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Biographical entry Savage, Christopher Smallwood (1915 - 2007)

MRCS 1941; FRCS 1948; MB BChir Cambridge 1952; LRCP 1941.

21 November 1915
Edgbaston, UK
10 December 2007
ENT surgeon


Christopher Savage was a consultant ENT surgeon at the Chelmsford and Essex Hospital, and the Southend General Hospital, where he developed a special interest in microsurgery of the ear. Born in Edgbaston, Birmingham, on 21 November 1915, he was part of the third generation of a family of surgeons. His father, Ernest Smallwood Savage, who gained his FRCS in 1896, was a gynaecologist at Birmingham and Wolverhampton. His grandfather, Thomas Savage, who was awarded the FRCS in 1869, was a professor of gynaecology in Birmingham. Christopher Savage's mother Constance was a housewife.

Savage was educated at West House School, Edgbaston, Marlborough College, Gonville and Caius, Cambridge, and then the London Hospital. He managed to do his pre-registration house jobs at the Haymeads Hospital, Bishop's Stortford, before serving as a surgeon lieutenant in the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve on HMS Havelock on the North Atlantic convoys.

At the end of the Second World War he became a supernumerary registrar at the London Hospital, during which time he gained experience in general surgery and otolaryngology with Charles Keogh, Alan Bowen Davies and Johan Lindahl. Their influence led him to become first assistant to the aural department at the London from 1948 to 1952. He contracted polio in 1953, but fortunately made a near complete recovery.

In 1949 he was appointed to his first consultant post, in Chelmsford, and, in 1953, he was also made a consultant at Southend. Among his consultant colleagues he was respected for his hard work, humour and principles.

He retired in April 1979. He continued to sail at the Blackwater Sailing Club and took up woodcarving and fly fishing. He died from pneumonia on 10 December 2007 at the age of 92. He was survived by his wife Jill née Dawe, whom he married in April 1951, and his three children. His sons James and Robert have continued the family tradition, becoming a general practitioner and a consultant orthopaedic surgeon respectively. His daughter became a physiotherapist. Three of his seven grandchildren have also become doctors.

Neil Weir

Sources used to compile this entry: [BMJ 2008 336 513].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England