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Reserve Forces & Cadets Association
Northern Ireland



19 October 2015

A Belfast Army Reserve Centre has been renamed in recognition of a former NI soldier with the Army Medical Corps who was to become globally famous for development of the first ever portable defibrillator – a device which has saved countless lives since first being used in the mid 1960’s.

Professor Frank Pantridge CBE MC was born in Hillsborough, County Down in 1916 and served as a Lieutenant in the Second World War. Taken hostage in the fall of Singapore he spent time as a POW forced to work on the infamous Burma Railway.

After studying for a time in the USA at the end of the war he returned to Northern Ireland’s Royal Victoria Hospital and to Queens University Belfast. His first portable defibrillator was installed in a Belfast ambulance and later refinements were to come into use around the world. He passed away, aged 88, on Boxing Day 2004.

The newly named Pantridge Army Reserve Centre is home to 253 (North Irish) Medical Regiment which has strong links with the medical world in Northern Ireland. The official re-naming ceremony was performed by the Lord Lieutenant of Belfast, Fionnuala Jay-O’Boyle who explained to guests that her uncles were treated on the front line by Royal Army Medical Corps troops and who went on to live full lives.

Commanding Officer Lt Colonel Jamie Baxter said the work of Professor Frank Pantridge is not recognised enough by the international audience and he hopes in a small way that the naming of the Army Reserve Centre in Belfast will go some way to rectifying that.