Alan Hobbs graduated in medicine at Adelaide University in 1922 and undertook further studies in Vienna. As an honorary surgeon at the Royal Adelaide Hospital for 23 years he was respected by his colleagues and remembered by his patients for his compassion and understanding.
In 1940 Hobbs joined the AIF and served in the ill-fated Malayan campaign, during which his abilities as a war surgeon were recognised and he was mentioned in dispatches. With the fall of Singapore Alan Hobbs became a POW in Changi Prison. Later he was transferred by ship to work in Burma. As Chief Surgeon in the main POW base camp and later on the Burma section of the Thailand to Burma Railway he performed miracles in the most primitive conditions, often risking his own life to shield a prisoner from brutal punishment or execution.
His obituary in the Chronicle concluded with ‘His service in Burma stamps the name Alan Hobbs indelibly in the annals of Australian history’.