Lives of the fellows

Jack Dinham Cottrell

b.26 October 1903 d.9 January 1989
OBE(1943) MB BS Sydney(1928) MRCP(1932) MRACP(1939) DPH(1951) FRCP(1968) FRACP(1973)

Jack Cottrell was born in Sutton, Surrey, where his father was an estate agent. His mother Florence, née Burgoyne, was the daughter of a merchant in the City of London. The family emigrated to Australia, where Jack was educated at the Woodford Academy in the Blue Mountains, New South Wales, and graduated in medicine from the University of Sydney. His first post was as house surgeon/physician at the Lewisham General Hospital, Sydney. For a brief period he served the Wilcannia Hospital in a similar capacity. In 1930 he came to London for postgraduate studies and was appointed house physician at the Dreadnought Hospital for Seamen, London. From 1932-33 he was senior resident medical officer at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and also obtained his membership of the College.

In 1934 he left England to take up an appointment as medical registrar at Dunedin Public Hospital, New Zealand. He settled permanently in New Zealand and was successively honorary assistant anaesthetist and honorary assistant physician at the Dunedin.

Jack Cottrell joined the New Zealand Territorial Forces and volunteered for overseas service during the second world war. He served in the New Zealand Army Medical Corps being awarded the OBE in 1943 for gallant and distinguished service in the field. In 1940, with the rank of captain, Field Ambulance, he was in charge of an infectious disease hospital in Egypt. He was promoted to major on the staff of the New Zealand Army HQ, and then to lieutenant colonel in charge of the medical division 2nd and 3rd New Zealand General Hospitals. He was then promoted to full colonel and consultant physician to the 2nd New Zealand expeditionary force in Italy, but was forced to retire from this position as he was found to have developed a peptic ulcer. He was posted to the reserve and was finally retired with the rank of colonel in 1956.

In the interim he served with the United Nations and the World Health Organisation. From 1946-47 he was director of health services UNRRA Austrian Mission. He served WHO from 1947-64 in various capacities: he was deputy director of the European Region from 1954-64; director of health services regional office for the Eastern Mediterranean; seconded to the UN as chief of the health section for Arab refugees UNRWA 1949, and adviser on health programmes to UNICEF Far East Mission, 1950. For some years after his retirement in 1964 he remained an active WHO consultant - based in Denmark.

In 1971 Jack Cottrell returned to Wentworth Falls, New Zealand, where he had lived as a boy. His main interests were music and gardening. He never married.

J M Tweed

(Volume IX, page 100)

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