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Biographical entry Jackson, Ian MacGilchrist (1914 - 2002)

MRCS 1939; FRCS 1940; BA Cambridge 1936; MB BChir 1939; MRCOG 1949; FRCOG 1955; LRCP 1939.

11 November 1914
24 June 2002
Obstetrician and gynaecologist


Ian Jackson was a leading London obstetrician and gynaecologist. He was born on 11 November 1914 in Shanghai, where his father was a doctor. He was sent to England at a young age to commence his education. In due course he moved on to Marlborough, from which he won a scholarship to Trinity Hall, Cambridge. In the following three years, in addition to enjoying himself rowing for his college, he gained a double first in his natural science tripos, and won the Price open scholarship to the London Hospital Medical College. He passed the primary FRCS in 1939, and a year later passed the FRCS. He spent the years 1940 to 1943 on the house at the London, including periods as first assistant in the surgical and obstetric departments. He was involved in the management of many air-raid casualties admitted to the hospital, and in later years he would say that it was then that he learned surgery. But evidently he still had time for study, since he passed the examination for the MRCOG.

In 1943, he was commissioned as a Surgical Specialist in the RAMC, joining the 724 Parachute Field Ambulance, and was part of the mobile surgical unit that was dropped into Normandy on D-day with the 3rd Parachute Regiment - the Red Devils. He served with this unit throughout all the fighting across France and Belgium. A few days before the airborne landing at Arnhem he injured his leg in an accident, so was unable to take part in that famous action - the officer who replaced him was killed. At the conclusion of the war, he went out to the Far East and took part in the relief of Hong Kong and of the notorious Changi Jail. Throughout his life he always cherished his link with the Red Devils.

He returned to England in 1947 and the following year was appointed as a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist to the staff of the Middlesex Hospital and the Chelsea Hospital for Women. With his outstanding abilities, his charm and unfailing courtesy, he rapidly established himself as one of the leading obstetricians and gynaecologists in London, with an extensive private practice, and appointments to the staff of King Edward VII Hospital for Officers, the Royal Masonic Hospital and King Edward VII Hospital, Midhurst. He was a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist to the RAF (from 1964 to 1983) and greatly enjoyed the helicopter flights this post entailed.

A brilliant operative surgeon who wasted no time over his operations, his registrar posts were keenly sought after, and many gynaecologists learnt their operative skills from him.

He was keenly involved in the work of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, serving on its Council from 1951 to 1970, holding the posts of honorary secretary, chairman of the examinations committee and honorary treasurer. He examined not only for the College, but also for the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge and London. He was Master of the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries, librarian of the Royal Society of Medicine and President of the Chelsea Clinical Society.

His first marriage was dissolved in 1967 and three years later he married his second wife, Deirdre, with whom he shared many happy years. A man of many talents, with (according to his son) a love of gizmos, gadgets and the most sophisticated cameras, for several years in his retirement he and Deirdre spent the winters on the Gold Coast. His activities in the latter years of his life were limited after a serious fall at his home. He died on 24 June 2002.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Information from Professor Leslie Le Quesne].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England