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Biographical entry Higgs, Sidney Limbrey (1892 - 1977)

MRCS 1917; FRCS 1922; MA MB BCh Cambridge 1919; LRCP 1917.

21 November 1977
Orthopaedic surgeon


Sidney Limbrey Higgs was the son of a solicitor and was born in London on 12 September, 1892. From Whitgift School he went to St John's College, Cambridge, where he rowed in the Lady Margaret's first boat winning his oar. While a student at St Bartholomew's Hospital in August 1914, he served with a Red Cross Unit in France as a 'dresser' and in December 1914 in the Indian Medical Service hospital ship, Glengarn Castle, which took him to Egypt and Gallipoli.

Qualifying from Bart's in 1917, he joined the Royal Navy as temporary Surgeon-Lieutenant, serving on HMS Shropshire and HMS Curlew until the end of the war. He completed his hospital training under Professor Gask and Sir Thomas Dunhill at Bart's and under Bankart and Trethowan as a surgical registrar of the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital. He became demonstrator in anatomy at Bart's obtaining his FRCS in 1922.

He subsequently worked at the Military Orthopaedic Hospital in Shepherd's Bush (Hammersmith Hospital) and later at Queen Mary's Hospital, Roehampton, where he came under the influence of Sir Robert Jones and R C Elmslie, the orthopaedic surgeon at Bart's. He became assistant to Elmslie and eventually followed him as chief in Bart's and orthopaedic surgeon to the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital.

During the second world war, Higgs organised a large orthopaedic unit at St Albans where most of Bart's had been evacuated. Apart from being a great organiser, he was dedicated to his patients but was autocratic, demanding meticulous attention to detail, and yet he generated affection and respect amongst his colleagues and pupils who made him President of the British Orthopaedic Association.

His few leisure moments were spent fishing trout or salmon while his great joy was his boat, Lady Margaret. He became a member of the Royal Yacht Squadron after his retirement at West Wittering.

In 1927 he married Betty Chune Fletcher, a war widow with two young children. He later had a daughter of his own who certainly shared his enthusiasm for sailing - becoming commodore of her yacht club. His wife died in 1954 and in his later years, Higgs suffered many personal sorrows and very poor physical health. He died on 21 November 1977 at the age of 85.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1977, 2, 1552; The Times 22 November 1977].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England