Lives of the fellows

Michael Brown

b.17 January 1931 d.21 June 1993
BSc Lond(1951) MB BS(1954) MRCPE(1959) MRCP(1960) DTM&H(1963) FRCPE(1971) FRCP(1976)

Michael Brown was born in Ramsgate, Kent, the son of Eric Charles Brown, a biology teacher, and his wife Winifred Ethel née Kemp. He was educated at Tiffin’s Grammar School, Kingston-upon-Thames, and Bedford School, where he won a major county scholarship. He went up to University College medical school, London, and took a BSc in physiology in 1951. He qualified in 1954, having won the Atkinson Morley exhibition for the best student and the Fellowes gold medal in medicine. He was also secretary of the rugby XV. He married Jill née Grace in 1955 and they had two sons, Richard and Peter.

After house appointments at University College Hospital and National Service as an officer in the RAMC, he became a regular Army officer in 1956. He was medallist in both postgraduate courses at the Royal Army Medical College, was seconded to the Brompton Hospital and UCH for further training in respiratory and cardiological medicine, and obtained his membership of the College. He took the DTM&H in 1963, which he subsequently put to good use during postings as physician in military hospitals in Hong Kong, Nepal and Malaysia. In the latter country he co-authored a major paper on melioidosis. Interspersed with these tropical tours were spells with BMH Rintein in Germany and at Colchester, Woolwich and Aldershot. At Aldershot he served as consultant physician in charge of the Army chest centre from 1974-79.

He was elected to the fellowship of the College in 1976; from 1981-1985 he was joint professor of military medicine at the Royal Army Medical College and at the RCP. During that period he was responsible for a major revival in the Army’s academic interest in tropical medicine, establishing a computer data base on the subject and initiating travel clinics at the Ministry of Defence. He also became an associate physician and examiner at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases. For this work he was appointed Mitchiner medallist of the Royal College of Surgeons of England in 1983. From 1985-88 he served as consulting physician British Army of the Rhine, where he developed a major interest in the defence of soldiers against chemical weapons. His final uniformed appointment was as Director of Army Medicine, head of his discipline, and consulting physician to the Army from 1988-90.

He was an honorary physician to the HM The Queen and an officer of the Order of St John. In 1991 he was elected an honorary fellow of University College London. After retirement he served as president of medical boards at Queen Elizabeth Military Hospital, Woolwich, where he died. Michael Brown’s leading characteristics as a man where his great modesty and his kindness. He was the most conscientious of physicians and had a special gift for teaching younger colleagues at the bedside and in tutorials. Outside medicine his recreations were golf, photography and carpentry.

G.O.Cowan

[The Times, 21 June 1993]

(Volume IX, page 59)

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