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Biographical entry Fenwick, William Stephen (1881 - 1961)

MRCS 26 July 1906; FRCS 10 December 1908; LRCP 1906; BSc London 1906; MB BS 1908; MS 1909.

6 July 1881
17 January 1961
Farmer and General surgeon


Born on 6 July 1881 he developed an ankylosed tuberculous left hip which seriously interfered with his education. This illness necessitated a long rest in the open air and thus engendered a love of the country from which he profited in later years.

Fenwick studied first for the BSc and graduated with honours in botany. In 1902 he became a medical student at Charing Cross Hospital and took nearly all the prizes. He qualified in 1906, graduated MB BS with a gold medal and honours in surgery, medicine, and pathology in 1908, took the FRCS the same year, and gained the MS with a gold medal in 1909.

After serving as house surgeon to Sir Herbert Waterhouse, Fenwick became surgical registrar, and on the death of Sir Frederic Wallis he was appointed to the full surgical staff of the Hospital. Among other surgical appointments, he was at various times on the staff of the Hampstead General Hospital, the Gordon Hospital, the Queen's Hospital for Children and the Hendon Cottage Hospital.

During the first world war he was unable to serve in the forces owing to his disability, but was increasingly active at home. Unfortunately his car collided with a tram during a black-out, and his injuries made it increasingly difficult for him to operate. He retired in 1922 to Earldoms Lodge, Whiteparish, near Salisbury, where he became a successful farmer and veterinary surgeon. (1)

He was elected chairman of the South Wiltshire brank of the National Farmer's Union in 1937, and during the second world war was chairman of the National Service Medical Board at Salisbury.

Fenwick was a quiet, unobtrusive man with a genius for excellence. He died on 17 January 1961 at the age of 79, survived by his widow and his son, Thomas Fenwick FRCS, consultant surgeon to the Portsmouth group of hospitals.

Sterilisation of skin by alcoholic solution of iodine, with H Waterhouse. Brit med J. 1910, 2, 61.
Transplantation of a segment of small intestine to repair the resected sigmoid flexure. Brit med J. 1911, 2, 781.

[(1) It has been questioned as to whether he held a formal veterinary degree. It is likely that he practiced as a vet without being on the register or the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons - June 2018.]

Sources used to compile this entry: [The Times 20 January 1961 p 15 c; Brit med J 1961, 1, 297, with appreciation by EDDD].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England