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Biographical entry Turner, James Meadowcroft (1903 - 1956)

MRCS 29 July 1926; FRCS 5 December 1928; LRCP 1926; MB BS London 1927.

13 May 1903
6 January 1956
Orthopaedic surgeon


Born at Royton near Oldham on 13 May 1903 the youngest of six children of a farmer who died the following year, he won his way to Hulme Grammar School with great determination in face of poverty. There he became captain of the cricket XI, and then went to Guy's Hospital where he served as demonstrator of anatomy and as house surgeon. He set up in general practice at Streatham, but had hard work to make it successful. The teaching of W H Trethowan and C Lambrinudi had aroused his interest in orthopaedic surgery and he accepted the post of clinical assistant in the orthopaedic department at Guy's. After being surgical registrar at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, he was elected assistant surgeon to its country branch at Stanmore which led to useful contacts with Sussex hospitals. He settled at Hove in 1933 on his marriage to Mary Gwendolen Blincow, who was a qualified physiotherapist. He was appointed orthopaedic surgeon to the Royal Alexandra Hospital for Sick Children at Brighton 1934, and later also to the Royal Sussex Hospital and the Brighton General Hospital. He built up a large consulting practice.

During the war of 1939-45 Turner served in Persia and the Middle East with the rank of Major RAMC. He then resumed his practice at Hove, but lived at a small farm at Clapper's Lane, Fulking near Henfield on a ridge with a fine view of the Downs. His livestock and the wild life of the country were a constant interest to him. Though gruff and reserved in manner, he was a good teacher and generous in helping his assistants. As a boy he had played the organ in church, and he kept up his love of cricket. He stood 6 foot 6, and looked as if in robust health; in fact he suffered continuously from a sinus infection, an injury of an intervertebral disc, and the after-results of a femoral thrombosis during his war service. He died suddenly at his country home on 6 January 1956 aged 52, survived by his wife, but without children.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Lancet 1956, 1, 168 with appreciation by RB; Brit med J 1956, 1, 402, by JCFLW].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England