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Biographical entry Marsh, John David (1925 - 2004)

MRCS and FRCS 1956; BA Cambridge 1946; MB BChir 1949; MA 1950; MChir 1959.

8 April 1925
Chorley, Lancashire, UK
25 January 2004
Warwick, Warwickshire, UK
General surgeon


John Marsh was a consultant surgeon to the South Warwickshire NHS Trust. His father, Alfred Marsh, was a general practitioner in Chorley, Lancashire, where John was born on 8 April 1925. His mother was Dorothea Maud née Saywell. From the Terra Nova Preparatory School in Southport he won a scholarship to Clifton College, and from Clifton a minor scholarship to Clare College, Cambridge. He went on to St Thomas’s Hospital for his clinical studies, where he won the London prize for medicine.

After house jobs under R H Boggon and R W Nevin, he entered the RAMC and spent his two years National Service at Tidworth. From there he returned to be senior house officer at the Henry Gauvain Hospital at Alton under Nevin, did a casualty post in Salisbury and was resident surgical officer at the Hallam Hospital, West Bromwich. Having passed his FRCS, he returned to be assistant lecturer on John Kinmonth’s surgical unit at St Thomas’s. He spent the next three years on rotation to the Royal Waterloo Hospital and Hydestyle, before becoming senior registrar at King’s College Hospital under Harold Edwards and Sir Edward Muir.

He was appointed as a consultant surgeon to the South Warwickshire NHS in 1963. He said of his time there: “Warwick was a happy time. I like to think that my main contribution was those RSOs who we taught. We identified a gap in the market for people with the Primary who needed experience to get the Final. Basically, I did all the things that had not been done to me (with a few exceptions). I came in to help with emergencies and did not allow them to be loaded with things beyond their then experience. Then we tutored them through their exams. Most of them went on to do very well. When I retired after my coronary what I missed most was the stimulus of good juniors and the teaching.” He developed a particular interest in paediatric surgery, was the College surgical tutor for the West Midlands, and served as examiner and Chairman of the Court.

In 1952 he married Elizabeth Catherwood, an artist. They had a son (Simon), two daughters (Alison and Catherine) and six grandsons. Among his many interests were walking, reading and history, but above all he was a dedicated Christian and editor of the Christian Graduate and Chairman of the council of the Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship (from 1970 to 1980). He had his first heart attack in 1980, miraculously surviving a cardiac arrest and, wisely, took early retirement in 1983. He died on 25 January 2004 at Warwick Hospital, where he had worked for 20 years.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Information from Elizabeth Marsh; Evangelicals Now March 2004; Leamington Spa Courier 6 Feb 2004.].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England