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Biographical entry Hine, Montague Leonard (1883 - 1967)

MRCS 1905; FRCS 1908; MB BS London 1907; MD London 1907; LRCP 1905.

24 January 1883
Leytonstone, Essex
2 December 1967
Medical Officer and Ophthalmic surgeon


Montague Leonard Hine, son of Alfred Leonard Hine (MRCS 1878), a general practitioner at Leytonstone, Essex, was born on 24 January 1883, and was educated at Rydal Mount School, Colwyn Bay, where he had a classical education. He took his medical training at the Middlesex Hospital, where he gained an entrance scholarship and was later Broderip Scholar and Leopold Hudson and Governor's Prizewinner. There was no great medical tradition in his forebears, in fact they came of farming stock. Hine's father was the first to take up medicine, but only on second thoughts after he had started training in pharmacy.

At the Middlesex Hospital, Hine was consecutively house physician, house surgeon and casualty medical officer, and although he always intended to specialise in some branch of medicine, he did not take up ophthalmology until nearly seven years after qualifying. During his early postgraduate years he did several spells of locum duties in general practice, which he always regarded as a most valuable experience.

While he was still a resident at the Middlesex one of the honorary surgeons promised him all his private anaesthetic work if he took up anaesthetics, but this did not appeal to him. He proceeded to MD London in 1907, and having passed the examination for Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1908, he took a job as a surgeon in a ship bound for Japan. This led to his accepting a post as medical officer to the Eastern Extension Cable Company of Singapore and the Cocos Islands for two years, mainly with a view to making himself financially independent so that on his return to London he could train in some specialty. He thoroughly enjoyed his work in the Far East where he had to be "Jack of all trades". His medical work included that of dentist, obstetrician, and barber!

On his return to London he worked in the various special departments at the Middlesex Hospital, and after careful consideration decided that ophthalmology was the most interesting of all the specialities, mainly because it was a happy combination of medicine and surgery. He then took a post as resident house surgeon at the Royal Westminster Ophthalmic Hospital (now known as the High Holborn branch of Moorfields), and subsequently started private practice at 30 Weymouth Street, moving later to 73 Harley Street.

He was elected to the surgical staff of the Royal Westminster in 1915, joined the Miller General Hospital as ophthalmic surgeon in 1919, and became ophthalmologist at Charing Cross Hospital in 1936. He also worked for many years at the School Eye Clinic at Luton, from which he referred many children for in-patient treatment to the Royal Westminster Ophthalmic Hospital.

During the first world war he served as a Captain (Eye Specialist) in the RAMC from 1916 to 1919, and during the second world war he was ophthalmic surgeon in the Emergency Medical Service at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital at Stanmore, where he and Charles Leonard Gimblett organised an Eye Unit and carried out a considerable number of operations, dealing especially with cases of retinal detachment.

It was at the Royal Westminster Ophthalmic Hospital that Monty Hine was best known for his work. Indeed, many generations of house surgeons have sung his praises, largely because of his outstanding qualities as a teacher of sound surgical principles, and because of his kindness and generosity to those who sought his help. He took great pains to instruct his house surgeon in the art of ophthalmic surgery by showing him exactly what to do, and then by allowing him to do it with his personal assistance. He had a thorough understanding of human nature and was kindness itself to his patients. He was Dean of the Medical School of the Hospital from 1920 to 1946.

He was a keen student himself, always eager to try new methods and was one of the first ophthalmic surgeons to operate upon the vertical muscles in certain cases of squint. He was ophthalmic specialist to the Ministry of Pensions from 1919 to 1928, a past President of the Ophthalmic Section of the Royal Society of Medicine, and editor of the 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th (1949) editions of May and Worth's Diseases of the eye.

When he retired he took a great interest in local affairs in Harpenden where he lived at 9 Kirkwood Avenue, and when the League of Friends of the Harpenden Hospital was started he willingly became its first President. He was a life long Methodist with a particular interest in Medical Missions. He also took a considerable interest in the Harpenden branch of the National Childrens' Home of which his father had been honorary medical officer. At his death he was one of the two remaining Trustees who had built the fine Methodist Church in Harpenden in the late 1920s. Monty Hine was a man of the highest integrity; a skilful ophthalmic physician and surgeon, a true friend and one who did a great deal to help his fellow men and women.

At the age of 41 he married in 1924 Jennette Robertson of Alva, Clackmannanshire and they had a son and a daughter. He died on 2 December 1967, aged 84, survived by his wife; his son Dr James Leonard Hine, who practises at Ely, and his married daughter who is a trained physiotherapist.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1967, 4, 624; Brit J Ophthalm 1968, 52, 287 by T K Lyle, FRCS].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England