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Biographical entry Grice, John William Hawksley (1891 - 1976)

OBE 1953; MRCS 1916; FRCS by election 1954; LRCP 1916.

7 April 1891
Tonbridge, Kent
12 November 1976
Bognor Regis
General practitioner, General surgeon, Gynaecologist and Orthopaedic surgeon


Born on 7 April 1891 at Tonbridge, Kent, John William Hawksley Grice was educated at Yardley Court School, Tonbridge School and Guy's Hospital Medical School. During the first world war he left his medical studies at Guy's and went to France as a dresser; later he returned to Guy's and qualified in 1917. After a surgical house job he joined the RAMC and went to Mesopotamia. Remaining in the RAMC after the war, he specialised in orthopaedics until he went to North China in 1922. He looked after the British community in Tientsin as a general practitioner and general surgeon and gynaecologist at the Victoria Hospital. During the Tientsin floods he organised a large Chinese refugee camp at the British Race Club. In the second world war he was interned in a Japanese camp at Weihsien, Shantung province. He brought surgical instruments and drugs into the camp, where a hospital was started. He was appointed OBE for his work there.

After the war he returned to Tientsin. Surgical instruments were in short supply and he used tools from an Italian marble works for mastoid operations. Following the Communist occupation he remained in Tientsin, finally leaving China in 1952. In 1954 he was elected FRCS for his work for the British community in China. He went into general practice at Bognor Regis in 1954 and retired in 1973.

Grice was interested in Chinese antiques and collected jade, pewter and bamboo carvings, highly prized by the Chinese, but little known in the West. He wrote numerous articles on these, published in Chinese art, Country life and The Field. A representative part of his bamboo collection is in the Victoria and Albert Museum and an exotic ivory woven bed mat, said to have been used by one of the Chinese emperor's favourite concubines, is in the Ethnography Department of the British Museum. He also had a lifelong interest in ornithology.

In 1920 he married Kathleen Kilbride, whose father and two brothers were medical men. There were two daughters of the marriage, one of whom took up medicine as a career. Grice died on 12 November 1976, at Bognor Regis, aged 85 years.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1976, 2, 1393].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England