Lives of the fellows

Carmichael Aretas Young

b.19 August 1913 d.11 August 1986
MRCS LRCP(1936) MB BS Lond(1936) MRCP(1939) MD(1940) FRCP(1950)

Carmichael Young, always ‘Car’ to his friends, was born in Adelaide, South Australia. He was the eldest of three sons, in a family of five children, of Aretas Henry Young, a supervisor with Cable and Wireless Limited, and Isabella Young, née Wilson, of Parattah, Tasmania. The family roots were in England and many of his forbears had been distinguished soldiers in the British Army,but in 1848 his great-grandfather, Sir Henry Edward Fox Young, was appointed governor of South Australia and the family moved to Adelaide. Subsequently Port Augusta was named after Sir Henry’s wife, Lady Augusta Sophia Marryat Young. Car was related by marriage, through his sister, to Sir John Frew (q.v.), who was president of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians from 1972-74.

Car was educated at Carey Grammar School, Kew, Victoria, leaving at the age of 15 to work as a clerk in an office for a year, before accepting a generous offer from his aunt, Helen Young, who had qualified in medicine at Edinburgh in 1924, to come to Britain to study medicine. Helen Young lived in Harley Street, next door to Sir William Willcox [Munk's Roll, Vol.IV, p.514], and took students in as lodgers. She used to attend Sir William’s ward rounds and consult Sir Alexander Fleming at St Mary’s Hospital. It was thus that in 1931, after passing his first MB externally, with these introductions, Car began his medical studies at St Mary’s. He qualified in 1936 and, after house appointments at St Mary’s, became resident medical officer at the Brompton Hospital. After obtaining his MRCP in 1939 he was appointed assistant to the professorial medical unit at St Mary’s, and gained his London MD the following year. He joined the RAMC in 1941 and was mentioned in despatches while serving as a medical specialist to the 10th (British) casualty clearing station in Tobruk. Later, he was appointed officer in charge of the medical division at the 43rd General Hospital in Beirut with the rank of lieutenant colonel, where for a short period he commanded the hospital.

On demobilization and return to England, he spent a brief period as medical registrar to the Prince of Wales’ Hospital before being appointed, in 1948, as general physician to St Mary’s where he also took charge of the diabetic clinic. In 1950, when the dean of the medical school, D H Brinton (q.v.), made arrangements for St Mary’s students to do some of their clinical clerkships at the nearby Paddington General Hospital, he was also appointed general physician there. Car’s firms, both at St Mary’s and at Paddington, were very popular with the students. He was sub-dean of the medical school from 1952-53. At the College he served as Pro-censor 1973-74 and as Censor 1974-75. He was also an examiner for the Conjoint Board and London University.

Car was an outstanding character; he had a quick mind and was a shrewd physician with diagnostic flair. His views were clear, succinctly expressed and, not infrequently, provocative. He was a forthright teacher of essentials, much appreciated by his students and medical assistants. He successfully combined an insight into people with an understanding of their pathology and a warm approach to their problems. As a consultant he was much in demand and worked extremely hard. Unfortunately, opportunities for research did not come his way; the years when he might have been involved were spent in the RAMC. But someone must apply the fruits of research at the bedside, and this he did with a skill and kindness which made him a much respected and widely trusted physician.

Car loved all sports, but especially swimming, rugby football and golf, all of which he supported with the same energy and zest that he applied to his profession. He worked hard and he played hard. He was captain of the Otter swimming team, swam for English universities and played water polo for Hertfordshire. But the apogee of his swimming prowess was his presidency of the Otter Club 1964-67. He wrote a history of the Club to commemorate its centenary: The Otter Club centenary l869-l969, which was published in 1969. He played in the St Mary’s team which won the seven-a-side rugby competition in 1940, and was president of the rugby club 1970-75. There were times when he spent more energy supporting on the touchline than did some of the players on the field. As a golfer he was indefatigable. Some would misread his bubbling vitality as brusqueness; in fact, it concealed a sensitive, kind and sympathetic nature.

His family life was extremely happy. In 1939 he married Marie, a physiotherapist at St Mary’s with a keen interest in all sports. She was the daughter of W H Lewry of Botley, Hampshire, a butcher. They had three sons, who all qualified at St Mary’s, and a daughter who was a nurse there. His brother, A W O Young, became Minister of Health in Tasmania and represented Tasmania in the Australian Parliament. In summary, Car’s life was his family and St Mary’s.

TA Kemp

(Volume VIII, page 557)

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