Browse Fellows


www Lives

Biographical entry Windsor, Colin William Ombler (1933 - 2005)

MRCS 1956; FRCS 1962; MB ChB Birmingham 1956; ChM 1968; LRCP 1956.

26 February 1933
Stourport-on-Severn, Worcestershire, UK
19 April 2005
London, UK
General surgeon


Colin Windsor was a general surgeon in Worcester. He was born on 26 February 1933 in Stourport-on-Severn, Worcestershire, and attended grammar schools in Kidderminster and Stourbridge. He excelled in sports, especially rugby, as well as academic subjects. Qualifying from the University of Birmingham, he did pre-registration jobs in West Bromwich and then undertook a short service commission in the Royal Navy. During this time he served on HMS Collingwood and HMS Victorious and was proud to have performed one of his first appendicectomies on the high seas. He also passed his primary FRCS during this time, having subscribed to a correspondence course.

On demobilisation he undertook a short period of general practice, but in 1960 was appointed to the Birmingham surgical training circuit, where he developed an interest in gastro-intestinal surgery, being influenced by Jack Collis, Victor Brookes and John Alexander-Williams. In 1964 he gained a Fulbright scholarship to spend a year as a research fellow at Harbour Hospital, UCLA, under Marshall J Orloff, where he studied factors influencing gastric secretion as well as porto-systemic shunts.

On his return to the UK he was appointed senior registrar and then lecturer in surgery, where he came under the influence of Pon d’Abreu and Geoffrey Slaney and learned skills in peripheral vascular surgery. He was awarded his masters in 1968 for his thesis on gastric secretion after massive intestinal resection and a year later was appointed consultant surgeon at Worcester Royal Infirmary, where he spent the rest of his career. Oesophageal surgery and major vascular reconstruction were established and he set up a vasectomy service to support his wife’s endeavours as clinical director of family planning. With the help of Michael Baum he set up a one-stop breast clinic, aided by colleagues in radiology and pathology.

He quickly developed a reputation as a first class opinion in the fields of gastro-intestinal and vascular surgery and was a fine technician to boot. He was also recognised by countless trainees as a first class teacher and educator and as a consequence his registrar job was hotly sought after. He was widely believed to be an ‘ideal chief’ and he acted as a role model for many who later became leaders of the profession. He was quick to recognise the potential value of minimal invasive surgery and was one of the first UK surgeons to travel to the USA to learn the emerging technique of laparoscopic cholecystectomy. He first performed this operation in Worcester in September 1990 and two days later the patient was photographed playing snooker! He was a founding member of the Society of Minimally Invasive General Surgery, which later became the Association of Laparoscopic Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland.

Notably uninterested in hospital politics and committee work, he was an active contributor to several professional organisations. He became a member of the Court of Examiners of the College, a regional adviser in general surgery, president of both the West Midlands Surgical Society and the West Midlands Gastroenterological Society and was active in the Association of Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland.

His outside interests were fly-fishing, shooting, ratting with his beloved Jack Russell terriers, rugby and fast cars. He was the loving owner of a beautifully restored 1962 Porsche 356. Married to Joan, a specialist in family planning who had been a medical student with him, he had a daughter and two sons, one of whom became a consultant surgeon. He died on 19 April 2005 in the Royal Marsden Hospital of a metastatic neuroendocrine tumour after a protracted illness.

Sources used to compile this entry: [BMJ 2006 333 450].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England