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Brig. John Alexander Sinton (Jack) VC, OBE, DL, FRS, MD, DSc, MB, BCh
2d 12mo 1884 in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada [ s193 s1371 ]
25 March 1956 in Cookstown, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom [ s193 ]
28 March 1956 in Claggan Presbyterian Churchyard, Cookstown, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom [ s739 ]
Born 10d 3mo 1858 - Died 28 September 1933
Born 13 July 1861 - Died 29d 7mo 1943
Born 15 October 1891 - Died 1 October 1978
19 September 1923 in Kasauli, Bengal, India [ s1457 ]
 Child 1
Born 9 December 1924 - Died 15 January 2017
Ancestral View
With the death of John, this branch of the Sinton family tree comes to an end.
Jack Sinton V.C. 1947Brigadier John Alexander Sinton, V.C. 1884 - 1956
Photograph by Charles H. Halliday, Belfast © 1947
British Army Brigadier InsigniaInsignia of a British Army Brigadier

Headstone of John A SintonHeadstone at Claggan Presbyterian Churchyard, Cookstown,
Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland

Photograph © 2005 Maurice Mehaffey
Painting of Capt. Sinton attending wounded soldierPainting of Capt. Sinton attending a wounded soldier
at Orah Ruins, Mesopotamia.

The original is in the Army Medical Services Museum, Aldershot, England

London Gazette 1916Victoria Cross MedalVictoria Cross at the Army Medical Services Museum, Aldershot, England
Slaghtfreedan Lodge, Cookstown
Slaghtfreedan Lodge, CookstownSlaghtfreedan Lodge, Cookstown, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland

British Columbia Birth Registrations
Name: John Alexander
Birth Date: 2 Dec 1884
Birthplace: , British Columbia, Canada
Gender: Male
Father's Name: Walter Lyon Sinton
Mother's Name: Isabella Mary Pringle
Date of Registration: 29 Dec 1884
Film Number: 2114957
Digital Folder Number: 4401550
Image Number: 458
British Columbia Archives Film Number: B13808
Registration Number: 84-09-003432
[RFSS Mar 2011]

1901 Census record taken on Sunday, 31 March.
Residents of a house 8 in Ballygomartin Street, Belfast (Shankill Ward, Co. Antrim)
 SurnameForenameAgeSexRelation to headReligion
1SintonIsabella39FemaleHead of FamilyPresbyterian
 BirthplaceOccupationLiteracyMarital StatusSpecified Illnesses
1Co. ArmaghHouse KeeperRead and writeMarried-
2Co. TyroneGPO BelfastRead and writeNot Married-
3CanadaScholarRead and writeNot Married-
4CanadaScholarRead and writeNot Married-
5CanadaScholarRead and writeNot Married-
6Co. ArmaghScholarRead and writeNot Married-
7Co. AntrimScholarRead and writeNot Married-
8Co. ArmaghMachine FitterRead and writeNot Married-
[RFSS Jun 2010]

VC, OBE, DL, FRS, HonMD, HonDSc, MB, BCh, BAO, DPH (Cambridge & Belfast), JP
High Sheriff of Tyrone
Russian Order of St. George
Mentioned in Despatches six times

While a Captain with the Indian Medical Service, Indian Army, he was awarded the Victoria Cross with the following citation:

"On 21 January 1916 at Orah Ruins, Mesopotamia, Captain Sinton attended to the wounded under very heavy fire and although he was shot through both arms and through the side he refused to go to hospital, remaining on duty as long as daylight lasted. In three previous actions he had also displayed the utmost bravery."

He later achieved the rank of Brigadier General.

His VC is located at the Army Medical Services Museum, Aldershot, England.

For more detail on this and other VCs click on the following link J. A. Sinton

[RFSS July 2005]

The Royal Society

John Alexander Sinton (1884 - 1956)

John Alexander Sinton is the only man ever to have been both a holder of the Victoria Cross and a Fellow of the Royal Society.

Sinton was born in Canada but returned with his family to their native Ulster in 1890. Educated at Nicholson Memorial School, Lisburn and then at Belfast Royal Academical Institution he went on to study medicine at Queen's University, Belfast.

In 1911 Sinton entered the Indian Medical Service, serving with the military branch from 1912. It was in 1916, during service as a medical officer to an Indian cavalry regiment serving in the Mesopotamian Campaign, that he saw the military action that led his receiving the Victoria Cross. Sinton's citation reads that he showed "most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty. Although shot through both arms and through the side, he refused to go to hospital, and remained as long as daylight lasted, attending to his duties under very heavy fire. In three previous actions Captain Sinton displayed the utmost bravery."

Sinton transferred to the civilian branch of the Indian Medical Service in 1921, researching malarial parasites, treatment and immunity. In 1925 he was appointed the first director of the malaria survey of India at Kasauli, which was to become one of the chief centres of malaria research.

Sinton retired from the Indian Medical Service in 1936 continuing his research at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and at the malaria laboratory of the Ministry of Health. During the Second World War he was recalled to the Indian Medical Service as a reservist, commanding a hospital in India. He was then appointed successively as consultant malariologist to the East African Force, the Middle East Command and finally to the War Office. After the war he retired to Cookstown, Northern Ireland where he continued to be actively involved in Queen's University and in his local community.

Sinton's contributions to malarial research led to many honours and awards. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1946. His scientific achievements were summarised in his citation: "It is doubtful if any other author during the last thirty years ... has contributed more largely and importantly to scientific knowledge of malaria or has worked more originally and assiduously to advance such knowledge." Altogether a remarkably courageous and tenacious individual.

Sinton's medals are on display at the Army Medical Services Museum.

The 'London Gazette' and 'Royal Society' items supplied by Robert Vint, grand-nephew of John Alexander Sinton.

[RFSS July 2005]

Ulster's Victoria Cross Heros by Steven Moore

Next March marks the 50th anniversary of the death of an Ulster hero whose genius and dedication were responsible for saving thousands of lives.

John Alexander Sinton, winner of a Victoria Cross almost 90 years ago, didn't just fight his nation's two-legged enemies. As an expert in tropical diseases, particularly malaria, he pioneered treatment and prevention, saving countless lives among the Allied troops in the Second World War in particular.

Although born in Victoria, Canada, in 1884, his parents were of Ulster stock - his father from Co. Down and mother Co. Armagh - and he was sent back home as a boy to be educated, attending the Nicholson Memorial School (now Christ Church Parochial Hall in Lisburn), the Royal Belfast Academical Institution and finally Queen's College in Belfast.

He graduated with first class honours in medicine and later added a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor in Surgery and Bachelor in Obstetrics to his CV. He worked at the pathology department at Queen's, held an appointment at the School of Tropical Medicine in Liverpool and posts at the Royal Victoria and Mater hospitals in Belfast.

His military connection began after he joined the Indian Medical Service in 1911, being appointed medical officer to the 31st Bengal Lancers, and was on active service at the North west Frontier when the First World War broke out in 1914.

As part of the Mesopotamian Expedition Force he soon found his skills in treating tropical diseases in great demand as it was illness, rather than the Turks or rebel Arabs, which was claiming the most lives among his men.

But on January 21, 1916, he found himself - not for the first time as three previous occasions when he showed tremendous courage are mentioned on his medal citation - at the sharp end at Orah Ruins, Sheikh Sa'ed, Mesopotamia. Captain Sinton, then 31, was attending the wounded under heavy fire when he was himself hit a number of times.

Despite being shot in both arms and through the side he refused to go to hospital but remained in the firing line to treat others until nightfall. He was mentioned in despatches a further four times before the war's end and again twice more for actions in Afghanistan and Waziristan on his return to India.

Among the other honours bestowed on him was an honorary degree of doctor of medicine from Queen's University "in recognition of his early distinctions and of his valour in the field while engaged in the treatment and succour of the wounded" and, in 1921, the OBE.

After returning to civilian life he worked in medical research in India, particularly the treatment of malaria, up to 1938 when he retired. The start of the Second World War, however, saw his recall. He served as Quartermaster to a military hospital in India, then consultant malariologist, initially to the East African forces and later those serving in the Middle East.

In 1944 he was appointed to a similar role with the War Office because of an outbreak of malaria among the troops in Sicily and Italy.

Retiring at last from military service, with the rank of brigadier, he settled in Cookstown, Co. Tyrone, where he occupied at various times the roles of Justice of the Peace, Deputy Lieutenant of the county, High Sheriff for Tyrone, Queen's University Pro-Chancellor and president of the Cookstown RBL.

Following his death on March 25, 1956, at the age of 72, he was buried with full military honours at Claggan Cemetery.

Such was the esteem with which Brigadier Sinton was held, a tradition started in which the old soldiers of Cookstown Royal British Legion gathered at his graveside on the eve of Remembrance Sunday to pay homage.

A small housing block for ex-service couples, built by the Royal British Legion Housing Association, was named in his honour, as was one of the Halls of Residence at Queen's.

Fittingly, his Victoria Cross is displayed at the Army Medical Services Museum at Aldershot.

Author, Steven Moore, is a News Letter journalist.

Transcribed from an article which appeared in the 'Ulster Scots' newspaper 28 May 2005.

[RFSS July 2005]

The images from the Army Medical Services Museum, Aldershot were kindly supplied by the Curator, Capt. (Retd.) P. H. Starling, DHMSA, FRHistS.
[RFSS Apr 2007]

The meanings of the letters after his name are :-
VC - Victoria Cross
OBE - Officer of the Order of the British Empire
DL - Deputy Lieutenant
FRS - Fellow of the Royal Society
MD - Medicinae Doctor - Doctor of Medicine
DSc - Doctor of Science
MB - Medicinae Baccalaureus - Bachelor of Medicine
BCh - Baccalaureus Chirurgiae - Bachelor of Surgery
BAO - Baccalaureus in Arte Obstetricia - Bachelor of Obstetrics
DPH - Department of Public Health
IMS - Indian Medical Service
JP - Justice of the Peace
India Marriages 1792-1948
Groom's Name: John Alexander Sinton
Groom's Birth Date: 1885
Groom's Age: 38
Bride's Name: Edith Seymore Steuart Martin
Bride's Birth Date: 1893
Bride's Age: 30
Marriage Date: 19 Sep 1923
Marriage Place: Kasauli, Bengal, India
Groom's Father's Name: Walter Lyon Sinton
Bride's Father's Name: Edwin Steuart Martin
Groom's Marital Status: Single
Bride's Marital Status: Single
Bride's Previous Husband's Name:
Indexing Project (Batch) Number: M75052-4
System Origin: India-EASy
Source Film Number: 527568
Reference Number: ?
[RFSS Mar 2011]
[ s193 ] Ancestral File - THE SINTON FAMILY - Page 1-13 Ref. 33c - Walter Lyon Sinton / Lulu Bell Sinton / John Ronald Howard Greeves / Robert Francis Speers Sinton / Ann Heacock Sinton - Version 1.01 (Feb 2003]
[ s1371 ] Birth Registration - John Alexander Sinton born 2 December 1884 in British Columbia, Canada - Film Number: 2114957, Digital Folder Number: 4401550, Image Number: 458, British Columbia Archives Film Number: B13808, Registration Number: 84-09-003432 - BR1884-02-12-JAS
[ s739 ] Cemetery Marker - Headstone, Claggan Presbyterian Churchyard, Cookstown, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom - H1956-25-03-JAS
[ s1457 ] Marriage Registration - India Marriages 1792-1948 - Marriage of John Alexander Sinton and Edith Seymore Steuart Martin on 19 September 1923 in Kasauli, Bengal, India - Indexing Project (Batch) Number: M75052-4, System Origin: India-EASy, Source Film Number: 527568, Reference Number: ? - MR1923-19-09-JAS-ESSM
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