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Biographical entry Moore, Charles John (1929 - 2007)

MRCS and FRCS 1961; BA Cantab 1951; MB BChir 1955; LRCP 1961.

10 October 1929
20 May 2007
Orthopaedic surgeon and Trauma surgeon


John Moore was a consultant orthopaedic and trauma surgeon in the Chelmsford Hospital Group and to the Regional Orthopaedic Centre, Black Notley, from 1967 to 1994 and, on retirement, an honorary consultant to the Mid-Essex NHS Trust.

Born on 10 October 1929, he went to preparatory school in Lytham during the war years and then to Aldenham School, before entering Cambridge University to study natural sciences. From 1948 to 1951 he was a resident in Trinity Hall, before going to St Mary’s Hospital in London for his clinical studies.

After qualifying, John entered the Army for National Service and joined the SAS, serving with great distinction in 22 SAS regiment based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. In May 1957, Captain Moore was parachuted into the jungle on the Perak/Thai border and walked several miles over difficult and treacherous terrain to render aid and rescue two injured ‘policemen’. They recovered in hospital and John was mentioned in despatches. His natural reticence meant he failed to reveal this side of his life to his many friends and, until his death, the true facts were only known to close Army colleagues.

Resuming his medical training after National Service, he decided to pursue a surgical career and orthopaedics as a specialty. A spell as a senior house officer at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital led to a registrar post in Sheffield with Holdsworth. Here he met his future wife, Anne Young, a doctor whose parents lived in the city. They married in Sheffield.

For his senior registrar training he went to the (Royal) London Hospital and was made a consultant at Chelmsford and Black Notley hospitals in 1967. With his colleague and contemporary in Chelmsford, Michael Heywood-Waddington, he built up a credible and excellent orthopaedic service, also running the ‘accident department’ with limited support from junior staff. They provided an expanding service bordering both Colchester and London. Operating lists were split between St John’s and Broomfield hospitals until 1985, when a third colleague was appointed and beds and accident and emergency facilities moved to Broomfield.

Throughout these formative and difficult years, John Moore proved to be a loyal and hardworking colleague who demonstrated the qualities of commonsense, competence and integrity of the highest order. The spirit of mutual goodwill and respect in the Chelmsford hospitals continued to grow between all levels of staff and outside, with general practitioners who were of a uniformly high standard.

John looked after his fair share of general orthopaedics and fractures, and undertook all forms of major joint replacements, but he developed a special interest in rheumatoid disease and surgery of the hand. He was a fellow of the British Orthopaedic Association and of the Royal Society of Medicine, and a member of the British Society for Surgery of the Hand. He enjoyed an extensive private practice and, from 1996, concentrated on medico-legal work.

At Black Notley, as part of the Regional Orthopaedic Centre Team, an equally happy atmosphere prevailed, and John played a part in contributing to the paid and unpaid activities, including training, audit and clinical case discussions. He was a skilled craftsman in the theatre and at home was an excellent silversmith.

During all his years in Chelmsford, John lived at Bracondale House in Little Baddow with his wife, Anne, and their three children, Andrew, Elizabeth and Richard, two of whom were born in Chelmsford. They were a close-knit family.

Predeceased by his wife, Anne, in 1998 after a long illness, John Moore faced his own final illness over three years with dignity and courage, always conscious that he was over the mean survival time for his malignant blood condition. He remained positive and without self-pity, living life to the full in spite of many admissions to Springfield Hospital. John enjoyed fishing in Scotland, as he had done throughout his professional life, and attended colleagues’ farewell dinners out of his respect for them.

He died on 20 May 2007. At a well-attended memorial service held at Little Baddow Parish Church, his colleague and exact contemporary in Chelmsford, Michael Heywood-Waddington, gave an address that ended: “I know that all of you here will agree that it has been a privilege to know John, and in whatever way you have been a part of his life, I hope I have been able to express adequately our thanks that he was the sort of man he was – quiet, modest, generous, kind, able and loving. We will miss him greatly.”

John Moore is survived by his three children, Andrew, a mechanical engineer, Elizabeth ‘Lizzie’ Grimwood, who served in the Armed Forces before she married, and Richard, who also initially served in the Army but in civilian life became a ‘specialist’ carpenter. There are three grandchildren.

N Alan Green

Sources used to compile this entry: [Personal information from Michael Heywood-Waddington; Lizzie Grimwood; Richard Boggon].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England