John Shackleton BaileyAlexander Colin Patton CampbellJohn Felix Bolton CarterPhilip CrannJohn (James) Lewis FreerCharles Edward Lewis FreerJoshua (“Jessel”) HazeltonWilliam John HughesArthur Royland HuntBrian Herbert KirmanWilliam LoveJames MarshallDavid Wilkes

BMJ 1997; 314 doi: (Published 05 April 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:1049

John Shackleton Bailey

Towards the end of his medical training John Shackleton Bailey was given a diagnosis of Hodgkin's disease and a year to live. Released from studying, he concentrated on rifle shooting and became a well known international shot; his health recovered and he completed his medical studies. In 1938 he took out a loan and bought a run down rural practice in Suffolk, with patients over a radius of nine miles and the nearest hospital casualty departments 25 miles away. Those patients not covered by panel practice had to make ends meet on low farm wages, and his children remember the anxiety every quarter day when accounts had to be sent out. His experience spurred him to join the fight for a health service, though this made him unpopular with his colleagues who were not so keen. After the war he cut an eccentric figure driving round the Suffolk lanes in a prewar Rolls Royce, bought for £600 on an expedition to buy an alarm clock. After this taste of power he was never to be seen in a modest family saloon again, ending up with a Porsche. His job as coroner usually found him taking an inquest on his half day off; though his persistence in cross questioning pathologists did not endear him to the profession, the families involved were frequently grateful. Declaring the Hockwold treasure as treasure trove was the highlight of his second career.

Chamber music and travel, particularly by car, were his great passions. During the war he and his wife kept open house for anybody from the local United States Air Force base who could play an instrument; he taught himself the cello so that he could join in. Until his 80s he played chamber music at home and continued to work in the special garden …

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