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Biographical entry Wilson, Aubrey Joseph (1913 - 1999)

MRCS 1938; FRCS 1942; BA Cambridge 1935; MA 1940; LRCP 1938.

23 September 1913
25 November 1999
General surgeon


Aubrey Joseph Wilson, known as 'Joe', was a consultant surgeon at Derby Royal Infirmary and Children's Hospital. He was born on 23 September 1913, the youngest of the two sons of Thomas Wilson, a general practitioner surgeon and a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, and Edith Mary Crichton née Boxer, the daughter of Captain Boxer RN. Both brothers became surgeons. He was educated at the Merchant Taylors' School and his father (aged 67) encouraged him to go to Cambridge, being happy to continue working to pay for the longer course. Joe went to Clare College and then on to St Thomas's Hospital. After qualifying, he became house surgeon, casualty officer, resident accoucheur and anatomy demonstrator at Addenbrooke's, and later registrar at the Central Middlesex Hospital. He was much influenced by Vernon Pennell and W B Gabriel.

Joe was surprised when the Navy refused him in the second world war and spent the Blitz at the Central Middlesex, doing neurosurgery for several hospitals, and whenever possible spending half a day each week at St Mark's learning colorectal surgery. He would say that handing brain tissue delicately during neurosurgery was good training for handling the bowel. He was very impressed by Ethel (later Lady) Florey, who insisted that the precious new penicillin he poured into the top of wounds was carefully collected to be reused.

He was appointed to the Derby Royal Infirmary and Children's Hospital in 1946 and as consultant in 1948. He became Chairman of the East Midlands consultant committee of the BMA, and encouraged the BMA to negotiate better pensions at 60 for doctors. He was President of the Derby Medical Society.

He retired at 60 to North Wales, and later to Sussex. At the age of 73, Joe was revived by a coronary artery by-pass graft and was able to resume golf. In 1941, he married Mary Pestell. They had one son, Robin, a physician, and three daughters, Judith, Verity and Alison. There are seven grandchildren. Joe died on 25 November 1999.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Information from Robin Wilson; BMJ 2000 321 243, with portrait].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England