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Biographical entry Wilkinson, Edmund (1867 - 1938)

MRCS 2 August 1888; FRCS 14 January 1892; LRCP 1888; DPH RCPS 1891; DTM and H Cambridge 1906.

9 January 1867
Launceston, Cornwall
1 May 1938
Epidemiologist, Medical Officer and Military surgeon


Born 9 January 1867 at the East Cornwall Bank, Launceston, Cornwall, the first child of John Wimble Wilkinson, the bank accountant, and Emma Sophia Shilson his wife. He was educated at Blundell's School, Tiverton, Devon, and at University College, London. At University College Hospital he held resident posts, and entering the Indian Medical Service was gazetted surgeon on 28 July 1891, went to Bengal, was promoted major on 21 July 1903, lieutenant-colonel on 28 July 1913, and retired on 13 November 1914. He served on the NW Frontier, Waziristan 1894-95 (medal and clasp), at Mohmand 1897-98, and was in the Buner action of Tanga pass (medal and clasp). In the Punjab he was chief plague medical officer, and was acting sanitary commissioner for East Bengal and Assam.

During the war he was liaison officer in England between the civil and military authorities to establish the sanitary arrangements for military camps and hospitals. On 1 April 1914 he was appointed a medical inspector under the Local Government Board, which became the Ministry of Health after 1919, and served until 1932, when he retired to live the life of a country gentleman in Cornwall. He married twice: (1) Eva Marion Haig on 2 February 1899; and (2) Gertrude Mary, widow of Prebendary Daugar of Exeter, on 15 April 1925; she survived him, with four daughters of his first marriage. He died at Hornacott Manor, near Launceston, on 1 May 1938. Mrs Wilkinson died on 12 August 1947 at the same place. Wilkinson had a distinguished career as an epidemiologist both in India and in England. His plague experience in India enabled him to render invaluable aid to the Port sanitary authority in London and in preventing the spread of the disease in East Anglia.

Tropical medicine and hygiene, with C W Daniels: Part 1, Disease due to protozoa, London, 1909; parts 2-3 and 2nd edition by Daniels alone.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Crawford's Roll of the IMS, Bengal list, No 2315; Lancet, 1938, 1, 1136; Brit med J 1938, 1, 1077 and 1239; information given by Mrs Wilkinson].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England