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Biographical entry Miller, William Henry (1881 - 1951)

MRCS 26 July 1906; FRCS 8 June 1911; LRCP 1906; MB BS London 1907; MD 1911.

16 March 1881
31 December 1951
Gastrointestinal surgeon and Gynaecologist


Born at Newcastle-on-Tyne on 16 March 1881, the eldest child of Henry Septimus Miller, a timber merchant, and Annie Elizabeth Potts, his wife. His childhood was spent in Canada, but his parents came back in 1893 and he was educated in London at William Ellis's school and Guy's Hospital, where he won the Durham and Hilton scholarships. He qualified in 1906, took honours at the London MB in 1907, and first-class honours with the gold medal in gynaecology at the MD in 1911, the same year that he took the Fellowship. He was house surgeon at Guy's, and clinical assistant at the Soho Hospital for Women, and then assistant medical registrar and surgical registrar at the Samaritan Hospital. After a period in general practice at Enfield he went into partnership with A C Hartle MD, at Bedford, and ultimately became senior partner in this large practice. Soon however he went on active service during the war of 1914-18, as a surgical specialist in the RAMC.

After his return to Bedford he took an increasing part in the profession life of the district. He was appointed assistant surgeon at the Bedford General Hospital in 1924, became senior surgeon in 1932 in succession to W G Nash, and was elected consulting surgeon on his retirement in 1948. He continued to work at the Hospital till March 1951, when he finally retired on his seventieth birthday. He had at first been chiefly a gynaecologist, but in the second half of his career preferred to practise gastric surgery. He was a good teacher of surgery. During the second war, 1939-45, he was chairman of the local medical war committee, and he was a medical referee for the Ministries of Pensions and Labour, surgeon and agent for the Admiralty, and referee for the National Fire Service and the Royal National Hospital at Ventnor. He was a member of the Association of Medical Officers of Schools. He was medical adviser to the Bedfordshire Hospital Services Association, and a member of the Bedford Group Hospital Management Committee.

Miller married in 1904 H M Zimmerman, who survived him with a son and daughter. Their elder son had been killed in 1940. He died suddenly in his surgery at 4 De Parys Avenue, Bedford, on 31 December 1951, aged 70. Miller was a man of strong and decisive character. His charm and friendliness made him a tower of strength to the many people who turned to him successfully for sound advice and practical help.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1952, 1, 167; Lancet, 1952, 1, 164; information from his son, Major A S Miller].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England Library