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Biographical entry Bennett, Richard James (1921 - 2017)

MB ChB Birmingham 1944; FRCS 1953.

24 July 1921
Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire
10 January 2017
ENT surgeon


Richard James Bennett (or 'Jim' as he was universally known) was a consultant ENT surgeon in Birmingham. He was born on 24 July 1921 in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire. His father, James Bennett, worked as a potter. Jim was educated at St Joseph's School in Stoke and later progressed to Birmingham University as a medical student and qualified in 1944. Whilst still a student Jim began to suffer from a duodenal ulcer, which was to plague him for much of his life.

After completing his junior house jobs, he decided to train as a pathologist, but this had to be abandoned as he developed a sensitivity to formalin. It was then he embarked on his surgical career, leading to a decision to specialise in ENT surgery.

After completing his specialist training, he worked for short periods as a consultant ENT surgeon at Durham and later Stoke-on-Trent, before obtaining a consultant post in Birmingham. Jim rapidly developed a consuming interest in otology and he was fortunate in obtaining a post at the Queen Elizabeth and the Birmingham and Midland Ear, Nose and Throat hospitals, which enabled him to largely abandon the nose and throat and devote most of his time to surgery of the ear. Jim was a first class tympanoplasty surgeon and became a national authority on this subject.

Jim was happily married to Jacqueline, a fellow Birmingham medical graduate, for nearly 60 years. They had two children - Richard and Anne. His main recreation was bridge, but he also played some golf. Sadly, at the very end he suffered from dementia. He died on 10 January 2017 at the age of 95.

David Brain

The Royal College of Surgeons of England