Washington University School of Medicine Oral History Project

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Major Fred T. Murphy
Major Fred T. Murphy on the deck of the S. S. St. Paul en route from New York to Liverpool. Murphy, a professor of surgery at Washington University, was appointed director of Base Hospital 21 when it was formed in 1916 under the sponsorship of the Red Cross. Major J. D. Fife, of the Medical Corps of the Regular Army, took command of the unit the week prior to its sailing to England in May 1917. Fife led Base Hospital 21 until October 18, 1917, when he was ordered to the office of the Chief Surgeon of the A.E.F. Murphy, who had been director of the medical work, resumed command of the unit at that time. On May 15, 1918, Murphy was transferred to the A.E.F. and later became head of the Medical and Surgical Service of the Red Cross. After the war Murphy was faced with deciding whether to continue teaching and practicing surgery or to return to Detroit and administer his family's trust. Though Murphy opted to administer the Murphy Family Trust, he maintained his membership in various surgical organizations until his death in 1948.