Lives of the fellows

Robert Martlew

b.25 May 1917 d.17 April 1994
BA Cantab(1938) MB BChir(1941) MRCP(1948) FRCPath(1963) FRCP(1973)

Robert Martlew was born in Wallasey, Cheshire, the son of Tom Martlew, a general practitioner, and his wife Helen (née Lodge). He was educated at King William’s School, Isle of Man, and Cambridge University, where he obtained a double first. After graduation he moved to St Bartholomew’s Hospital Medical School for his clinical training. Since he qualified during the war only a short postgraduate experience as house physician was possible and he was called up for military service in the RAMC. Most of his service was spent as regimental medical officer and he took part in the invasion of Normandy.

Following demobilization in 1946, Robert began training as a pathologist at the Lambeth Hospital, London, and obtained his membership of the College. In 1950, after the inception of the NHS in 1948, he was appointed as the second consultant to the Swindon and Cirencester Hospital Group. At this time the laboratory was housed in huts in the grounds of an isolation hospital, but in the next decade a new hospital was planned for Swindon, the Princess Margaret Hospital. Robert was able to take part in the design of the new laboratory which was included in the first phase of building. Both pathologists were generalists and shared their work, but eventually Robert specialized in histopathology and morbid anatomy where his opinion was much respected, particularly in dermatopathology. Although he was not particularly interested in medical politics, he was pleased to take up the chairmanship of the medical staff committee.

Outside medicine, Robert’s interests were in the arts and music; for many years he was principal oboe and cor anglais player in the local symphony orchestra. He had married Vera Berwick in 1942 and they had two sons and a daughter. Vera gave him steadfast support throughout his professional life and during his retirement. He greatly enjoyed these years, visiting his daughter in South Africa, as well as the antiquities of the Eastern Mediterranean.

J M Ager

(Volume X, page 333)

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