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Biographical entry Mill, William Allin (1902 - 1968)

MRCS 1924; FRCS 1927; MB BS London 1926; MS 1930; LRCP 1924.

26 April 1902
New Zealand
9 March 1968
ENT surgeon


Born in New Zealand on 26 April 1902, only son of Robert Mill of the Bank of New Zealand he was brought to London at an early age and was educated at Whitgift School and Guy's Hospital qualifying with the Conjoint Diploma in 1924 and graduating MB BS with honours two years later. During his career at Guy's he was an outstanding student winning the Treasurer's Gold Medals in clinical medicine and surgery. After qualification he held a series of junior appointments at Guy's, was admitted a Fellow in 1927 and became chief clinical assistant and registrar in the ear, nose and throat department. He obtained the MS in 1930. In 1931 he was encouraged to become chief assistant to the throat department at St Thomas's as in 1932, on the retirement of H J Marriage, the aural surgeon, the ear and throat departments were to be combined under W G Howarth with two assistant consultant surgeons D F A Neilson and W A Mill. Mill was to remain at St Thomas's until ill health compelled his retirement in 1962 although he always maintained his contact with Guy's as befitted a member of the United Hospitals Club, a club that commemorates the time when the two hospitals were one on either side of St Thomas's Street in the Borough.

From 1940 to 1945 he served as a temporary Colonel RAMC in the N Africa and Italian campaigns, being adviser on ear, nose and throat conditions to Allied Forces Headquarters Central Mediterranean Forces. For his services he was mentioned in despatches.

He had been appointed to the staff of the Royal Marsden Hospital in 1934 of which he was to become a Governor in 1955 and on returning to civil life he filled many other posts with distinction. At the fourth International Congress of Otolaryngology held in London he acted as treasurer with great efficiency and he became treasurer of the British Association of Otolaryngology. At the annual meeting of the BMA in 1953 he was honorary secretary of the Section of Otolaryngology becoming Vice-President in 1956. He was President of the Section of Laryngology of the Royal Society of Medicine and was awarded the W J Harrison Prize in 1957.

His work at the Royal Marsden and St Thomas's on laryngeal cancer made him a world authority and one who was able to assess the relative merits of and indications for surgery and for radiotherapy and one whose opinion was widely sought.

In 1956 he became otolaryngologist to the Royal Masonic Hospital, an appointment reflecting the high opinion held of him. He was also consultant to the Florence Nightingale Hospital. At the College he was a member of the Court of Examiners from 1958-61.

Bill Mill, as he was always known, brought to his work a balanced and critical faculty, taking endless care with the preparation of papers and articles on his subject to ensure their accuracy. He was a demanding person to work for because he set high standards for himself and expected the same from his subordinates. At the same time his essential kindliness and sense of humour coupled with his personal interest both in his patients and in his assistants made him a very human and likeable figure.

A big, cheerful man, happy in his family life, his leisure was spent in summer holidays in Cornwall with a break for skiing in the winter and, latterly, in fly fishing. Nothing gave him and his wife greater pleasure than entertaining their colleagues and friends.

He died on 9 March 1968 in St Thomas's Hospital aged 65 after a long illness, survived by his widow, his son and his two daughters. A memorial service was held at St Thomas's on 2 April 1968.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Lancet 1968, 1, 648 and 701; Brit med J 1968, 1, 773].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England