Dr Howard Bruce Wilson

Personal Details

Dr Howard Bruce Wilson MB ChB (Hons) FFARCS DPH DA

20/11/1907 to 03/07/1958

Place of birth: Sheffield

Nationality: British

CRN: 715419

Education and qualifications

General education

Aberdeen Grammar School; Aberdeen University, gaining many academic distinctions

Primary medical qualification(s)

MB ChB (Hons), Aberdeen, 1930

Initial Fellowship and type

FFARCS by Election

Year of Fellowship


Other qualification(s)

DPH, London University, 1932; DA(RCP&S), 1940

Professional life and career

Postgraduate career

After qualifying, Wilson worked in general practice in London and studied for the DPH, but growing interest in anaesthesia led to him becoming honorary anaesthetist to the Bolingbroke Hospital in 1939. He joined the medical branch of the RAF in 1941 and attained the rank of Squadron Leader while serving with the North African and Central Mediterranean forces. Invalided out at the end of the war he returned to Aberdeen as honorary assistant anaesthetist to the Sick Children’s, City and Woodend Hospitals. In 1947 he became senior anaesthetist and was responsible for the organisation of the anaesthetic services for the newly established thoracic surgery unit. Appointed consultant anaesthetist at the inception of the NHS in 1948, he gave up private practice in 1954 to become regional director of anaesthetic services and Lecturer in Anaesthetics to the University, holding these appointments until his sudden death in 1958.

Professional interests and activities

An expert anaesthetist, particularly of children, Wilson contributed to research (especially the evaluation of new drugs), teaching, training and the organisation of services. A frequent visitor to hospitals at home and abroad to further his knowledge, he was also associated with the Board of ‘Excerpta Medica’. He served on the Councils of both the Section of Anaesthetics at the RSM and the AAGBI (twice), and was President of the Scottish Society for 1956-7, his presidential address, ‘Widening Horizons’ stressing the broader roles of anaesthetists. He is considered to be one of the founders of modern anaesthesia in the north-east of Scotland.

Other biographical information

A charming enthusiast, always interested in others and their views, Wilson’s life and career were cut short, a great loss to the specialty, by his early death from status asthmaticus. He retained his interest in the RAF and aeroplanes after the war, often flying himself to conferences, and was also a keen motorist. He was married to Justina, and they had a son and a daughter.

Author and Sources

Author: Prof Tony Wildsmith

Sources and any other comments: [1] Obituary. BMJ 1958; 2: 330-1 [2] Obituary. Anaesthesia 1958; 13: 470-1 [3] Levack ID, Dudley HAF (Eds). Aberdeen Royal Infirmary: The People’s Hospital of the North-East. Aberdeen, Aberdeen Medico-Chirurgical Society, 1992 I thank Dr Iain Levack for reviewing the script.