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Biographical entry Joubert de la Ferté, Charles Henry (1846 - 1935)

MRCS 5 May 1868; FRCS 13 June 1872; MB London 1870

2 March 1846
24 January 1935
Uxbridge, Middlesex
General surgeon


Born in London 2 March 1846, the second son of Jean Joubert, a French artist naturalized in 1855, and Amelia Frances Bennet, his wife. She was English by descent and belonged to a collateral branch of the Tankerville Bennets. He was educated partly at Versailles and partly at King's College, London, and qualified from St Mary's Hospital. He held several hospital appointments before he passed into the Indian Medical Service with the rank of assistant surgeon on 30 March 1872 and landed in India in November of that year. He was promoted surgeon 1 July 1873, surgeon major 30 March 1884, surgeon lieutenant-colonel 30 March 1892, brigade surgeon lieutenant-colonel 9 September 1896, colonel 31 March 1900, and retired 29 March 1905. From 1869 to 20 April 1906 he called himself Joubert only, as he found his full name too cumbersome for ordinary use. He resumed the de la Ferté after his retirement from the service. He spent some months at the Calcutta Medical College after his arrival in India and then did the usual amount of military service with the 17th Regiment in Northern India and with the 9th Bengal Cavalry in the Punjab. He returned to Calcutta to the Presidency General Hospital in 1874.

His first district charge was that of civil surgeon of Burdwan, where he spent two years, 1875 to 1877, at the time of the Burdwan fever. At the time there were nearly one hundred epidemic dispensaries in the Burdwan district with a large staff of medical subordinates. The duties were very important and arduous for so junior an officer, but the performance of them gained for him the approval of the Bengal government, and resulted in Surgeon-Captain Joubert being again brought down to Calcutta in 1877. From that date to March 1900 he practically never left Calcutta, except for a tour of two years' duty at Darjeeling as civil surgeon from 1882 to 1884. While in Calcutta Colonel Joubert held various appointments: protector of emigrants and superintendent of emigration, health officer of the Port of Calcutta, resident surgeon at the Presidency General Hospital, officiating sanitary commissioner of Bengal, civil surgeon and superintendent of the Presidency jail, second surgeon and professor of anatomy at Calcutta Medical College, and finally after officiating as obstetric surgeon at the Eden Hospital, professor of obstetrics at the Medical College. This latter appointment Colonel Joubert held from 1888 to 1900, when he finally left Calcutta on promotion to the administrative grade as principal medical officer of the Lahore district.

During his term of office at the Eden Hospital, Joubert acquired a great reputation as a successful operator in abdominal surgery, and under him this modern line of surgery made great advances. He also gained repute as a specialist in diseases of women and children. He became president of the Faculty of Medicine of Calcutta University and on the reconstitution of the Senate was made a Life Fellow of the University. Promotion to the administrative grade came to Joubert in 1899, but he was asked by the Government of India to remain another year at the Medical College, allowing a junior officer to take the step in his place. After a year's service as PMO, Lahore district, Joubert was appointed to officiate for eight months as PMO at the Punjab command, with the rank of surgeon-general. While on leave in England in 1902 Joubert was offered and accepted a reversion to civil employment as Inspector-General of Civil Hospitals, Punjab, but on his return to duty he was offered and accepted the more important post of Inspector-General of Civil Hospitals, United Provinces, which appointment he took up in March 1902. Joubert's long and varied experience, particularly in hospital work and administration and in connexion with medical education, was of very great value to these provinces. The hospitals throughout the provinces were brought up-to-date and into line with the modem advances in surgery; the Agra Medical School was re-organized with a view to making it the best training school in the country for hospital assistants.

After his retirement he served during the years 1906-07 and 1910-11 on the council of the British Medical Association as a representative of the Indian Medical Service. Joubert married in 1875 Eliza Jane, the eldest daughter of Philip Sandys Melvill, CSI, of the Indian Civil Service, Agent to the Governor-General, Baroda, who survived himwith two sons and two daughters. He died on 24 January 1935 at Uxbridge, Middlesex, where his second son was stationed. His body was cremated and the ashes were taken to the south of France and interred at Mentone. Mrs Joubert de la Ferté died on 14 August 1942, aged 89.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Crawford's Roll of the IMS, Bengal list, No 1978; Brit med J 1935, 1, 339; information given by his second son, Air Vice-Marshal Philip Bennet Joubert, CMG DSO who was afterwards Air Chief Marshal Sir Philip Joubert de la Ferté, KCB].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England