Browse Fellows


www Lives

Biographical entry Schofield, Theo Legate (1918 - 2009)

MRCS LRCP 1942; MB BCh Liverpool 1942; FRCS 1949; ChM 1954.

3 April 1918
Southport, Lancashire, UK
23 January 2009
General surgeon


Theo Legate Schofield was a general surgeon at Royal United Hospital, Bath. He was born on 3 April 1918 in Southport, Lancashire, the youngest of seven children. His father, John Thomas Schofield, who owned a successful confectionary business in Manchester, died while Theo was very young. His mother was Margaret Busby Schofield née Calwell from Holywood, County Down. Theo was educated at King George V Grammar School, Southport. In 1937 he entered Liverpool University to begin his medical studies. At the outbreak of the Second World War, the course was condensed: Theo qualified as a licentiate LRCP MRCS in 1942, six months before the degree course finished.

Following an initial period of training as a house surgeon, in 1943 he began his war service with the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, sailing in HMS Saladin, a mine hunter. He then joined the Fleet Air Arm in Malta.

In 1946, following his demobilisation, having reached the rank of lieutenant commander, he trained in surgery at the Liverpool Royal Infirmary, first as a registrar, then a senior registrar, and including a period as an anatomy demonstrator. He admired, and was influenced by, Charles Wells, Hugh Reid, Maurice Silverstone and Howell Hughes. In 1952 he spent a year at the Mayo Clinic on a Fulbright scholarship.

In 1955 he was appointed as a consultant general surgeon in Bath, initially at St Martins Hospital and then at the Royal United Hospital. His special interests included breast, thyroid and gallbladder surgery. Theo was also interested in education and training. As secretary of the Bath Clinical Society, he instigated and raised funds for the Postgraduate Medical Centre. He retired in 1981.

He was an examiner for the Royal College of Surgeons, always extraordinarily courteous and scrupulously fair to the candidates, and knowledgeable and charming to his co-examiners. In retirement, he acted as an irreplaceable, reliable link to the printer who produced the Annals of the college.

He was secretary of the Grey Turner Surgical Club for 10 years. He was also honorary secretary of the Surgical Club of South West England, as well as of the Bath Clinical Society.

He played rugby for his school and for the university, until forbidden to do so by Henry Cohen following a severe concussion. He was a wine collector, fly fisherman and high performance motor enthusiast.

He married Marjorie Reeve, a fellow student in 1942. She qualified, practised as a doctor and served for a period in the RAMC. They had two sons, Theo Perry Schofield, a fellow of the Royal College of General Practitioners, and David Roger, an architect, and a daughter, Helen Rosemary, who became a nurse. Predeceased by his son Roger, Schofield died on 23 January 2009 aged 90, and was survived by his wife, children, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

R M Kirk

Sources used to compile this entry: [BMJ 2009 338 1445].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England