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Biographical entry Tomkinson, John Stanley (1916 - 1992)

CBE 1981; MRCS 1941; FRCS 1949; MB ChB Birmingham 1941; MRCOG 1952; FRCOG 1969; LRCP 1941.

8 December 1916
11 April 1992
Obstetrician and gynaecologist


John Tomkinson was born in Stafford on 8 December 1916, the son of Harry Stanley Tomkinson, a company director, and his wife Kate Mills, née Cliff. He was educated at Rydal School and the University of Birmingham, where he qualified in 1941 with medals in surgery and ophthalmology. He joined the navy immediately after his house jobs and served as surgeon lieutenant until 1946. Returning to Birmingham he was appointed registrar in obstetrics at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and set out on a distinguished career in obstetrics and gynaecology, taking the FRCS and the MRCOG in his stride. In 1952 he moved south to a consultant post at the Chelsea Hospital for Women and soon added appointments as obstetric surgeon at Queen Charlotte's and at Guy's Hospitals. His future assured, he married Barbara Maria Pilkington in 1954.

He was elected FRCOG in 1967 and served his College as examiner and member of Council; he examined for no less than six universities as well as for the Conjoint Board and the Central Midwives' Board. He edited the Queen Charlotte's Textbook of obstetrics and prepared the Report on the confidential enquiry into maternal deaths. This led to his becoming consultant adviser to the DHSS. For two years he was Secretary General of the International Federation of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, through which he gained contacts throughout the world and became a much sought-after lecturer. His link with the Royal College of Surgeons was strengthened by his time as Co-opted Member of Council and thereafter he was a regular and welcome attender at College dinners. He was appointed CBE in 1981 and in a long retirement enjoyed fishing on the Spey and the Test while at the same time polishing his skill as a watercolour painter. As a student and junior doctor he had been a long-distance runner and was a member of Marylebone Cricket Club. He died on 11 April 1992, survived by his wife, son Matthew and daughter Claudia, one son having predeceased him.

Sources used to compile this entry: [BMJ 1992 304 1504-5, with portrait; Daily Telegraph 16 April 1992, with portrait].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England