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Biographical entry Marnham, Sir Ralph (1901 - 1984)

KCVO 1957; MRCS 1925; FRCS 1930; BA Cambridge 1923; MA 1931; MCh 1933; LRCP 1925.

7 June 1901
Stellenbosch, South Africa
25 November 1984
General surgeon


Ralph Marnham was born in Stellenbosch, South Africa on 7 June 1901, the eldest son of Arthur Marnham, a farmer, and Janet (née Micklem) the daughter of a farmer. He was educated at Diocesan College, Rondebosch and on coming to England, at Caius College, Cambridge and St George's Hospital, London, qualifying in 1925. Training mostly at St George's and with clinical assistantship at St Mark's he was appointed honorary assistant surgeon, St George's. He passed the FRCS in 1930 and the MCh in 1933. In the second world war he joined the RAMC and was officer in charge of the Surgical Division of 62 and 6 General Hospitals, then consultant surgeon (Brigadier) to the 9th Army in East Africa and Southern Command. He was twice mentioned in despatches.

Afterwards besides St George's, he was also on the staff of the Canadian Red Cross Memorial Hospital, Taplow, Mount Vernon Hospital and King Edward VII Hospital for Officers. He was Surgeon to the Royal Household of King George VI (1946) and Surgeon and Serjeant-Surgeon to HM Queen Elizabeth (1967-1971). He was appointed KCVO 1957. In 1964 he operated on Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother for appendicitis and in 1966 lie again operated for an abdominal obstruction. He was President of the Association of Surgeons 1965 and from 1965 to 1981 he served as consultant to the Republic of Sudan in London. He was examiner in surgery to the Universities of Cambridge and London and was a member of the Court of Examiners, RCS.

In 1927 he married Muriel Marnham, but she died in 1928. In 1942 he married Helena Daley. He had a daughter by his first marriage and two sons by the second. None took up medicine.

He died on 25 November 1984.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1984, 289, 1627].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England