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Biographical entry Simpson, Robert Ritchie (1902 - 1952)

FRCS ad eundem 11 March 1954; FRCS Ed 17 May 1927; MB ChB Glasgow 1923; JP.

26 November 1952


Born at Larkhall, Glasgow, he was educated at the University of Glasgow going to the Western Infirmary for the clinical period and, as a postgraduate, to the Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh. After qualifying, he held junior appointments at the Western Infirmary, Glasgow, followed by a post as senior house surgeon at the Royal Infirmary, Hull. He then became a senior clinical assistant and clinical tutor in the Ear Nose and Throat Department of the Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh and in 1927 joined Ritchie Rodger in private and hospital practice in Hull.

During the war of 1939-45 he served in the RAMC with the rank of Major, first in France, being evacuated from St Nazaire in 1940, and then in the Middle East and in Ceylon.

On the retirement of Ritchie Rodger in 1947 he dealt with all ear nose and throat work in Hull alone until 1954 when two additional consultant posts were made. In 1947 he was a founder member of the North of England Otolaryngological Society of which he later became President. In 1950-52 he was President of the East Yorkshire branch of the BMA, in 1953 Vice-President of the Otolaryngological Section of the BMA meeting in Cardiff, President of the Otolaryngological Section of the Royal Society of Medicine in 1954, and a councillor and President elect of the British Association of Otolaryngologists.

His other activities included these of an examiner for the University of Manchester, President of the Hull Medical Society, and a Justice of the Peace until 1956 as he had a special interest in juvenile delinquency, having throughout his career taken a particular interest in children and organised an ear nose and throat service for school children in Hull.

An authority on Shakespeare, he wrote Shakespeare and Medicine published by Livingstone, Edinburgh 1959, and "Shakespeare on the ear, nose and throat" in the Journal of Laryngology 1950, 64, 343. His other writing included the presidential address to the Section of the Royal Society of Medicine on "The Heritage of British otology" (Proc. 1954, 47, 205) and "The Causes of perceptive deafness" (Proc. 1949, 42, 536).

A fearlessly honest colleague, his later years were clouded by increasing disability.

He died on 26 November 1960 at his home in Hull survived by his wife, two daughters and a son.

Sources used to compile this entry: [The Times 28 November 1960; Lancet 1960, 2, 1309 with appreciation by A Hutchinson and VL; Brit med J 1960, 2, 1740 by DCM with appreciation by Dr A Hutchinson and p 1893 by WNR].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England