Lives of the fellows

Herbert Pennell Hawkins

b.30 June 1859 d.16 April 1940
CBE BA Oxon(1882) MA DM MRCS LSA FRCP(1894)

Herbert Hawkins was born at Lamberhurst, Kent, the second son of Rev. Robert Hawkins. From Eton he went up to Pembroke College, Oxford, as a scholar. He took the degree of B.A. in 1882, having gained firsts in classical moderations and natural science. St. Thomas’s Hospital provided his clinical training, and, after qualifying in 1887, he went to Vienna on a Radcliffe travelling fellowship. He returned to St. Thomas’s in 1889 to take up the usual house appointments. Two years later he was elected assistant physician, in 1896 dean of the Medical School and in 1897 full physician. He lectured on pathology and medicine. In 1915 he relinquished his remunerative private practice to assume command of the Hospital, in its wartime guise of No. 5 Territorial Hospital, as a lieutenant-colonel. On its disbandment in 1919, he retired altogether, having been created C.B.E. for his efficient administration. Gastro-enterology was Hawkins’ special field, and in 1895 he wrote a noteworthy monograph on Diseases of the Vermiform Appendix. He examined on behalf of the Royal College of Physicians and of Oxford University. He was one of the leading teachers at St. Thomas’s in his day. An expert in blackboard demonstration, he gave his explanations in simple and methodical terms, aided by a suave, bantering, good-humoured manner. He was an elegant figure, fashionably dressed, tall, slim and handsome. His one weakness was lack of perseverance. He would embark enthusiastically on a project — a line of research, or the purchase of a ranch in British Columbia — and then abandon it after a change of mood or in favour of a rival scheme. He married in 1910 Hester Vera, daughter of Flettwood Rynd, and had one son. He died at Horsham.

G H Brown

[Lancet, 1940; B.M.J., 1940; St. Thomas's Hospital Gazette, 1940, xxxviii, 68; Al.Oxon., ii, 629]

(Volume IV, page 371)

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