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Biographical entry Buck, John Edward (1915 - 2006)

MRCS and FRCS 1949; MB ChB Edinburgh 1937; FRCS Edinburgh 1946; LRCP 1949.

30 October 1915
Hove, Sussex, UK
30 March 2006
Orthopaedic surgeon


John Buck was a consultant orthopaedic surgeon in the Woolwich and Greenwich area. He was born in Hove, Sussex, on 30 October 1915, the son of Arthur Herbert Buck, a general surgeon, and Lilian Maude Bligh, a theatre sister who was a direct descendant of the captain of the Bounty. John was brought up in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, and was educated at St Michael’s School and Brentwood College. He then went to Edinburgh University to read medicine. There he won a blue for rowing, and swam and sailed for the university. He was springboard diving champion for Scotland in 1937 and 1938, and remained a keen sportsman for the rest of his life.

After qualifying, he became house surgeon to the surgical outpatients at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, house physician to the Deaconess Hospital and then house surgeon to the orthopaedic department at the Royal Infirmary. He listed David Wilkie, John Fraser, Walter Mercer, Ian Smellie and Ritchie Russell among his memorable teachers.

At the outbreak of the second world war he was house surgeon at the Sussex County Hospital in Brighton. On completion of this appointment, he was commissioned into the RAMC, serving first in 180 Field Ambulance. In 1941 he was promoted to Captain and posted to the Military Hospital in Delhi. He then joined the 151/156 Parachute Regiment as its regimental medical officer, accompanying them to Egypt and later to Europe, where he was taken prisoner at Arnhem. Released in 1944, he returned to the UK, as a trainee surgeon at the Royal Herbert Hospital at Woolwich.

Following demobilisation, he returned to the Royal Sussex Country Hospital, as a resident surgical officer, acquiring the Edinburgh FRCS in 1946. He later trained in orthopaedic surgery, at the Royal National Orthopaedic and Charing Cross hospitals. In 1951 he was appointed consultant orthopaedic surgeon to the Woolwich, Greenwich and Deptford hospital group. He retired in 1984.

John was a member of the Royal Society of Medicine, the British Association of Sports Medicine, and was a fellow of the British Orthopaedic Association. He had a special interest in sports injuries and in the lumbar spine, developing an original operation (Buck’s fusion) for spondylolysis and published several papers on these topics. He was surgical adviser to Charlton Athletic Football Club for many years. He was a life member of the United Hospitals Sailing Club and a member of the Bexley Sailing Club, only giving up at the age of 83. He remained a parachutist and skydiver until the age of 64.

He married his former ward sister, Dorothy Maud Kench, in 1995. He died on 30 March 2006, aged 90.

Sources used to compile this entry: [BMJ 2007 334 321; The Link – magazine for Queen Elizabeth Hospital NHS Trust No. 38 July 2006 p.7].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England