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Biographical entry Hooper, Sir William Roe (1837 - 1921)

CSI 1897; KCSI 1903; MRCS Aug 11th 1858; FRCS (elected as a Member of twenty years' standing) April 5th 1900; KHS 1904.

12 January 1837
29 September 1921
General surgeon


Born on Jan 12th, 1837, the eldest son of John William Hooper, of Bathwick, Somerset. He was educated at St Bartholomew's Hospital, and entered the Indian Medical Service as Assistant Surgeon, Bengal Army, on Feb 10th, 1859. After military duty for two years he spent the rest of his time in India as a Civil Surgeon, for a short period in charge of the Gaol at Azimgarh, next in charge of the Central Prison, Allahabad, then in a similar appointment at Benares in 1864. From 1864-1891 he was Civil Surgeon at Benares, when in 1874 he initiated the construction of the Civil Hospital, first known as the Prince of Wales's, then as King Edward's Hospital. The cost was met by the chief members of the Indian Community, headed by the Maharajah of Benares, Isri Singh, KCIE, and Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, KCSI. Hooper was transferred to the Civil Surgeoncy of Lucknow in 1891, from which he retired in 1893.

He had attained the rank of Brigade Surgeon on March 31st, 1887, and on retiring received an addition to his pension. On eight occasions he received the special thanks for his services from the Viceroy and from Provincial Governments duly noted in the Recommendation Book.

When on furlough from April, 1887, to November, 1888, he had served temporarily as President of the Medical Board at the India Office, and in January, 1895, he was appointed to the post in succession to Sir Joseph Fayrer, Bart, and held office, including two years' special extension, until 1903. He was given the temporary rank of Surgeon General, and in 1905 was gazetted Colonel. He was ex-officio a Member of the Senate of the Army Medical School, Netley, and in 1901 represented the India Office on the Committee of Inquiry into the Organization of the Army Medical Service, and in 1902 on the Advisory Board for Army Medical Services. He was also a member of the Army Sanitary Committee, and became in 1897 a Member of Council of the Lister Institute. He was a member of the committee which prepared the fourth edition of the Nomenclature of Diseases issued by the Royal College of Physicians.

In January, 1903, he was made KCSI, having been decorated CSI in June, 1897; he was gazetted Hon Surgeon to the King in August, 1904. For some time after retiring from the India Office Sir William Hooper lived at Abertaff, Blackford Road, Edinburgh, and afterwards at Aldeburgh, Suffolk, where he died of old age on Sept 29th, 1921. He married in 1859 Lucy, second daughter of Henry Benson Cox, of Highbury, London, N. She died in 1919. Their eldest son, Dr John William Dunbar Hooper, practised as a gynaecologist at Melbourne.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit Med Jour, 1921, ii, 578].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England