notification Created with Sketch. CORONAVIRUS: We are still taking precautions to keep you safe Coronavirus (Respiratory infections) Update

A reception in memory of Commander Sir Jameson Boyd Adams KCVO, CBE, DSO, RD

We had great pleasure in hosting a reception at the Royal Society of Medicine in memory of Commander Sir Jameson Boyd Adams KCVO, CBE, DSO, RD. Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence KCVO, CB, CSM, ADC joined us for the private unveiling of the plaque at King Edward VII’s Hospital. The Reception at the RSM honoured Sir Jameson’s amazing philanthropic contribution to the Hospital and marked the launch of a specifically funded ‘Sir Jameson Adams Pain Management Programme’, building on the success of the Pain Management Programme since its inception in 2017 to support even more veterans in 2024, the year of the Hospital’s 125th anniversary.

Stained Glass Window in Memory of Sir Jameson Boyd Adams 

Sir Jameson’s remarkable life and legacy are detailed below in this article, but this occasion was to mark his contributions to King Edward VII’s Hospital. After his retirement, Adams served as the honorary appeals secretary for King Edward VII’s Hospital for Officers in Marylebone, London. During his tenure at the hospital, he successfully raised funds equivalent to £16 million in today’s money. This significant amount greatly supported Armed Forces veterans, a mission and ethos that remain integral to our organisation today.

“He possessed a magic touch for money-raising, born of a conviction that the special care of the retired officer in illness was a paramount duty of all who had benefitted from that officer’s courage and valour in time of war.”

The original unveiling was in 1963. Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester unveiled a memorial window which was erected by the council of King Edward VII’s Hospital for Officer, Sister Agnes Founder, to perpetuate the memory of Adams. The ceremony was brief and attended by a small number of people, but the window was later placed in the entrance hall of the hospital’s Beaumont House.

King Edward VII Hospital © Gary Morrisroe Photography From left to right: The emblems of the Royal Navy, Army, Royal Air Force and Merchant Navy in stained glass in the reception of King Edward VII’s Hospital

Until recently, the memorial window bore no mention of Sir Jameson Boyd Adams. However, this changed on Tuesday, June 11, 2024, with a ceremony reminiscent of the original unveiling. This intimate event, attended by Adams’s Grandchildren, Great Grandchildren and great great Grandchildren – being three generations of his direct family, and kindly presented by Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence unveiling the newly established plaque. The plaque, now installed beneath the stained-glass window in the main reception of King Edward VII’s Hospital, ensures Adams’ legacy is rightly honoured.

From left to right: Tim Adams (Grandson), Miranda Seel (Granddaughter), Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence KCVO,CB,CSM,ADC, Hermione Grassi (Granddaughter), Caroline Cornell (Granddaughter), Peter Adams (Grandson)

You can donate to the ‘Sir Jameson Adams Pain Management Programme’ by clicking the donate button below.

Donate Now

About Sir Jameson Boyd Adams KCVO, CBE, DSO, RD

The career of Sir Jameson Adams by any standards was remarkable and indeed unparalleled. Sir Jameson was born in 1880 in Rippingale, Lincolnshire and in 1914 he married Phebe Carnac Thompson Fisher who was born in 1888 at Ashdown Park, Sussex.

Away from the Pole, he was an adept fundraiser, administrator, and war hero; albeit frankly spoken, modest but tempered with his mischievous sense of humour and self-devotion to his country. He always greeted his many friends as ‘mate’ and they in turn called him ‘The Mate.’

Sir Ernest Shackleton (left) and Sir Jameson Boyd Adams eating a Sandwich prior to their departure in 1907 to Antarctica on the Nimrod

He began his early career by serving in the Merchant Navy from 1893 before joining the Royal Naval Reserve in 1895.

He served in both Wars: in 1914 he became Flag Lieutenant to Admiral Hood who commanded the Dover Patrol, after which Sir Jameson was posted to Flanders to command a battery of naval siege guns. A bad wound to the head necessitated his return in 1917, and he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order and the Croix de Guerre for his services. In the second world war, in 1939, he was posted to the Contraband Control first in Aden and later in Gibraltar.

Sir Jameson met Ernest Shackleton in 1906, and during the meeting Shackleton discussed his intended expedition to the Antarctic in which Sir Jameson was keen to be included. In 1907 Adams was offered a permanent commission in the Royal Navy under Admiral Hood, however almost simultaneously Shackleton invited Adams to join the Nimrod Expedition and he didn’t hesitate to accept.

That same year Shackleton, and Adams as second in command, set off to the South Pole, however after seventy days and being 97 miles from the Pole, Shackleton decided that due to lack of supplies, they should retrace their steps.

Sir Jameson Boyd Adams on his way to a Wedding

On his return from the Antarctic in 1909, he entered the Civil Service, and then in 1914 began active service in the Royal Navy, until at Lloyd George’s personal request he was recalled and in 1915 he joined the Ministry of Munitions where his special work helped turn around the War effort.

In 1918 he took command of the Northern Division of The Ministry of Labour, and subsequently, in 1922 became general manager of employment exchanges. During this period, he also devoted his spare time to the Boys Club Movement. In 1928 he was created C.B.E and in 1935 the Prince of Wales set up The King George’s Jubilee Trust and he was appointed as its first Secretary. He remained with the Trust until his retirement in 1948, when he was Knighted in the Royal Victorian Order.

Sir Jameson escaped near death on three separate occasions – If Shackleton had delayed his decision to turn back, then they would not have made it. Secondly, when they returned to where the Ship was anchored in the South Atlantic, and found that she had already set sail, they set fire to one of the huts, and the smoke was seen from the Vessel and so she then turned about. Thirdly, when Admiral Hood led the Battle Fleet into action at Jutland if the ‘Mate’ had joined him, he would have gone down with the ‘Invincible.’

Lord Boothby said Adams ‘was a man whose regard I would rather have had than that of anyone else in the world: Loving and loveable; courageous and kind; trenchant and humorous; rough and tender; pirate and saint; a life of selfless devotion to the service of others; and, underlying it all, a heart of pure gold. You can hardly beat that.’

Sir Jameson arrived at the King Edward VII’s Hospital in 1949, in his capacity as Honorary Secretary of the King Edward VII’s Appeals Office, where he remained there until his death in 1962. When he was appointed, he inherited a huge financial problem, so he set about urgently raising funds and single-handedly raised over half a million pounds in 13 years, being equivalent to about £16,000,000 in today’s money (2024).

The stained-glass window behind the reception desk was dedicated as a memorial to Sir Jameson and was unveiled in 1963, having been commissioned by his colleagues.