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Biographical entry King, Gordon (1900 - 1991)

OBE 1953; MRCS 1924; FRCS 1926; Hon MD Western Australia 1971; Hon LLD Hong Kong 1973; LRCP 1924; FRCOG 1929; FRACS 1958.

7 July 1900
Obstetrician and gynaecologist


Gordon King was born in London on 7 July 1900, the son of the Reverend Frederick Henry King, a Baptist minister, and Minnie Elizabeth née Wakeham. He was educated at Bristol Grammar School and the Liverpool Institute, before going to the London Hospital, where he won the Buxton prize in anatomy, the Letheby prize in chemical pathology, and the Buxton, Arnold Thompson and Andrew Clark prizes in pathology, diseases of children and clinical medicine. This was followed by resident appointments at the London, during the last of which he was awarded the Alston research fellowship to study liver function tests.

In 1927, he was awarded a Rockefeller Foundation scholarship at the Peking Union Medical College, where he was an assistant to J Preston Maxell in the department of obstetrics and gynaecology, before going on to become Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in Cheeloo University Hospital, Shantung. With the Japanese invasion, he went to Hong Kong to the Chair of Obstetrics and Gynaecology there, where he also served as dean of the medical faculty. When the Japanese invaded Hong Kong, King escaped to Chungking, where he was able to organise arrangements for 243 students who had escaped from Hong Kong to study in four of the universities of Free China. Special arrangements were made by the GMC to allow their medical degrees to be recognised and at the end of the war 66 of these doctors returned to Hong Kong. In 1944, King was commissioned as a Lieutenant Colonel in the RAMC and returned to Hong Kong at the time of the Japanese surrender, with the responsibility of reorganising the government hospitals and clinics of the colony.

In 1957, he was invited to become Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and foundation dean of the newly established faculty of medicine in the University of Western Australia in Perth. In 1967, he went to Nairobi, Kenya, to set up a new faculty of medicine. In 1971 and 1974 he went to Taiwan and South Korea as a WHO consultant.

He was twice married, first to Mary Ellison, a doctor, by whom he had three daughters, two of whom qualified in medicine. Mary predeceased him, and he married secondly Bek-To Chiu, a university botanist. He was a keen musician, playing the piano and organ, and enjoyed long distance motoring and photography. He died in 1991.

The Royal College of Surgeons of England