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Biographical entry Winstanley, John (1919 - 2008)

MC 1944; MRCS and FRCS 1957; MB BS London 1951; LRCP 1957; FRCOphth 1988.

11 May 1919
London, UK
4 January 2008
Ophthalmic surgeon


John Winstanley was an ophthalmic surgeon at St Thomas’ Hospital, London. He was born in London on 11 May 1919, the son of Bernard Joseph Winstanley, a captain in the Burma Sappers and Miners, and Grace née Taunton, the daughter of a solicitor. The younger of three sons, he was educated at Stoke House, Seaford, Sussex, and Wellington College, Berkshire.

From 1937 to 1946 he served in the 4th Battalion Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment, with the British Expeditionary Force in Europe, in the Western Desert and in Burma. He was wounded twice, was twice mentioned in despatches and won the Military Cross.

After leaving the Army, he studied medicine at St Thomas’, qualifying in 1951. For the next five years he held resident medical appointments at St Thomas’ and Moorfields Eye Hospital. From 1956 to 1960 he was chief clinical assistant at Moorfields and senior registrar at St Thomas’. From 1959 to 1970 he was a consultant ophthalmic surgeon to Lewisham and Greenwich health districts. In 1960 he was appointed consultant ophthalmic surgeon to St Thomas’, a post he held until 1983. At St Thomas’ he expanded eye services, amalgamating with the Royal Eye Hospital, and developed a medical eye unit and a charity, the Iris Fund. He contributed papers on medical ophthalmology and medical history.

He maintained his association with the armed services, serving as honorary consultant ophthalmic surgeon to the Army, to Queen Alexandra Military Hospital, Millbank, and to the Royal Hospital, Chelsea.

He was a member of the Court of Examiners of the College from 1972 to 1978. He was a fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine (and vice-president in 1979). From 1973 to 1985 he was vice-president of the Faculty of Ophthalmologists, and from 1979 to 1990 a member of the council of the Medical Protection Society. A liveryman of the Society of Apothecaries of the City of London, he served on the livery committee from 1982.

During his leisure time he enjoyed fishing and reading medical history. In 1959 he married Jane Mary Frost and they had one son (Richard) and two daughters (Emma and Sophie). He died from prostate cancer on 4 January 2008.

Enid Taylor

The Royal College of Surgeons of England