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Biographical entry Tweedie, Alexander Robert (1871 - 1936)

MRCS 8 November 1900; FRCS 12 December 1901; LRCP 1900.

3 December 1871
Bickley, Kent
18 March 1936
ENT surgeon


Born at Bickley, Kent on 3 December 1871, the third son and seventh child of Alexander Forbes Tweedie, JP, solicitor, of Rolvenden, Kent, and Alice Bell, his wife. He was educated at Repton School and at St Bartholomew's Hospital, where he won the junior scholarship in anatomy and physiology in 1896, having previously served for three years in the New Zealand Mounted Rifles. During the South African War he was a civil surgeon and on his return to England acted for a short time as casualty house surgeon at the Royal Free Hospital. He had by this time determined to devote himself to the treatment of diseases of the throat and ear, and for this purpose took out courses at Vienna, as was then the custom, and became a clinical assistant at the Golden Square Hospital in London.

In 1908 he was appointed assistant surgeon to the Nottingham Children's Hospital, and in May 1911 was elected assistant surgeon to the General Hospital at Nottingham, a post he held until 1919, when he was promoted surgeon, and in 1920 was made surgeon to the newly created ear, nose, and throat department at the General Hospital. He resigned office on 17 March 1920, and in the same year was elected to the Nottingham City Council, where he served on the health, asylum visiting, and mental deficiency committees. In his professional life he was an outstanding personality. He was vice-president of the section of laryngology and otology at the annual meeting of the British Medical Association held at Nottingham in 1926, president of the Nottingham Medico-Chirurgical Society in 1928, and president of the section of otology of the Royal Society of Medicine in 1931. He was also for several years treasurer of the Collegium Oto-rhino-laryngologicum, an association which meets annually in various European centres. His main interests, during the later years of his life, lay in his work at the Royal Midland Institution for the Blind, where he was laryngologist and aural surgeon.

From early life Tweedie was interested in military affairs, first in the New Zealand Mounted Rifles, then in South Africa, and afterwards as a surgeon lieutenant in the Kent Artillery Volunteers. On the establishment of the Territorial Force in 1908 he at once received a commission, and was largely instrumental in raising the ambulance of the Notts and Derby Mounted Brigade. When the war began he was gazetted lieutenant-colonel, RAMC(T) on 13 November 1914, and was present at the opening of the Gallipoli campaign. He had command of a large medical organization at Alexandria, and served throughout the expedition to Tripoli against the Senussi. He administered subsequently a large medical district in Upper Egypt, and commanded the Citadel Hospital at Cairo. He was the senior medical officer with one of the divisions at the final assault on Gaza and in the subsequent pursuit of the Turks to the Jaffa-Jerusalem line and beyond. He was mentioned in despatches and received the Territorial Decoration.

He married on 1 September 1908 Anna Cadle Mahin, who survived him with one daughter. He died instantaneously on 18 March 1936, at a meeting of the Nottingham branch of the British Medical Association, having shown no previous symptoms of ill-health, at the age of 64. Mrs Tweedie presented a valuable collection of periodicals from his library to the college.

Research work conducted at Utrecht on saccular, utricular, and allied reflexes. Proc Roy Soc Med 1921-22, 15, Otol. p. 19.
The Eustachian tube. Ibid, 1930-31, 24, 327.
Labyrinthine tests and their aid to diagnosis. Ibid, 1934, 27, 310.
Nasal flora and the reaction of nasal mucus. J Laryngol 1934, 49, 586.

Sources used to compile this entry: [The Times, 20 March 1936, p 16b; Brit med J 1936, 1, 733 and 776; Lancet, 1936, 1, 745 and 810; information from Mrs Tweedie; personal knowledge].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England