Joseph Francis McGarityBMJ 2010; 341 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.c4878 (Published 07 September 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c4878
- Leo McGarity
Joseph Francis McGarity (“Frank”) was born in the Stag’s Head in the mining village of Esh Winning, County Durham. He qualified in 1940 from Durham University before joining the Indian Medical Service. He was sent to Singapore in 1942, shortly before the Japanese invasion. Stationed at Raffles Hotel, which was being used as a field hospital, he was the last British serviceman to leave before being taken to Changi prisoner of war camp. In Changi he helped Ronald Searle put on a show, “Dancing Tears”, for the other prisoners. The following year he was sent with thousands of other prisoners of war to the infamous Burma railway.
After repatriation he returned to England, but in 1947 he decided to go back out to Malaya, where he became the medical officer of health (MOH) for Kuala Lumpur. At the time of Malayan independence he was deputy director of medical services for the Federation of Malaya. Returning to the United Kingdom in 1959, he worked as a GP locum in Ollerton before joining the Sheffield Regional Hospital Board, where he was later to become the deputy SAMO. After the NHS reorganisation of 1974, he became a specialist in community medicine (capital developments) for Trent Regional Health Authority until he retired from full time work in 1979. He was a founder member of the Faculty of Community Medicine. He was on the original board of governors for St Luke’s Hospice, which in 1971 was the only hospice in Britain outside London.
After retirement Frank continued his keen interest in gardening but also became involved with restoring Cromford Canal in Derbyshire. Acceding to his wife’s wishes to return to her roots, they moved to Inchmarlo in Aberdeenshire in 1996, where they enjoyed many happy years before Jeanie died in 2007. Wet macular degeneration robbed him of his sight in his later years, and he never regained his mobility following a fall in August 2009, which caused fractures to his cervical spine. He died peacefully at home on the 15 February 2010. He leaves two sons and four grandchildren.
Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c4878
Former specialist in community medicine Trent Regional Health Authority (b 1914; q Durham 1940; DPH, FFCM), d 15 February 2010.