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Biographical entry Monro, John Kirkpatrick (1903 - 1993)

MRCS 1927; FRCS 1931; MA, MD 1934; MChir Cambridge 1935; LRCP 1928.

21 March 1903
21 April 1993
General surgeon


John ('Jack') Monro was the first son of James Donald Rae Monro, a general practitioner, and his wife Beatrice, née Killey, the daughter of a Liverpool shipowner. He was born on 21 March 1903 and was educated at Highgate School and Epsom College, from where he went to Pembroke College, Cambridge, to read for the Natural Sciences Tripos. After clinical training at the London Hospital he qualified MRCS LRCP in 1927. During this period he was awarded the Andrew Clark and the Arnold Thompson prizes. He became a Member of the Royal College of Physicians in 1928, and obtained his FRCS in 1931. He gained the MD and the MChir from Cambridge in 1934 and 1935 respectively.

After working with Mr Russell Howard and Mr Julian Taylor and acting as first assistant at the London Hospital, he joined the Colonial Medical Service and was posted to South East Asia. When Singapore fell he was taken prisoner by the Japanese, having just been appointed Professor of Surgery in Singapore at the early age of 32. He was interned for three and a half years in Changi gaol, with no facilities for surgery but plenty of scope for the management of nutritional ulcers.

When the war ended Monro came back to England for a refresher course in London, returning to Singapore in 1946 where he helped with the restoration of the General Hospital and the setting up of the University of Malaysia. He returned to England in 1950 and was appointed consultant surgeon at Swindon, Marlborough and Cirencester Hospitals, where he continued to work until 1968, having reached the age of retirement. Once retired, he set up a registered charity to promote vasectomy in order to combat the evil, as he saw it, of world overpopulation. He continued to work for this organization until 1985, when he was 82.

In his youth, Monro had enjoyed playing rugby and rowing. In later years he took up tennis and golf, and was a keen gardener. In 1939 he married Landon Reed, the granddaughter of Walter Reed, who became famous for his work on yellow fever. They had a son, Jim, who also became FRCS, and a daughter, Mary, who qualified as a state registered nurse.

The Royal College of Surgeons of England