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Biographical entry Tagart, Robert Edward Bourn (1919 - 1991)

MRCS and FRCS 1948; BM BCh Oxford 1942; MCh Oxford 1951.

21 June 1919
Northern Rhodesia
20 September 1991
General surgeon


Robert (Robin) Tagart was born in Northern Rhodesia on 21 June 1919 and was educated at Winchester College and Magdalen College, Oxford, to which he won a Rhodes scholarship.

He qualified in 1942 and during the war served as a surgeon-lieutenant in the Royal Navy. Subsequently he was appointed resident surgical officer at Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, and also at St Mark's Hospital, London. In 1955 he was appointed consultant general surgeon to Newmarket General, West Suffolk (Bury St Edmunds) and Saffron Walden Hospitals.

Although a fine general surgeon in the widest sense, his main interest lay in colo-proctology, and he was elected President of the proctology section of the Royal Society of Medicine in 1980-81. He was awarded a Hunterian professorship of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1984 and wrote a number of papers on proctological subjects. He was also a keen tennis player and a member of Mensa. He enjoyed good books and conversation and had a wide circle of friends.

After retirement he took up carpentry as a hobby and also wrote several novels, including a semi-fictional autobiography of his early life, although these were never published. He shared his later years with his partner Meg, having moved from Newmarket to Cambridge. He died there on 20 September 1991 of myeloid leukaemia. He was survived by his wife Betty, née Thornton, whom he married during the war, and their five daughters, Jan, Vicky (who became an immunologist), Pippa, Liz and Char.

Sources used to compile this entry: [BMJ 1992 304 379, with portrait. Information from Professor P J Lachmann FRS].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England