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Biographical entry Walton, Anthony James (1913 - 1988)

MRCS 1938; FRCS 1947; MB BCh Cambridge 1938; LRCP 1938.

11 September 1913
11 September 1988
General surgeon


Anthony James Walton, the son of Sir James Walton, consultant surgeon to the London Hospital, was born on 11 September 1913. After education at Rugby School and Cambridge University he became a clinical student at the London Hospital where he won the inpatient dressers' and the Anderson Prizes in his first year. After graduating in 1938 he did resident appointments before serving in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve during the second world war, much of his time being spent in hospital ships from Murmansk to Colombo. He became a graded surgical specialist and returned to the London Hospital on demobilisation. Like many of his contemporaries at that time his subsequent surgical training became unusually attenuated and complete. At an early stage he acquired a reputation for gentle and reliable surgery and was an excellent teacher of students and nurses.

Fate then struck two serious blows. First came deafness which did not seem to be helped by any form of treatment or hearing aid. Secondly, his wife was struck by a tragic illness after the birth of their second child. Cut off in an increasingly silent world, and having to handle all manner of domestic responsibilities, he could no longer cope with professional and other public meetings. But he kept well abreast of published work and continued to enjoy teaching and training on a one to one basis. He was eventually appointed consultant surgeon to Bethnal Green and St Andrew's Hospitals, Bow, in east London where his registrar jobs became much sought after by discerning and ambitious surgical trainees who were taught many valuable technical tricks. He also produced a number of shrewd clinical papers, notably those on torsion of the testis. Throughout this period he remained as an associate surgeon in the department of urology at the London Hospital. After his retirement he researched the archives of the London Hospital and Medical College and this led on to his appointment as official archivist.

Although some, inevitably, because of his deafness, found Tony Walton difficult to approach, the more discerning recognized his capacity for warm and keen friendship as well as his special interests in science fiction, Louis Armstrong, Evelyn Waugh and, above all, cricket. He died on his 75th birthday, 11 September 1988, and was survived by his wife whom he had cared for through many years of illness and who has since died.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1988, 297, 1039-1040].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England