junior, Edinburgh University
  3. - Bronze Medal 1879, Practical Chemistry, Edinburgh University
  4. - Bronze Medal 1879-1880, Surgery, Edinburgh University
  5. - Bronze Medal 1880, Practical Physiology, Edinburgh University
  6. - Bronze Medal 1880-1881, Clinical Surgery, 1st Prize, Edinburgh University
  7. - Bronze Medal 1880-1881, Practical Anatomy, Edinburgh University
  8. - Bronze Medal 1881-1882, Senior Surgery, Edinburgh University
  9. - Bronze Medal 1882-1883, Senior Midwifery, Edinburgh University
  10. - Bronze Medal 1888, Practice of Physic, Edinburgh University
  11. - Bronze Medal 1888, Midwifery, Edinburgh University

The William Hunter orders, medals, and medallions are contained in two separate wooden display cases with glass lids.

At E2009.43, there is a note from Winston S. Churchill, Secretary of State for War, War Office, Whitehall SW, 1 March 1919, which states: The War of 1914-1918 / Royal Army Medical Corps / Col. W. Hunter, MD., FRCP / was mentioned in a Despatch from / General Sir Ian S. M. Hamilton GCB, DSO, ADC / dated 11th December 1915 / for gallant and distinguished services in the Field. / I have it in command from the King to record His Majesty's / high appreciation of the services rendered.


  • Creation: 1879-1920

Language of Materials


Biographical / Historical

William Hunter was born on 1 June 1861 in Ballantrae on the Ayrshire coast. He was educated at Ayr Academy, and then studied Medicine at Edinburgh University, graduating in 1883 with M.B., C.M. (1st Class) 1883, and M.D. (Gold Medal) 1886. He served as a house physician at the Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh, and as a Physican to the Western Dispensary, Edinburgh. He had also studied overseas at Leipzig in 1884 with a grant from the BMA, and during the period 1887-1890 he visited Vienna and Strasbourg. Also during 1887-1890 he worked full time on laboratory research at Cambridge, devoting himself to pernicious anaemia. From 1895, Hunter was affiliated with the Charing Cross Hospital and the London Fever Hospital. Earlier, in 1894, he married Beatrice Fielden, daughter of Joshua Fielden MP.

He was the first person to note that the alimentary and the nervous system were often affected in pernicious anaemia, and he regarded the haemolytic element as being most important and made numerous observations on the excessive pigmentation and iron deposition in the liver. Hunter, along with Julius Otto Ludwig Moeller, is associated with 'Hunter's glossitis' caused by B12 or folic acid deficiency ('Moeller-Hunter glossitis'), and he is also associated with the 'Serbian barrel' used for disinfection and the eradication of lice during the First World War in Serbia.

During the First World War, Hunter served in Serbia with the British Military Sanitary Mission where he developed de-lousing techniques to control typhus. He was appointed as a Grand Officer of the Serbian Order of St. Sava in June 1915. In December 1915 he was mentioned in Dispatches and was awarded the Companion Order of the Bath (CB). He was President of the Advisory Committee, Prevention of Disease, in the Eastern Mediterranean and Mesopotamia (Gallipoli, Egypt, Salonika, Malta and Palestine), and he served with the Eastern Command, 1917-1919, as Consulting Physician. He held the rank of Colonel.

Hunter's published work includesOral sepsis as a cause of 'Septic gastritis', 'Toxic neuritis' and other septic conditions(1901),Pernicious anaemia: its pathology, septic origin, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment. Based upon original investigations(1901),A research into epidemic and epizootic plague(1904),Severest anaemias. Their infective nature, diagnosis and treatment(1909),Historical account of Charing Cross hospital and medical school (University of London): original plan and statutes, rise and progress(1914), andThe Serbian epidemics of typhus and relapsing fever in 1915(1920). He was a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians (FRCP London 1896) and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (FRSE), and he was awarded an Honorary LL.D. by Edinburgh University in 1927.

William Hunter died on 13 January 1937.


17 medals, orders, medallions, 1 folder

Physical Location

E2008.33; E2009.43

Medals, awards and decorations of William Hunter (1861-1937)
Language of description
Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

Centre for Research Collections
University of Edinburgh Main Library
George Square
Edinburgh EH8 9LJ Scotland
+44(0)131 650 8379