Thanks to Ed O'Rear for submitting these materials.
Edgar Erskine Hume was born in Frankfort, Kentucky, on December 26, 1889, the son of Dr. Enoch Edgar Hume and Mary Ellen South.
He was graduated from Centre College, BA 1908, MA 1909; John Hopkins University MD, 1913; University of Munich, 1914; and the University of Rome, 1915. He was graduated from the Army Medical School in 1917, standing number one in his class, and commissioned a First Lieutenant, Medical Corps, Regular Army.
On July 10, 1918, he married Mary Swigert Hendrick (the daughter of John Buford Hendrick) in Frankfort, Kentucky. He served as Commanding Officer, Base Hospital No. 102, which was expanded into a composite hospital center with the Italian Army, 1918-1919. He was American Red Cross Commissioner to Serbia and surrounding territory and Director of the anti-typhus fever compaign in the Balkan States until August 1920.
He served at numerous post between the two wars.
Assigned to General Eisenhower's staff in North Africia for military government planning for the invasion of Sicily and Italy. In July and August of 1943, he was Chief of Public Health for Sicily. From August, 1943, to September, 1845, he was Chief of Allied Military Government and Assistant Chief of Staff (General Staff Corps) of the 5th Army. From September, 1845, until June, 1947, he was Chief of Military Government in the United States Zone of Austria; June, 1947 to June, 1948, Chief of the Reorientation Branch, Civil Affairs Division, Department of the Army, Washington, D.C.; and from June, 1949, Chief Surgion of the Far East Command on General MacArthur's staff. On 30 July 1950, General MacArthur appointed him Surgeon (Director General of Medical Services) of the United States Command in Korea.
His decorations include 3 Distiniguished Service Medals, 5 Silver Stars, 4 Purple Hearts, Legion of Merit, Soldiers Medal and numerous foreign decorations.
Three weeks after he retired from the US Army, General Hume died on January 24, 1952, at Walter Reed Hospital. At the time of his death he was President General of The Society of the Cincinnati. General Hume and his wife are buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
During the early afternoon of January 28, 1952, Earle C. Clements of Kentucky, rose from his seat in the United States Senate and said:
Mr. President, this afternoon there will take place at the National Cemetery at Arlington the funeral of Major General Edgar Erskine Hume, a Kentuckian, who served in the Medical Corps of the United States Army for nearly 35 years, and whose brilliant achievement and exceptional service earned for him the distinction of being the most decorated medical officer in American history.
As a man of sterling character, an illustrious international figure in the medical profession, and an officer exemplifying throughout his entire career the splendid qualities of courage, diligence, and devotion to duty, General Hume not only added luster to the fine family background that was his, but he left to present and future generations of Kentuckians a heritage of inspiration and confidence in the satisfaction, recognition, and prestige, that automatically accrue to one who fearlessly and unselfishly devotes his life and talents to the service of his country and his fellow men.
At the time of his death in Walter Reed Hospital, in Washington, January 24, 1952, General Hume, a native and much admired citizen of Frankfort and Kentucky, was perhaps one of the most distinguished, certainly one of the most highly successful officers of the Medical Corps of the United States Army. He had but recently -December 31, 1951- retired as Chief Surgeon of the Army's Far East Command, where he had seen active service in Korea from headquarters in Tokyo, Japan.
When the news of his unexpected decease, following a severe heart attack, became public, editorial note of his extraordinary achievements in the field of military preventative medicine immediately appeared in the metropolitan press of the United States. The editor of The Evening Star of Tuesday, January 29, 1952, in the nation’s capitol, not frequently given to eulogy, wrote: Washington knew Major General Edgar Erskine Hume as a man whose interests were numerous and ardently entertained. He chose military medicine as his vocation as a boy and gave it his best endeavor during nearly half a century, yet his enthusiasms never were limited to his own particular career. People of every race, nation and class fascinated him, and he spent his talents tirelessly in their service. War, he declared, is “the most terrible of all diseases,” and his activities as a soldier were consecrated to its cure. But he also fought earthquakes, volcanic disasters, floods, famines, economic dislocations, plagues and many different associated ills. Whatever made humanity miserable was the target of his corrective effort. He covered the world with his ministrations. The roster of his foreign assignments was in effect an index to global geography.
Even when he was not busy with official business, General Hume did not rest. The list of his publications reached approximately four hundred titles. He wrote histories, biographies, chronicles of science and sociology, critical and philosophical articles of wide range and profundity. His mind was keen, his heart sympathetic. He was a patriot in the same sense that Robert P. Patterson was-striving to translate national ideals into national realities. But beyond his own country there was the earth at large, and he was an alien nowhere in it. It was symptomatic of his whole life that his last important duty was that of medical chief of the United Nations forces in Korea.
Death came to General Hume suddenly and while he still had work to do; but his story is not ended. The causes he served will be continued by men inspired by his example. Somewhat previously in Kentucky -January 26, 1952- the Courier-Journal had remarked editorially under the striking caption,
WORLD IN DEBT TO A GREAT KENTUCKIAN!
Only 3 months ago this page took note of the Army's award of the Distinguished Service Medal, for the third time, to a famous Kentuckian, Maj. Gen.: Edgar E. Hume. It was an occasion to say of him that he was “by proven record one of the most valuable men in Army uniform-and, it might be added, in the world today if an influence in saving lives beyond calculation is the basis of judgment.”
Nothing more may be said, of course, now that this native of Frankfort is dead. But it should be repeated. As chief surgeon of the Far East command and medical director-general of the U. N. in Korea, General Hume headed a service which reduced the death rage from combat wounds to 1.8 percent. In World War I, the rate was 8.1 percent; in World War II, 4.5 percent. In war and peace, on mission and in active service (he was a three-time Purple Heart wearer), he had gone about a conquest of disease and death. Forty foreign nations had given him, for his triumphs over epidemics among them, medals, orders, and professional degrees.
About the same time (January 29) the editor of the Lexington Leader wrote:
In the death of Maj. Gen. Edgar Erskine Hume, former chief surgeon of the Far East Command and a veteran of both world wars, the state of Kentucky has suffered the loss of one of her most distinguished sons. General Hume, who became chief surgeon in June, 1949, was named subsequently to the additional post of surgeon of the United Nations Command in Korea. Last ~ovember he retired after nearly 35 years of army service. Only a few days ago General Hume, as President General of the Society of the Cincinnati, had presented the patriotic organization's membership badge to Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
General Hume had been instrumental in combating diseases all over the world. In 1919 he fought the typhus epidemic in the Balkans and used this knowledge, together with DDT to halt another typhus epidemic in Naples, Italy, in 1913. From that time until 1941, he supervised health for the United States Zone of Austria.
Early in World War II, he was assigned to General Dwight Eisenhower's staff in North Africa and later headed the military governments in Naples, Milan, Rome and Florence.
These distinguished honors and high accomplishments of General Hume in health work and in combating diseases with the newest methods had enabled him to give a legacy not only to the medical science of the Army, but of this country and the world.
The state of Kentucky was always very close to the heart of General Hume and the sentimental attachment it held for him was probably nowhere shown more than in the book he wrote about Theodore O'Hara as a citizen of Frankfort: and author of “The Bivouac of the Dead.”
Of the exemplary medical and military career of “Edgar Hume,” as he was affectionately known by many friends and admirers in Kentucky, particularly in Frankfort, there is no end of colorful story. His, by nature, was the type of character that constantly increases in measure. He was designed at birth with great intellect and relentless drive. These qualities coupled with unmeasured personal courage gave him, in emergency, modern heroic mold – an international figure about whose head and shoulders fact as glamorous as fancy, has already draped itself to assure continuing luster as long as the days of man endure!
On January 31, 1952, The Sun, Baltimore, broadly reflected public opinion in its editorial entitled:
A DISTINGUISHED ARMY MEDICAL CAREER
A unique career ended last week with the death in Washington of Major General Edgar E. Hume, a graduate of the Johns Hopkins Medical School in the class of 1912.
General Hume was distinguished also as a linguist and a scholar. He was for several years librarian of the famous Library of the Surgeon General in Washington and he is credited with having produced some 200 books and papers, many of them on various phases of the history of medicine.
In addition General Hume enjoyed the reputation for being the most honored and decorated officer in the Army, or certainly in the medical branch. He wore the decorations of no fewer than 38 foreign countries. He held honorary degrees from 23 colleges and universities. He was a member of 6 Greek letter fraternities and the founder of one of them. He enjoyed honorary citizenship in 40 Italian and Austrian cities; and, to cap the climax, he was an honorary colonel in the old Royal Serbian Army.
The Johns Hopkins Medical School has produced many unusual men. But surely few, if any of them can be said to have matched the versatility of General Hume or to have covered so many parts of the world.
Maj. General George E. Armstrong, on January 25, 1952 reported in Tokyo to the Pacific editor of the Stars and Stripes, that General Hume's loss was great, saying: “In General Hume's passing we have lost one of the most outstanding men we have had in the United States Army Medical Corps. His magnificent contributions went beyond purely professional ones. In the field of international medical relationships, he has fostered good will among all military medical groups.
I seriously question whether we will ever again have such a colorful individual in our Corps and one with such multiple capabilities as had General Hume.”
The separate, frequently closely following steps by which General Hume rose to international prominence are of public record in many places, but perhaps are nowhere more accurately or concisely stated than in the biographical records of the United States Army from which the following paragraphs of date March 20, 1951, have been excerpted.
Edgar Erskine Hume was born in Frankfort, Kentucky, on December 26, 1889. He was graduated from Centre College, Kentucky, as a Bachelor of Arts, 1908, and Master of Arts, 1909; from Johns Hopkins University as a Doctor of Medicine, 1913; from the University of Munich, 1914; and the University of Rome, 1915. He was appointed first lieutenant, Medical Reserve Corps, on September 16, 1916, and detailed to the Army Medical School, Washington, D C., as a student. He was graduated from the Army Medical School in 1917, standing No. 1 in his class, and commissioned a first lieutenant, Medical Corps, RA, with date of rank from January 14, 1917.
He was promoted to captain and to major on March 28, 1918; and to lieutenant colonel (temporary) on April 2, 1918. He reverted to his permanent rank of major on June 9, 1920, and was promoted to lieutenant colonel on January 14, 1937; to colonel (temporary) on June 28, 1941; to colonel (permanent) on January 14, 1943; to brigadier general (temporary) on January 14, 1944; to brigadier general (permanent) on April 27, 1948; to major general (temporary) on 30 May 1949; and major general (permanent) on 16 November 1949.
General Hume was Parole Officer and Director of the Department of Sociology at the US Disciplinary Barracks, Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, from March to November 1917. He then was assigned to the Division of Sanitation, Office of the Surgeon General (General Gorgas), Washington, D. C., as Executive Officer, until June 1918. He was the last member of General Gorgas's staff on active service.
He then sailed for Europe, where he served as Commanding Officer, Base Hospital No. 102, which was expanded into a composite hospital center with the Italian Army, until February 1919. During the Battle of Vittorio Veneto, 1918, he served, in turn, with surgical units with the Third, Fourth, Sixth, Eighth and Twelfth Italian Armies. On temporary duty with the British Expeditionary Force in France and present at the battles of MeuseArgonne and Saint-Mihiel. He was American Red Cross Commissioner to Serbia and surrounding territory and Director of the anti-typhus fever campaign in the Balkan States until August 1920, when he returned to the United States.
In November, 1920, he was assigned as Assistant to the Commanding Officer, and later as Commanding Officer, Corps Area Laboratory, I Corps Area, Fort Banks, Massachusetts, where he served until June, 1922. During this period, on his own time, he completed the course in Public Health at Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, receiving, in 1921, the Certificate in Public Health (subsequently changed to the degree of Master of Public Health). He was also graduated from the Harvard School of Tropical Medicine, receiving the Diploma in Tropical Medicine in 1922.
He next was Assistant Librarian of the Army Medical Library, as well as Editor of its Index Catalogue, the world's standard of medical bibliography, in Washington, D. C., to April 1926. While assigned to the Library he completed requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Public Health and received that degree from Johns Hopkins University in 1924. Until October, 1930, he was Medical Inspector and Epidemiologist at Ft. Benning, Georgia. While at that post he completed the Advanced Course, Infantry School, from which he was graduated in 1928. He was Instructor in the Massachusetts and New Hampshire National Guard, Boston, Massachusetts, to September, 1932. In September, 1932, he was appointed Librarian, Army Medical Library, Washington, D. C., where he served until October, 1936, when he was assigned to the Medical Field Service School, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, as Director of Administration. After graduation from the Advanced Course in the Medical Field Service School, he continued as Director of Administration and Public Relations Officer until January 1943, when he became Commanding Officer of Winter General Hospital, Topeka, Kansas.
In April 1943, General Hume was assigned to General Eisenhower Staff in North Africa for military government planning for the invasion of Sicily and Italy. In July and August of 1943, he was Chief of Public Health for Sicily. From August, 1943, to September, 1945, he was Chief of Allied Military Government and Assistant Chief of Staff (General Staff Corps) of the 5th Army. He participated in the initial landing at Salerno, September 9, 1943. He was successively in charge of the Allied Military Government of all the large cities of Italy, from Naples to Milan, including Rome, Florence, Siena, Pisa, Genoa, Turin, Verona, etc., governing two-thirds of Italy and three-fourths of the Italian population. He was present at the battles of Naples, Anzio, Montaquila, Apennines, Po Valley, Ardennes, Rhineland and Central Europe. General Hume was the only U. S. officer who served in Italy in both World Wars.
From September, 1945, until June, 1947, he was Chief of Military Government in the United States Zone of Austria; June, 1947 to June, 1949, Chief of the Reorientation Branch, Civil Affairs Division, Department of the Army, Washington, D. C.; and from June, 1949, Chief Surgeon of the Far East Command on General MacArthur's staff. On 30 July 1950, General MacArthur appointed him Surgeon (Director General of Medical Services) of the United Nations Command in Korea.
From 1925, General Hume was the United States Correspondent for the International Congresses of Military Medicine and delegate to their meetings at Paris, in 1925; London, 1929; The Hague, 1931; Brussels, 1935; Mexico, 1936; Bucharest, 1937; Washington, D. C., 1939; Basle, Switzerland, 1947; Stockholm, 1948; Monaco, 1950. He also represented the United States at other international scientific congresses.
He was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, with the following citation:
“For exceptionally meritorious and distinguished service as chief medical officer and later as commissioner of the American Red Cross in Serbia, February, 1919 to June, 1920. With untiring energy, unremitting devotion to duty, and with rare administrative and professional skill, he organized and operated an American sanitary service, reorganizing hospitals, dispensaries and dressing stations for soldiers and civilians alike, and successfully combating an epidemic of typhus fever which had caused the death of 80~ of the Serbian doctors. From June, 1918 to February, 1919, in direct charge of an American base hospital which was later expanded by the addition of an Italian hospital into a composite hospital center in the Italian war zone, he rendered professional services of a highly conspicuous character.”
An Oak Leaf Cluster to the Distinguished Service Medal was conferred upon him, with the following citation:
“Brigadier General Edgar E. Hume rendered exceptionally meritorious and distinguished service to the Allied Military Government, Fifth Army, in Italy from June, 1943 to April, 1945. Directing the organization and establishment of civil administration in areas under control of the Fifth Army, he supervised the public finances and courts of law, and he skillfully directed the control of public health, the preservation of civil order and the administration of schools. He assured the protection, during battles and troop movements, of archives and works of art, he supervised the resumption of critically necessary agriculture operations, and despite the havoc left by the withdrawing enemy, the speedy restoration of public utilities. He solved extremely complex problems involved in the regulation, movement and care of several hundred thousand refugees and displaced persons, and in the provision of food for the whole civil population of the Fifth Army Area. Through his outstanding accomplishments, General Hume contributed substantially to the success of military operations in Italy and brought public confidence and respect on the functions of the Allied Military Government.”
He held the Silver Star with four clusters.
The citations follow:
“Edgar Erskine Hume, Lieutenant Colonel, Medical Corps, for heroism in action on 3 November 1918 near Asolo, Italy. While commanding Base Hospital 102 (composite hospital center) he received information of the urgent need for surgical assistance for American and Italian wounded during the battle of Vittorio Veneto. He immediately organized several surgical teams for service with the Third, Fourth, Sixth, Eighth, Tenth and Twelfth Armies, respectively, himself assuming active charge of the whole group. He directed their work during the final campaign which resulted in the defeat and collapse of the enemy. During this period he was constantly exposed to danger but he freely risked his life to carry out the humanitarian mission which he had voluntarily undertaken. He continued this service until he himself was wounded, though he refused to be returned to the rear until other wounded men had been evacuated. The example set by his gallant conduct greatly aided in maintaining the morale of our soldiers and those of our Allies.”
“For extraordinary heroism in action on October 1, 1943, in the City of Naples. Colonel Hume, in charge of the Allied Military Government Section of the Fifth Army, in a light vehicle, entered the City of Naples ahead of the forward Allied tanks, and formally took over the city in the name of the Allied Forces. The city was known to be full of hostile guerrillas, mined, booby-trapped, and was still under fire from German artillery, But Colonel Hume proceeded with utter disregard for his own personal safety, exposing himself to enemy action. By his coolness and courage in voluntarily accomplishing this vital mission, materially hastened the effective occupation of Naples.”
“For gallantry in action against an armed enemy of the United States on the afternoon of 3 June and the morning of 4 June 1944, while serving as Chief of Allied Military Government. This officer in order to reach Rome and establish military government with the least possible delay, pushed his group forward from their camp at Littoria, and brought them to the Rome Area. In order to do this it was necessary for him to pass through heavy fire of the enemy and the extensive street fighting that was then in progress on the outskirts of the Italian capital. Fearlessly exposing himself, he achieved his objective at the risk of his life, his bravery setting a splendid example to his subordinates and others.”
“For gallantry in action on April 22-23, 1945, at Modena, Italy. As officer in charge, it was General Hume's responsibility to set up effective Allied Military Government in the cities and towns of the Fifth Army Area of Italy, as fast as captured. On April 22, 1945, accompanied by his aide-de-camp and a non-commissioned driver, he proceeded in a jeep from Bologna to the important city of Modena. On account of the rapid advance of our troops in this area, no information was available as to whether that city had been cleared of the enemy. Realizing the extreme importance to the Allied effort of early creation of military government, General Hume did not hesitate. At the entrance of Modena an officer in command of several armored vehicles informed him that active fighting was still in progress in the city. Nevertheless, General Hume and his companions pushed forward without delay, amid machine-guns and small arms fire, passing several street barricades, and met with local Partisan leaders at one of these guarded points. General I-Hume, his aide-de-camp and the driver, were the first Allied personnel to enter Modena. Having obtained valuable information, General Hume withdrew to return early on the following day. The city was still the scene of extensive street fighting and it was necessary for the party to pass three times through the fire-swept streets in order to reach the headquarters of the Partisans. There General Hume met a column of German and Fascist prisoners being escorted by Partisans to a prisoner of war cage. The excited civilian crowd was shouting for the immediate execution of the prisoners. General Hume, on foot, and calling on his aide and driver to assist him, joined the moving column, and sought to dissuade the mob. The column, still accompanied by General Hume and his associates, reached the center of the city, where it was suddenly met by a party of German infantry who opened point blank fire. Though unarmed, General Hume stood his ground, although several men near him were killed or wounded, and remained until the enemy's party had been broken up. Thereafter, General ]Hume proceeded to the City Hall, and formally set up Allied Military Government. Leaving the building he again passed through the line of fire in the street. This officer's fearless conduct was an inspiration to his subordinates and to the Italian Partisans, and resulted not only in his accomplishing his important mission, but probably saved the lives of disarmed prisoners of war from instant execution.”
“Major General Edgar Erskine Hume, 04033, Medical Corps, United States Army, Surgeon, United Nations Command, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry in action during the period 18 October to 21 October 1950. General Hume, voluntarily and without regard for his safety, made daring flights in light unarmed aircraft over enemy held territory within the range of enemy fire to visit frontal areas and obtain vital information concerning the medical requirements for the treatment and evacuation of wounded United Nations' personnel. While in these areas and under constant threat of enemy fire, he made his way through the front-line medical stations to coordinate personally activities in connection with existing medical problems. His untiring devotion to duty and presence in the forward areas not only inspired the members of the Army Medical Service to greater achievements, but contributed materially in aiding the United Nations' effort in the Korean campaign and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service. Entered Federal service from Kentucky.”
The Legion of Merit was awarded to General Hume, with the following citation:
“For exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of out-standing services in Italy from April 21 to May 2, 1945. As Assistant Chief of Staff, G-5, Headquarters Fifth Army, Brigadier General Hume, acting with keen foresight and astute judgment, effected the peaceful disarmament of approximately 3,500 heavily armed Italian. patriots in the city of Bologna following its capture. With an understanding and finesse born of wide experience, Brigadier General Hume arranged a colorful and dignified public ceremony to effect the disarmament of the patriots while extending to them formal and official recognition for their accomplishments in behalf of the Allied cause. This resourceful action successfully resolved a delicate problem and removed a potential source of serious interference with the progress of Fifth Army operations at a critical time. Upon assuring himself that the governmental organizations within the city and province of Bologna were functioning at a high level of orderly efficiency, Brigadier General Hume proceeded to the city of Modena while guerrilla fighting was still in progress there and established a firm city government. Then in rapid succession he visited Milan, Turin and Genoa, solving with great skill and tact, the numerous problems confronting his agencies in those localities. Under his efficient direction, the governments of thirty provinces, with a civilian population of approximately twenty million, were administered with conspicuous success. The governmental establishments organized by Brigadier General Hume throughout the occupied area successfully and expeditiously carried out the restoration of law and order. The distribution of food, the control and movement of displaced persons and the establishment of judicial tribunals for the prompt disposition of charges against persons accused of fascist crimes. His respected advice, based upon his thorough knowledge of economic and financial conditions in Italy, was instrumental in averting a major industrial dispute which easily could have developed into general and riotous street fighting. Brigadier General Hume's rapid and efficient execution of the numerous responsibilities assigned to his organization materially contributed to the successful occupation of Northern Italy by the Fifth Army.”
He was awarded the Soldier's Medal, with the following citation:
“Senior Civil Affairs Officer, Region III, Allied Military Government, Fifth Army, for heroism. at Naples, Italy, on October 7, 1943. On October 7, 1943, the explosion of a time bomb placed by the Germans before their withdrawal six days previously, caused the destruction of a part of the main Post Office building at Naples, Italy. Upwards of a hundred people were killed or wounded, including many women and children. Brigadier General Hume, who was in his office across the street at the time of the explosion, immediately rushed to the scene of the disaster. He helped to organize firstaid for victims, himself assisting in the work. When it was found that several people were trapped in the cellar or turned under the corner of the wrecked building, and attracted by the screams of two women therein, he descended a hastily made ladder into the still-smoking cavity and, with the help of an Italian civilian, managed to bring five wounded persons to the street level, by means of ropes and an improvised hammock. This act involved great personal risk and ii: was thought that other German bombs in the building might explode at any time, and that toxic gas might he in the others. After three men and two women, one of whom died shortly thereafter of injuries sustained, had been brought to the surface, Brigadier General Hume gave them medical care. While this was going on and before ambulances could arrive, a part of the damaged building collapsed, partly filling the crate into which Brigadier General Hume had just. descended. His presence of mind, extreme personal courage, and professional skill saved the lives of these unfortunate people, while risking his own.”
His decorations include the Bronze Star with “V” and three clusters. Following are the citations:
Bronze Star Medal for services rendered throughout the Sicilian Campaign :
“Colonel Edgar Erskine Hume, Medical Corps, Army of the United States, Number O-4033, assigned to this headquarters by telegraphic orders from NATOUSA of date 17 June 1943, served in the field during the campaign in Sicily from the landings in July to date. During this period his work in military government necessitated his presence in the battle areas during combat against troops of the Axis powers. While so serving he rendered highly meritorious duty, and his conduct in posts of danger set a valuable example to his subordinates and to others among Allied troops. Colonel Hume was under fire in Messina, Sicily, from enemy artillery located on the Italian mainland, during the present month, after active fighting elsewhere in the island had ceased.”
“On the morning of June 4, 1944 the troops of the Fifth Army captured Rome quickly occupying the city. Accompanying the Army Commander was Brigadier General Edgar Erskine Hume, Assistant Chief of Staff for Allied Military Government. Under General Hume's leadership Military Government was set up immediately, public offices being taken over without delay. A part of the duties devolving upon this officer was supervision of the police work performed by Italian Carabinieri and Finance Guards, who had been brought into Rome under his command. While a group of Finance Guards were engaged in this work, a group of Fascist troops opened fire upon them killing one man outright and wounding several others. General Hume, who was with this group at the time, exhibited great personal bravery, encouraging the men and directing their return fire. In this way the Fascists were captured and order restored. This officer's good example was of material benefit to the U. S. Forces, in that it occurred at the outset of our occupation and was widely and favorably reported both officially and unofficially.”
“For heroic achievement in connection with military operations near Florence, Italy, on August 27, 1944. During the severe street fighting at the northern outskirts of Florence between German troops and Allied soldiers, aided by Italian partisans, the Germans held the Coreggi Area, where a number of Italian prisoners were confined. These people, after long privation and suffering, had discovered a sewer leading out of the camp, and attempted to crawl through it to safety. They had to emerge from a manhole located between the Allied lines and the German camp, and in full view of the enemy on the high ground some 300 yards away. The escaping Italians were so weakened by their hardships that after crawling through the sewer they were, in many instances, unable to ascend the ladder at the other end. Brigadier General Hume, in charge of Allied Military Government, Fifth Army, was present when the escape was being attempted. With another American officer and an American enlisted man he voluntarily left shelter and walked fearlessly into the open in order to aid these unfortunates. By this time German small arms and machine gun fire were centered on the manhole and on the evacuation area in general. As a result, there were casualties, some fatal, on the Allied side. Despite this, Brigadier General Hume, disregarding his own safety, continued to work in the fire-swept area until the escape was completed, and in addition gave medical aid to the wounded both before and after they were removed from the place of danger. One wounded man was killed by a German sniper while being given help by Brigadier General Hume. The undertaking of this very hazardous humanitarian activity, in no way required of General Hume, reflects great credit on the Army of the United States and did much to establish good relations between the people of Florence and the Allies.”
Oak Leaf Cluster for Bronze Star for services as Assistant Chief of Staff, G-5, Fifth Army, 4 May to 10 August 1945, for exceptional merit and achievement in the complicated and difficult administrative procedures incident to the closing out of Allied Military Government in Northern Italy, and the setting up of Italian officials to assume duties theretofore performed by General Hume's efficient organization.
The citation for the Navy Bronze Star, awarded to General Hume in July, 1944, follows:
“For distinguishing himself by heroic achievements while establishing Allied Military Government in the occupied port of Salerno during the amphibious invasion of Italy on September 10, 1943. Exercising great initiative and resolve, Colonel Edgar E. Hume landed during the initial stages of the assault with a joint military and naval reconnaissance party in order to promptly set up responsible local government in the port of Salerno after its evacuation by the enemy. While passing along a mined beach one member of the party detonated a land mine, the explosion of which knocked this man unconscious and apparently caused him severe injuries. Colonel Hume, at the risk of his own life, unhesitatingly entered the mined area, assisted the injured man to safety and administered effective medical aid. He then proceeded to carry out his mission successfully, reaching his destination despite continual enemy shellfire, aerial attack along the approach routes and the known danger of mines and other land obstructions blocking his path.”
The Air Medal was awarded in December 1950 with the following citation :
“Major General Edgar Erskine Hume, 04033, Medical Corps, United States Army, distinguished himself by meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flights over enemy held territory in Korea, during the period 6 October to 27 October 1950. In carrying out his mission as Surgeon of the Far East Command, General Hume made numerous flights in light aircraft and helicopter, traveling at low altitudes within range of enemy antiaircraft weapons and small arms fire, to reach forward areas. General Hume's aircraft, always subject to the possibility of sufficient ground action to result in its destruction, was struck, on one occasion, by enemy fire. His exemplary actions in making these flights reflect credit upon himself and the military service.”
In May 1947, General Hume was awarded the Typhus Commission Medal, with the following citation:
“Brigadier General Edgar Erskine Hume, GSC, rendered meritorious service in connection with the work of the United States of America Typhus Commission in the control of the epidemic of typhus at Naples, Italy, during the period December, 1943 to February, 1944. Occupying a position of great responsibility in charge of Allied Military Government for the Campania, in which region Naples was the principal city, General Hume assisted in the initiation of investigation of the typhus outbreak and supported the control measures which rapidly brought this dangerous epidemic to a close. Distinguished for his work against typhus in Serbia after the previous war, General Hume added to his renown through his part in the control of the epidemic at Naples in World War II.”
Purple Heart with three Oak Leaf Clusters awarded for wounds received in action at the battles of Vittorio Veneto, Italy, 3 November 1918; Salerno, Italy, 9 September 1943; Montacluila, Italy, 27 December 1943; and Seoul, Korea, 7 October 1950. Commendation Ribbon with three Oak Leaf Clusters awarded for services rendered in the War Department, 1941 (Major General Searles); at the Medical Field Service School, 1942, (Major General Magee); at Winter General Hospital, 1943, (Major General Uhl); in U. S. Zone of Austria, 1945, (Major General Brann).
Allied Military Government, Fifth Army, serving under his command, was awarded the Cross of War Merit by the Minister of War of Italy on 17 November 1945 in recognition of its valuable services to Italy 1943-1945.
He received numerous honorary degrees from American and foreign universities, including one from the University of Paris (the Sorbonne), and was the author of some 400 books and papers on scientific and historical topics. He was an honorary citizen of many Italian and Austrian cities. He was President of the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States in 1947-48, and President General of the Society of the Cincinnati. He was a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American College of Surgeons, the American College of Physicians, the Royal Society of Edinburgh and other learned societies, including the Academies of Medicine of Washington, Rome, Madrid, Rio, Lima, Mexico, and Buenos Aires. He was a Diplomate of the American Specialty Boards for Neurology, for Internal Medicine, and for Preventive Medicine and Public Health. He was a Grand Officer of the Legion of Honor, Commander of the Order of the British Empire, the Military Order of Savoy, and held many other foreign decorations.
With a border of deep black and its great seal -the strident American Eagle endorsed in pure white, the patriotic society of descendants of the Officers of the Revolution issued the following card of mourning for General Hume:
The Society of the Cincinnati announces with deepest regret the death of its President General
EDGAR ERSKINE HUME Major General, United States Army, Retired January 24, 1952, at Washington, D. C. Admitted to the Virginia State Society in 1913 John Fulton Reynolds Scott Secretary General.
General Hume became a member of the Kentucky Historical Society upon attaining his majority, and for a number of years was a member of the Executive Committee and one of the vice presidents. He was always deeply interested in the success of the Society, having made many contributions to the library and museum, and for some years had been an honorary member.
Anonymous: Edgar Erskine Hume. Pp. 206-07 Who's Who in Kentucky. Standard Printing Co., Louisville, Kentucky. 1938. Biographical sketch.
Edgar Erskine Hume. Pp. 80-81. Who's Who Among Physicians and Surgeons. New York. 1938.
Edgar Erskine Hume. V., Pp. 315-19. Current Biography. New York. Wilson Co. 1944. Biographical sketch.
Edgar Erskine Hume. 6 TW. Mg. Pp. Department of the U. S. Army. Washington, D. C. February 3, 1949.
Authentic civil and military biography.
Major General Edgar Erskine Hume. P. 1205. American Men of Science. Lancaster, Pennsylvania. 1949.
Biographical sketch, national and international achievements, honors, medals, writings.
Maj. Gen. E. E. Hume Dies in Washington. P. 1. The State Journal. Frankfort, Kentucky.
January 24, 1952. News story.
Maj. Gen. Edgar Erskine Hume, 62, Native of Frankfort, Dies. P. 2. The Leader. Lexington, Kentucky. Thursday, January 2~, 1952. News story.
General Hume, Leading Army Doctor, Dies. P. 1, Sect. II. Courier-Journal. Louisville, Kentucky. January 25, 1952. News story.
Whole Assembly Adjourns After Major-General Hume Dies. Courier-Journal. Louisville, Kentucky. January 25, 1952. News story.
Famed Army Doctor Dead: Maj. Gen. E. E. Hume Was Frankfort Native. The Times. Louisville, Kentucky. January 25, 1952. News story.
A Distinguished Army Medical Career. The Sun, Baltimore, Maryland. January 31, 1952. Editorial.
Doctor and General. The Leader. Lexington, Kentucky. January 28, 1952. Editorial.
World In Debt to a Great Kentuckian. Courier-Journal. Louisville, Kentucky. January 26, 1952.
General Hume. The Evening Star. Washington, D. C. January 29, 1952. Editorial.
Edgar Erskine Hume. Pp. 1208-07 (1952) Who's Who in America. Marquis & Co.
Chicago, Illinois. 1924-1952.
Armstrong, George E. (Maj. General): Armstrong Terms Hume Loss Great. Pacific Ed., Stars and Stripes. January 25, 1952. Eulogistic remarks.
Bliss, R. W. (Maj. Gen. M.C., USA): Letter to Maj. General Edgar Erskine Hume, Tokyo, Japan, April 8, 1951.
Surgeon General USA commends high function of Medical Dept. of army in Japan and Korea. This letter appreciative of the preventative medical achievements of the M. C. under General Hume was broadly distributed through the Far East Command by order of General Douglas McArthur.
Carmac Donie: Educating the Conquered to Democracy is in the Hands of a Kentuckian. The Courier-Journal, P. 12, Sec. 3. Sunday. Louisville, Kentucky. December 7, 1947.
Col. Hume's army reorientation work in Germany, Austria, Japan and Korea.
[Carr, Elizabeth]: Edgar Erskine Hume: Bibliography. 50 TW. Mg: Pp. Washington, D. C. 1949.
Lists 490 titles including reprints.
Clements, Earle C. (Senator): Major General Edgar Erskine Hume. Pp. 524-526. Congressional Record, Vol. 98, No. 13. Washington, D. C. Monday, January 28, 1952.
Biographical remarks, verbatim army record, death notice in Washington Evening Star, January 24, 1952, and editorial in Louisville Co2Lrier-Journal, January 26, 1952.
Martin, Lorenzo W.: Arch Enemy of Germs and Germans: Major Edgar Erskine Hume, etc. Sunday Courier-Journal (Feature Section) Louisville, Kentucky. May 19, 1918. World War I magazine story.
McChesney, Harry V.: Major Edgar Erskine Hume. Pp. 46-53. Port. The Register of The Kentucky Historical Society, Vol. 19, No. 56. Frankfort, Kentucky. May, 1921. Biographical sketch.
Scott, John Fulton Reynolds. The Society of the Cincinnati. [Washington, D. C.,1 Formal mourning card for President General Edgar Erskine Hume.
Frankfort, Kentucky February 25, 1952
A note from the
submitter, Ed O'Rear:
Would you be so kind as to consider including my granduncle Major General E. E. Hume, whose decorations included 3
Distinguished Service Medals, 5 Silver Stars, 4 Purple Hearts, Legion of Merit, and the Soldiers Medal. He claimed, incidentally, to be the only officer wounded in all three wars (WWI, WWII, and Korea). He was awarded his 1st DSM when he was only a major, which is a rather rare distinction in itself.
The followingis one of my favorites, for which he received a bronze star:
“For heroic achievement in connection with military operations near Florence, Italy, on August 27, 1944. During the severe street fighting at the northern outskirts of Florence between German troops and Allied soldiers, aided by Italian partisans, the Germans held the Coreggi Area, where a number of Italian prisoners were confined. These people, after long privation and suffering, had discovered a sewer leading out of the camp, and attempted to crawl through it to safety. They had to emerge from a manhole located between the Allied lines and the German camp, and in full view of the
enemy on the high ground some 300 yards away. The escaping Italians were so weakened by their hardships that after crawling through the sewer they were, in many instances, unable to ascend the ladder at the other end. Brigadier General Hume, in charge of Allied Military Government, Fifth Army, was present when the escape was being attempted. With another American officer and an American enlisted man he voluntarily left shelter and walked fearlessly into
the open in order to aid these unfortunates. By this time German small arms and machine gun fire were centered on the manhole and on the evacuation area in general. As a result, there were casualties, some fatal, on the Allied side. Despite this, Brigadier General Hume, disregarding his own safety, continued to work in the fire-swept area until the escape
was completed, and in addition gave medical aid to the wounded both before and after they were removed from the place of danger. One wounded man was killed by a German sniper while being given help by Brigadier General Hume. The undertaking of this very hazardous humanitarian activity, in no way required of General Hume, reflects great credit on the Army of the United States and did much to establish good relations between the people of Florence and the Allies.”
HUME, EDGAR ERSKINE
MAJOR GENERAL MED CORPS U S A
- DATE OF BIRTH: 12/26/1889
- DATE OF DEATH: 01/24/1952
- BURIED AT: SECTION 6 SITE 5801
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard