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Biographical entry Oldfield, Michael Whitaker Carlton (1907 - 1963)

MBE 1942; MRCS 12 November 1931; FRCS 14 June 1934; LRCP 1931; MA MB BCh Oxford 1931; MCh 1937; DM 1942.

18 September 1907
11 July 1963
General surgeon and Maxillofacial surgeon


Born in Leeds on 18 September 1907 son of Charlton Oldfield, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Leeds 1919-32, he was educated at Harrow, Oxford and, for his clinical studies, Leeds. Qualifying in 1931, he held house appointments at the General Infirmary, Leeds and, ascending the surgical ladder, the posts of resident casualty officer, resident surgical officer, and finally surgical tutor. In 1938 he was appointed to the consultant staff as assistant surgeon.

For ten years, as an experienced horseman, he had been an officer in the Yorkshire Hussars, and on the outbreak of war in 1939 was mobilised as such, but almost immediately had to transfer to the RAMC. He was posted to the Middle East in 1941, holding the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel and being officer in charge of a Field Surgical Unit serving for six months in Palestine during the Syrian campaign. After this, having been specially trained by Gillies, he had charge of No 2 Faciomaxillary Unit in the Western Desert, where he carried out very valuable work, but in 1944 as a general surgeon he returned to a surgical division for the remainder of the war. On returning to Leeds, in addition to his appointment as surgeon to the General Infirmary, he had a maxillo-facial unit at St James's Hospital and was also consulting surgeon to Dewsbury and District General Infirmary, to the Royal Infirmary, Halifax, and to Batley Hospital; in addition he attended Mirfield Memorial Hospital.

At the College he was Arris and Gale Lecturer in 1940, considering the problems of hare-lip and cleft palate, and in 1949 Hunterian Professor dealing with the same subjects. He was for a time external examiner for the University of Cairo, and he was a founder member of the British Association of Plastic Surgeons, a Fellow of the British Association of Surgeons, Vice- President of the Surgical Section of the Royal Society of Medicine, a very active member of the Surgical Travellers Club and of the Leeds and West Riding Medico-Chirurgical Society.

A regular member of the Bramham Moor Hunt, he rode in point-to-point meetings, and had a small farm. He was a good cricketer and enjoyed shooting and fishing.

In 1938 he married Rosamund Adela, daughter of Lt-Col and Mrs Harris St John, who survived him with their four children. He died suddenly at his home on the evening of 11 July 1963.

Cleft palate and the mechanism of speech. (Arris and Gale lecture, RCS 1940). Brit J Surg 1941, 29, 197.
Reparative surgery in the Middle East, with a review of 1200 cases. Brit J Surg 1944, 32, 237.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1963, 2, 325 with portrait and appreciations by GA, RAMS, CFM, FGM; Lancet 1963, 2, 205 with appreciations by GA and RSH, and p 257 by FGM].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England