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Biographical entry Burfield, Joseph (1879 - 1970)

MRCS 1903; FRCS 1905; MB BS London 1903.

30 May 1879
Hailsham, Sussex
5 February 1970
Farmer, General surgeon and Medical Officer


Born on 30 May 1879 at Hailsham, Sussex, the second eldest child of Joseph Burfield and his wife, née Birt. He belonged to a Quaker family with interests in farming and a rope business. He was educated at Beiston in Somerset and at London University and St Bartholomew's Hospital.

He came to Norwich as assistant in general practice to Dr Michael Beverley in 1908 and was appointed assistant surgeon to the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital in 1911. He became surgeon in 1930 and consulting surgeon in 1944. After his retirement from the Hospital he continued as medical officer to the Great Hospital, a mediaeval charity, and to Colman's the famous mustard firm. During the first world war he was commissioned as Captain in the RAMC and served at Gallipoli.

He married in 1908 Mary Fenning then a nurse at St Bartholomew's Hospital; their son Major Bernard Burfield was killed in action in the Burma Campaign during the second world war; their daughter is married to a well known Norfolk farmer. Joe Burfield was always interested in farming and acquired a farm in Norfolk when he came out of the Army; this interest continued after his retirement. He attributed his good health and youthful appearance and longevity to the open-air life which he led.

At the age of 86 he underwent a major operation from which he made a rapid recovery, and returned to his full and active life for another five years, dying on 5 February 1970, aged ninety.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Information from N J Townsley FRCS, Norwich].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England