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Biographical entry Walker, John Henry Milnes (1902 - 1984)

MRCS 1924; FRCS 1928; MB BS London 1925; LRCP 1924; MRCP 1927.

16 March 1902
18 October 1984
General practitioner and General surgeon


John Henry Milnes Walker was born on 16 March 1902 in Wakefield, the son of John William Walker and his wife Constance Elizabeth, née Holdsworth. His father and grandfather had both been surgeons on the staff of Clayton Hospital and his wife's father had been a physician there. He was educated at Oundle School where he won the Bucknill exhibition to University College London in 1920. He qualified from University College Hospital MB, BS in 1925. Whilst holding house appointments at Salford and Reading Hospitals he passed the primary FRCS and obtained the MRCP. He joined his cousin in general practice in Hale, Cheshire, and shortly after completed the FRCS. He was then appointed honorary surgeon to Altrincham Hospital, the first general practitioner surgeon on their staff to have held the FRCS. In his spare time he continued his surgical training by watching surgeons in Manchester and acting as assistant in the urological unit at Salford Royal Hospital.

In 1942 he joined the RAMC and served in Nigeria, India and Malaya. He was OC Surgical Division 134 IBGH with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. On demobilisation he was appointed consultant surgeon to Crewe District Memorial Hospital in 1946. He did much to organise this new hospital and built up a reputation for training of his juniors and care of his patients. From 1964 to 1972 he was an examiner in surgery at Manchester University. In 1962 he was President of the Manchester Surgical Society.

In 1931 he married Mary Moon and they had four daughters, Gillian, Phyllida, Primrose and Nicolette. Gillian, the eldest, studied medicine at University College Hospital but gave up her course to marry Geoffrey C Mansfield an anaesthetist and general practitioner in Paignton. The youngest daughter, Nicolette Coward was the first woman to sail the Atlantic solo from Dale, Pembroke to Newport, Rhode Island in 1971.

He retired in 1967 to live in the house that he had designed at Bickerton, Cheshire. He devoted most of his time to the Council for the Preservation of Rural England and the Cheshire Conservation Trust. He had a wide range of other interests including gardening, painting and architecture and he made a special study of church spires, visiting them and making notes. His wife sadly died in 1975 and he moved to near Oxford before his final move to Dartmouth in 1982 to be near three of his four daughters. He died on 18 October 1984 survived by his daughters and his younger brother, Professor Robert Milnes Walker, FRCS 1928 (qv), who died the following year.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1984, 2, 1391].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England