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Biographical entry Kennon, Robert (1889 - 1982)

MC 1917; MRCS 1911; FRCS 1919; MB ChB Liverpool 1911; MD 1914; LRCP 1911.

25 February 1889
Warrington, Lancashire
29 March 1982
General surgeon


Robert Kennon was born on February 25, 1889 in Warrington, Lancashire, the son of Robert Kennon, a company secretary and his wife Ann, née Allen. He was educated at Boteler Grammar School, Warrington, and at Liverpool University where he was Tate and Gree Scholar. After qualifying MRCS, LRCP and MB, ChB in 1911 he was Holt Fellow in physiology in 1912 and 1913 and Thelwall Thomas Fellow in surgery in 1914. He held the posts of house surgeon to R.A. Bickersteth and house physician to Hill Abram at the Liverpool Royal Infirmary before joining the RAMC in October 1914. He reached the rank of Captain and was awarded the MC for his work in treating the wounded for three days under heavy shell fire and continuing to do so after his dressing station was blown in.

On leaving the Army in 1917 he returned to Liverpool where he was appointed sub-curator of the University Pathology Museum and assistant to the professor. He took his FRCS in 1919 and was appointed honorary assistant surgeon at the Liverpool Royal Infirmary in 1922 and honorary surgeon in 1932. His interest in dental surgery was recognised when he was later made consultant surgeon to the maxillo-facial unit at Broadgreen Hospital. He held several teaching appointments at Liverpool University, including lectureships in practical surgery, operative surgery and dental and clinical surgery. He was a member of the Liverpool Medical Institution for many years. On becoming President for the 1945-46 session he showed his interest in accident surgery by delivering as his presidential address A glimpse at industry.

As a general surgeon in the days before narrower specialisation he worked tirelessly on long operating lists, with minimal assistance, often finishing late in the evening. He nevertheless found time for teaching both by precept and in practice and this was recognised on his retirement in 1954 by the Council of the University making the unusual gesture of conveying its official thanks for his work with medical students.

He married in 1919 Florence Ethel Wanton OBE, who was the Divisional Director in the ATS at Liverpool and Portsmouth and Chief Commandant from 1938 to 1943. She died in 1952. Of their two sons the elder, Dr R W Kennon, became a general practitioner in Cheshire. In 1954 he married Doris Irene Harrison, with whom he lived in happy retirement devoted largely to gardening, in Nantglyn, North Wales. He died on March 29, 1982, aged 93.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1982, 285, 141; Lancet 1982, 2, 54].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England