William Lewson Burrowes

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: (Published 25 November 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d7363

This article has a correction. Please see:

  1. Peter Burrowes

Born shortly after the first world war, William Lewson Burrowes was the fifth and sole surviving child, triplets having died at birth and an older sister succumbed to appendicitis aged 6. He was educated at Campbell College and Queen’s University, Belfast, and qualified MB BCh BAO, followed by an MD in 1948. After a houseman’s year at Royal Victoria Hospital, he joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (RAFVR) and served in Palestine, the Persian Gulf, and Iraq for two years, finishing as squadron leader, senior Marshal of Royal Air Force. (MORAF) in Habbaniya. He returned to Royal Victoria as supernumerary registrar in 1947/8.

In 1948, realising that there were few hospital medicine career opportunities in Northern Ireland, he accepted a six week locum post as a general practitioner in Corsham, Wiltshire through a contact of the then senior partner. The locum post was extended twice, and a partnership followed. He remained at the practice until retirement in 1975, although he continued locum work and DSS assessments for a further five years. He was a clinical assistant in medicine and neuorology at the Royal United Hospital, Bath, from 1951 to 1972. He was a general practitioner trainer, a deputy police surgeon, and he sat on many local committees. He was a president of the Corsham division of St John Ambulance brigade and a serving brother of the order of St John. He was a founder member of a volunteer patient transport charity called Link.

A keen supporter of the Irish rugby team, he enjoyed playing golf and tennis and was the RAF table tennis champion in 1947. He was a keen gardener. He showed great fortitude after fracturing his femur on Easter Day and maintained his gentle sense of humour throughout. The latest BMJ was always to hand during his time in hospital.

In 1948 he married Nancy, whom he had met at the Royal Victoria Hospital, having delayed the wedding until his return as he did not want to leave her a war widow. He leaves three children, seven grandchildren, and two great grandchildren.


Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d7363


  • Former general practitioner, Corsham (b 1920; q Queens University Belfast 1943; MD, MRCPI), d 17 August 2011.

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