Lives of the fellows

John Aubrey Luther Bonnell

b.2 March 1924 d.26 July 1999
MRCS LRCP(1948) MB BS Lond(1949) MROM(1978) FFOM(1979) FRCP(1987)

John Aubrey Luther Bonnell was a former chief medical officer at the Central Electricity Generating Board (CEGB) and an international expert on the hazards of atomic energy. With the Atomic Energy Authority and the National Radiological Protection Board he helped established standards for the medical supervision of workers exposed to radiation, standards which are still in use today.

He was born in Cymmer, Glamorgan, the son of Ruth Alice and Thomas Luther Bonnell, a mining engineer. He was educated at Llanelli Grammar School and King’s College, London. As a student he suffered from tibial osteomyelitis, which ended his rugby career and made him unfit for National Service.

After house posts at the Metropolitan Hospital, London, he became a member of the scientific staff at the Medical Research Council’s department for research into industrial medicine, based at the London Hospital. In 1959 he was made deputy chief of nuclear health and safety officer at the CGEB, and in 1975 was appointed as chief medical officer, a post he held until 1986. From 1977 he was also a medical adviser to the Electricity Council, and from 1978 an honorary consultant in occupational medicine at St George’s Hospital. He was president of the Society of Occupational Medicine in 1976.

In his spare time he was a keen opera goer and an ardent supporter of the Welsh rugby team. He was married three times. His third wife Jill survives him, together with his two daughters from his first marriage. He died from the effects of a back injury and Parkinsonism.

RCP editor


(Volume XI, page 69)

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