Dr. Nigel Basil Gresley ABBOTT

ABBOTT, Nigel Basil Gresley

Service Number: Officer
Enlisted: 7 July 1916, Adelaide, South Australia
Last Rank: Captain
Last Unit: Medical Officers
Born: San Francisco, USA, 4 May 1891
Home Town: Adelaide, South Australia
Schooling: Adelaide University
Occupation: Medical Doctor
Died: Natural Causes, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, 30 October 1978, aged 87 years
Cemetery: Cornelian Bay Cemetery and Crematorium, Tasmania
Derwent Gardens Aust. Imp. Forces Arch 11 3C
Memorials: Adelaide Grand Masonic Lodge WW1 Honour Board (1), Hackney St Peter's College Honour Board
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World War 1 Service

7 Jul 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Adelaide, South Australia
4 Nov 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Captain, SN Officer, Medical Officers
4 Nov 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Captain, SN Officer, Medical Officers, HMAT Bakara, Adelaide
29 Jan 1920: Discharged AIF WW1

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 Excerpt from Blood Sweat and Fears: Medical Practitioners and Medical Students of South Australian who Served in World War 1. Courtesy of the Authors

Nigel Basil Gresley Abbott was born in San Francisco on the 4th May 1891 the son of Dr Charles T Abbott, of Tasmania, and Susanna Evelyn, nee Beitsch.  His father had left Australia in 1883 and returned to Sandy Bay, Tasmania after the 18th May 1906 San Francisco earthquake. He reported that his wife was in poor health and his sons were still in trauma from the shock of the event. He later received a Letter from Congress on behalf of the President and Congress of America for his contribution to the relief of the population after the disaster. Later the family moved to SA to live in Woodside. Abbott studied and graduated from Adelaide University in 1916 with MB BS, under the New Regulations. Abbott’s father moved to Clunes, Victoria after Abbott’s enlistment in the AAMC.

Abbott enlisted in the AIF in July 1916 with the rank of captain. He was 25 years old and single, 5ft 10ins tall, weighing 11st 2 lbs. He was described as being of medium complexion, brown eyes and dark brown hair. His prior medical experience was 3 months as an Acting   House Surgeon at the Adelaide Hospital and 8 days as a House Surgeon at Broken Hill. He indicated that his previous military experience was, in 1909, a lieutenant on probation in the Commonwealth Military Cadet Corps.  He stated he was proficient in Latin and French and could ride. He was recommended for General Duties. He departed from Port Adelaide on the 4th November 1916 in HMAT Bakara for Egypt where, on arrival, he was appointed to the 2ASH. Over the next 2 years he moved between the 2nd, 5th and 6th Field Ambulances, the Medical School at Moascar, Ismailia and lastly the 31st General Hospital at Abbassia near Cairo. He embarked from Port Said in Ormonde for London on 24th February 1919 on duty for further post graduate study. On 21st June1919 Abbott, married Bessie Drury Alcock aged 25 years at the Holy Trinity Church Lyons Tower, Hertford.  Together with a large contingent of the AAMC he sailed from England in HMAT Wahene on 14th December 1919 to Melbourne with his appointment terminated in Adelaide on 29th January 1920.  Abbott was issued with the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

After the war, at the home of his father Dr C T Abbott at Clunes his wife Bessie, on the 29th February 1920, gave birth to a son. He came to the attention of the newspapers in 1936 when he opposed the Hobart council in building the new Southport Bush Nursing Hospital. The family then returned to Hobart where he began a long and successful career as a private medical practitioner. He was also the Hobart city medical officer and the chief port quarantine officer. He was the founder of the College of General Practioners in Tasmania. His younger sibling Charles Abbott MP was Attorney General of South Australia from 1944 to 1946. Nigel Basil Gresley Abbott died in Hobart on 30th October 1978.