Browse Fellows


www Lives

Biographical entry Hawksworth, William (1911 - 1966)

OBE; FRCS 1945; MB Otago 1935; MRCOG 1939; FRCOG 1953; MA Oxon 1959.

New Zealand
14 July 1966
Obstetrician and gynaecologist


William Hawksworth was born in New Zealand in 1911 and was educated at Nelson College and at the University of Otago, graduating from there in 1935. After various house appointments he was awarded a New Zealand Travelling Obstetric Scholarship which took him to Melbourne where he became a house surgeon at the Women's Hospital. In 1937 he came to England and held the appointment of house surgeon at the Jessop Hospital for Women in Sheffield.

In 1939 he took the MRCOG and at the beginning of the war joined the New Zealand Medical Corps. He served with the New Zealand Division in North Africa, Greece, Crete and Italy, commanding a field ambulance and for this work was appointed OBE. For a short time he was a prisoner of war at Tobruk. At the end of the war he returned to England and passed his Fellowship in 1945; after this he returned to his specialty in Oxford where later he became a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist to the United Oxford Hospitals. In 1953 he was elected FRCOG, and in 1959 he received the degree of MA Oxon as a Fellow of University College.

Hawksworth served on the Council of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists for six years and he was a member of the Porritt Committee. He travelled widely and gave lectures in many countries. His film on the technique of vaginal hysterectomy as performed at Oxford was widely known both in this country and abroad. He also published many papers on carcinoma of the body of the uterus. Among his many successes the one he treasured the most was when he was asked to give the Doris Gordon Oration in his native New Zealand.

Hawksworth was a natural ball game player and he was a notable cricketer, being a wicket keeper of the highest class. He loved the sun and spent many happy holidays with his family at various camping sites around the Mediterranean, but perhaps he was his happiest when entertaining his many friends at his home at Boar's Hill.

His death at the height of his career was a shock to all his friends as he died after a short illness on 14 July 1966; he was survived by his widow, a son and two daughters.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Lancet 1966, 2, 234; Brit med J 1966, 2, 308, 532].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England