Some apparently unimportant event often turns out to be the decisive factor in shaping the course of a man’s life. So it was with Davie Campbell when he accepted an invitation to spend a few months abroad. Though he little realised it at the time, this was to be the turning point of his life.
In the late spring of 1914, Professor Lumnitzer, an eminent surgeon from Budapest, approached the University of Edinburgh with an invitation for a student to give English lessons to his son who was to study medicine there. Davie Campbell was the one who accepted.
And so, one fine day, Davie Campbell arrived in Budapest. He looked round the crowded Central Station. Sándor, his pupil, was supposed to meet him but was nowhere to be seen. ‘He must have forgotten,’ thought Davie. Deciding not to wait, he took his suitcase and climbed into a cab, handing the address written on a piece of paper to the cabby. The cabby, of course, did not speak English.
Meanwhile, the Lumnitzer family sat down to a late lunch. They were waiting for their guest’s arrival from England. At last the two young men turned up at the same time but not from the same place. Sándor had gone to meet Davie at the Western Station.
The family consisted of the surgeon himself, his sister and his two children, who affectionately referred to their aunt, as did everyone else, as ‘Enyi Mama’. That charming 1ady looked after Sándor and Manci after their mother's death, and loved them as a mother would have done. She took to the young Irishman at once, making him feel at home, and a member of the family. Professor Lumnitzer, the surgeon at the Red Cross Hospital, included the two students in his daily round of visits at the hospital and allowed them to observe his operations. This afforded them a great opportunity to gain practical medical experience. Sándor and Davie soon became good friends and the summer started in a happy round of work and fun.