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Biographical entry Whiting, Maurice Henry (1885 - 1984)

OBE (Mil) 1919; MRCS and FRCS 1920; BA Cambridge 1907; BCh 1910; MB 1911; MA 1912.

12 October 1885
19 June 1984
Ophthalmic surgeon


Maurice Whiting was born in Greenwich on 12 October 1885, the son of William Henry Whiting, CB, a naval architect, and his wife Marian Ellen, née Little. He was educated at Mill Hill School and went on to Downing College, Cambridge, and then to the Middlesex Hospital Medical School. He graduated in medicine in 1911. Following appointments as a house surgeon at the Middlesex Hospital and at the Royal London Ophthalmic Hospital (now Moorfields) he saw distinguished war service as a Captain in the RAMC from 1914 to 1919, was mentioned in despatches, and was later awarded the OBE. He was curator and pathologist at Moorfields from 1918 to 1919 and he passed the MRCS and FRCS examinations in 1920. He was appointed ophthalmic surgeon to the Royal London Ophthalmic Hospital in 1921 and to the Middlesex Hospital in 1922. During a distinguished career he was also a consultant to the Paddington Green Children's Hospital and Mount Vernon Hospital, and served the Royal National Institute for the Blind.

During the second world war he served with the Emergency Medical Service and was appointed ophthalmic surgeon with care of the air raid casualties in the North-West Metropolitan District, at the Middlesex and other hospitals. His in-patient facilities were moved from Moorfields to Mount Vernon Hospital, Northwood, for the duration of the war. His experience during the war with ocular trauma was valuable in civil life in the days when so many eyes were injured by the use of hand tools. He was especially adept in removing metal intraocular foreign bodies with a giant magnet.

He made a number of contributions to the ophthalmic literature, and his lectures included the Montgomery Lecture in Dublin in 1933, and the Presidential Address to the Ophthalmological Society of the United Kingdom in 1950 entitled The surgical treatment of rodent ulcer near the eye. He also wrote a textbook on ophthalmic nursing. Apart from his Presidency of the Ophthalmological Society from 1950 to 1951, he held a succession of official appointments in the Society.

He played hockey until the age of forty years, both at Cambridge and at the Mid- Surrey Hockey Club. He was an enthusiastic spectator at Lord's. Amongst his many interests he was a member of the Medical Council of the London Missionary Society, President of the Old Millhillians Club (1950-1951) and President of the Downing College Association (1953-1954).

Whiting married twice. In 1916 he married Blanche Beatrice Aggas, who died in 1952. The following year he married Dorothy Miller (née Gilford) MRCS, LRCP, DCH, DOMS who had trained at the London School of Medicine for Women, St Mary's Hospital and Moorfields. She was the widow of Reginald Miller, senior physician of St Mary's Hospital. His only son, by his first wife, was killed in action in the Royal Air Force in the second world war, in 1942.

With his second marriage he gained a large family and with their love and care he enjoyed a happy retirement in Tenterden, Kent. He died on 19 June 1984, in his 99th year, survived by his wife and family.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1984, 289, 707].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England