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Biographical entry Ward, Basil Arthur (1916 - 1968)

MRCS 1943; FRCS 1948; MB BS London 1942; MS 1954; LRCP 1943.

26 October 1916
8 December 1968
General surgeon and Ophthalmologist


Basil Arthur Ward was born on 26 October 1916, and was educated at Cranleigh School and St Thomas's Hospital where he qualified in 1942 with the degrees of London University, obtaining honours and distinction in surgery. He was appointed house surgeon prior to being commissioned as a Lieutenant in the RAMC. In due course he was posted as regimental medical officer to the Green Howards taking part in the landings at Anzio. Later he became a parachute surgeon and took part in the fighting in Greece. Demobilized with the rank of Captain he returned for postgraduate study and was admitted to the Fellowship in 1948.

Deciding to leave general surgery in favour of ophthalmology he was appointed house surgeon and, later, senior resident at Moorfields Hospital. He then returned to St Thomas's working in the ophthalmological department and during this period was an active and important worker of Professor Norman Ashton's team, engaged in investigating the activity of retrolental fibroplasia. He made significant contributions to the successful outcome of this research and the subject formed the basis of his thesis for the degree of MS in 1954.

About this period symptoms of cardiac trouble began to develop but in spite of this he spent a period as Government Ophthalmologist in Fiji where he wrote an exhaustive and important report on the ophthalmological problems of the islands. He then worked at centres in Australia and England before being appointed consultant ophthalmic surgeon to the University of the West Indies at Mona, Jamaica. During this time he had to return to England for cardiac valvular surgery and he succumbed finally to subacute bacterial endocarditis. In spite of his disabilities he lived a full and active life, skin diving being one of his favourite relaxations.

He died in hospital on 8 December 1968 aged 52.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1969, 1, 259].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England