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Biographical entry Turner, William (1870 - 1944)

MRCS 11 May 1893; FRCS 12 December 1895; MB BS London 1895; MS 1898; LRCP 1893.

25 January 1870
30 April 1944
General surgeon


Born 25 January 1870, ninth and youngest child and fifth son of Frederic Turner of Nizels, Hildenborough, near Sevenoaks, Kent, a retired army clothier, and Martha Orr Faithfull, his wife, daughter of Lt-Col Richard Coventry Faithfull, HEICS. His father died when William was a very small child. He was educated at King's College School, at King's College, London, of which he ultimately became an Associate, and at King's College Hospital, where he was a pupil of Lister. He won the Sambrooke exhibition 1888, the first- and the second-year scholarships, and at the final MB a scholarship and the gold medal for the year. At King's College Hospital he served as house surgeon, house physician, demonstrator of anatomy, and surgical registrar; and then served for a period in the Metropolitan Asylums Board's smallpox ships.

In August 1897 he was appointed assistant surgeon to Westminster Hospital, but his normal career was interrupted when he volunteered for active service in South Africa with the Imperial Yeomanry. He acted as surgeon at their base hospital at Deelfontein 1900, and medical officer in charge of the branch hospital at McKenzie's Farm 1900-01. Coming back to Westminster Hospital he became in due course surgeon and lecturer in clinical surgery, was senior surgeon for eleven years, and was elected consulting surgeon and a vice-president on retiring in 1934. He was also consulting surgeon to the Dreadnought Hospital, Greenwich, King Edward Memorial Hospital, Ealing, the Royal Hospital for Diseases of the Chest, City Road, the Maidenhead Hospital, and the London Brighton and South Coast Railway. He examined in surgery for the University of London.

During the first world war Turner served at the 4th London General Hospital, with the rank of major, RAMC(T), having been commissioned captain à la suite on 2 December 1908, when the Territorial Force was formed. He was also on the staff of the King George Hospital, the 22nd American Red Cross Hospital, the American Women's Hospital for Officers, and Mrs Mitchison's Hospital at Clock House, Chelsea. He had a large private practice at 104 Harley Street, and was a member of the British Medical Association for fifty years. Turner married in 1904 Lily, only daughter of J K Hamilton, of Tavistock, who survived him with a son, Claude Frederic Hamilton-Turner, DM, MRCS, who was serving abroad as a squadron-leader in the RAF Medical Service, when his father died in the Westminster Hospital on Sunday, 30 April 1944, aged 74. A memorial service was held at Westminster Hospital chapel on 3 May 1944. "Billy" Turner was a sound, industrious surgeon, a good teacher, and a wise counsellor, generous of his services to his hospitals and his colleagues.

Treatment of fracture of patella by open method of wiring. Westmr Hosp Rep 1899, 11, 99.
Treatment after operation, with E Rock Carling, FRCS London, 1912.
The acute abdomen, Creasy memorial lecture. Postgrad med J 1936, 12, 45.

Sources used to compile this entry: [The Times, 2 May 1944, p 6f; Lancet, 1944, 1, 645; Brit med J 1944, 1, 671, with eulogy by Sir E Rock Carling; information given by Mrs Turner].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England