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Biographical entry Young, Robert Henry (1903 - 1997)

MRCS 1929; FRCS 1936; BCh Cambridge 1934; LRCP 1929.

6 October 1903
8 February 1997
Orthopaedic surgeon


Bob Young was a distinguished London orthopaedic surgeon. Born on 6 October 1903, he was educated at Sherborne and Emmanuel College, Cambridge, before going to St Thomas's for his clinical training. After junior posts, he became an orthopaedic registrar and chief assistant to the orthopaedic department under Rowley Bristow. He was in charge of the physiotherapy department, where he became associated with James Cyriax, and developed an interest in conditions of the lumbar spine.

At the outbreak of war in 1939, he was appointed orthopaedic surgeon to Botley's Park War Hospital at Chertsey, Surrey, one of St Thomas's sector hospitals in the Emergency Medical Service. There he collaborated with B J Burns (of St George's) in the pioneering treatment of lumbar disc lesions by laminectomy. Chertsey was one of the first receiving hospitals for casualties after Dunkirk, and later after D-day, and Young became very experienced in the internal fixation of fractures to permit early mobilisaton.

After the war Bob was appointed to St George's Hospital, whilst continuing to work at Chertsey, where St Peter's Hospital replaced the old site at Botley's Park. When the new St George's was built in Tooting in 1956 he set up the orthopaedic department there.

Following his retirement from the NHS, he continued to work in Malta, treating Armed Forces personnel until the bases were closed down, when he returned to London to continue private practice again.

A talented pianist, he loved music and the ballet, enjoyed flying, and, on retiring to Somerset, became an enthusiastic farmer, growing asparagus and developing a small lake for fishing. In 1929, he married Nancy Wilcox. The marriage was dissolved. He married his second wife, Norma Williams, in 1961, by whom he had two sons. He died on 8 February 1997.

Sources used to compile this entry: [The Times 7 March 1997, with portrait].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England