Alan Frank HOBBS MID

HOBBS, Alan Frank

Service Numbers: SX10761, Officer
Enlisted: 3 September 1939
Last Rank: Major
Last Unit: 2nd/4th Casualty Clearing Station
Born: East Marden, South Australia, 31 January 1899
Home Town: Fitzroy, Prospect, South Australia
Schooling: Prince Alfred College, Adelaide, and the University of Adelaide,South Australia
Occupation: Surgeon
Died: Illness, South Australia, 14 January 1993, aged 93 years
Cemetery: Centennial Park Cemetery, South Australia
Memorials: Ballarat Australian Ex-Prisoners of War Memorial
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World War 2 Service

3 Sep 1939: Enlisted Australian Military Forces (Army WW2), SX10761
27 Nov 1945: Discharged Australian Military Forces (Army WW2), Major, Officer, 2nd/4th Casualty Clearing Station
Date unknown: Enlisted Australian Military Forces (Army WW2), Major, SX10761

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Biography contributed by Annette Summers


1899 - 1993

Alan Frank Hobbs was born in East Marden, South Australia, on 31st January 1899. He was the son of James Harris Hobbs and Mary Eliza, nee Pitts. He was educated at Prince Alfred College and studied medicine at the University of Adelaide where he graduated MB BS in 1922. He undertook his residency at the Adelaide Hospital. He studied surgery at the Adelaide Hospital and travelled to England to further his training in surgery. He married Mabel Rose James, daughter of Thomas White James and Rosanna Mary, nee Pavy of East Marden, on 15th January 1924. He was admitted a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons, in 1928, and of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in 1939. 

Hobbs enlisted on 3rd September 1939 when he was living at Payneham Road, SA. He was allocated to the newly formed 2/4th Casualty Clearing Station (CCS), in late 1940.  With 2/4th CCS he spent some time in Singapore and then proceeded to Malaya in February 1941 and remained there for the rest of 1941. They moved to Seremban, Malaya, in May 1941.  During this year he dealt with many medical rather than surgical patients and led an active social life. This changed in January 1942 when the Japanese invaded Thailand and Malaya. Hobbs described in his diaries receiving new battle casualties and casualties from motor vehicle accidents.  He was working with the 3rd Indian Corps evacuating patients through the 5th CCS. With Major Sydney Krantz he operated on 36 Australian, British and Indian patients in one day. The high surgical activity continued, from 16th to 26th January 1942, when he was sent to Johore Bahru, Malaya. After two days of virtually continuous operating, set up in an old mental hospital, he was sent to Bukit Panjang English School for Malays on Singapore Island. He comments in his diary the “Battle for Singapore” commences and describes in detail the bombing and gunfire all around him. On the 8th January he notes “Japs landed on Singapore Island”. They were instructed to evacuate 400 patients to several medical institutions on 11th February 1942. Hobbs was now allocated to Cathay Singapore General Hospital. Singapore surrendered to the Japanese, on 15th February 1942, while Hobbs was operating and the hospital was bombed. He was taken prisoner but continued to work in the hospital until his transfer to Roberts Barracks on the 8th March. He described the conditions of their living, the sickness and their care of the wounded in his diary. Hobbs was transferred to Burma with 3000 prisoners, arriving on 20th May 1942. Throughout his time as a prisoner of war in Burma and on the Burma/Thailand railway Hobbs maintained his diary describing the appalling conditions in which they lived and worked.  He continued to care and treat fellow prisoners with Major Sydney Krantz and Colonel Norman Eadie. Little is known about his experiences from December 1942 until 30th August 1945 when he passed through Bangkok on his way back to Australia.  He was discharged from the Army on 27th November 1945.  Hobbs was mentioned in Despatches, on 6th March 1947, for his service as a prisoner of war.

Hobbs returned to the Royal Adelaide Hospital following WW2 as an honorary consultant surgeon as well as maintaining a private practice. He retired from the Royal Adelaide Hospital in 1963.  His wife Mabel died in 1973 and he remarried in 1976 to Lawrie Margaret Pfeiffer. Alan Frank Hobbs died on 14th January 1993.


Blood, Sweat and Fears III: Medical Practitioners South Australia, who Served in World War 2. 

Swain, Jelly, Verco, Summers. Open Books Howden, Adelaide 2019. 

Uploaded by Annette Summers AO RFD