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Biographical entry Fawcett, Alan Wordsworth (1896 - 1969)

MRCS 1926; FRCS 1927; MB ChB Edinburgh 1923; LRCP 1927.

18 October 1896
11 October 1969
General surgeon and Thoracic surgeon


Alan Wordsworth Fawcett was born on the 18th October, 1896, the son of Edward Fawcett, Professor of Anatomy at Bristol University. He was educated at Clifton College, Bristol. He intended to study medicine, but his university career was interrupted by two years' service as Surgeon Sub-Lieutenant in the RNVR. Following this service he entered the University of Edinburgh and graduated MB ChB in 1923. After graduation he held house posts at the Royal Hospital and the Jessop Hospital for Women in Sheffield, where he became resident surgical officer. He took the FRCS in 1927. In 1929 he was appointed surgical registrar at the Royal Infirmary, Sheffield, and in 1931 was appointed honorary assistant surgeon and full surgeon in 1940. He was particularly interested in thoracic surgery and in 1946, at a time when thoracic surgery was emerging as a specialty, he was appointed the first surgeon in charge of the thoracic department at the Royal Infirmary, and when the teaching hospitals in Sheffield amalgamated he was appointed thoracic surgeon of the United Sheffield Hospitals.

Alan Fawcett was a careful, reliable surgeon, with unusual technical ability. To watch him operate was an education in surgical technique. His ability as a thoracic surgeon was recognised quickly and he was appointed visiting thoracic surgeon at several hospitals in Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire. He was highly respected by his hospital colleagues and was an enthusiastic and popular teacher in the Sheffield Medical School. He was not a prolific writer, but the few papers he published on pulmonary and cardiac problems were significant.

He took a very active part in the professional life of the city, being the assistant secretary of the Sheffield Division of the British Medical Association for many years, and Chairman of the year 1940-1941.

Alan Fawcett had many outside interests. With his superb manual dexterity he became a very gifted model builder, and his detailed model of HMS Tigress, the destroyer in which he served in the first world war gained a prize at the doctors' hobbies exhibition of the BMA. He was also a wireless enthusiast, and was very well known all over the world from contacts on his magnificent amateur radio sets.

He retired in 1961, leaving Sheffield to live in Aberdovey, where for many years he had spent happy holidays with his family. He continued with his interest in model construction and in radio transmissions, and delighted to entertain his many friends.

He married a Sheffield medical graduate, Dr Janet Breakey, in 1932. He died on the 11 October 1969 at the age of 72.

The Royal College of Surgeons of England