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Biographical entry Weddell, John Murray (1884 - 1966)

CBE 1944; MRCS 1909; FRCS 1927; BA Cambridge 1906; LRCP 1909.

Upper Holloway, Middlesex
19 February 1966
Military surgeon


John Murray Weddell was born in 1884 at Upper Holloway, Middlesex, the son of Dr W H Weddell. He was educated at Cheltenham College and Christ's College, Cambridge, where he graduated in Arts in 1906. He qualified from St Bartholomew's Hospital in 1909. He was then commissioned in the RAMC and served at Queen Alexandra's Military Hospital, Millbank till 1912, when he was posted to India. During the first world war he served on the North-West Frontier, in central Kurdistan and in Mesopotamia; he was twice mentioned in despatches.

Weddell took the Fellowship in 1927, and was appointed in 1928 Assistant Professor of Military Surgery at the Royal Army Medical College in the rank of Major. In 1932 he was promoted Lieutenant-Colonel and again posted to India, but in 1935 returned to the Royal Army Medical College as full Professor with the rank of Colonel; he was also appointed a consulting surgeon to the Army and an honorary surgeon to the King.

He retired in the summer of 1939, but as war broke out almost immediately he was recalled and went at once to France with the first Expeditionary Force. Subsequently he was consulting surgeon to the Army in North Africa, and was created CBE in 1944 for his services. He had developed a surgical service of high quality, by creating and maintaining active liaison between the front and base hospital surgeons; he also collaborated closely with E D Churchill, Hon FRCS, consulting surgeon to the American Army, and promoted many friendships between American and British surgeons. He was constant in visiting the numerous units under his command and was always ready to help his subordinates, listening patiently to their requests and offering solutions for their difficulties. After the war he kept in touch with many of his former officers, watching their civilian careers with pride.

Weddell retired in 1949 and settled at Cambridge, where he died in hospital on 19 February 1966, aged eighty-two, survived by his wife and daughter.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1966, 1, 680 with portrait, and eulogy by A L D'Abreu FRCS; Lancet 1966, 1, 721 with appreciation by RAS].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England