Browse Fellows


www Lives

Biographical entry Cocker, Ralph (1908 - 1986)

CBE 1968; MRCS 1940; FDSRCS 1947; FRCS by election 1971; LDS Manchester 1930; MB ChB 1939; LRCP 1940.

18 April 1908
30 July 1986
Dental surgeon


Ralph Cocker was born on 18 April 1908, the elder son of Frank B. Cocker and Mary, nee Wildman. After early education at William Hulme's Grammar School he entered Victoria University, Manchester, for dental studies. He was awarded the Preston Prize and Medal and qualified as a dental surgeon in 1930. He entered private practice in Sale immediately after qualifying, but in 1933 started to work part time as assistant honorary dental surgeon in Manchester Dental Hospital. In 1936 he returned to his university to study medicine, qualifying as a doctor in 1939 and passing the Conjoint Diploma in the following year. From 1940 to 1945 he was seconded to work in the industrial health service of Imperial Chemical Industries, returning to Manchester after the war as lecturer in periodontia at Manchester University and consultant dental surgeon at Manchester Royal Infirmary.

In 1947 he was appointed consultant dental surgeon and director of the dental department of King's College Hospital as well as being sub-dean of King's College Hospital Medical School and was elected to the Fellowship of the Faculty of Dental Surgery at the time of its foundation. After the introduction of the National Health Service there was a great expansion in the demand for dentists and Professor Cocker stressed to the Ministry of Health the need to expand the provision for dental training by establishing new dental schools. The ensuing programme included the building of a new dental hospital and dental school at King's which opened in 1966.

He served as examiner in dental surgery to the Universities of Manchester, London, Birmingham, Bristol, Sheffield and St Andrew's and was chairman of the Board of Examiners for the statutory examination of the General Dental Council from 1964 to 1973. He was a member of the Board of Dental Faculty at the Royal College of Surgeons from 1955 to 1971 and vice-dean from 1964 to 1965.

He served as examiner for the Final Fellowship in Dental Surgery and as a member of the Standing Dental Advisory Committee of the Department of Health and Social Security from 1963 to 1974 and was a member of the General Dental Council during the same twelve years, during the last four of which he was chairman of the Council's education committee. He was active in the Odontological Section of the Royal Society of Medicine serving as secretary from 1961 to 1963 and vice-president from 1970 to 1973. He was adviser in dental surgery to the Department of Health and Social Security from 1968 to 1974 and temporary adviser to the World Health Organisation from 1970 to 1972. He was awarded the CBE in 1968 and the FRCS by election in 1971. Throughout his life he was a dedicated supporter of the many committees on which he served.

He retired from his hospital and university appointments in 1973 and was elected Professor Emeritus in the University of London and Fellow of King's College Hospital Medical School. His retirement years were spent at his home in Charing, Kent, with his wife, Margaret Jacques, whom he married in 1942. They had one son and two daughters. His outside interests were mountaineering, skiing, ornithology and photography.

He died on 30 July 1986, aged 78, survived by his wife and children.

Sources used to compile this entry: [The Times 9 August 1986].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England