Browse Fellows


www Lives

Biographical entry Welsh, Robert Ian Hepburn (1928 - 1993)

MRCS and FRCS 1954; MB BCh Rand 1950; FRCS Edinburgh 1954.

23 April 1928
Witbank, Transvaal, South Africa
15 December 1993
General surgeon and Plastic surgeon


Robert (Robin) Welsh was born on 23 April 1928 in Witbank, Transvaal, South Africa, the eldest son of Dr Robert William Hepburn Welsh, a general practitioner in Pretoria for thirty years, and Evelyn Jessie Watson. He was educated at St John's College, Johannesburg, and the University of Witwatersrand Medical School, where he qualified in 1950.

After completing his internship at Johannesburg General Hospital he came to London for three years to study general surgery, working for a time at the Hammersmith Hospital with Ian Aird. After taking his FRCS in 1954 he returned to South Africa to train in plastic surgery in Johannesburg, but on the unexpected death of his mother he moved to Pretoria in order to assist his father, and it was there that he completed his registrar training. This was a difficult period for him as training posts were scarce in Pretoria at that time. He was able to retain his links with the Hendrik Verwoerd Hospital in Pretoria however, and he worked there as part-time lecturer and consultant surgeon for the next 33 years.

Robin (or Bobby as he was commonly known) had many outside sporting interests. He was a skilled trout fisherman, spending his weekends fishing in Eastern Transvaal, and he was also a keen ornithologist. Many holidays were spent water-skiing in Mozambique or skiing in Europe, and he was also a skilled artist whose oil paintings of South African landscapes and wildlife are much admired.

Robin's wife Angela, née Jones, was happily married to him for 37 years, and they had a daughter, Judy, and two sons, James and David. He died from lung cancer, aged 65, in Pretoria on 15 December 1993, having been devotedly nursed throughout a long illness by his wife. He was survived by her and their three children.

Sources used to compile this entry: [SAMJ 1994 84 372].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England