Lives of the fellows

John Heatly-Spencer

b.6 June 1880 d.31 December 1946
CBE(1937) MB BS Durh(1906) MD Lond(1921) DTM&H Cantab(1923) MRCS LRCP(1906) MRCP(1921) FRCP(1935)

Col. John Heatly-Spencer, who changed his name from John H. Spencer by deed poll in 1926, was the son of William Isaac Spencer, a surgeon in New Windsor, who had been assistant surgeon in the 18th Foot, and his wife, Anne Heatly. From schooling in New Zealand he came to Charing Cross Hospital as a Livingstone scholar in 1900, and immediately on qualification was granted a lieutenancy in the R.A.M.C., but allowed to complete a house post at his parent hospital before being attached for training to the Royal Army Medical College. Until 1908 he served at home stations and in Gibraltar, and in 1910 brought an exchange which allowed him to go to India where he became interested in tropical diseases.

He resigned his commission while on leave in 1913, but rejoined in the rank of temporary captain in 1915 and saw service in France and in the hospitals in Salonika and Constantinople; this was recognised in the Greek Medal for Military Merit. In 1920 he was again granted a regular commission in the rank of temporary major, and on his posting as medical specialist to the Queen Alexandra Military Hospital, Millbank, devoted much energy to the establishment of medical practice on the standards of civilian consultants.

These standards he applied with marked success between 1923 and 1928 while acting as consultant to the widespread hospitals in the Western Command, India. On his return home he was appointed professor of tropical medicine at Millbank, and soon established himself as an able teacher who could illustrate his lectures from a wealth of personal experience.

From 1934 till his retirement in 1937 he was consultant physician to the Army in the rank of colonel. He was then re-employed as president of Medical Boards at Derby until his recall to the active list in 1939, when he served as president of Command Standing Medical Boards in 106 Military Convalescent Depot. As he had reached the age limit of sixty-five in 1944 he was retired; thereafter, until his death in 1946, he worked on Appeals Tribunals of the Ministry of Pensions.

To Heatly-Spencer work was his main hobby; his only relaxations were dry-fly fishing and an occasional game of golf. In 1915 he married Margaret, daughter of Archibald Mclnnes, a Manchester engraver. They had two daughters.

Richard R Trail

[Brit.med.J., 1947, 1, 164.]

(Volume V, page 183)

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