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Biographical entry Haigh, William Edwin (1878 - 1961)

MRCS 11 February 1909; FRCS 8 June 1911; LRCP 1909; DTM Liverpool 1910; DPH 1926.

29 August 1878
29 November 1961
General surgeon and Medical Officer


Born on 29 August 1878, William Edwin Haigh studied medicine at University College, London and St Bartholomew's Hospital, and qualified in 1909. Haigh was Assistant Demonstrator in Anatomy at University College, London, and later held appointments at the General Infirmary and the Hospital for Women and Children, Leeds, and at the Royal Southern Hospital, Liverpool. He then served in the Balkan War as a medical officer, and during the first world war was seconded to the Serbian Army and won several Serbian decorations.

After the war Haigh worked at the Wesleyan Mission Hospital in Hankow, China until 1923, when he became a member of the medical staff of the League of Nations and carried out some important investigations, the most impressive being his enquiry into the severe incidence of typhus fever in Poland and Russia.

In 1925 he returned to England and took the DPH at Liverpool in 1926. Soon after this he joined the public health staff at Derby, and was deputy medical officer of health from 1941 till his retirement in 1946. Haigh's organisation of the immunisation services was outstanding. He was awarded the Neech prize in 1930 for his thesis on the ventilation of the Derby cinemas.

Haigh was a quiet, friendly man of great integrity, gifted with vitality, a fine memory and a love of research. He married a Parisian lady and they had one son, Claude Haigh. Haigh died on 29 November 1961 at his home, Geneva, 419 Burton Road, Derby, aged 83.

Malaria in Albania. Reports, Health Commission, League of Nations, 1924-25.
An enquiry into the ventilation of cinematograph theatres. Derby, MOH Report, 1930.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1962, 1, 120].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England