Obituaries

Sir Melville ArnottDouglas Arthur Longmore AshworthFrancis Henry DoyleNorman Peter Henry GibbsAaron LaskAlbert Keith PittmanElizabeth Ann RyanDudley James ToomeyNorman Victor WilkinsonEnid Young

BMJ 1999; 319 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.319.7223.1503 (Published 04 December 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:1503

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Sir Melville Arnott


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William Withering professor of medicine Birmingham, 1946-71 (b Edinburgh 1909; q Edinburgh 1931 (honours in medicine); FRCP, FRCPath; TD), d 17 September 1999. He was one of the first full time clinical professors in English medical schools. In 1971 he resigned from the chair of medicine to take up the newly established British Heart Foundation chair of cardiology in Birmingham, where he remained until he retired in 1974. A member of the Territorial Army before the war he served in the Royal Army Medical Corps from 1939 to 1945 in South East Asia, north Africa (including the Siege of Tobruk), and northwest Europe. He was the last British officer to leave Shanghai and just escaped internment by the Japanese and was one of the first medical officers to enter Belsen. He reached the rank of lieutenant colonel, was mentioned in dispatches, and was awarded the Territorial Decoration with clasp.

Melville was a distinguished clinical scientist. He built up a team of young physicians and together they made major contributions to the understanding of the pathophysiology of pulmonary and cardiac diseases. He was one of the first to recognise the importance of cardiac catheterisation as a research tool. Despite heavy administrative duties he insisted on taking his full share of clinical responsibilities, his ward rounds often taking place at weekends. He was a member of the Medical Research Council and the University Grants Committee and was an external examiner at many universities in the United Kingdom and overseas. He played a major role in the foundation of new medical schools in Salisbury in former Southern Rhodesia, and in the Chinese University of Hong Kong. In 1973 he was senior vice president and senior censor of the Royal College of Physicians of London. He served on the General Medical Council for 10 …

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