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Biographical entry Johnson-Gilbert, Ronald Stuart (1925 - 2003)

OBE 1976; Hon FRCS 1987; BA Oxon; Hon FFARCS 1983; Hon FDSRCS 1987; Hon FRCSI 1989.

14 July 1925
23 April 2003
Administrator and College secretary


Ronald Stuart Johnson-Gilbert, or 'J-G' as he was known with affection throughout the College, was our secretary from 1962 to 1988. He was born on 14 July 1925, the son of Sir Ian A Johnson-Gilbert CBE and Rosalind Bell-Hughes, and was proud to be a descendant of Samuel Johnson. He was educated at the Edinburgh Academy and Rugby, from which he won an exhibition in classics and an open scholarship to Brasenose College, Oxford.

During the second world war he served in the Intelligence Corps from 1943 to 1946 and learnt Japanese. On demobilisation he became a trainee with the John Lewis partnership for a year and then joined the College on the administrative staff in 1951, becoming the sixth secretary in 1962, having previously been secretary of the Faculties of Dental Surgery and Anaesthetists. He worked under 13 presidents, from Lord Porritt to Sir Ian Todd, bringing to everything he did an exceptional administrative skill, an ability to write succinct and lucid prose, an unrivalled knowledge of the most arcane by-laws of the College and above all an unruffable charm.

He served as secretary to the board of trustees of the Hunterian Collection, the Joint Conference of Surgical Colleges and the International Federation of Surgical Colleges. He was the recipient of the John Tomes medal of the British Dental Association, the McNeill Love medal of our College and the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons medal. He served the Hunterian Collection as a trustee for 10 years.

A skilled golfer, his other interests included music, painting, literature and writing humorous verse. He married Anne Weir Drummond in 1951 and they had three daughters, Clare, Emma and Lydia. He died on 23 April 2003.

Sources used to compile this entry: [RCS Bulletin Sept 2003, with portrait.].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England