Lives of the fellows

Herbert Brian Kelly

b.12 August 1921 d.27 June 2012
MB BS Lond(1943) MRCS LRCP(1943) MD(1948) DCH(1966) FRCP(1968)

Air Vice-Marshal Herbert Brian Kelly was a consultant in medicine to the Royal Air Force (RAF). Born in Tain, Ross-shire, Scotland, he was the son of James Cecil Kelly, a surgeon captain in the Royal Navy (RN) and his wife Meta Matheson née Fraser, whose father, Hugh Munro Fraser, was a colonel in the Seaforth Highlanders and a Sherriff in the county of Ross and Cromarty. After attending Eastman’s Preparatory School and Epsom College, he studied medicine at London University and St Thomas’ Hospital.

Qualifying in 1943, he did house jobs at St Thomas’, during which time he was posted to Midhurst Hospital in anticipation of treating casualties from the D-Day landings. Then he worked at St Luke’s Hospital in Guildford as a house physician, before joining the RNVR in 1945 to do his National Service.

Demobilised in 1948, he returned to St Thomas’ as a registrar and then, lecturer in medicine. In 1953 he joined the medical branch of the RAF and was appointed consultant in 1957. He served in RAF hospitals in Ely (from 1957 to 1960), Changi, Singapore (from 1960 to 1963), and Nocton Hall, Lincoln (from 1963 to 1966). He then moved to the RAF Hospital in Akrotiri, Cyprus and also spent some time in Germany. During these years he was often assigned to accompany members of the Royal Family on official overseas tours.

In 1974 he was appointed the RAF’s consultant advisor in medicine, and then senior consultant, based in London with the rank of air vice marshal, from 1979 to 1983. Due to his expertise in aviation medicine, he was also medical adviser to the Civil Aviation Authority from 1974 to 1993, and to the private health insurers PPP from 1983 to 1991. He published several scientific papers, particularly on the topics of electrocardiography and the cardiovascular fitness of aircrew. A member of the British Cardiac Society, he was also a fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine.

A keen sportsman, he played squash and tennis and enjoyed skiing. Particularly passionate about water skiing, he ran a water ski club in Cyprus. Choral music was another enthusiasm; he loved singing and, a very sociable man, was an active member of various choral societies.

When he died from congestive heart failure, he was survived by his family and his partner, Wayne.

RCP editor

[BMJ 2012 345 5690 - accessed 31 October 2015]

(Volume XII, page web)

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