Lives of the fellows

John Austen Hill

b.15 October 1923 d.25 July 1997
MB BS Lond(1947) MRCP(1954) DCH(1961) FRCP(1971)

John Hill was a consultant physician in the Royal Air Force. He was born in London and educated at Eastbourne College. He went on to study medicine at St Thomas’s Hospital, qualifying in 1947. After working for a year at St Helier Hospital, Carshalton, as a casualty officer and house surgeon, he was called up by the RAF for National Service. He served as a medical officer at RAF Lyneham for eighteen months between 1948 and 1950, during which period the station was crucially involved in the Berlin airlift.

After completing his National Service he held posts of house physician at St Stephen’s Hospital, Fulham, and Edgware General Hospital, after which he took a post as senior house officer, and later registrar, on the chest unit at St Helier Hospital, Carshalton. He was then appointed as a medical registrar at Essex County Hospital, Colchester, where he worked for S A Prospect and A B Pollard [Munk’s Roll, Vol.VIII, p.381]. He remained in that post for two years, from 1954 to 1956, during which time he passed the membership examination of the Royal College of Physicians. It was at the completion of this appointment that he rejoined the RAF on a short service commission as a specialist in general medicine. After a short period at Princess Mary’s Hospital, RAF Halton, he was posted to Aden, as the medical specialist in charge of the medical division; among his clinical responsibilities was the treatment of all psychological illnesses. During his time in Aden he undertook a therapeutic trial on the treatment of diarrhoea.

In 1959 he was posted to RAF Halton and worked there for nine months, before being posted to RAF Hospital Wegberg, Germany, as medical specialist. In 1961 he undertook six months external training to work as medical (paediatric) registrar at the Victoria Hospital for Children, London, during which time he passed his diploma in child health.

In 1962 he was appointed as a consultant physician to the RAF. He subsequently served in various RAF hospitals in the UK and Germany between 1962 and 1977, and finally spent the last eleven years of his professional service as consultant in charge of the department of medicine at the RAF hospital in Ely. He eventually decided to retire in 1988.

John Hill was a very private person who nevertheless made many friends in the RAF, with whom he kept in touch, even after they had retired. His wide range of interests included English literature and the theatre, and later in life he developed a deep interest in the cinema, about which he became very knowledgeable. He had a delightful sense of humour and delighted in the company of his friends and colleagues. His modest and retiring nature did not prevent him from teaching and encouraging young physicians working in his department, and many physicians remember him with great affection. John never married, lived in the mess, and in his flat in London. In retirement he was able to follow his interests in history and the arts, and so enjoyed a fulfilled life until his sudden death.

R T G Merry

(Volume X, page 216)

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