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Biographical entry Jackson, Herbert Hughlings William (1912 - 2002)

MRCS 1938; FRCS 1949; MB BS London 1941; MS 1963; LRCP 1938.

3 October 1912
7 August 2002
Anatomist and General surgeon


Hughlings Jackson, a distant cousin of the great neurologist, was born on 3 October 1912, the youngest of the five children of William Herbert Jackson, a former master mariner who owned a stevedoring business in London and later worked for the Mission to Seamen. His mother was Beatrice née Walker. For a time during the first world war, Hughlings was placed in the care of the head gardener of Lord Radstock, who was a patron of the Mission. Radstock was like a second father to the young Hughlings.

Hughlings was educated at the Coopers' Company's School in the East End of London, and in 1931 won an open exhibition to Birkbeck College, where he did the first MB. He went on to the London Hospital Medical College in 1933. There he was dresser to Russell Howard and Sir Henry Souttar and won prizes in clinical and minor surgery.

After qualifying, he did junior posts in outpatients and the receiving room at the London Hospital, and was house physician to Ryle and McCance at Addenbrooke's. This was followed by a year as RSO at the Royal Cancer Hospital under Cecil Joll and Lawrence Abel, and a year as a registrar at the Princess Beatrice Hospital under Abel and Sir John Peel; these two years were combined with work in the Emergency Medical Service throughout the Blitz. He joined the RAFVR in 1942, and served as a Surgical Specialist in Cairo, Aden and the UK.

On demobilisation, he returned to the London Hospital to demonstrate anatomy and in 1947 became first assistant to Alan Perry and A M A Moore, as well as Northfield (on the neurosurgery unit) and Vernon Thompson (thoracic surgery). Later he went to work with E T C Milligan at the Memorial Hospital and Melville Capper and J A Pocock in Bristol, taking the FRCS and London MS, and publishing several research papers en route.

But, along with so many of his ex-service contemporaries, he found it impossible to get a consultant appointment in England. On Capper's advice, he went to Manitoba, Canada, for two years and then returned as a consultant to Redhill General Hospital in 1955, combining this with a clinical assistantship at St Peter's. At Redhill he met Beryl Collins. They married in 1959.

In 1960 Hughlings went to Ibadan as senior lecturer and consultant. He was appointed senior lecturer in anatomy at Brisbane in 1969, in which post he remained until he retired in 1976.

Hughlings and Beryl were very hospitable people who made their home open to many, and supported missionaries and Christian causes, including the Red Sea Mission team, of which he was a foundation member. In Brisbane he was involved in setting up the Christian Medical Fellowship, conducting a weekly Bible study for the young people of his own church. He was a great storyteller, had a mischievous sense of humour, and was essentially a humble man. He died from pneumonia in Brisbane on 7 August 2002.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Information from A O Robertson].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England