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Biographical entry Metcalfe, William Joseph (1921 - 1966)

MRCS and FRCS 1954; MB ChB Manchester 1949.

7 March 1921
Winnipeg, Canada
17 August 1966
General surgeon


William Joseph Metcalfe was born on 7 March 1921 in Winnipeg. His parents came from Yorkshire, but he went to school at St Bernadene's College in Buckinghamshire. It was in 1944, at the age of 23, that he started medical studies at Manchester University and graduated MB ChB in 1949. He had a brilliant academic career, winning many prizes and passing the final examination with honours. House appointments at the Manchester Royal Infirmary followed, and no doubt the eighteen months he spent in Professor Michael Boyd's surgical unit must have confirmed his desire to specialize in surgery.

After two years as a demonstrator in the anatomy department at Manchester he obtained the FRCS in 1954, and then spent two years in surgical posts at the Infirmary, being appointed senior registrar in 1956 with an attachment to Crumpsall Hospital also. In 1960 he gave a Hunterian Lecture at the College of Surgeons, and later in that year was appointed consultant surgeon to the Blackburn and District Hospital Group.

At Blackburn he was distinguished not only for his surgical skill and good judgment, but also for his keenness in teaching the junior surgical staff, and his sympathetic understanding of the problems of his colleagues in general practice.

Though he did his best to conceal it, he was not a fit man, and his premature death in the Manchester Royal Infirmary on 17 August 1966 was a tragic ending to a life which was full of achievement and seemed to be full of promise. His wife and young family survived him.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1966, 2, 894].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England