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Biographical entry Bradbury, Sir Eric Blackburn (1911 - 2003)

KBE 1971; CB 1968; MRCS and FRCS 1972; MB ChB Belfast 1934; DMRD London 1949; Hon LLD 1973.

2 March 1911
County Antrim, Northern Ireland, UK
6 January 2003
General surgeon


Surgeon Vice Admiral Eric Blackburn Bradbury RN was the medical director general of the Royal Naval Medical Service from 1969 to 1972, a period when many changes were being made in the services. He was born on 2 March 1911, the son of A B Bradbury of Maze, County Antrim. His education was at the Royal Belfast Academical Institute and Queen’s University, Belfast.

After qualifying in 1934, he decided on a career with the Royal Navy and was commissioned as a Surgeon Lieutenant. After basic training, he was soon at sea and from 1935 to 1936 served in HMS Barham, Endeavour and Cumberland. Essential hospital service was spent at the RN hospitals in Haslar, Chatham, Plymouth and Malta. His wartime sea service was spent in HMS Charybdis and HM Hospital Ship Oxfordshire.

Promotion to flag rank arrived in 1966 when he became a Surgeon Rear Admiral and was appointed medical officer in charge of Haslar Hospital, the senior teaching hospital of the Royal Navy. He also became the command medical officer of Portsmouth and an honorary physician to HM the Queen. In 1968 he became a Companion of the Bath.

He was soon selected as the medical director of the Royal Naval Medical Services and was appointed in 1969, serving until 1972. He was promoted Surgeon Vice Admiral in 1971 and appointed Knight Commander of the British Empire. In 1972 our College conferred the fellowship on him.

In 1939 he married Elizabeth Constance Austin, daughter of J G Austin of Armagh. They had three daughters – Ann, Elizabeth and Valerie. After retirement he was chairman of the Tunbridge Wells DHA from 1981 to 1984, during which time advances were made in the accident and emergency services. He died on 6 January 2003.

The Royal College of Surgeons of England