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Biographical entry Whitehead, Sir Hayward Reader (1855 - 1925)

CB (mil) 1909; KCB (mil) 1917; MRCS Nov 3rd 1877; FRCS Dec 9th 1880; LRCP Edin 1880; DPH RCP Lond and RCS 1890.

14 July 1855
Gawcott, Buckinghamshire
28 September 1925
General surgeon and Ophthalmic surgeon


Born at Gawcott, Buckinghamshire, on July 14th, 1855, the second son of the Rev T C Whitehead, Head Master of Christ's College, Finchley. He studied at Charing Cross Hospital, and, becoming FRCS, was appointed Assistant Surgeon to Charing Cross Hospital in 1881. He was also Assistant Surgeon to the Royal Westminster Ophthalmic Hospital. Another Assistant Surgeon of the Royal Westminster Ophthalmic Hospital, A W D Leahy (qv), together with Whitehead, entered for the Army Medical Examination at the same time. Leahy took first place for the IMS, and later became Lieutenant-Colonel. Whitehead, resigning his posts in London, joined the Army Medical Department as Surgeon on probation, gained the Montefiore Gold Medal at Netley in 1882, and was gazetted Surgeon Captain on July 29th, 1882. He was promoted to Surgeon Major on July 29th, 1894, and to Surgeon Lieutenant-Colonel by special promotion for service on the North-West Frontier of India on May 20th, 1898. He became Colonel RAMC on Jan 26th, 1905.

From 1892-1896 he was Assistant Professor of Military Surgery in the Army Medical School at Netley. He was next sent to India and saw active service in the Tirah campaign, 1897-1898, being present at the action of Dargai, the capture of the Sampaglia and Arhanga Passes, the operations against the Khanni Khel Chamkannis tribe of Afridis, and those in the Bara Valley. He was mentioned in dispatches in the London Gazette, April 5th, 1898, was awarded the Medal and two Clasps, and specially promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel. He then held administrative posts until 1908, when he was appointed Principal Medical Officer in the Mohmand Campaign on the North-West Frontier. He was again mentioned in dispatches and received the Medal and Clasps. On Jan 21st, 1909, he was promoted Surgeon General and posted as Deputy Director to the Southern Command in England. In 1912 he was transferred to the Eastern Command until 1915. In July, 1915, he was sent to Malta as Director of Medical Services; in March, 1916, he was appointed Principal Medical Officer of the British Forces at Salonika, and continued in that post until September, 1917, being mentioned in dispatches (London Gazette, Dec 6th, 1916, and Nov 14th, 1917). He was made KCB, a Knight of Grace of the Order of St John of Jerusalem, Commander of the Legion of Honour, and received the 2nd Class of the Serbian Order of St Sava, and the Greek Order of the Redeemer.

He retired to Whinfleld, Cobham, Surrey, and died at Lyndhurst on Sept 28th, 1925. He married in 1898 Evelyn Wynne, the second daughter of Colonel H Cayley, CMG, IMS, who survived him. Major W T Whitehead, MC, RAMC, Government Bacteriologist in the Wellcome Tropical Research Laboratories at Khartoum, was his nephew.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Lancet, 1925, ii, 779, with portrait. Johnston's RAMC Roll, No. 6928].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England