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Biographical entry Warwick, William Turner (1888 - 1949)

MRCS 29 July 1915; FRCS 10 June 1920; BA Cambridge 1909; MA MB BCh 1918; LRCP 1915.

1 March 1888
21 August 1949
General surgeon and Pathologist


Born on 1 March 1888, the son of W G Warwick, of Hatfield, Yorkshire, he was educated at Doncaster Grammar School and Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where he was a sizar in I906. He won his "blue" in the university athletic team in 1907, and was placed as a junior optime in part I of the Mathematical Tripos, 1909. From 1909 to 1911 he was a schoolmaster at Bedales School. Warwick won an entrance scholarship to Middlesex Hospital Medical School in 1911, and in 1915, when he took the Conjoint qualification, he was Broderip scholar. He served in the RAMC during the remainder of the war of 1914-18, and graduated in medicine and surgery at Cambridge in 1918. Warwick was house physician and obstetric and gynaecological registrar at the Middlesex Hospital, and house surgeon to Victor Bonney. He was at first chiefly interested in the surgery of the alimentary tract, and served in 1919 as resident surgical officer at St Mark's Hospital for Diseases of the Rectum, followed by a period as resident surgical officer at the General Infirmary at Leeds, when Moynihan was at the height of his fame there, and he also worked there under Harry Littlewood.

Warwick returned to the Middlesex Hospital in 1921 as surgical pathological registrar. He was deeply influenced by James McIntosh, professor of pathology in the Bland-Sutton Institute at the hospital. Warwick continued to work regularly at the Institute, and his surgery was based on profound pathological knowledge combined with a natural flair for diagnosis. Under the influence of W Sampson Handley he became increasingly concerned with the surgery of cancer. He edited the Cancer Review, 1926-32, and became an authority on the correlation of surgery with other methods of treating malignant disease, such as radio-therapy. He was appointed assistant surgeon to the hospital in 1923. Warwick kept up his interest in rectal surgery, and was vice-president of the sub-section of proctology at the Royal Society of Medicine, besides serving for many years on the society's council. He examined in surgery for London University, and was consulting surgeon to the London County Council. During the war of 1939-45 he was senior surgeon for the Middlesex sector of the emergency medical service set up by the Ministry of Health. At the College he was a Hunterian professor in 1942, lecturing on the growth of long bones.

At the time of his death he had been senior surgeon since 1945, and was surgeon in charge of the rectal clinic at his hospital. He was consulting surgeon to Peterborough War Memorial Hospital and to the British Legion, and director of the Bournemouth Cancer Clinic. His small book on the Rational treatment of varicose veins, published in 1931, remained for many years the authority on the subject. Warwick was a painstaking and sympathetic consultant, and as a surgeon consistently obtained excellent results though not technically brilliant. He was a successful and influential trainer of assistants, but not fond of teaching undergraduates. His intellect was logical and fertile; big of stature, he was shy but pleasant of manner, and of great depth of character. Warwick married in 1921 Dr Joan Harris, MRCS, daughter of Theodore Harris, of Limpsfield, Surrey, who survived him with three sons and a daughter. The eldest son was, like Warwick himself, a Cambridge athletic "blue" and a Broderip scholar. Warwick practised at 18 Harley Street, and lived at Fitzroy Farm Cottage, Highgate. He died in the Middlesex Hospital on 21 August 1949, aged 61.

A new technique, combining the use of surgery and radium in the treatment of cancer of the breast. Lancet, 1930, 1, 1341.
The rational treatment of varicose veins and varicocele. London, Faber, 1931. Colostomy and its inherent difficulties, a suggested operative technique. Lancet, 1935, 2, 298.

Sources used to compile this entry: [The Times, 21 August 1949, p 7e, and 1 September, p 7d; Middx Hosp J 1949, 49, 106, by D H Patey, FRCS, with portrait; Brit med J 1949, 2, 549, and p 603 by Sir Gordon Gordon-Taylor, KBE, FRCS; Lancet, 1949, 2, 443, with eulogy by D H Patey].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England