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Biographical entry Macbeth, Ronald Graeme (1903 - 1992)

OStJ 1973; MRCS 1928; FRCS ad eundem 1954; DM; BM BCh Oxford 1928; FRCS Edinburgh 1933; LRCP 1928.

27 March 1903
Stevenage, Hertfordshire
15 December 1992
ENT surgeon


Ronald Macbeth was born in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, on 27 March 1903, the eldest son of William Murdoch Macbeth, secretary of the Northern Polytechnic, London, and Helena Kate, née Green, daughter of a GP in Hampstead. He was educated at Norman Court Preparatory School in Barnet, from which he won an exhibition to Highgate School and in turn a further scholarship to Oriel College, Oxford, where he won a half-blue for cross-country running in 1924 and 1925. From Oriel he won the Burney Yeo Scholarship to King's College Hospital where he qualified with the conjoint diploma and took the Oxford BM BCh in 1928. His house surgeon appointment was in the ENT department at King's, where he fell under the spell of Victor Negus. This was followed by a further house appointment to T P Legg in Oxford.

He took the Edinburgh FRCS in 1933, and was appointed to the staff of the Radcliffe Infirmary as its first consultant to specialise entirely in otolaryngology in 1937. There he made his department a centre of international renown, particularly for the work he did in conjunction with Miss Esmé Hadfield on adenocarcinoma of the frontal sinuses in woodworkers. He was Honorary Secretary and later President (from 1959 to 1960) of the section of laryngology of the Royal Society of Medicine and served on the Council of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and was Vice-President from 1963 to 1964. He was made FRCS of the College ad eundem in 1954.

Ronald Macbeth married Margaret Raff, née Macdonald, in 1931 and had two sons and three daughters, the younger son becoming a doctor. After more than fifty years together Margaret died and he married Mrs Audrey Pilkington-Smith, whose family had been friendly with his for years. She survived him when he died on 15 December 1992.

Sources used to compile this entry: [BMJ 1993 306 1193].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England