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Biographical entry Chignell, Richard (1911 - 1987)

MRCS 1936; FRCS, 1948; DLO 1939; LRCP 1936.

25 April 1911
Wing, Buckinghamshire
3 September 1987
ENT surgeon


Richard Chignell came from a medical family and he was born on 25 April 1911 in Wing, Buckinghamshire, where his father was in general practice. He was at school at Bedford and received his medical training at the London Hospital where he qualified in 1936. Later he embarked on his career in otorhinolaryngology and became a registrar at Great Ormond Street. The war upset his further specialist training although he became an ENT surgeon with the rank of Major in the RAMC serving in Egypt, Sudan, Sicily and Italy.

In 1945 he was appointed assistant director of the professorial unit at the Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital; and in 1953 he was appointed consultant in otorhinolaryngology at Bedford General and St Alban's City Hospital, where he became a much respected colleague and adviser for the next twenty-five years. A colleague wrote of "Chig" that "his medical specialism was characterised by a great love for children and he took enormous trouble with all his patients, not least the smallest ones where he would often be found perched on the bed, reading their "get well" cards". He frequently attended the Section of Laryngology and Otology at the Royal Society of Medicine and served a term as its Vice-President.

His interests included sailing and he was a fleet captain of the Grafham Water Sailing Club. He had a passion for mechanical devices of all kinds, dating from his teenage years when he would ride to school on a motorcycle. He had a collection of veteran tractors which he restored himself and he often enjoyed motor-racing at Silverstone, where he acted as medical officer. He was an expert gardener whose produce was much in demand at local flower-shows, but with characteristic tolerance he refused to take sanctions against the predatory rabbits which frequented his smallholding. He regularly attended St Andrew's Church in Bedford where he took part in many activities and served as churchwarden for five years. His wife, Nell, had been a ward sister at Great Ormond Street and they married in 1940, just before "Chig" was posted to the Middle East. They had three sons, Peter, Robert and Hugh. He died on 3 September 1987 aged 76 years.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1987, 295, 1148].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England