Friday, December 23, 2011

The Greatest Singaporean Hero Part 2: Robert Kho-Seng Lim 2

The General
At the outbreak of the First World War, Lim volunteered and was assigned to the Indian Army in France as a warrant officer. His job was to drill recruits, and the young sons of Maharajas who had joined the colors objected to being ordered around by a young "Chinaman."

In 1916, Lim was allowed to return to Edinburgh for medical studies, and he received the M.B. and Ch.B. degrees in 1919. On the same year, he was commissioned Lieutenant, in the Royal Army Medical Corps.

As the Japanese attacks began, Lim founded the Chinese Red Cross Medical Relief Commission in 1937. He was the Director of Chinese Red Cross Medical Relief Corps. Its field units first saw service when the Japanese moved against Shanghai. When fighting spread along the Great Wall, Lim had twelve medical units which treated over 20,000 casualties.

By 1940, the Chinese Red Cross, under Lim's direction, operated convoys, depots, and medical units. The units, now forty-nine in number, provided treatment and nursing services for the wounded; ambulance units, each with 120 stretcher bearers, brought the wounded, who otherwise would have been left on the field to die, into makeshift hospitals. Lim had by then inaugurated a school designed to train 200 men a month as hospital attendants and stretcher bearers.

Lim built at Kweiyang the largest medical center in wartime China, and he was appointed Inspector General of the Medical Services in 1941. During 1942-1944, Lim was attached to the Chinese expedition army into Burma, where he served as the Inspector General of Medical Service.

Following the defeat of the Chinese armies in 1942, Lim accompanied General Joseph Stilwell in the retreat through Burma. The troops finally arrived in Assam, India.

He earned the friendship and admiration of Stilwell. When President Roosevelt ordered Stilwell to confer the Order of Merit upon Chiang Kai-shek, Stilwell said: ''It will make me want to throw up."Stilwell was allowed, as an anti-emetic, to pin the same decoration on Lim.

On 1945-1949, Lim was the Surgeon General and Lieutenant General, Chinese Army. He turned down the job of Minister of Health at the late 1940s.

Most information taken from NAS.

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