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Biographical entry Gawne, Douglas William Cowley (1906 - 1977)

OBE 1968; MRCS 1932; FRCS 1938; MB BCh Cambridge 1932; MD 1937; LRCP 1932.

5 September 1906
Minneapolis, USA
3 February 1977
Accident and emergency surgeon and Orthopaedic surgeon


Douglas William Cowley Gawne was born Minneapolis, USA, on 5 September 1906, of Manx parentage. He was educated at King William School, Isle of Man, and later went up to Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, and to St Bartholomew's Hospital. He qualified MB BCh in 1932. After several house appointments in London he passed the FRCS in 1938.

Just before the second world war he went to Rhodesia as surgeon to the Anglo-American Copperbelt Company. On the outbreak of war he joined the Rhodesian forces and helped train the South African Medical Corps, finishing his service in the base hospital in Nairobi to which casualties from the North African campaign were evacuated. In 1945 he was appointed surgeon to the British Military Administration which returned to Singapore after the Japanese surrender. He remained in Malaya and in 1954 was appointed consultant orthopaedic surgeon to Singapore General Hospital and later was in charge of the accident and emergency unit. His military experience combined with boundless energy, enthusiasm and tact contributed to his success in overcoming the difficulties associated with a multi-racial society.

He was a founder member of the Singapore Academy of Medicine. In 1968 he retired from the Singapore Medical Service and was appointed OBE. In retirement he pursued his interests in sailing, music and languages.

In 1937 he married Miss Anne Svoboda of Czech nationality. There were no children. He died on 3 February 1977 aged 70 years.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1977, 1, 1543].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England