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Biographical entry Murray, Ernest Farquhar (1886 - 1959)

MRCS and FRCS 13 June 1918; MB ChB St Andrews 1908; MD 1911; MRCOG foundation 1929; FRCOG 1931.

13 January 1886
23 March 1959
Obstetrician and gynaecologist


Born at Dundee on 13 January 1886, younger brother of Herbert Leith Murray (1880-1932) Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Liverpool, he graduated from St Andrews University and held resident posts at Dundee Royal Infirmary and in London at Paddington Green Children's Hospital, Chelsea Hospital for Women, and Queen Charlotte's. Having been to the Far East as a ship's doctor, he was commissioned as a naval surgeon when war broke out in 1914, and was mentioned in dispatches for his service in HMS Caroline at the Battle of Jutland (1916). He took the Fellowship just before war ended and served at the City Road Lying-in Hospital.

Murray settled at Newcastle-on-Tyne in 1921, becoming assistant gynaecologist to the Royal Victoria Infirmary, obstetrician to the Princess Mary Maternity Hospital, and lecturer at the Newcastle Medical School. He succeeded R P Ranken Lyle in 1935 as Professor of Midwifery and Gynaecology in the University of Durham at Newcastle. He was a foundation Member and an original councillor of the British (now Royal) College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and was elected a Fellow in 1931. In the British Medical Association he was secretary of the Newcastle division 1921-27 and chairman 1930-31; at the annual meetings he was secretary of the section of obstetrics and gynaecology at Newcastle 1921 and Glasgow 1922 and a vice-president at Oxford 1936. He was an active member of the Gynaecological Visiting Club.

Farquhar Murray retired from practice in 1946 and from his chair in 1951, and again travelled to the Far East as a ship's surgeon. He had founded the Blue Funnel Club for former volunteer ship's surgeons, and entertained many prominent explorers and sailors at the Club's annual dinners. His most lasting contribution to medicine was the introduction of obstetric "flying squads". He was a character of volatile temperament and mercurial wit, a brilliant operator and a popular teacher.

He died at his home, 1 Eslington Road, Newcastle, on 23 March 1959 aged 73, survived by his wife.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1959, 1, 1123 with portrait and appreciation by FES].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England