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Biographical entry Kennedy, Charles Matheson (1884 - 1948)

MBE 1919, MRCS 26 July 1906, FRCS 8 June 1911; LRCP 1906.

25 June 1884
Moville, County Donegal
26 July 1948
North Bovey, Devon
General surgeon


Born 25 June 1884 at Moville, Co Donegal, fifth child and third son of David Kennedy, MB Dublin, and his wife, née Winter. Dr David Kennedy practised in Essequibo, British Guiana, and C M Kennedy was educated at Queen's College there, and at St Edward's School, Oxford. He received his medical training at the London Hospital, for which he played Rugby football, and was house surgeon to James Sherren; he was surgical registrar 1911-13. He was appointed in 1913 assistant surgeon at the East London Hospital for Children. During the war of 1914-18 he served in the RAMC as a surgical specialist in France, later commanding a hospital engaged chiefly in cerebral surgery; finally he commanded the limb-fitting hospital at Roehampton with the rank of lieutenant-colonel. He was created MBE for his war service.

After returning to his London post, he soon accepted appointment to the staff of the South Devon and East Cornwall Hospital, now called the Prince of Wales Hospital, at Plymouth. He played a full part in the professional life of Plymouth. While practising as a general surgeon he held orthopaedic appointments at the Plymouth City Hospital, and the Rogers Hospital for Children at Ivybridge. He was president of the Plymouth Medical Society, and of the South-western branch of the British Medical Association, and chairman of the Plymouth division, BMA. He organized and commanded the Wessex Territorial field ambulance, recruited at Plymouth. He worked abnormally hard in dangerous conditions among the victims of the German air-raids on Plymouth in 1940 and the following years.

Kennedy married in 1915, Mabel M Hore, who survived him with four sons, two of them medical men. He died at The Red House, North Bovey, Devon on 26 July 1948, aged 64, a few months before the date at which he had intended to retire. Kennedy was a man of strong character, just, wise, kindly, and of quick decision. He was Senior Grand Warden of Devonshire in freemasonry, and a past master of two lodges and founder of a third. He was an excellent after-dinner speaker. His recreations were fishing, shooting, and gardening.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Lancet, 1948, 2, 277, with eulogy by H F Vellacott, MC, FRCS; Brit med J 1948, 2, 357; information from Mrs Kennedy].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England