Browse Fellows


www Lives

Biographical entry Pritchard, John Joseph (1916 - 1979)

MRCS 1940; FRCS by election 1964; BSc Adelaide 1934; BA Oxford 1936; MB MCh 1940; DM 1951; LRCP 1940.

Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
10 April 1979


John Joseph Pritchard was born in Adelaide, South Australia, in 1916. He was educated at St Peter's College and at the University of Adelaide, where he graduated in 1934 with the BSc in medical science and mathematics. The same year he obtained the Primary Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons. In 1935 he came to England with a Rhodes Scholarship and entered Magdalen College, Oxford. There he took his BA one year later with first class honours in physiology. His clinical training was at St Bartholomew's Hospital Medical School, from which he took the Conjoint qualification in 1940 and the Oxford BM BCh the same year. He was then successively demonstrator in physiology at Oxford, demonstrator in anatomy at University College, London, then assistant lecturer, senior lecturer and reader in human anatomy at St Mary's Hospital Medical School from 1941 to 1952.

On appointment as Professor and head of the department of anatomy at Queen's University, Belfast, he rapidly made a name as an inspired teacher of students, a diligent promoter of research and as a kind and approachable friend to all who sought his help or advice. One of his innovations was the establishment of an honours course leading to a BSc in anatomy, where original research played a major part. His own main interest was in bone growth and repair, but he encouraged a wide range of research activity. The application of anatomy to clinical medicine was a feature of his lectures to physiotherapy as well as to medical students.

He was Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Visiting Professor in Anatomy at Auckland University in 1963 and Visiting Professor of Anatomy at Illinois University in 1965-1966. He travelled widely as an external examiner to anatomy schools in Britain, Africa and SE Asia. He had particularly close links with Khartoum University, from which medical graduates frequently came to his department to work for a PhD degree. He took a great interest in the welfare of Malaysian students in Northern Ireland, and was a patron of their society.

He was a popular President of the Anatomical Society of Great Britain and Ireland from 1967 to 1969, and in 1973 became editor of the Journal of anatomy. He was of great help to junior anatomists in advising them on the papers they submitted, sometimes revising the articles, sometimes even rewriting them with the grateful approval of the authors.

In 1964 he was elected FRCS and in 1973 he became a Fellow of the British Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons. He was also Chairman of the Northern Ireland Branch of the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

He died on 10 April, 1979, aged 63 years, leaving his wife, Muriel, a daughter and three sons, one a doctor.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1979, 1, 1347].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England