My grandfather, Phillip George Markam (Originally Markeim) was born at the end of the nineteenth century, the youngest of 13 children. His father had come to England as an immigrant and in order to bring his whole family to England from their home on the Polish and Russian border, he swept the docks for pennies. He ended up running his own very successful business and made a fortune.
My grandfather falsified his age during the first world war in order to join the army. He was wounded and taken to a field hospital. In those days the poor, over worked doctors were so hard pressed to treat the patients in their care that they just amputated a limb as opposed to trying to save it. On the very first ward round of a young doctor in a field hospital in France he walked past my grandfather’s bed, and as chance would have it looked at his name on the chart. Doing a double take, as he wasn’t quite sure of the name, he asked my grandfather if he was related to the Markhams who lived in Croydon and he replied that he was. The young doctor then mentioned that his father was Doctor McQueen and if the name meant anything to him. Doctor McQueen was indeed the family doctor to the Markhams, my grandfather confirmed.
As a result of coming across one of his father’s regular patients in a field hospital in France, the young Doctor McQueen decided to take a disproportionate amount of time, attention and effort and saved my grandfathers leg. After a couple of years my grandfather walked without a limp and did so for the rest of his life!
By John Richards
Copyright John Richards 2013