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Biographical entry Taylor, Robert George (1910 - 1993)

MRCS and FRCS 1937; MB BCh BAO Dublin 1933; MA Oxford 1957; FRCSI 1936.

13 May 1910
Tinahely, County Wicklow
5 September 1993
Orthopaedic surgeon


Robert George Taylor (who was affectionately known as 'RGT') was born in Tinahely, County Wicklow on 13 May 1910, the son of Roland Taylor, a farmer and mill owner, and Sarah, née White, the daughter of a school teacher. His uncle, Edward Henry Taylor, was President of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. His early education was at King's Hospital School, Dublin, and he entered Trinity College, Dublin, for his medical studies in 1927. During his student years he played rugby for Sir Patrick Dun's Hospital and after qualifying in 1933 served as house surgeon at the Kent and Canterbury Hospital, Southend General Hospital and the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, Stanmore. He passed the FRCSI in 1936 and the FRCS in the following year.

He was chief assistant at Sheffield Royal Infirmary from 1938 to 1942 when he joined the Royal Army Medical Corps as a surgical specialist with the rank of major. After landing in Normandy in June 1944 he served in France and Belgium, and developed a reputation as a surgeon operating both under canvas and under fire on the beaches. At the end of the war he was stationed in Narvik, Oslo, Iserlohn and Hamburg.

After demobilisation in 1946 he was appointed assistant surgeon in orthopaedics at Oxford and worked closely with G R Girdlestone, the first Nuffield Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery. In the post-war years they developed new operations for diseased hip joints and claw toes. He remained in Oxford for the rest of his professional life as consultant in the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre and was elected a member of the senior common room of Oriel College.

He delighted in sharing his many interests, particularly his love of literature and of travel in France. He had a keen interest in other people and a remarkable memory for names. He retired in 1975 but stayed in Oxford until his death on 5 September 1993. He was survived by his wife Marjorie Olive, née Harris, whom he married on 18 March 1938, and by two daughters - Deborah, a librarian at the Bodleian, and Sarah, a general practitioner married to Richard Shannon, also a GP.

Sources used to compile this entry: [BMJ 1994 308 130, with portrait].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England