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Raymond, Arthur Wilmot (1892–1954)

by Alan Fraser

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 16, (MUP), 2002

Arthur Wilmot Raymond (1892-1954), medical practitioner and air force officer, was born on 19 September 1892 at Palmerston (Darwin), Northern Territory, son of English-born parents Wilmot Hope Raymond, telegraphist, and his wife Edith, née Castle. Arthur was educated at The King's School, Canterbury, England, Sydney Grammar School and the University of Sydney (M.B., 1915; Ch.M., 1925).

Commissioned lieutenant, Royal Army Medical Corps, British Army, on 23 March 1915, Raymond sailed for England that month. In July he was sent to the Western Front where he served as regimental medical officer in several Scottish regiments, the heavy artillery and the Rifle Brigade. He took part in a number of major actions, including the 3rd battle of Ypres and the British retreat of March 1918, and was twice wounded. Promoted temporary captain in March 1916 (substantive September 1918), he was awarded the Military Cross (1917) and Bar (1918) for rescuing wounded men in hazardous circumstances.

In 1919 Raymond resigned his commission. After undertaking postgraduate medical work in London, he returned to Australia in August 1920. At St Stephen's Presbyterian Church, Sydney, on 2 November 1921 he married Jessie Lauraine Kidd, a trained nurse. He qualified in surgery (1925), then practised at Winton, Queensland. Moving to rooms in Wickham Terrace, Brisbane, he accepted positions in the General and Children's hospitals.

With war again threatening, Raymond obtained a commission as surgeon lieutenant, Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve, in March 1939. He grew impatient at the lack of an overseas posting and transferred to the Royal Australian Air Force on 19 February 1940 as a flight lieutenant in the Medical Branch. Appointments to various Australian-based units prompted him to write to England, inquiring about a return to the R.A.M.C., but nothing came of it.

Raymond's superiors in the R.A.A.F. were impressed by his abilities and promoted him squadron leader in October 1941. He continued to long for active service. Eventually, in August 1944, he was given command of No.22 Medical Clearing Station, Aitape, New Guinea. In the landing at Labuan, Borneo, in June 1945, he went ashore under enemy fire with the preliminary reconnaissance party and selected a site for his unit. His clearing station was operational within twenty-four hours. He was promoted wing commander in January 1945. For his consistent devotion to duty, courage and resourcefulness, he was appointed O.B.E. (1946). Late in 1945 he fell ill with heart disease, but recovered sufficiently to serve with the R.A.A.F. component of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force, Japan, in 1946. He was demobilized from the air force on 8 September 1948.

'Doc' Raymond was a friendly and unpretentious man who knew when to disregard regulations. He resumed private practice in Macquarie Street, Sydney, and served part time as principal medical officer, Eastern Area, R.A.A.F., until April 1952. Survived by his wife, two sons and two daughters, he died of a coronary occlusion on 17 January 1954 at Roseville and was cremated with Anglican rites.

Select Bibliography

  • AWM 64 and 165 (Australian War Memorial)
  • WO 338, 339 and 389 (National Archives of the United Kingdom)
  • private information.

Citation details

Alan Fraser, 'Raymond, Arthur Wilmot (1892–1954)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/raymond-arthur-wilmot-11493/text20497, published in hardcopy 2002, accessed online 24 July 2014.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 16, (MUP), 2002

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