Lives of the fellows

Richard Christopher Clarke

b.15 June 1885 d.23 March 1957
OBE(1919) TD(1919) MB ChB Bristol(1911) MRCS LRCP(1910) MRCP(1920) FRCP(1934)

Richard Clarke, the son of Paul Clarke, a solicitor, was born in Bristol and educated at its Clifton and University Colleges before he entered the medical school of Middlesex Hospital. Residencies at the Bristol Royal Infirmary led to his election to its honorary staff and formed part of an association with it that had lasted close on fifty years when he retired as full physician in 1948. For many of them he worked for the amalgamation of Bristol’s clinical schools, which was established in the Royal Bristol and General Hospitals in 1940.

Clarke served in both World Wars. In the First he went to France in 1915 as medical officer to the 4th Gloucesters, T.A., with whom he had been associated since their formation, and from 1916 to 1918 was in charge of the 19th Casualty Clearing Station. In the Second, as he had been appointed colonel commandant of the Southern General Hospital in 1937, he took command of the Royal Herbert Hospital, Woolwich, in 1939 and went with it in the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force in 1940 until his retirement under the age limit for service in 1942.

Between the wars he returned to his private practice, his hospital work and to a lectureship in clinical medicine at Bristol University. When he retired in 1948 he devoted the same tireless energy and vivaciousness to the development and organisation of the Bristol Zoo of which he had been a member of council since 1925, improving the health of the animals, and contributing in great part to its pride in seeing the first birth of a chimpanzee in this country.

He was essentially a general physician, but had a special interest in paediatrics, the subject of most of his medical writings; this led him to endow a lectureship in child welfare. He left a widow, Suzanne Hall, whom he had married in 1917, one son and two daughters; his elder son was killed on active service in the Second World War.

Richard R Trail

[Brit.med.J., 1957, 1, 824-5; Lancet, 1957, 1, 744; Times, 1 Apr. 1957.]

(Volume V, page 74)

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