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Biographical entry Wesson, Arthur Sewell (1904 - 1946)

MRCS 12 November 1925; FRCS 11 June 1936; LRCP 1925; MRCP 1928; FRCP 1944; MB BS London 1926; MD 1928.

5 May 1904
Richmond, Surrey
8 May 1946
Consultant in physical therapy


Born on 5 May 1904 at Richmond, Surrey, he was educated at Merchant Taylors' School, then still at the Charterhouse, EC, and at University College Hospital, where he served as house physician to T R Elliott, FRS, house surgeon to Gwynne Williams, FRCS, and resident medical officer. After a period as pathologist at Queen's Hospital, Birmingham, he was appointed deputy medical superintendent of the LCC Mile End Hospital, East London. Wesson decided to specialize in the developing field of physical therapy, with particular interest in rheumatic diseases, especially arthritis. He had taken the Physicians' Membership and the London Doctorate in 1928, and to equip himself thoroughly he took the FRCS in 1936. He was elected the same year to a Bilton Pollard Fellowship by University College Hospital, which enabled him to spend some months in America and Sweden, before becoming the first physician in charge of the department of physical therapy at the hospital. He developed his department with marked ability and success, demonstrating the value of physical methods for diagnosis as well as treatment. He held a similar post at the Royal Surrey County Hospital, Guildford. In this period he wrote several important papers on his specialty.

On the outbreak of war in 1939 Wesson was commissioned in the RAMC, and was promoted lieutenant-colonel. He saw active service with the Central Mediterranean Force in North Africa and Italy, as physical medicine specialist, and was mentioned in despatches. He was appointed officer in command of the first Army Physical Development Centre and, later, officer in command of rehabilitation. He made a great success of this work and wrote a valuable report on it. He was elected FRCP in 1944. Wesson fell ill on his return from the war, and died in University College Hospital on 8 May 1946, aged 42. He was unmarried. He was a small man, of great personal charm, humour, and cheerfulness, and an excellent team-worker, as modest as he was competent.

Sciatica, the orthopaedic aspect. Reports on chronic rheumatic diseases, 1938, 4, 41. Postural and occupational factors in rheumatic pain. J Roy Inst Publ Hlth 1938, 1, 733.
Discussion on manipulation in rheumatic disorders. Proc Roy Soc Med 1939, 32, 273.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Lancet, 1946, 1, 801; Brit med J 1946, 1, 816, with eulogy by H V Deakin, MD, of Falmouth, and p 854 by F D H; Univ Coll Hosp Mag 1946, 31, 25, by H V Deakin, MD; information from Graeme Allan, MD].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England