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Biographical entry Jackson, Peter Douglas (1930 - 2015)

BA Cambridge 1953; MB BChir 1956; FRCS Edin 1962; DLO 1967; FRCS 1968.

9 May 1930
3 October 2015


Peter Douglas Jackson was a consultant otolaryngologist for the Lewisham Group of Hospitals, but it would be fair to say that he would rather be remembered as an operatic tenor/baritone. He was born on 9 May 1930 in Maryport in what was then Cumberland, the son of Percy Jackson, a Methodist minister, and Ethel Jackson née Harding, an accomplished artist. He was educated at King Edward VI School, Stourbridge, and Kingsmead School, Bath, before going to Jesus College, Cambridge. He gained his MB BChir in 1956.

He was a senior house officer at Alder Hey Children's Hospital, Liverpool, moving to a resident surgical officer post at Hallam Hospital, West Bromwich, and then at the Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh.

He gained his fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh in 1962 and in the same year joined the Royal Navy, serving until 1978. While in the Navy he served aboard aircraft carriers HMS Hermes and Eagle, and on shore at RNH Haslar, Gosport, and RNH Stonehouse, Plymouth. A highlight during this time was his appointment in 1969 as medical officer in charge of the naval base in Mauritius, where he was appreciated for his skills as a compassionate and efficient surgeon, as well as a teacher and linguist, working off-site with Mauritian medical colleagues. It was during his time in the Navy that Peter specialised in ENT. He passed his diploma in laryngology and otology in 1967 and his FRCS (ENT) in 1968.

On retirement from the Navy, Peter joined the Institute of Laryngology and Otology, University College, London, in 1978 as a senior lecturer. While at the Institute, he researched tinnitus, and was called upon as an expert witness in occupationally-induced deafness and tinnitus. He wrote several papers on tinnitus, including a chapter on tinnitus, hearing and balance in the elderly in 1981. He joined the Southwark and Lewisham, Greenwich and Bromley Health Authorities as a consultant ENT surgeon in 1981, retiring in 1988. During this time, he co-authored Ear, nose and throat nursing (Oxford, Blackwell Scientific) in 1986. He was also a member of the Joseph Society (as the European Academy of Facial Plastic Surgery was then called).

Peter sang throughout his life, singing with the Lewisham choir until 2014, and participating in numerous singing competitions, winning many rosettes. He was invited to sing before Indira Gandhi and other dignitaries in Mauritius. He sang both choral and solo works, enjoying English songs from Dowland to Williams, lieder and opera. In 1955, while still at University College Hospital, he sang the part of the poet in the first revival of Rossini's 'Il turco in Italia'. He was a keen and proficient linguist, being near fluent in several European languages, giving U3A Spanish classes up to his final illness.

In addition to his service in the Navy, Peter was in the RAF for his National Service and joined the Territorial Army in 1978, thus covering all three services. However, he became a member of CND (the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament) in his later years, as well as being an active member of the Liberal Democrats, having a lifelong interest in politics and social justice. He enjoyed sailing, the Navy providing ample opportunity, teaching his children the basics of dinghy sailing, and taking them on a number of sailing holidays to Croatia.

Peter died on 3 October 2015 of metastatic carcinoma from bowel cancer. He was 85. He was survived by his widow, four children, one grandchild and two great grandchildren.

Rumy Kapadia

Sources used to compile this entry: [BMJ 2016 352 1824 - accessed 1 September 2016].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England