Lives of the fellows

Charles Buchanan Moncur Warren

b.15 April 1906 d.30 March 1999
BA Cantab MRCS LRCP(1932) DCH(1938) MRCP(1946) FRCP (1967)

As a young houseman at Bart's in the 1930s Charles Warren was granted leave of absence to join three British Everest expeditions. The attempted ascents failed, but his fascination with mountains and mountaineering endured. He completed his last rock climb on his 80th birthday, celebrated with a bottle of champagne.

He was born in London and educated at Eastbourne College and Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where he read medicine. He completed his clinical training at Bart's.

In 1933, Warren joined Maro Pallis's expedition to the Gangtori district of the Himalayas. There he climbed Bhagirathi III, the route requiring him to undertake a difficult climb over rocks at 21,000 feet. His success was noted by the Everest Committee, and he was asked to join the 1935 expedition. The attempt to scale the summit was halted by the early onset of the monsoon, but the party had managed to get above 24,000 feet and conquer several lesser peaks in the Everest region.

The 1936 and 1938 expeditions were similarly thwarted by bad weather. During these climbs Warren got to know a young Sherpa, Tenzing Norgay, who was later to reach the summit with Edmund Hillary. Norgay stayed with the Warrens when he visited Britain in 1953.

During the Second World War Warren worked for the emergency medical services at Bishop's Stortford. He later specialized in paediatrics, becoming a consultant paediatrician based in Chelmsford. His department attracted attention for performing exchange blood transfusions on children with neonatal jaundice. He was later to demonstrate the benefits of ultraviolet light on jaundiced babies.

Warren collected pictures and texts relating to the Romantic poets, who had been similarly inspired by mountains and mountainous scenery. He generously donated a collection of over 200 items to the Wordsworth Trust at Dove Cottage in Grasmere.

He married his wife Dorothy, a radiographer whom he met at Bishop's Stortford, in 1945. They had no children.

RCP editor

[The Times 9 April 1999; The Guardian 19 April 1999; The Daily Telegraph 24 April 1999; The Independent 14 May 1999]

(Volume XI, page 604)

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