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Biographical entry Houston, William (1916 - 1991)

MRCS and FRCS 1945; MB BCh , BAO Dublin 1940; MCh 1947; MD 1949; FRCS Ireland 1945.

7 October 1916
Newry, County Down
January 1991
General surgeon and Urologist


William Houston was born in Newry, County Down, Eire, on 7 October 1916, the second son of William Houston, a wholesale draper, and his wife Hilda, née Robinson, the daughter of a hotel proprietor. He was educated at St Andrew's College, Dublin, and later at Trinity College, to which he gained an entrance scholarship.

After qualification in 1939, he held house posts at Sir Patrick Dun's Hospital in Dublin, and then demonstrated anatomy at the Middlesex Hospital. Subsequently he was appointed surgical registrar at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and the Royal Free Hospital, and then trained in urology at St Paul's Hospital, London.

In 1950 he was appointed consultant surgeon and urologist to the Bulawayo Group of Hospitals in Rhodesia, where he developed interests in prostatic disease in the Bantu, and in bilharzia and bladder disease. His interest in urology was inspired by Sir Eric Riches, Terence Millin, David Wallace and others, and he wrote some 40 publications, mainly on urological conditions, but also on thyroid disease, of which he saw many cases in central Africa.

It is of interest that he was the first person to be awarded the FRCS diploma after the end of the second world war, on VE day, 6 May 1945. His hobbies included golf, bird-watching, big game conservation and photography. In 1944 he married Noreen Georgina Keating (whose grandfather was the Chief Justice of Ireland) and they had one son. William Houston died in January 1991 in Rhodesia.

The Royal College of Surgeons of England