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Biographical entry Jackson, Charles Anthony (1912 - 1995)

MBE 1946; MRCS 1939; FRCS 1946; MB BS London 1939; LRCP 1939.

22 April 1912
Golders Green
Thoracic surgeon


Charles Anthony Jackson, 'Tony' to his close friends but always known at Harefield Hospital as 'CA' to distinguish him from his colleague and namesake 'JW', was born in Golders Green on 22 April 1912. His father, Archibald Jackson, was an electrical engineer and his mother was Helen, née O'Callaghan. His early education was at St Joseph's Convent, Streatham, followed by Haberdashers Aske's School, London, from which he went to St Bartholomew's Hospital Medical School and graduated in 1939. He served as surgeon lieutenant in the RNVR during the second world war and was captured at the fall of Hong Kong on Christmas Day, 1941. He spent the rest of the war in camps in Japan, survived being torpedoed in transit, and was in charge of the POW 'hospital' at Ichioka. His experiences as a Japanese prisoner of war affected him profoundly and influenced his attitude to the human condition for the rest of his life. Personal hardship and improvised surgery without anaesthesia were all part of his lot at that time. He was awarded the MBE in recognition of the efforts he made on behalf of his fellow prisoners.

After the war he completed his training as a thoracic surgeon, became first assistant on the thoracic unit at St Bartholomew's and went on to consultant appointments at St Alban's City Hospital, Colindale, Harefield and St Charles's Hospital, and was honorary thoracic surgeon to St Andrew's Hospital, Dollis Hill.

As a surgeon his humanitarian approach was manifested in his attention to the spiritual as well as the physical welfare of his patients - the latter finding expression in his famously small thoracotomy wounds. His Roman Catholic faith sustained him throughout a prolonged saga of personal illness and disability, with surgery for carcinoma of the stomach and a malignant leg ulcer, operations on both hips, and surgery and radiotherapy for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, which finally recurred.

In retirement he travelled widely, spending time with his children and grandchildren, and became a wine connoisseur and gourmet cook. He was survived by his Italian ex-wife, Maria Luisa, sons Christopher and John and daughters Teresa and Francesca, a physiotherapist, and five grandchildren.

Sources used to compile this entry: [BMJ 1995 311 743].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England