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Biographical entry Ockwell, Charles Melton (1883 - 1958)

MRCS 26 July 1906; FRCS 11 December 1919; LRCP 1906; DPH 1920; MB BS London 1930; MD 1933.

17 October 1958
Dermatologist, General surgeon, Medical officer of health and Venereologist


Born in 1883 son of Charles Ockwell of Cricklade, Wilts, he received his medical education at Guy's Hospital between the years 1901 and 1906, and while a surgical dresser to W H A Jacobson contracted septicaemia, for which Jacobson treated him during a long period of sickness. When qualified he went into practice first in Burgh, Lincolnshire for a few years and then in partnership with M W Renton at Dartford. During the war of 1914-18 he joined the RAMC and in 1915 was surgeon at a hospital in F├ęcamp and in 1916-18 was ophthalmic surgeon at the Royal Herbert Hospital, Woolwich and Paddington Military Hospital.

In 1920, back in practice, he started a maternity and antenatal clinic at Crayford treating four hundred cases in a year, and from 1921 onwards was MOH of Crayford including in 1926 Swanscombe UDC and Dartford RDC. In 1927 he pioneered diphtheria immunisation and by 1929 seventy per cent of the children had been immunised. About this time he became full-time MOH and also venereologist to Kent County Council until 1947. In 1938 he organised the casualty services for North Kent and during 1939-45 was busy with casualty services and VD Clinics, but nevertheless found time for postgraduate study of dermatology at St John's and at Guy's Hospital.

In 1924-25 he was chairman of the Dartford Division of the BMA and again in 1934-35, becoming President of the Kent Branch in 1937-38. In 1948 with the introduction of the National Health Service he became consultant dermatologist and venereologist, retiring in 1951. In that year he married Kathleen Keirle who had been his secretary-chauffeuse for twenty years, and built a house at Kemsing on the Pilgrim's Way, where he laid out a unique garden.

A gracious, quiet and dignified man, he was always ready to be helpful as a locum tenens in an emergency. He died in Guy's Hospital on 17 October 1958.

Sources used to compile this entry: [The Times 20 October 1958; Brit med J 1958, 2, 1167; Lancet 1958, 2, 967 with appreciation by DE].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England