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Biographical entry Waters, Harry Silvester (1904 - 1993)

MRCS and FRCS 1928; MB BChir Cambridge 1927; MRCOG 1937.

21 May 1904
Mussoorie, India
30 April 1993
General surgeon and Obstetrician and gynaecologist


Harry Silvester Waters was born in Mussoorie, India, on 21 May 1904, the son of Sir Harry George Waters, chief medical officer to the East India Railway Company. His mother, Winifred, was one of the first female graduates of the Edinburgh Medical School, and was for a time after her marriage an assistant surgeon in the Indian Medical Service.

He was educated at the Pierce School, Cambridge, and then at Oundle. After winning a natural science scholarship he attended Christ's College, Cambridge, where he achieved some eminence in rowing circles, rowing for the first boat and having a trial for the University boat itself. His clinical education was at St Mary's Hospital, where he not only won prizes in pathology and surgery but also captained the famous St Mary's rugger team in the 1926 and 1927 seasons.

After qualifying he became house officer to Professor Pannett. Having passed his primary Fellowship whilst a student under the old regulations, he sat for the Final examination and passed at the first attempt, a rare achievement in those days.

In 1928 he was commissioned into the Indian Medical Service and after training at Crookham he returned to India in 1929, serving first with a Gurkha regiment before transferring to the civil division in 1931, attached then to the Viceroy's staff which meant an annual migration between Simla and Delhi, according to the seasons. He was next appointed as a civil surgeon to St George's Hospital in Bombay, and in 1937 he obtained study leave and returned to Britain to study for the MRCOG. After obtaining this qualification he returned once again to India and was appointed first as an obstetrician to Poona and then as Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology to St George's Hospital in Bombay, in which capacity he served until Indian Independence. At this time he returned to England and was appointed as the first, and at that date only, consultant obstetrician to the Blackburn Health Authority, where he remained until his retirement.

In January 1935 he married Mary Murphy and they had three children, Stephanie, Susan and Harry who, in due course, followed in his father's footsteps and became an anaesthetist.

After retirement he moved to Caxton, near Cambridge, and became the unofficial coach to his College boat crew; he was also a frequent visitor to Oundle, to watch their teams on the rugby field.

He died on 30 April 1993 aged 89, survived by his wife, children and seven grandchildren, two of whom are doctors.

Sources used to compile this entry: [BMJ 1993 307 498].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England