About Sir Adlington George Curphey
Colonel the Hon Sir Aldington George Curphey KT, CBE, MCG, MLC, JP, Medical Doctor, President of the Legislative Council, Custos Rotulorum of the parish of St Ann, Jamaica.
Born at Aldington Cottage, St Andrew now Aldington Avenue Off Hagley Park Road, Kingston 10, on the 24th August 1880 to Thomas John Curphey who hailed from the Isles of Man and his wife Georgina (Nec Howell) a Jamaican, who operated a drug store at what is now the Kingston Parish Church. Died in Liverpool, England, 28th November 1958 while on vacation and was buried at St Matthews Church, Claremont, St Ann, Jamaica. He attended Wolmers in Kingston, York Castle High School in St Ann, medical school in Edinburgh, Scotland and finally Queens University in Canada, from where he graduated as a medical doctor, whereupon he was appointed Assistant Surgeon at a hospital in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
Upon his return to Jamaica, his first assignment was by no means an easy one, as he was appointed Medical Officer in charge of Spanish Town Hospital, the lepers’ home in 1912. He remained in the government medical service until World War 1, when he answered the call to duty in that true spirit which was typical of him during his lifetime. He served as a Medical Officer for the First Jamaica War Contingent in 1915. Later, in the same war, he served as a Surgeon of the Second Battalion the British West India Regiment in Egypt, Palestine, East Africa and the valley of Euphrates during the period 1916-1919, when he attained the rank of Surgeon Major and was awarded the Military Cross MC for outstanding surgical work in the field.
After World War 1, Colonel Curphey returned to Claremont, St Ann to practice medicine in his beloved Jamaica. His interest and involvement in public service and social welfare intensified during the period. He bought the Ramble Great House in Claremont, which remained his home until his death. In 1930 he married Ms Dovet and in 1931 he became Medical Officer in St Ann’s Bay, but did not return to Claremont until 1936. Now directly involved in many aspects of local government, he was elected President of the jamaica branch of the British Medical Association in 1937 which position he held until 1938.
With the advent of World War 2, Colonel Curphey again answered the call. He again served as Surgeon Major with the jamaica local forces and was described as a sensitive, sympathetic and more energetic than most men of his age. It was said that he was devoted to duty and had a passion for good, hard work.
The war demands on his time and energy, though great could not dampen this great jamaican commitment to public service. From 1938-1944 he served as Island Commissioner of the Bay Scout Association after the war in 1946, he served as Chairman of the committee on the settlement of World War 1 veterans, Welfare Officer for the Caribbean Forces and Chairman of the Jamaica Legion (BCEL) 1949-1958, which he helped to establish.
In 1953, he was sent to England as one of Jamaica’s official representatives at the coronation of Her Majesty the Queen. There are at least a dozen other organizations with which Sir Aldington was closely affiliated.
In 1958, this true and natural knight, was Knighted (Knight Bachelor) by Her Majesty Queen Elisabeth II at Buckingham Palace, London, England, a well earned recognition. He then proceeded to spend one of the few holidays, which his busy life had permitted him and died in England before he could return to his beloved Jamaica. His body was brought back to his island home and was buried in his adopted parish, St Ann that he served so long as well.
Colonel Curphey was honored for his service to the military when he was made Honorary Colonel of the Jamaica Regiment. Curphey Barracks in Up Park Camp and the Jamaica Legion’s Curphey Place was named in honor of this patriotic jamaican. Today Jamaica, the British Commonwealth and the world is enriched by the memory of a great citizen and soldier, Colonel, the Honorable Sir Arlington George Curphey KT, CBE, MC, MLC, JP may he be eternally blessed as we were blessed by his presence among us.
A man who could be shrewd, but never unkind
A man who would be strict, but never unfair.