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Tolkien Lecture Series

Tolkien Lecture: Professor Sir Simon Wessely

On Tuesday 6 November 2018 the eighth Tolkien Lecture of the series was given by Professor Sir Simon Wessely.

The title of Professor Wessely's lecture was "Why are the British still obsessed with the First World War?: The Story of Shell Shock". We looked at the broader perspective of one hundred years of shell shock - from the Somme to Jeremy Kyle.

Following the lecture, the third and final instalment of films produced by Elliot (2006) and Zander (2009) Weaver to commemorate the centenary of the First World War premiered. This film tells the story of Old Edwardian John Osborn Walford, who was awarded the Military Cross twice in 1918 but succumbed to shell shock and took his own life in 1922.

Professor Sir Simon Wessely is the Professor of Psychological Medicine at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, at King’s College London, and Consultant Psychiatrist at King’s College Hospital and the Maudsley Hospital (part of the Academic Health Sciences Centre). He practices what is known as liaison psychiatry, investigating the boundaries and overlaps between physical and mental health. He is also the former President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the current President of the Royal Society of Medicine.

In the mid 90's following the rise of 'Gulf War Syndrome', he and Professor Dandeker of the KCL Department of War Studies, established the King’s Centre for Military Health Research, a collaboration between psychiatry, medicine, history and war studies, and of the Academic Centre for Defence Mental Health (ACDMH), a partnership between the Ministry of Defence and King’s College London, in which serving military medics are seconded to the unit to carry out research and teaching in military mental health.

Professor Sir Simon Wessely