PETER MOND: GP who worked during the Blitz

Peter and Phyllis Mond

Peter and Phyllis Mond

First published in News
Last updated

PETER Mond – who died after being struck by a car in Chipping Norton – was a respected GP whose life took him from the poverty of the East End to the battlefields of Europe and then idyllic retirement in West Oxfordshire.

He was born Nathaniel Cohen Mond on August 21, 1916, to Hyman and Rose Mond, poor Yiddish-speaking immigrants from Poland, and the family lived in Bow in the East End.

His son, Prof David Mond, said: “They struggled to make ends meet. On more than one occasion the bailiffs came to take away furniture because of unpaid debts.”

Dr Mond wanted to leave school early like his three sisters to find work but, urged by his headteacher, he stayed on and won an £80-a-year scholarship to London University to study medicine.

Spurred by the poverty he experienced, anti-Semitic marches through the East End by Oswald Mosley’s Blackshirts, and friends who went to Spain to fight Franco’s fascists, Dr Mond declared himself a communist aged 17.

After qualifying as a doctor in 1938, he signed up for the Army but was not called up, and went on to practise in the Docklands at the beginning of the blitz.

He joined the Army in 1941 and was sent to North Africa as a doctor with an artillery regiment.

He saw service in Algeria and Egypt, and the Allied invasion of Italy, including the 1944 Battle of Monte Cassino.

In Fano he was begged by a nun to help the daughter of a mayor of a nearby village, whose leg had been shattered by an allied bomb.

Some 57 years later that woman was tracked down by Mr Mond’s daughter Jessica, who lives in Italy. Dr Mond was later “met and embraced by an elderly, plump and very voluble woman who walked with a limp,” his son said.

The emerging horrors of Soviet Communism, the “increasing sense of being an Englishman, rather than a foreigner and a Jew” and Labour’s 1945 victory cooled his Communist sympathies.

After the war, Dr Mond bought a general practice in Middlesex.

Prof Mond said: “He loved general practice, with its general parade of the human condition, and the opportunity for kindness and the alleviation of suffering.”

He met his wife, Yorkshire-raised Phyllis Holmes on a blind date. They went on to have three children – David born in 1948 and twins Richard and Jessica in 1952.

Dr Mond’s medical career included research on urinary tract infections published in the British Medical Journal and presidency of the GP wing of the Royal Society of Medicine in 1974-5.

The Monds renovated an old farmhouse in the Tuscan hills, but they decided against retirement abroad when he stood down from general practice in 1976 and they moved to Charlbury.

Both keen gardeners, they were active in the then-Council for the Preservation of Rural England.

In 1985 they moved to Chadlington. After Mrs Mond was injured in a 2001 car accident she moved to Beech Haven Care Home, Chipping Norton, and her husband moved to the town so he could visit her every day.

Dr Mond was knocked down in the town’s Co-op car park on April 4 and died at Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital on April 17, aged 96. Mrs Mond – who had dementia – died six days later, aged 92. Prof Mond believes she “gave up” after being told of the loss of her husband.

They are survived by their three children, six grandchildren and a great-grand-daughter. They will be interred together at a private service on Wednesday.

 

PHYLLIS MOND: Nature fan loved garden

PHYLLIS Mond, nee Holmes, was a devoted, mother, wife and nature lover.
She was born in 1921 in Manchester but grew up in Leeds, where she studied social sciences at Leeds University.
With the outbreak of war, she abandoned her studies for London to work as a nurse.
Her son, Prof David Mond, said: “Nursing brought out the kindness in her. I’m sure it was there before.”
She met Peter Mond – a GP – after the war. They married in November 1948 and had three children, David, Richard and Jessica.
Prof Mond said: “Their marriage was a very happy one, and formed the basis of an extremely happy home life, which their children and many friends, and their children’s friends, remember very fondly.”
He said: “She was incredibly interested in family – she was an amazing repository of family history.”
Mrs Mond devoted herself to raising their children. The couple retired in 1976 from Middlesex to Charlbury, where they indulged their love of gardening.
Prof Mond said: “To their surprise they quickly found a very rich social circle, including Alan Bullock, the historian, and his wife Nibby, and Edmund Dell, a former cabinet minister in the Callaghan government, and his wife Susie, president of the Howard League of Penal Reform.
“They were also friends with the naturalist WD Campbell, who for many years wrote a country diary for The Guardian.”
Mrs Mond died six days after her husband on April 23, aged 92.

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