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Recognition at last for the ‘black doctor of Paddington’

16 July 2014

A determined doctor who overcame bigotry and prejudice to help others during the First World War has been honoured with a heritage blue plaque.

As a gifted doctor, John Alcindor only wanted to help with the war effort – but he was rejected by the Royal Army Medical Corps in 1914 because of his ‘colonial origin’.

Brushing aside this cruel snub, Dr Alcindor instead joined 90,000 others in signing up as a British Red Cross volunteer.

He spent the war helping wounded soldiers at London railway stations as they returned from the battlefields – and was awarded a Red Cross Medal for his life-saving work.

Inspirational character

A long-term resident of Paddington, Dr Alcindor became a senior district medical officer for the area following the war.

Renowned for his devotion to patients, whatever their origin or race, the celebrated ‘black doctor of Paddington’ died in 1924.

And today, finally – on the 100-year anniversary of the start of the war – the good doctor is getting the recognition he deserves.

“Dr. Alcindor’s achievements in the medical and military fields, as well as his ardour for service and racial equality, serve as a testament to the impact one can have on society regardless of origin. We hope his story can serve to inspire future generations,” said Mrs Reshma Bissoon-Deokie, Acting High Commission for Trinidad and Tobago.

Maryanne Burton, British Red Cross head of volunteering, added: “Dr Alcindor was a remarkable man, and we were very fortunate to benefit from both his medical expertise and determination to help others.”

The blue heritage plaque was organised by the Nubian Jak Community Trust, which was set up in 2004 to commemorate historic black figures. The organisation has erected numerous plaques around the UK.

Learn more about our work during the First World War.

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