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Biographical entry Salmond, Elaine Margaret Katherine ( - 1982)

MBE (Mil) 1944; MRCS 1921; FRCS 1936; MB BS London 1922; MD 1925; LRCP 1921.

20 Janaury 1897
Ilkley, Yorkshire
11 July 1982
Obstetrician and gynaecologist


Margaret Salmond as she preferred to be called, was born on 20 January 1897, at Ilkley, Yorkshire, the only child of Percy Newby Salmond, a merchant, also a Major in the 3rd (Militia) Battalion of the Royal Scots Regiment, and of his wife, Elaine Marguerite, nee Bouch. Her early education was at St Paul's Girls School, from which she gained the St Dunstan's Medical Exhibition, tenable for five years at the London (Royal Free Hospital) School of Medicine for Women from 1916 to 1921. Before starting medical studies she took the University of London Matriculation Examination and the University of Cambridge Higher Local Examination with honours. She was an assiduous student, gaining eight certificates of merit and six prizes, including the Richardson Kelelman Prize for obstetrics, the Evans Prize in operative midwifery and the prize for gynaecology. She took the Conjoint qualifying examinations in 1921 and the London MB BS the following year, during which she was appointed house surgeon to the obstetrics and gynaecology unit at the Royal Free. She was particularly influenced by Dame Louise McIlroy and Gertrude Dearnley.

In 1923 she gained a scholarship from the London Homoeopathic Hospital in obstetrics, gynaecology and radiotherapy. She gained her London MD in midwifery and diseases of women in 1925, and the same year was appointed registrar in obstetrics and gynaecology at the Royal Free for two years, after which she held successively the posts of 3rd, 2nd and senior assistant in the obstetrics and gynaecology unit until 1931. During this time she received a research grant from the BMA for work on the Dick Test in relation to scarlet fever and puerperal sepsis. In 1932 she gained the A M Bird Scholarship for further work in the obstetrics and gynaecology unit at the Royal Free. In 1936 she took the FRCS examination and was appointed honorary gynaecologist to the Bermondsey Medical Mission, a post she held until 1960. She was appointed assistant director of the Marie Curie Hospital in 1938.

On the outbreak of war in 1939 she became consultant in charge of the EMS Hospital at Bexhill, then in 1940, following her father's military interest she joined the RAMC as a volunteer with the rank of Major, first in charge of the military families hospital at Tidworth and then, in 1942, as OC of the surgical centre there until 1947. In 1943 she was awarded the Certificate of Good Service and in 1944 the MBE (Military Division). After the war she was appointed consultant in obstetrics and gynaecology at St Olave's Hospital, Bermondsey, and retired in 1957.

She was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine, serving on the Council of the Section of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, and was also a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Public Health and Hygiene, to which she had delivered a lecture in 1938 on The national importance of women's health. She wrote several papers published in the medical journals, mainly on the subject of the prevention and cure of varieties of prolapse.

She was interested in all forms of sport, and as a young woman played hockey and swam for the University of London Athletic Club. Later her other interests centred on gardening, bird-watching, ballet and theatre. She never married. She lived in retirement on the Isle of Mull and died aged 85 on 11 July, 1982.

The Royal College of Surgeons of England