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Biographical entry Stowell, Thomas Edmund Alexander (1887 - 1970)

CBE 1949; MRCS 1910; FRCS 1912; MD Durham 1927; DIH Soc Apoth 1953.

8 November 1970
General surgeon, Medical Officer and Radiologist


Thomas Edmund Alexander Stowell was born in 1887; he was educated at St Paul's School and St Thomas's Hospital where he was awarded the William Tite Scholarship for 1905-1906. As a postgraduate he studied at Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Zurich, Vienna and Harvard, holding clinical appointments at St Thomas's and the Royal Southern Hospital, Liverpool. At different times he was honorary surgeon at the Victoria Infirmary Northwich, senior honorary surgeon and radiologist at the Mid-Cheshire Orthopaedic Clinic, Northwich, and a surgeon in the EMS. Possibly his longest and most important appointment was that of chief medical officer to Imperial Chemical Industries, and therefore he was one of the pioneers on the subject of industrial health. A member of the court of examiners for the diploma in industrial health, he was Chairman of the Council of Industrial Medicine and of the Medical Advisory Committee of the Industrial Welfare Society.

Senior Vice-President of the Congrès International de Sauvetage et de Premier Secours en Cas d'Accidents, he was for many years interested in accident prevention and first aid instruction and was a lecturer and examiner for the St John Ambulance Association and the British Red Cross Society. A devoted churchman he was a member of the House of Laity of the Church Assembly and was chairman of the Childrens Committee of the London Diocesan Council for Moral Welfare. His surgical activities were seriously curtailed by his developing Dupuytren's contracture, necessitating the amputation of three fingers.

At one period he was a lecturer at the London School of Economics, a member of the British Social Hygiene Council, a Member of the Ministry of Pensions Committee on Compensation for Injuries Sustained by Members of HM Forces and many other bodies connected with industrial health, with first aid and safety, and with public morality.

A great interest was the solving of historical medical mysteries and he became involved in controversial arguments as to the identity of Jack the Ripper following an article he wrote in The Criminologist. He was a keen and distinguished Freemason. In 1913 he married Lilian, elder daughter of W Wagner of Hayle, Cornwall by whom he had a son, who became a doctor, and a daughter who was killed accidentally in 1958. He died on 8 November 1970 in Southampton.

Sources used to compile this entry: [The Times 10 November 1970; 5 November, 9 November 1970; Brit med J 1945, 2, 170].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England