b.21 January 1915 d.5 January 1990
BA Cantab(1936) MRCS LRCP(1939) MB BChir(1939) MRCP(1946)
Richard Fletcher was born in Silsden, Yorkshire, son of Charles Thomas Fletcher, a textile manufacturer. He was educated at The Leys School Cambridge, Cambridge University and St George’s Hospital medical school, where he qualified in 1939. After a post as house physician at his teaching hospital, he joined the RAMC in 1940 and achieved the rank of major. He served in Europe and North Africa and became company commander No.l Field Ambulance 1st Guards Brigade. He was subsequently deputy assistant director of medical services 4th Division Greece. He saw service in the Italian Campaign and was mentioned in despatches in 1945. In 1946 he returned to civilian life and was appointed registrar at St George’s Hospital and later senior registrar at St James’s Hospital, Leeds. He married Kathleen Mary, née Wilkinson, daughter of a furniture manufacturer, in 1955. They had three children - a son and two daughters.
For the first 16 years Richard Fletcher provided, single handed, an acute general medical service for the Wakefield District and he was also responsible for the majority of the outpatient work. In 1966 he was joined by a second general physician, followed by a third in 1972. Richard was a sound and thorough general physician whose concern was always to do the best for his patients. He was a valued colleague and his clinical acumen was highly respected by his fellow consultants and by general practitioners. Despite a very heavy clinical workload he published papers on diabetes, anticoagulant therapy and the treatment of peptic ulcer. He played a full part in the medical scene in Wakefield, making important contributions to postgraduate education and was, at one time, chairman of the local division of the BMA.
He always had a keen interest in sport; at school he was awarded 1st XI colours for cricket and 1st XV colours for rugby. He was a scrum half of considerable ability. He captained St George’s Hospital rugby team, and later the West Riding Area Army Rugby XV. He was an accomplished tennis and squash player and an enthusiastic skier. He had a deep affection for the county of his birth, Yorkshire. When he passed the stage of active sport, he became a keen walker and bird watcher. He also derived much pleasure from playing the piano and organ. He was a stalwart of the Methodist Church.
Although a quiet and reserved man, Richard Fletcher formed close friendships with some of his colleagues and was very popular with his junior staff - many of whom remained in contact with him. He was also highly regarded by the nursing staff with whom he worked, reflected by the fact that some of them came out of retirement to look after him at home during his final illness. He had retired in 1980 but, sadly, after a busy and demanding professional life ill health deprived him of the quality of retirement he had so richly deserved. Even with the wonderful support of his wife, his last illness was prolonged and difficult.
W C Walker
[Brit.med.J., 1990,300,808; Yorkshire Medicine, Spring 1990,2,27]
(Volume IX, page 174)
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