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Professor Julian Taylor, C.B.E., M.S., F.R.C.S., Hon.F.R.A.C.S.

Julian Taylor

Born January 26, 1889
London, England
Died 15 April 1961 (aged 72)
Midhurst, England
Profession Surgeon
Institutions University College Hospital, London
University of Khartoum, Sudan
Specialism neurological surgery
Years active 1911 to 1961
Education University College School, London
University College Hospital, London
Relations Sir Geoffrey Ingram Taylor OM


Professor Julian Taylor (26 January 1889 to 15 April 1961) was a specialist in neurological surgery, and was an inspiring and popular Senior Surgeon at University College Hospital, a former Vice-President of the Royal College of Surgeons and later Professor of Surgery at the University of Khartoum.

Born in St. John's Wood, London, his father was the artist Edward Ingram Taylor and his mother, Margaret Boole, came from a family of mathematicians (his aunt was Alicia Boole Stott and his grandfather was George Boole). His brother was the physicist Sir Geoffrey Ingram Taylor OM. Educated at University College School and University College Hospital, he qualified in 1911, an immediate disciple of Wilfred Trotter, one of the pioneers in neurosurgery, graduated M.B.,B.S., with honours in medicine in the following year and took the F.R.C.S. in 1914.

After holding house appointments he became surgical registrar and chief assistant in the surgical unit at his teaching hospital, but on the outbreak of the first world war he joined the Royal Army Medical Corps. and served with the 85th Field Ambulance in France and Macedonia. In the early days of his service he was a lance-corporal in the Territorials and was a driver of a heavy horsed ambulance-perhaps the only driver ever to hold the F.R.C.S. Later he was medical officer in charge of a surgical division with 52 and 43 General Hospitals, Salonika. He was appointed O.B.E in 1919 at the rank of Captain (acting Major). Continuing his surgical career in London after the war, he proceeded M.S. in 1920 and was elected to the honorary staffs of University College Hospital and the National Hospital, Queen Square. He examined in surgery for the Universities of Cambridge, Leeds, and London, was a vice-president of the Royal College of Surgeons, and for long a member of its council, and a former president of the Association of Surgeons and of the Section of Surgery and Neurology of the Royal Society of Medicine.

At the beginning of the second world war he volunteered again for military service and became consulting surgeon, Malaya Command, with the rank of Colonel (acting Brigadier), A.M.S. He was taken prisoner by the Japanese at the fall of Singapore, and his courageous and unswerving devotion to the welfare of his patients during the terrible years that followed did much to sustain the morale of his fellow prisoners.

At a time when his contemporaries in other military areas were becoming major generals and achieving knighthoods, Taylor was a prisoner of war in Changi Prison camp, struggling with unspeakable conditions and lack of antiseptics and anaesthetics, with 2,500 wounded soldiers, 500 compound fractures, septicaemia, dysentery, avitaminosis, making artificial limbs out of aluminium fan blades and Thomas knee-splints. He tells the heart-rending story, without comment, in Chapter 25 of the volume on 'Surgery' in the History of the Second World War, United Kingdom Medical Services. When he came back to England from the prison camp his malnutrition was such that he broke both his arms on arrival.

Appointed CBE in 1946, he returned to his hospital appointments and private practice in London for a few years before his appointment in 1956 to the chair of surgery in the University of Khartoum. He was elected an honorary Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in 1949. He married Dr. Edith Margaret Ross-Johnson, who held numerous appointments as an anaesthetist at hospitals in and around London. She died in 1955. They had two sons.


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