Howard Brewster

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: (Published 06 March 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b928
  1. John Brewster,
  2. Nigel Brewster,
  3. David Brewster

    Howard Brewster (“Addy”) was born in County Donegal, Ireland, in 1914, a son of the manse. He was educated at Foyle College, Coleraine Academical Institution, and Queen’s University Belfast, graduating in 1938. Somewhat incongruous with his quiet and patient nature, he was awarded a University Blue for boxing, and was Irish Universities’ champion in his weight class.

    In 1941, after house jobs, he volunteered for the medical branch of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, serving in a variety of countries, including Canada and Belgium. After leaving the Royal Air Force in 1946, he sat his DPH and MD examinations, and entered the field of public health during an era when public health doctors were largely responsible for childhood immunisation and surveillance, as well as their more traditional roles of environmental health and communicable disease control. Family slide shows were sometimes inadvertently interspersed with images of rats’ droppings at a local reservoir, which he had used to persuade council officials that the water supply was potentially at risk.

    In his youth he was a keen sportsman, and also enjoyed field sports. At the age of 54, he took up water skiing, soon becoming a competent mono-skier, until his family persuaded him to stop (probably misguidedly, in hindsight) when he retired at 65. He was also a keen gardener, and resumed fishing in his retirement. Predeceased by his wife, Norah, in 2007, he is survived by his three sons (all doctors) and seven grandchildren.


    Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b928


    • Former medical officer of health Cookstown, Northern Ireland (b 1914; q Queen’s University, Belfast, 1938; DPH (1947), MD (1949), MFCM (1972)), d 24 December 2008.

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