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Biographical entry Walker, Frederick Herman Aitken (1900 - 1981)

CBE 1964; MRCS 1925; FRCS 1930; BS Cambridge 1922; MA BCh 1927; MB 1937; LRCP 1925.

1 July 1900
1 July 1900, Lancashire
26 April 1981
General surgeon and Orthopaedic surgeon


Frederick Herman Aitken Walker, the only child of Frederick, a cotton manufacturer, and of Edith Walker, was born on 1 July 1900 at Clayton Le Moors, Lancashire. He was educated at Calday Grange School, West Kirby, Cheshire, and, after one year as a medical student at Liverpool University he moved to Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, before entering St Bartholomew's Hospital Medical College. On qualifying in 1925 he was house surgeon to the surgical professorial unit at St Bartholomew's. After teaching in the anatomy department of the Medical College and becoming senior demonstrator he returned to the surgical unit as chief assistant to Professor George Gask, Thomas Dunhill and James Paterson Ross. In 1934 he went to work at Reading with Leonard Joyce and was appointed surgeon to the Royal Berkshire Hospital in 1938, remaining there until his retirement in 1966.

Poor health kept Walker from active service during the second world war but, with all his colleagues away, he had a hard time working virtually single-handed. With the coming of the NHS he became deeply interested in administration and was chairman of the hospital management committee from 1957 to 1966, an unusual situation for an active member of the consultant staff in any such hospital. He is remembered there for his administrative achievements as well as for his surgical skill which he attributed to his early training at St Bartholomew's Hospital. Likewise, many generations of registrars and house surgeons at Reading were, in their turn, grateful to him for his example and training. Walker had also been on the board of management of the Wingfield Morris Hospital, Oxford, and was a member of the British Orthopaedic Association as well as a fellow of the Association of Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland. He was appointed CBE in 1964. He married Edna Forbes Gibbon in 1928 and they had one son who died in 1956. Following his retirement he and his wife went to live in Denmark, and he was survived by her when he died there after a long illness on 26 April 1981.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1981, 282, 1981].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England