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Kenneth Walter William Henry Walton

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: (Published 03 February 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b356
  1. Gustav Born

    Kenneth Walton was a leading experimental pathologist. His wide-ranging research at Birmingham University, covering both atherosclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis, is still cited, and he did much to shape our contemporary scientific approach to rheumatology.

    Kenneth Walter William Henry Walton was born in Lahore in 1919; his father was a British serviceman who later became a cotton exporter. His grandfather on his mother’s side was a general practitioner, and he was encouraged by his parents to study medicine. He trained at University College and University College Hospital, London, where he became a demonstrator in pathology while still a student under his great mentor, Sir Roy Cameron. As a keen cricketer, he was a member of his college cricket team and also found time for dinghy sailing on the Thames. He qualified in 1942, aged 23.

    As a house officer at St John and Elizabeth Hospital, he dealt with bomb casualties in London. He subsequently served in the Royal Army Medical Corps. He travelled to India, Burma, and Hong Kong and ended his service career in 1947 with the rank of a major and as assistant director of pathology in the Hong Kong command. His experiences in British India and as an army pathologist equipped him with a much broader perspective than can be readily achieved today.

    Once demobbed, he returned to the department …

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