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Biographical entry Clark, Charles Denley (1908 - 2001)

MRCS and FRCS 1947; MB BCh Leeds 1933; FRCS Edinburgh 1936.

12 August 1908
27 January 2001
Accident and emergency surgeon and General surgeon


Denley Clark was a consultant surgeon at Pinderfields Hospital and Pontefract General Infirmary. He was born in Thailand (then Siam) on 12 August 1908. His father, Percy Leonard Archibald Clark, was a missionary, as was his mother, Mary Lenore née Denley. He was educated in Thailand until the age of ten, when he was sent to boarding school in Devon, and thence to Leeds Central High School. He qualified from Leeds Medical School in 1933, and spent three years in junior posts at Leeds General Infirmary and at St James’s and passed the Edinburgh Fellowship, before going to Labrador, Canada, for two years to serve with the International Grenfell Association. He published an account of these experiences, in which he told of the difficulties of managing ten huskies, the high prevalence of tuberculosis, and the widespread lack of food.

On returning to the UK, he became resident surgical officer at the Woolwich Memorial Hospital, and completed his surgical training at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, St Peter’s and St Mark’s.

In 1943 he joined the RAMC as surgical specialist, serving in Chester before being posted to the Far East, where he served with 33 Field Surgical Unit, 13 CCS in Burma, and 14 Mobile Surgical Unit and 53 Indian General Hospital. In 1946 he was appointed officer in command of 72 Indian General Hospital, in Malaya, with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

After demobilisation, he was senior registrar in Woolwich and at the Brook Hospital, and became consultant surgeon to the Royal Herbert Military Hospital in 1949. In 1950 he was appointed consultant surgeon to Pinderfields Hospital and Pontefract General Infirmary.

After retiring at 65, he returned full-time for the next five years to set up the first consultant-led accident and emergency department at Pinderfields.

He married Margaret Eileen Canneva (née Goulden) in 1954. There were no children of the marriage, which ended in divorce in 1965. He married for the second time, to June Elizabeth Nichols, in 1976. There were no children. He was a keen skier and gardener. He died from Alzheimer’s disease on 27 January 2001.

Sources used to compile this entry: [BMJ 2001 332 932, with portrait.].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England