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John Clement Charlton

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: (Published 04 November 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f6250

This article has a correction. Please see:

  1. Billy Charlton, John Charlton, Rodger Charlton, Mary Charlton

John Clement Charlton was born in Hill Street, Lurgan, County Armagh, and was baptised John Clement but always known as Jack. He was born on 8 September 1922 at the time of partition in Ireland, the middle of three children. His brother, William Frederick Dixon Charlton, was born in 1919 and killed in active service on 2 June 1942 with the Royal Air Force. There is a stained glass window at Hill Street Presbyterian Church, Lurgan, in his memory. Jack’s younger sister, Anne Elizabeth (known as Betty), was born in 1925.

When he was a young child, Jack nearly died of a collection of pus on his lung and had a huge scar on his back where a Lurgan general practitioner, Dr Pedlow, drained the empyema at home without much in the way of anaesthetic. As a result Jack did not start school until the age of 10. Despite his setbacks with illness he went on to play cricket for Lurgan and attended Lurgan College and then Queen’s University Belfast, where he qualified in medicine. He was to survive another severe illness, hepatitis A, as a house officer, and in his late 70s he had surgery to both carotid arteries after an episode of amaurosis fugax (a threatened stroke) and enjoyed good health past his 90th birthday. It was arterial disease that was eventually to catch up with him, causing him considerable ill health in his last three months.

Jack’s family were originally from County Monaghan in Ireland and traced their family history back to Northumberland in 1700. The family name Clement goes back to the 1700s. His father, Clement John Charlton, was born in Emyvale and moved to Portadown, where he did an apprenticeship with a Mr Baull and later a Mr Magurran in 40, Market Street, Lurgan. In …

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