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Biographical entry Perry, Alan Cecil (1892 - 1971)

MRCS 1914; FRCS 1920; MB BS London 1922; MS 1923.

26 November 1892
Were, Hertfordshire
1 April 1971
General surgeon


Alan Cecil Perry was born on 26 November 1892 at Ware in Hertfordshire, the son of Major H Perry, and received his medical education at the London Hospital. He entered the Medical College in March 1909 having obtained the Price Entrance Scholarship in science. He had a brilliant career as a student gaining many distinctions. He was awarded the Letheby Prize in organic chemistry in his first year as a student. In 1912 he won the Begley Studentship in anatomy of the Royal College of Surgeons.

At the second MB examination he was awarded honours in anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and in organic chemistry, and directly after this examination he passed the Primary Examination for the Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons. During his clinical studies he gained the Medical Prize and the Andrew Clark Prize in clinical medicine and pathology. Alan Perry was in camp with the Officers Training Corps at the outbreak of the first world war, and was released for a short period to enable him to take the final qualifications of the Conjoint Examining Board in October of that year.

After qualifying he was immediately sent out to France as a regimental medical officer attached to the Sherwood Foresters. He saw active service at Ypres and was gassed soon after this new method of warfare was introduced by the Germany Army. After this unfortunate incident he returned to France as a regimental medical officer until 1916. During one of the enemy attacks he was in a dug-out which received a direct hit, and was the only person to be brought out alive. He received severe injuries to his knee. While recovering from his wounds he acted as emergency officer at the London Hospital. He remained in the RAMC until the end of the war. During his years as a student Alan Perry was dresser to some of the most distinguished surgeons of the day, being attached to the firms of Sir Frederick Eve and Richard Warren and Jonathan Hutchinson, junior, and Hugh Lett. After the war he became house physician to Lord Dawson and Dr Leyton and house surgeon to Sir Hugh Rigby and Robert Milne.

In 1922 he took the final MB BS examination with honours receiving distinctions in medicine and surgery and being awarded the University Gold Medal. In May 1920 he passed the Final FRCS, and took the degree of Master of Surgery in December 1923. In June 1920 he was appointed a surgical registrar and in December 1921 he became assistant to the surgical unit under Professor Souttar. In September 1923 he was appointed surgical first assistant and registrar to the firm of Russell Howard and George Neligan.

In March 1926 on the retirement of James Sherren from the staff he was appointed assistant surgeon to the London Hospital. During his years as a first assistant he came to be very closely associated with that brilliant surgical teacher Russell Howard who had a profound influence on his outlook as a surgeon. In 1933 he was joint author with Russell Howard of the textbook entitled The practice of surgery which embodied the teaching of surgery at the London Hospital. In addition he was joint author with Russell Howard of the House Surgeon's Vade Mecum, and was associated with Miss Dorothy Hervey in writing a text book on general nursing for student nurses. In 1954 he was appointed Schorstein Memorial Lecturer, and took as his subject Some surgical aspects of anaemia.

Perry examined in surgery for the University of London and the Society of Apothecaries of which body he was a Liveryman. He also served as a Member of the Court of Examiners of the Royal College of Surgeons.

Alan Perry will always be remembered as a surgeon who possessed great skill and dexterity. His surgical knowledge was profound and his judgement was excellent. He took a keen interest in the Students Union and was president of a number of individual students clubs.

His own particular hobby was golf. It gave him great joy when his youngest brother, Dr Kenneth Perry, was appointed to the consultant staff of the London Hospital while he was still an active member of the staff himself. He was a very distinguished Freemason holding the high rank of Grand Officer.

In 1922 he married May Alice, the daughter of Captain C H Palmer RN. There were no children of the marriage. Mrs Perry had previously been a ward sister at the London Hospital. Perry died on 1 April 1971.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1971, 2, 226; Lancet 1971, 1, 922].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England