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Item #: OP376B-7844
AFTER EVEREST: THE EXPERIENCES OF A MOUNTAINEER AND MEDICAL MISSIONARY T. Howard Somervell 1938 2nd, 1939 3rd, or 1950 5th ed Hardcover No DJ Near Fine to Fine 4 Copies Available
By Somervell, T. Howard
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London, 1938 2nd, 1939 3rd or 1950 5th edition. 319 pp, One illustration (portrait of the author) and two maps (one double page, one full page). This is one of Hodder and Stoughton's "Black Jacket" series, produced in a smaller format than the original editions. There are no plates, and only a few simple in-text illustrations. Small beige cloth hardcover with no dust jacket. Near Fine. Has a former owner's bookplate on FEP.  

Extracts from press review in the Observer on dust wrapper flaps. "Having once seen the sufferings of India, the only possible reaction to them seemed to me that I should stay there and try to relieve them. I did so, in a thickly-populated corner of the country, and the second part of the book is an account of the doings of the Medical Mission with which I have been working ever since 1923." - from the author's preface.

Autobiography of the doctor on Everest 1922 and 1924, and other climbs. He reached 28,000' on Everest, and came back to India after the first climb as a medical missionary. [Neate S142.] 

T. Howard Somervell was born on 16th April 1890 at Kendal, Westmoreland, England, the son of W.H. Somervell, later (from 1918 to 1930) the Treasurer of the London Missionary Society. He was educated at the Leas School, at Rugby and at Cambridge where he took a science degree. He trained and qualified, in 1915, as a surgeon at University College Hospital, London. From 1915 to 1918 he served at the West Lancashire Casualty Clearing Station in France where his most harrowing experience was dealing with the many thousands injured in the Battle of the Somme.

Somervell was a gifted artist and musician, but his chief passion was climbing mountains. He climbed extensively in the Lake District, Scotland and the Alps and, in 1922, was selected to join a British expedition, led by Brigadier General C.G. Bruce with George Mallory and others to climb Mount Everest.
 
The team had reached 27,300 feet when the deaths of seven Sherpas forced an early retreat. Somervell determined to use his freed time to see more of India and traveled south to Travancore and to the LMS hospital at Neyyoor where he spent some weeks assisting the sole surgeon with urgent surgical work.
 
On his return to England he made the decision to become a medical missionary, and was accepted for service at Neyyoor. He arrived at Neyyoor in the Autumn of 1923 but he was already committed to join the 1924 British expedition to Everest and it was agreed he should be given the time to go. The expedition reached a height of 28,000, but lost two leading climbers, Mallory and Irvine.

By September 1924 Somervell was back at work at Neyyoor and in the following year brought out his new wife, Margaret Hope Simpson. In 1926 he became Superintendent of the Neyyoor Hospital, and of the South Travancore Medical Mission where he was stationed until 1945.

Dr Somervell was awarded the Kaiser-i-Hind gold medal for his medical work in India in 1938. He resigned from the LMS in 1945 for family reasons but was reappointed in 1948 and remained in India until his final retirement in 1954. Much of this final period of Somervell's career was spent at the Vellore Christian Medical College. Somervell died at Ambleside in the Lake District in 1975.
 
He wrote a number of books. His After Everest; the experiences of a mountaineer and medical missionary, first published in 1936, was probably the most widely read.

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