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Biographical entry Ward-McQuaid, John Francis Neil (1918 - 1988)

MRCS 1942; FRCS 1947; MB BS London 1942; MS 1950; LRCP 1942.

30 December 1918
Neston, Cheshire
8 July 1988
General surgeon and Urological surgeon


John Francis Neil Ward-McQuaid, the son of Colonel John FTP Ward-McQuaid and his wife Enid Ecila, née Cheshire, was born on 30 December 1918 at Neston, Cheshire. He was educated at Stonyhurst College, Lancashire, where he won several prizes and was a notable cricketer. As the son of a serving army officer he was awarded a Kitchener Scholarship to St Mary's Hospital Medical School. After graduating in 1942 he did one resident appointment and then joined the Royal Army Medical Corps in which he remained for several years after the end of the second world war. He had become a graded surgeon in the Middle East and his last appointment was as surgeon to the Trans Jordan Frontier Force, at Zerka, with the rank of Major. On demobilisation he was surgical registrar and tutor at the Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford, and then senior registrar to Arthur Dickson Wright at St Mary's Hospital before being appointed consultant surgeon to Mansfield and Kings Mill Hospitals. These were both immensely busy institutions in the Nottinghamshire mining area where Neil acquired rich experience in general and urological surgery. He was a member of the British Association of Urological Surgeons and served on its Council and was also a member of Council of the British Association of Surgical Oncologists. At the Royal College of Surgeons he held a Leverhulme Research Fellowship and was a Hunterian Professor. He served on the Court of Examiners for two spells and was ultimately its chairman. He was also President of the Section of Surgery at the Royal Society of Medicine. A keen and active member of the International Society of Surgery, he organised an excellent meeting at Mansfield in 1980 between that society's regular biennial international gatherings.

Despite his exceedingly busy life in two regional hospitals, where he himself made significant contributions to notably high standards of care, he conscientiously fulfilled his many other professional commitments and published a number of papers on general and urological surgery. He was active in church affairs and was awarded a papal knighthood of St Sylvester in recognition of his years as master of the Nottingham Catholic Guild of Doctors. He had a quiet, friendly, unflamboyant style with a teasing sense of humour and it was said that his whole personality was admirably illustrated on the cricket field where he was an accurate and cunning spin bowler. He was steadfast and loyal to all his friends and an entertaining companion. He married Elizabeth Conway, a schoolteacher, in 1943, and they had six children. One of their two sons is a consultant anaesthetist and the other a psychologist. Of the four daughters, one is a nurse and another is a hospital manager in the United States. On his retirement Neil greatly missed his hospital work and was soon overcome by ill health. When he died, aged 70, on 8 July 1988, he was survived by his wife and children.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1988, 297, 1264 and information from his wife Mrs E Ward McQuaid].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England