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Feature Articles - Dr Theodore Stewart Lukis M.D. M.R.C.P. and the Lukis Trophy 1885-1915

Dr Theodore Stewart Lukis M.D. M.R.C.P.

Tonbridge School

Theodore Lukis attended Tonbridge School, Kent.  Little is known about his activities there - just bare facts gained from the School Records.  He entered Park House in September 1899 together with 65 other boys and was awarded a Junior Scholarship worth 150 at St Bartholomews Hospital Medical College.  Lukis left Tonbridge in the summer term, July 1902.

Medical Career

Lukis entered St Bartholomew's Hospital Medical College in September 1902 for his pre-clinical course.  In 1904 he gained a scholarship in Science, as had his father many years previously.  He qualified M.B. B.S. in 1910.

In 1912 he was awarded the Gold Medal for his M.D. at London University and became a Member of the Royal College of Physicians of London (M.R.C.P.) in 1913.  After house-jobs at Barts he was an assistant physician at the Childrens' Hospital Great Ormond Street.  Then followed 12 months of research into blood disorders.  He was then appointed assistant physician at the Queen's Hospital for Children (later to become known as the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for Children) in Hackney Road, Bethnal Green.

Lukis was also a teacher at his old medical school and took an active part in its social life.  According to contemporary reports he was obviously a popular figure and it is clear that Theodore Lukis was on the brink of a brilliant medical career.

The Boy Scout Movement and Toynbee Hall

At the time of the Boer War the British Government had been shocked by the poor state of health of male youth, many of whom were unfit to enlist and bear arms for their country.

One solution was to encourage the setting up of youth groups for enhancing both physical and mental health.  Public Schools were urged to form Officer Training Corps which would practice drill and learn military lore.  The Boy Scout Movement was founded by the hero of the siege of Mafeking, Colonel Robert Stephenson Baden-Powell in 1907.

The Movement however was aimed at the working classes.  Troops sprouted in depressed areas of the great cities.  Weekend and summer camps were often the only occasions for the majority of these lads to see the country.  Through the Scout Movement boys (and later girls) would be exposed to upper and middle class values, taught discipline, citizenship and loyalty in the service of their country.

Scout troops sprung up, started by boys who would then search for a leader and a meeting place.  The troops would become attached to local churches, schools and clubs.

In the East End of London the Scout Movement had been preceded by the Settlements.  These were essentially meeting places for working class youth to channel their energies.  They were staffed by volunteers from universities and public schools.  The first of these settlements was Toynbee Hall in Commercial Street, founded by the Rev. Arthur Barnett in 1883.

Theodore Lukis became deeply involved both in Toynbee Hall and the Boy Scout Movement.  I suspect that he was drawn to help after seeing the extreme poverty and hopelessness around him during his time at St Bartholomews and at the Children's Hospital in Bethnal Green.

Whilst still a medical student Lukis had become involved with the work of Toynbee Hall.  He founded one of the first scout troops in East London.  The 1st Hoxton Troop of the Baden-Powell Scouts started with six boys from Scrutton Street School, Hoxton.  The troop made Toynbee Hall its home and became one the main attractions of the settlement.  The troop flourished and it was selected by the Chief Scout as the most efficient troop present at the Earls Court Rally in 1909.

From contemporary reports we know that Theodore Lukis had a strong influence over the boys with whom he came into contact, often becoming a friend and father figure.

In 1911 Lukis gave up the majority of his scouting commitments when he left Toynbee Hall to go into medical residence.  Hospital house staff in those days were expected to be available 24 hours a day for six month at a time.

The First World War

When the First World War was declared in summer 1914 Lukis was in camp with his old scout troop.  He became instrumental in founding a Scouts' Company in the 13th Battalion, (Princess Louise's Kensington Rifles), The London Regiment.

More than eighty Scouts - "Old Scouts" and Scoutmasters - joined him in the Battalion.  It is said that Lukis and his scouting friends marched to the local recruiting office to enlist.  Initially Dr Lukis joined with his friends in the rank and file of The London Regiment.  However it must have soon become evident to his seniors that he was medically qualified and he was gazetted to the rank of lieutenant on 15 December 1914.

The 2nd Battalion remained in England for basic training until the end of 1914.  Lukis together with his fellow officers attended a concert in honour of the Kensington Territorials on 1st January 1915.  General Cory, commanding officer of the Division to which Lukis' unit belonged, said in his address that "He prayed God that the War would not last long enough for his hearers to be called upon for active service."

At this time the 1st Battalion was already engaged in action near Neuve Chapelle.  Tragically Cory's hopes were proved futile.  Theodore Stewart Lukis suffered severe shrapnel wounds at "Port Arthur", Neuve Chapelle on 12th March 1915 and died in No. 7 Base Hospital at Boulogne 15th March.  He was gazetted Captain on 13th March 1915.

Lukis had been carried to the rear by Lance-Corporal (and Assistant Scoutmaster) E. Barsted who was one of the original six scouts from Scrutton Street School.  Also carrying Lukis was J. Farrow who was himself wounded during the action.

And so after a military career lasting barely 9 months Lukis was buried in France.  The War Office Commemoration Records reads:

In Memory of
Captain Theodore Stewart Lukis
13th Kensington Bn., London Regiment
who died age 29 on Monday 15th March 1915.

Captain Lukis, Son of Sir Pardey and Lady Lukis of 147, Victoria Street. Westminster,
London. M.D. Lond.
Remembered with honour
Boulogne Eastern Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France

A memorial service for Lukis was held at Toynbee Hall.  Lukis' name appears on the commemorative notice in the Barnett Library at Toynbee, which lists residents that were lost in the 1914-18 War.  He was the first of his colleagues to be lost.

The Lukis Trophy

In the Headquarters Gazette of the Scout Movement, December 1915, there is a small notice of the intent to set up a memorial to be called "The Lukis Trophy".  The aim was to reward ordinary scouts for their effort and not necessarily for their individual success.

The competition was to be based on scouting work (First and Second Class badges) and camping skills.  Scoutmasters were asked to collect a penny from each of their boys in the hope of raising 50 pounds.  This sum was to be used "to cover cost of hiring, carting and firewood, and to other administrative expenses."  Thus nearly 90 years later the Lukis Trophy is still in existence and keenly sought after.

Looking Back

The Army personnel file of Theodore Lukis was destroyed by German bombing in the Blitz.  A few documents were stored elsewhere and I quote from a letter from Theodore's father to the family lawyer:

"As regards the Toynbee memorial, I think I have already written on the subject.  If the Toynbee people wish to start a memorial, by all means let them do so, but I will not join in.  I feel too bitter on the subject, and shall never forgive them for seducing Theo away from his proper vocation, and making him squander on their schemes the allowance I gave him to enable him to keep up his position at Boots.

His has been a wasted life and I can find no justification, for a medical man, who gives up his profession of healing, in order to endeavour to kill his fellow creatures, even though they be enemies.  God knows there is work enough, of the proper kind, to be done nowadays by doctors and Theo would have been far more useful to his fellow creatures if he had stuck to his profession and gone out to one of the Field Hospitals.

I quite agree with you when you say you have never known any good to come of a changed profession, and I am rubbing this in to Clairmont, who is now stopping with us."

The resentful tone of the letter raise several points.  Charles Lukis was himself a military doctor and knew all too well the conditions at the Front in France.  He must have been aware of the horrendous mortality rates at the time.  The letter emphasises the association of Theodore Lukis' relationship with Toynbee Hall and with his father's obvious disapproval.  I should expect that this disapproval was not just for Toynbee but also for Scouting and the poor.

Theodore Lukis was born in 1885 and was 5 when his father left for India.  There is no available record of his life before he entered Park House, Tonbridge in 1899.  In all probability he was cared for in his early years by servants.

By the age of 7 he would have returned to England to attend a preparatory school with overall responsibility given to a guardian, often a relative or the family lawyer.  Mother and father living thousands of miles away would have had little influence on their son but it is likely that the relationship was formal and cold.  Not surprising was Lieut-General Lukis' attitude of disapproval towards his brilliant son.  We can only surmise what lay behind the bitterness of Charles Lukis' words.

Sir Charles Pardey Lukis 1857-1917

Sir Charles Pardey Lukis (1857-1917) qualified in medicine from St. Bartholomew's Hospital and became a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons (FRCS) in 1890.  He entered the Bengal Army the same year and spent the rest of his professional career in India.  In 1910 he was appointed Director-General of the Indian Medical Service with the rank of Surgeon General.  He was promoted to Lieutenant-General in 1916.

Amongst Lukis' appointments were Hon. Surgeon to the Viceroy in 1905, Professor of Medicine and Principal of the Calcutta Medical College, and Hon. Surgeon to the King in 1913.  He was the author of a number of books on tropical medicine and the first editor of the Indian Journal of Medical Research.

Charles Lukis died in India on 22 October 1917 leaving his widow (a daughter of Colonel John Stewart, R.A.,) a son (elder brother of Theodore) and three daughters.

I gratefully acknowledge the help I have received from Beverley Matthews, librarian of Tonbridge School, Samantha Searle, Assistant Archivist of St Bartholomews Hospital, Patricia Styles, Archivist at The Scout Association, Kate Bradley of Toynbee Hall, Gary Saunders of the 22nd Hampstead Sea Scouts, The Royal College of Surgeons, Raymond Batkin of Plymouth and James Bardrick of Surrey.

Contributed by Dr Melvyn H. Brooks (formerly 71st Hackney Scout Troop), Tel Shalom, Karkur, Israel 37000, e-mail: brooks@netvision.net.il

Inscription on the Lukis Trophy

The Lukis Trophy
Presented by
Mrs C. Scaramanga-Ralli
To the
East London Boy Scouts
In loving memory of
Captain T S. Lukis M.D.
2nd Battalion 13th London Regiment
A pioneer Of Scouting who fell gloriously near Neuve Chapelle
March 15th 1915

'Kitchener's Army' comprised Men recruited into the British Army a result of Lord Kitchener's appeal for volunteers.

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