Dr James Joseph O'Donnell

Personal Details

Dr James Joseph O'Donnell LMSSA FFARCS DA

07/05/1931 to 05/03/2018

Place of birth: London

Nationality: British

Subsequent title: Eventually Colonel, 1989

CRN: 537852

Education and qualifications

General education

Ratcliffe College, Leicester; St Mary’s Hospital Medical School after National Service

Primary medical qualification(s)

LMSSA, 1959

Initial Fellowship and type

FFARCS by Examination

Year of Fellowship


Other qualification(s)

DA 1962

Also known as

Jim; ‘Boots’ in rugby circles

Professional life and career

Postgraduate career

Initially was house surgeon & house physician at Royal West Sussex Hospital, then casualty officer and SHO in surgery at Newton Abbott. From 1962 SHO, and later registrar, in anaesthetics at Brighton & Lewes Hospital, joining the RAMC in 1964 to complete his training. Worked at British Military Hospitals in Munster & Hanover, starting as captain & anaesthetic specialist and retiring in 1989 as colonel & consultant to HM Forces. For the next eight years he worked in Saudi Arabia, returning to the NHS in Portsmouth, later in Guildford, until final retirement (2001).

Other biographical information

Married to Anne (a St Mary’s nurse who later developed fronto-temporal dementia) they had six children, but three developed myotonic dystrophy and one pre-deceased him. He is remembered with huge respect by friends & family. A keen sportsman, he played rugby for school, army & medical school; unusually for a prop forward he took penalty & conversion kicks, this earning him the nickname ‘Boots’.

Author and sources


Dr Robert Palmer & Prof Tony Wildsmith

Sources and comments: 

[1] Obituary. BMJ 2018;361:k2659  [2] London Gazette. 02/10/1964: 8288  [3] Archives of Imperial College NHS Trust