John WilkinsonBMJ 2015; 350 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h2487 (Published 11 May 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h2487
- Ewan Wilkinson, Colin Sinclair
John Wilkinson (“Jack”) grew up in Newcastle, attending the local Church of Scotland church. There, through the minister, the Reverend Dr Horace Philp, a former missionary doctor in Kenya, he came to faith and found his calling to be a missionary doctor.
Jack studied medicine at Edinburgh, sponsored by the Edinburgh Medical Missionary Society (EMMS), whose history he later wrote under the title of The Coogate Doctors while a director of the EMMS. After graduating he felt called to the ordained ministry and so began a divinity course at New College.
In 1942 he was commissioned as a medical officer in the Royal Army Medical Corps and served with the 8th Army in north Africa and Italy. This gave him a wide experience of trauma surgery, clinical medicine, and medical administration. In 1945 Jack did a second year at New College, but completed his theology degree only in 1961.
On a trip to Iona for prospective mission candidates, he met Jean Ewan, who was preparing to go to Kenya to teach, and who went there six months ahead of him.
In September 1946 he was posted to Tumutumu hospital, in central Kenya, where Jean was also …