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Biographical entry Middleton, Donald Stewart (1899 - 1942)

MRCS and FRCS 10 June 1926; MB ChB Edinburgh 1921; FRCS Edinburgh 1925.

30 September 1899
Natal, South Africa
30 October 1942
General surgeon


Born in Natal, South Africa on 30 September 1899 the fourth son of George Hodgson Middleton, civil engineer, and Nannie Hester Hazlewood, his wife, afterwards of 38 Inverleith Place, Edinburgh, and Mansefield, Strathmiglo, Fife. His three elder brothers were killed in the war of 1914-18. He was educated at Edinburgh Academy and University. He served as house surgeon at Paddington Green Children's Hospital and then became assistant surgeon to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children at Edinburgh. He was also surgeon to the Church of Scotland Deaconess Hospital, into whose affairs he threw himself wholeheartedly; he was largely responsible for the reconstruction of the Hospital while he was senior surgeon. In 1934 he was elected assistant surgeon to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. He was clinical tutor in the Infirmary and lecturer in surgery at the Royal Colleges' School of Medicine. He was an able surgeon with an easy grace of technique, and a good teacher. Middleton practised at 40 Inverleith Place.

Much interested in public affairs and realizing the approach of war he joined the RAMC Territorial Force in 1936, and in October 1938 was appointed colonel, Army Medical Service, and Assistant Director of Medical Services for the newly-formed anti-aircraft defences of Scotland. Here he proved himself a brilliant administrator, and was promoted brigadier. He received the Efficiency Decoration in October 1942, but died on active service the same month, on 30 October 1942, aged 43. He was buried at Strathmiglo under the Lomonds, and a memorial service was held at St Giles's Cathedral.

Middleton married in 1930 Sheila, only daughter of John Ronald Currie, MD, FRCP Edinburgh, at that time professor of public health at Glasgow University. Mrs Middleton survived him with a son and a daughter. Middleton was of striking figure and personality, with a beautiful voice. By the age of forty he had already taken a prominent place in the profession. He was widely and familiarly known as "Sam". He was a lover of active country life, riding, fishing, and collecting wildflowers. He was also a collector of stamps. During the war he became a keen gardener.


The pathology of congenital torticollis. Brit J Surg 1930, 18, 188.
Studies on pre-natal lesions of striated muscle as cause of congenital deformity. Edin med J 1934, 41, 401.
Miles and Wilkie Manual of surgery, 9th edition, 1939, coadjutor editor.
Miles and Wilkie Operative surgery, 2nd edition, 1936, coadjutor editor and contributed chapters on Operations for hernia, and, jointly with W A Cochrane and Walter Mercer, on Operations on bones, joints, and tendons and Orthopaedic surgery, and Operations on the peripheral nerves.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Edin med J 1942, 49, 779; Brit med J 1942, 2, 650; Lancet, 1942, 2, 685 with portrait; information given by Mrs Middleton].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England Library